BMW R1100S (1999-2005) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"Something of a classic, especially in Boxer Cup form"

BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding

"Something of a classic, especially in Boxer Cup form"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The BMW R1100S is now starting to be regarded as something of a classic, especially in Boxer Cup form. Classy (and crucially un-ugly) styling, VFR-esque comfort and versatility plus BMW quality and residuals make for a stonking and attractive all-rounder, if not quite the sports bike BM intended…

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The plush ride usually delivered by BM’s novel Telelever/Paralever suspension set-up is present and correct on the R1100S but for some reason it manages to avoid much of the steering vagueness that comes with it. The BMW R1100S is no super-sharp sportster, but it is smooth, predictable and pleasing enough to hustle along country A-roads…

Engine 3 out of 5

The BMW R1100S's first incarnation ‘new school’ boxer engine is now thoroughly outmoded by later 1150 and current 1200 versions but it’s still pleasant, flexible and bulletproof. Don’t expect fireworks and you won’t be too disappointed…

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The R1100S is a BMW so… the usual peace of mind applies. Although being the sportiest of the R-series the same is true of the S, especially as it’s powered by the understressed 1100 engine. As long as it’s been looked after and regularly  serviced, it should be fine, even well over 50,000 miles…

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

In terms of bang for your buck, the £9000+ when new BMW R1100S can’t hold a candle to the best from Japan. But as a classy, versatile, and durable all-rounder, there’s not much that comes close. Just don’t expect explosive performance. Replicas are best of bunch (but have high seats). Find a BMW R1100S for sale.

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The BMW R1100S has nothing to get worked up about, unless a previous owner has treated him/herself to the BMW options list. In stock trim there’s OK instrumentation and… not a lot else. Cup Replicas get jacked up suspension, belly pan and special paint, but heated grips, luggage and a myriad other goodies are available. Compare and buy parts for the BMW 1100S in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

10 owners have reviewed their BMW R1100S (1999-2005) 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 R1100S (1999-2005)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 4.3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Affordable, lively and unique

13 July 2016 by jonton

Affordable, lively and unique looks that combine the striking boxer engine with beautiful flowing body panels. It's at its best on highways and back roads, where the smooth suspension and aerodynamics come into their own. Excellent two-up touring. ... Read more Around town the dry clutch and poor throttle response at low RPM can make it a little tricky. But this can be alleviated by installing an after-market ECU chip.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
It's the smoothest, most enjoyable bike I've ever had. Keep the rev's up and you can ride the engine around twisty roads better than most sports bikes. Avoid the ABS versions, the standard brakes are fantastic and the telelever front suspension keeps everything stable.
Engine
5 out of 5
The engine is a throw-back, but looks striking with those cylinders and header pipes poking out of the side. Try to get a twin-spark version. If you're interested in that sort of thing then a little tweaking can get some serious performance gains. Easy stuff like removing the cat and remapping the ecu will help. Maintenance is easy for anyone who has confidence with a socket set.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Things do break of course. The paint finish is a very high quality but the plastic of the front indicator surrounds cracks easily around the screws. Starter motors fail because of the placement next to the clutch and poor quality control. Some owners have had problems with the clutch splines, but this isn't as common as you might think from the forums. The engine is bullet-proof. Follow the service schedule and it will last 50 years.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Very economical and there is a wealth of after-market and second-hand parts available.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Fantastic panniers as long as you can find the city lids. Simple dash and none of the electronics and trip computers of later BMWs, which I prefer. The standard seat is too slippery.
4 out of 5

Boxercup

04 April 2016 by Alan

It is a timeless classic with good modern feel and performance, although it may be classed as a pure sports bike it could have had a "glove "box or small carrying capacity under the seat. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
high passenger seat as per any sports bike not too comfortable on very long journeys.
Engine
4 out of 5
typical bike twin grunt.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
BMW panniers fit (with Brackets)
Buying experience

A good deal from a family member (I could not let it go)

3 out of 5

68kmiles and a WVM

13 May 2009 by minivin

Had mine for five years till White Van Man wiped me out just before Christmas. Handling and Engine were faultless in my eyes. Quality and Reliability was dyre, what with a failed fuel pump, failed battery, seized callipers each year, ABS being... Read more tempremental, paint peeling off and having to wait a month for the warrentee job to get done et cetera. However I'm struggling to find something to replace it's all-round capability...... can't seem to fit a Land Rover gearbox on the pillion seat of many other bikes :o) (yes, LT77 from a mates to home. Didn't have a car at the time).

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

2nd BMW

01 November 2008 by johnyrunnerbean

I have had the R850R and grew to like it, this R1100s does what I want and with the same reliability, its smoother, sharper and feels really safe, looking forward to years of happy sports touring. Read more

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

Boxer cup Rep

04 August 2007 by steven durno

All that you'll ever need from a bike, does it all, in comfort. Read more

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

Brilliant

22 May 2007 by Onebag

The daily Scarborough - Whitby commute has never been so much fun! Down on power compared to japanese sports tourers, but more than makes up for it in every other way! Read more

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

1st 'Big Bike'

21 May 2007 by Boult

Purchased this after writing off my SV650S. Came with luggage so I can travel a bit with it. Love it! Just grown up performance without waking up the neighbours. Sporty looking but with a mature kudos. Does everything I ask of it - tours, commutes,... Read more gets silly....

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

Boxer cup replica (R1100SS), with luggage

14 August 2006 by L4YKY

I've ridden just about everything over the years including various beemers, and owning mainly japenese fours this bike is a revalation, it covers miles with ease, doesn't kill my back or knees and has room for my 6' son when he's pillion and the... Read more missus loves it too. Not too bad for a bit scratching once you get used to the size. I'm glad I watched the race series, seeing titanium sparks coming of the head covers is a sight to behold.

Strengths

comfort reliability good fuel consumption

Weaknesses

Not as quick as its Japenese countaparts

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

A BMW with style and performance - surely not!!

24 July 2006 by jamesreeves

What a revelation! I have a 60 mile commute on a mixture of motorway, A and B roads and this bike handles it superbly. A brilliant mixture of comfort and real world usable performance with the added advantage of shaft drive. Have to admit was initial... Read more sceptical of a BMW but you would need to prise the keys away from me now.

Strengths

Effortless mile munching ability coupled with plenty of usable torque for when you need it.

Weaknesses

There is some vibration at certain speeds, but that it part of the character of the bike and also it isn't bad so don't let it put you off!

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

When it's time to slow down

17 April 2006 by lyallhazard

I purchased this bike new last year after owning a GSX-R750, Fireblade, Hayabusa and a ZX12R that I crashed in France! When I took stock of what I really wanted from a bike the following were important to me;Something that looked the part, sensible... Read more power out-put, a physicaly large bike (I'm 6ft 4)and it had to be affordable (I leased the bike from BMW on a 'select'finance deal, it costs me less than £100 a month with a £1200 deposit and i can hand it back after 3 years!). The bike is the best handling that i have ever owned, ok its not the quickest but thats not why i bought it. it attracts all sorts of attention, even has people photographing it at bike meets. You dont need to worry about the race rep crowd either, this bike gets respect as a genuine racer on the road.

Strengths

Handling,build quality, resale value, exclusivity (better than a 999 or MV and nowhere near as fragile)

Weaknesses

Dealer back up, although my dealer has recently lost his franchise so this may be an isolated case

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 10 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Used price £2,500 to £6,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £100
Performance
Max power 98 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 141 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.9 secs
Average fuel consumption 48 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 1085cc
Engine type 8v boxer twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tube monocoque
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 208kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake Single 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

History & Versions

Model history

1999: BMW R1100S launched.
2002: Boxercup limited edition launched.
2004: Boxercup replica linited edition launched.
2005: BMW R1100S discontinued.

Other versions

BMW R1100S Boxercup: Limited edition version built to commemorate the Boxer Cup race series, as 1100S but with race replica belly pan and specil paint job.
BMW R1100S Boxercup Replika: 2nd limited edition version, as before but with different paint job

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Side view
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  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1100S motorcycle review - Brakes
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