BMW R1100R (1995-2003) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"The naked version of BMW's twin cylinder 'Boxer'"

BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding

"The naked version of BMW's twin cylinder 'Boxer'"

  • At a glance
  • 1085cc  -  80 bhp
  • 46 mpg  -  210 miles range
  • Insurance group: 11 of 17
    Compare insurance quotes now
  • Medium seat height (760mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Often overlooked as a new machine, BMW's R1100R now makes tons of sense as a used bike. It’s the naked version of BMW’s twin cylinder ‘Boxer’ – undoubtedly their best range of motorcycles at the time. The R1100R is an incredibly versatile machine that does anything well except high speed work and track days.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The BMW R1100R's Telelever front suspension takes some getting used to but works extremely well once you are. Paralever rear minimized the effects of the shaft drive and the motorcycle handles well in a smooth, slow turning manner – but don’t think it can’t hustle if required. Brakes are reasonable and ABS is handy where fitted. Great round town – and popular with couriers as a result.

Engine 3 out of 5

Charming, simple and torquey or an underpowered antique with an atrocious. The BMW R1100R is both so whether you’ll enjoy it depends on whether you’re a glass-half-full person. The air/oil cooled twin’s not hugely changed since the 1950s. Vibey at low revs but with plenty of midrange. 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Apart from couriered examples, the BMW R1100R seems to get an easier life than most used BMWs. They don’t seem to rack up the huge mileages or get used in winter as often as their stablemates. The R1100R is still up to these feats though. Dealers, official and unofficial are excellent.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

Considering a Honda Hornet 600 will outperform the BMW R1100R for a fraction of the price, it could seem like an expensive buy. But the BMW’s high quality and durability help justify the price. It also feels like a special motorcycle. Plus when you sell it, you won’t lose much as depreciation is low. Find a BMW R1100R for sale

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Considering naked bikes are often pared down to the bare minimum, the BMW R1100R is quite well equipped. ABS was on all its motorcycles until 1999 when it became an option. Comfort’s excellent (a screen helps on the motorway), a centre stand’s always useful and the instruments are pretty comprehensive for the time. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1100R in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their BMW R1100R (1995-2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW R1100R (1995-2003)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4.4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best deal out there...

02 December 2015 by peter e

Only the transmission really stands out as less than ideal. The rest is pretty much perfect for what it is designed to be (an uber-reliable tourer with serious performance capabilities). Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
ABS does go out from time to time. Given that most similar bikes don't even have ABS, it's hard to hold it against this bike...
Engine
5 out of 5
Great torque. Winds right up, for a fairly simple design.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Change the brake fluid... The brake master cylinder is integral to the throttle and really expensive to change out. The running gear is uniquely bullet-proof.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The BMW tour bags are always fantastic. The simple naked look ages really well -- all those fairings get nicked and dated pretty fast...
Buying experience

It's hard to buy a bad one, although I'm sure there are some about.

4 out of 5

Great All Rounder that stands out from the Crowd.

23 September 2015 by NICK

Great all round bike, fun on twisty roads and can cruise long distances for touring too with the hard bags. Worst feature is the stock seat, I find it uncomfortable in as little as 60 miles. You hear some luke-warm comments about performance but... Read more mine really flies and is super torquey..

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
I found fitting the high friction pads made the brakes even better.
Engine
4 out of 5
If set up properly, throttles and air screws correctly synchronized the engine is very smooth. It is also very quick for what it is, good acceleration for overtaking and it's hard to keep your cruising speed down it will sneak up to 80-90 mph if you are not careful. My engine is super torquey too, that improved dramatically with an aftermarket chip that makes it run a little richer. They come terribly weak from the factory. I even get better mpg with the modification. The factory exhaust is extremely quiet but makes the bike sound anemic. I finally broke down and fitted a Remus system that transformed the riding experience. Even more mid range and a satisfying exhaust note which at idle and cruise are very little louder just much deeper in tone. When you get on the power the sound is quite addictive.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Solidly built, the finish and appearance definitely looks up market.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
If you source your parts from ebay etc. normal maintenance parts are not expensive. They are also very easy to work on, with good access too, things like adjusting valve clearances takes no time at all. Bike comes with a comprehensive tool kit .
Equipment
4 out of 5
I wish it had a fuel gauge
Buying experience

I've owned it for 6 years now and love it, I've not found anything that's motivated me to change. It does everything I want of it and still has style. I still get asked about it almost every time I stop for fuel, people seem to think it's a new bike with it's still somewhat futuristic look.

4 out of 5

Unsell-able Bike

15 January 2008 by GregorSamsa

I keep thinking I ought to sell this bike, but every time I get close to it, no other bike matches up to this machine's all-round ability. It has impeccable handling, you can brake deep into corners, cursing the wobbly part-timer on the sportsbike in... Read more front of you as he slows you down through the turn. It even has a very loud hooter for urging the spotty oiks out of your way. Given the right kind of camber conditions, you can even hoik the front end up coming out of corners, certainly this happens frequently during spirited roundabout negotiation. A punchy heavy beast, a proper bloke's bike that you can also carry your missus on, not to mention a ton of camping gear. It's not a toy it's a 1/4 ton of bouncing (but in a controlled way), throbbing joy between your legs, a second willy if you will. And like the other one, it can most certainly be enjoyed with the missus sat astride it, or if you're more the solo type, then with just a twist of the wrist of course as well...

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

BMW R1100R

21 April 2007 by macinnr

A great bike that hardly anyone knows about. Owned a GS1150 before this but pound for pound this is a better bike if you only ride on road. Doesn't have the kudos of the GS hence they are bargains. Bucket load of torque, brilliant b-road handling,... Read more perfect riding position, all day comfort excellent headlight, build quality better than post '99 beemers. Downsides - not exactly a looker, clunky gearbox, no span adjustment on clutch lever. Go and buy one and save £2k over a GS

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Great All-Rounder

27 March 2007 by tflinders

Very reliable, tours well two-up with luggage. Fairly economical to run, if you avoid main dealers, 44mpg isn't that good for the performance. Cruises all day (literally) at fast motorway speeds. Worth fitting a screen. Worst point is gearbox,... Read more which makes it a pain around town. Heavy, but weight disappears on the move. Rear shock gets tired after 40,000 miles, replacing it transforms bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1995
Year discontinued 2003
Original price -
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £100
Performance
Max power 80 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.3 secs
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 210 miles
Specification
Engine size 1085cc
Engine type 8v opposed twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel spine
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 760mm
Bike weight 235kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 305mm discs
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

1995: BMW R1100R launched.
1997: Small changes – chrome mirrors and bar ends, silver oil cooler cover and pillion handles. From September.
1998: Non ABS model available from November.

Other versions

BMW R850R: Similar but with smaller 848cc engine, lighter (210kg). ‘Classic’ model with special paint available in 2003.

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100R motorcycle review - Side view
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