BMW R1150RS (2001-2005) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"It's a low glamour, high practicality sports tourer"

BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view

"It's a low glamour, high practicality sports tourer"

  • At a glance
  • 1130cc  -  95 bhp
  • 46 mpg  -  220 miles range
  • Medium seat height (790mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The BMW R1150RS is a motorcycle designed for the road not race tracks. It's a low glamour, high practicality sports tourer. The GS model BMWs grab headlines and sales figures but the The R1150RS shares its virtues plus has grippy road tyres too. A superb, versatile workhorse or plaything – the BMW R1150RS is not the fastest motorcycle out there but it's one owners grow to respect and even love.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The R1150RS's Telelever front suspension is novel but works well with minimal dive when braking into corners. Wide, upright bars give good control. Stability is unswerving at any speed although the R1150RS is not as nimble as lighter motorcycles. Brakes are partially linked, servo assisted with ABS – it sounds complex but it’s an effective set up.

Engine 3 out of 5

The R1150RS's flat twin has its roots in the 1920s but BMW has managed to update it reasonably successfully. There’s torque a-plenty which keeps things nippy – fast even if revved hard. Six-speed gearbox is slightly better than the 1100s five speeder with superior economy from the overdrive but it’s still no smoothy.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The BMW R1150RS is well thought out, well built and better able to resist the UK climate than most other motorcycles – brakes don’t seize at a hint of salt, unlike so many bikes. A few niggles are reported at high miles – they’re mainly electrical and the R1150RS is still better than pretty much everything from rival brands.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

The BMW R1150RS's new price was around £9K which was always more than rivals. Now more reasonable on the used market. The R1150RS holds its value well but doesn’t have stablemate GS’s cast iron residuals. Triumph’s Trophy and Honda’s VFR are cheaper but not quite so practical. Find a BMW R1150RS for sale.

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

Equipment 4 out of 5

The BMW R1150RS's comfort is superb. Seat, bars and screen are adjustable and most riders can get them just right. The R1150RS's pillion accommodation is excellent, too, which matters more than an extra 20bhp at 9000rpm after a 500 mile day. Comprehensive instruments, shaft drive, centre stand loads of options including hard luggage. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1150RS in the MCN Shop.

 

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their BMW R1150RS (2001-2005) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

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.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Everyday riding

12 July 2009 by roosterman

Quality, reliability and equipment levels are very good. A bit pricey but I don't mind paying for reliability. The engine is torquey but very rough, with vibration usually restricting revs to below 5000. As a tourer this bike could go all day every... Read more day if it wasn't for the engine vibration. I get sore hands after about an hour, which severly limits its practicality. Range is about 250 - 300 km. The bike is extremely stable in all situations, is very well balanced, and is very easy to ride slowly. It is big but manages twisty roads quite well. Brakes are good but don't have much feel. Panniers are large, easy to use and mostly waterproof. Overall a very good bike for what it's intended to do, but is let down by the engine vibration.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
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 95 bhp
Max torque 73 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 220 miles
Specification
Engine size 1130cc
Engine type 8v flat twin, 6 gears
Frame type Three section steel composite
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 224kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2001: BMW R1150RS launched.

 

Other versions

BMW R1100RS: predecessor to the R1150RS sold from 1993-2003. Smaller engine with one spark plug per cylinder, only five gears, inferior wheels and less sophisticated brakes.

 

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Engine
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1150RS motorcycle review - Side view