BMW R1150GS (1999-2005) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"Handles brilliantly, will run forever and will cheerfully see over 200 miles from the tank"

BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding

"Handles brilliantly, will run forever and will cheerfully see over 200 miles from the tank"

  • At a glance
  • 1130cc  -  85 bhp
  • 37 mpg  -  205 miles range
  • Medium seat height (840mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

BMW’s R1150GS is heavy, pricey and relatively slow. It’s also an expensive, imperfectly finished motorcycle and the engine design is something Noah would recognise. On the flip-side the BMW R1150GS handles brilliantly, will run forever and will cheerfully see over 200 miles from the motorcycle's tank.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

For such a tall machine the BMW R1150GS is blessed with extraordinary poise. The wide bars give you total control over the motorcycle in bends (no need to hang off like a monkey, here), the tyres grip like a drowning man and the brakes are phenomenally good. In the wet there’s probably no better bike than the BMW R1150GS to be on, such is the motorcycle's balance.

Engine 3 out of 5

Even really healthy BMW R1150GS' struggle to make more than 77bhp from the antediluvian air/oil-cooled Boxer twin. However there’s immense torque from this motorcycle – over 70ft lb, so hauling ass past lines of cars is simplicity itself, requiring no more than a twist of the motorcycle's throttle. That’s something of a blessing as the BMW R1150GS' gearbox is robust, but imprecise and agricultural.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

Essentially the basic design of the BMW R1150GS means that, treated right, it’ll run forever. However, the paint on the motorcycle's cylinder heads flakes off, as does the finish on the forks, the petrol cap lets in rain, the downpipes go brown, the O-ring inside the oil filler cap breaks causing oil to seep out the seal and you really need to keep an eye on the BMW R1150GS' oil level.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

BMW R1150GS owners love their motorcycles. They dealer service them on time, ride them kindly and don’t tend to behave in a manner prejudicial to the motorcycle's longevity. Add in the cult of the BMW R1150GS and you can see why used motorcycles command such high prices. Find a BMW R1150GS for sale.

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

Equipment 4 out of 5

Factory options for this motorcycle such as ABS, hard luggage and heated grips are well worth seeking out and there’s a raft of aftermarket stuff for the BMW R1150GS from crash bars to race-style exhausts to bolt on. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1150GS in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

No owners have yet reviewed the BMW R1150GS (1999-2005).

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 85 bhp
Max torque 75 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.1 secs
Average fuel consumption 37 mpg
Tank range 205 miles
Specification
Engine size 1130cc
Engine type 8v Boxer twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel spine
Fuel capacity 25 litres
Seat height 840mm
Bike weight 229kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 305mm discs
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1980: BMW R80GS introduced – 50bhp, 797cc air-cooled Boxer twin – the archetype giant trailie.
1987: BMW R100GS – 980cc, 60bhp, weighing 187kg. Bigger and better.
1994: BMW R1100GS – 1085cc, 209kg and 80bhp. Introduced the Paralever wishbone front end.
1999: BMW R1150GS released.

Other versions

BMW R850GS: 848cc, 70bhp – essentially a BMW R1150GS with the BMW R850R’s motor.
BMW R1150GS ABS: Identical to the BMW R1150GS, but with switchable ABS.

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Engine
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Engine
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1150GS motorcycle review - Front view
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