BMW R1150RT (2001-2005) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"All the comfort needed to blitz Europe; and it handles too"

BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding

"All the comfort needed to blitz Europe; and it handles too"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The BMW R1150RT has all the comfort needed to blitz Europe – and it handles too. Proof that a motorcycle can take you a pillion and plenty of luggage to those Alpine passes can be fun once you get there. The R1150RT is lighter than most full tourers of the time and superbly built too – but it's no rocket in a straight line.

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

The BMW R1150RT's light weight plus well engineered chassis = great handling. It’s all the more surprising as the R1150RT looks about as sporty as a brieze block. Dry weight is just 255kg – light for a full tourer. Many sources quote wet weight which makes the motorcycle sound heavy. Servo-assisted, linked, anti-lock brakes are excellent.

Engine 4 out of 5

The BMW R1150RT's ‘Boxer’ opposed flat twin traces it’s heritage back to the 50s or even 20s with few major changes. It’s torquey at low rev and produces modest power higher up the tacho. It’s more than adequate – up to about 100mph when other tourers will clear off. Some surging on a steady throttle. Gearbox is pretty poor.

 

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The BMW R1150RT has a solid construction which includes building in some resistance to salty roads. Brakes in particular resist weather better than most rivals. Plenty of bikes rack up huge mileages – 100,000 plus without major problems. The odd electrical niggle and small areas of corrosion are not unheard of.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The BMW R1150RT was not cheap when new but in this class, so are all the rivals. Now only available on the used market and becoming more affordable. Depreciation is low due to the bike’s durability and small cult following. Glitzy main dealers tend to charge more than private sales but not always – do your research. Find a BMW R1150RT for sale.

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The BMW R1150RT delivers superb comfort for one or two – seat and bars are adjustable at a standstill, the screen can be moved on the move with a touch of a button. Panniers are included and work pretty well. Loads of extras are available including BMWs superb heated grips. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1150RT in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

7 owners have reviewed their BMW R1150RT (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.

Review your BMW R1150RT (2001-2005)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.1 out of 5
Engine 3.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.4 out of 5
Equipment 4.3 out of 5
5 out of 5

05 August 2015 by RPG

Best motorcycle I've ever owned. 75k on mine. Uses zero oil, plenty of power, amazing handling, comfortable enough to knock out 800 mile days, over and over. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
The Boxer engine on this model puts out 95hp. Doesn't sound like much compared to today's hyper powerful bikes, but the power is always there and a touch of the throttle at any speed results in a nice, usable surge in acceleration.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Fit and finish is excellent. Some slight corrosion on some fasteners but nothing too detrimental.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
heated grips and electric windshield are first rate features as well as the saddlebags and adjustable seat.
4 out of 5

A brilliant bike; like a good wine - matures with age

01 June 2011 by bandytales

The 1150 changed in 2003 from 1 spark plug per cylinder (nicknamed single spark), to 2 (err, the twin spark). When this later model was brought out it sorted quite a few issues with earlier machines such as: Cured the surging (a feeling of the bike... Read more accelerating and decelerating at steady throttle settings). Improved rear brake feeling (the rear brake was too powerful and caused the odd problem with slow speed manouvers when it was too easy to lock the rear wheel (and bring the front brake into play a little too early). Improved the horn (the later models used twin horns as opposed to a single unit). A different alternator belt and pulley was used to give the alternator an easier life. This is a superb bike but not without its faults. Comfort for me is top notch, econony is 50mpg plus (most of the time). Handling is brilliant. Its shortcomings...look out for possible gearbox alignment problems if the bike has had any history with this, don't touch it. Hall Effect Sensors (ignition trigger) wiring on early bikes had been know to have insulation breakdown problems, but never heard of it in later bikes. Servo brakes could go belly up. Some bikes have had this removed - this is not a bad thing and don't let it put you off.

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

Horrid

11 October 2009 by Evogt

Bought April 2008 with 41000 miles and a full service history,and have had nothing but trouble with the thing. The electric screen, heated grips and comfort are very good as is the handling for such a big bike. However it has been the most unreliable... Read more bike I have ever had. Its had a new battery (failed due to an electrical short), starter motor, gearbox seal, rear hub seal, drinks loads of oil and now has had complete brake failure when travelling at speed. Its going to cost £1600 to repair the brakes as a brake modulator has failed. I should of stayed with what I know and stayed away from this German rubbish. Avoid if you don't want major servicing service and repair bills.

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

I have an 1100RT

23 April 2009 by alleywatson

not an 1150 and apart from a bit more power and a different front light I can't see much difference. Used to have a firestorm and really liked the noise and power but then I got married and it had to go as it wasn't really practical even though i'd... Read more fitted a Givi top box. So went to look at big tourers incl Pans, FJR's but they didn't fit through my narrow gate, so got an R reg R1100RT, which just goes through when mirrors a removed. The first biggest difference was how big it was when filtering and the comfort of the bar position. So First mod was a bigger screen made by Sedcam, much better wind deflection all the way up to 110 mph. Pillion comfort is great she said and the other luggage is a big help, I transferred my Give from the firestorm to the BM no problems. The Engine does have a lot of low down torque which is where all the power is but doesn't like it near the redline. Once chased a VFR 800 from 50 (post Gatso) and I simply ran out of revs and he slowly pulled away once i hit 4th. Overall though a great bike for going places on, great on petrol usually average 45-50 mpg knocking around on a run I get around 70. The only thing to have gone wrong was an actuation arm which SNAPPED CLEAN IN HALF at the back of the engine which is simply pulled by the cable from the clutch god knows how this happened. Got a second hand one from Motorworks for 40 quid. Would sometimes love the speed of the FJR though

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

Bought bike this August. 'Practice' miles so far 500. Fun miles so far, over 1000

11 October 2006 by bertiebradshaw

Bought the bike to tour Europe next year. Me and the Mrs have done loads of miles on it with no aches and pains, a very comfy bike. Good weather protection with the adjustable screen and of course the heated grips are a mortal saver when it's cold.... Read more The engine will just keep spinng whatever you want to do in whatever gear you might find yourself in. The ABS took some getting used to but after a few 'situations' they become something to rely on. Once we got used to the bike the fun factor really takes hold, smooth ride through bends and straights. Cars really do move out of your way!. Really looking forward to next summer when we can get amongst it in France, Spain, Germany etc. Not as quick as my previous Jap' bikes but then again I'm not as quick as I once was either. Definetly a good buy. Strengths: Bags of grunt, even with 2 up, build quality is good, fuel compsumption is good street cred' is great! Weaknesses: At 90mph+ and solo bike becomes a little unstable with all panniers on, faith in gryoscopic's will keep you calm though!

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
-
4 out of 5

A great bike, can do most things. Easy to maintain and clean. A great distance machine.

12 July 2006 by m0rgb

Bought used in 2005 (2 years old). Needed a bike that could take me and Mrs to far off places in comfort without costing a fortune in fuel. Looked at the Honda but they had problems on the new Pan and the old one seemed a bit dated compared with... Read more this, not to mention servicing and fuel costs. I am very happy with the bike thus far, having covered 16k miles over the year. It is comfortable, has excellent weather protection (which is bad on hot days! Where's the breeze?). Brilliant heated grips! BMW luggage is easy to use and secure, with enough room for essentials on a long trip. The bike reacts well to a relaxed style of riding, perfect for holidays, but can also really cut it with the faster boys when required. The engine is not up to this really though, getting a little rough if you rev it. I'd expect that of a boxer twin though. Tank range is very good, 225 miles. Around 48-50 mpg. Servicing is easy once you get the bodywork off (15 min job). Strengths: The engine has lots of torque and pulls well thoughout the range. Handling is very, very good. More so for the size of the bike! With practise you can really chuck it about. The brakes are amazing, a little sharp at times but grab the front lever and it stops! No matter what the weather! Weaknesses: Fuel injection! Runs too weak in closed loop cycle, causes surging. Careful setup and fix it or after market injection controller (twin spark bikes are ok). Engine could occasionally do with more power at the top of the range. Liked back brake is a bad idea, (U turns!) front is good though.

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

Traded Pan European ST100 for a new Beemer, Bad Mistake!

16 June 2005 by flyingpanintothefire

Have had this bike for a year and 10,000 miles. For the first 7,000 miles it did not run very smoothly . It requires a mechanic to know what he is doing to set it up correctly (this was more of a let down by the dealer). In the last few months the... Read more bike has had to have the following items replaced because of the quality. Centre stand-poor quality paint work, one of the panniers -as it let in rain water when the bike is parked on its centre stand in the rain, both horns have given up working.The paint work on the front fork bridge has been very poorly applied and litteraly falls off in your cloth when you polish it. The left hand panel trim has been replaced twice as the fixings are so poor.The rev counter had condensation in it as well as the Rider Information Display unit.(Petrol gauge,clock and engine temp gauge). The Fuel gauge gives false readings.The brake discs are also showing signs of "pitting". Strengths: A comfy seat and corners well for a tourer. Weaknesses: When the two year warranty ends and in particular the poor fuel consumption of 42 MPG.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
1 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 7 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2001
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Used price £2,500 to £4,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £81
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 63 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.5 secs
Average fuel consumption 47 mpg
Tank range 255 miles
Specification
Engine size 1130cc
Engine type 8v flat twin, 6 gears
Frame type Three section composite
Fuel capacity 25 litres
Seat height 780mm
Bike weight 255kg
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 R1150RT launched.
2005: BMW R1150RT discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Rear view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Top view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1150RT motorcycle review - Riding
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