BMW R1200C (1997-2005) Review

Published: 22 November 2006

"Like most cruisers, it sells on looks; this one had a part in a Bond movie too"

BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Riding

"Like most cruisers, it sells on looks; this one had a part in a Bond movie too"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The BMW R1200C is a Harley-Davidson rival with German engineering. Like most cruisers, it sells on looks – this one had a part in a Bond movie too. Power is pretty modest considering the 1200cc engine but it’s enough. Dynamically it’s better than many cruisers thanks to quality engineering and light(ish) weight.

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The BMW R1200C is much more capable than most cruisers although the latest water cooled Harley has moved the game on somewhat. The 1200C’s less bounce than many custom style bikes and has better ground clearance too. Steering is slow but stable. Excellent brakes.

Engine 3 out of 5

The BMW R1200C's engine is not to be confused with more recent 1200cc boxer flat twins seen in 2004 onwards BMWs. This is a low-tech lump producing just 61bhp – more isn’t really needed. It delivers it in a relaxed, style though with plenty of low down drive. Gearbox is pretty clunky like all BMW boxers.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The R1200C's story is the same as so many BMWs – better than most motorcycles but still not perfect. Some early bikes had patchy finish – chrome, especially on spoked wheels proved to be of variable quality. BMW dealers are excellent though and most problems get sorted. Reliability issues almost non-existant.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

New prices of the BMW R1200C varied from £8500 to £10,500 depending on year and spec – the CL model was always nearer £11k. Used prices are slowly dropping – there’s no such thing as a nice, cheap example but depreciation remains low so you shouldn’t lose much when you sell the motorcycle on. Find a BMW R1200C for sale.

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

Equipment 2 out of 5

The BMW R1200C doesn't have much as standard – some models didn’t even have a pillion seat. But plenty of accessories are available, BMW and unofficial. The CL variant is a full-dress touring version with a massive fairing with twin headlights, a huge stepped seat and hard luggage. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1200C in the MCN Shop.

 

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200C (1997-2005) 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 R1200C (1997-2005)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Way of the old

13 August 2017 by Daniel

I came off a K1200RS which I loved. I am 60+ years old, and arthritis forced me to get a bike that would put my wrists into more comfortable position. Also, the wife was terrified to be on K1200RS with me. And that's how the R1200C came to my home.... Read more This machine turns heads! It's VERY comfortable, and just fast enough for me to enjoy scenery.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
I can ride this thing all day. Sharp cornering is out of the question, but it handles the road beautifully.
Engine
5 out of 5
The Boxer is definitely different that the K! It surprised me how mellow it is, and how it pulls in high gear without downshifting. It looks GREAT, and it makes me feel "special". And all that for less than 4K!!
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
This thing is 20 years old, and looks, drives, and behaves, like it came out of the factory yesterday. There is NO corrosion anywhere. Gear shifter, and rear brake levers have peeling chrome (to be re-chromed in short order).
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I service all my vehicles by myself, and I run Castrol Platinum Edge Synthetic in all of them. On this bike, five quarts of oil, and K&N oil filter, is all the maintenance I will be doing this season. When the snow starts to fly, I will tear this thing apart (except engine), and service EVERYTHING. This thing will be stored inside my house (in the "man cave"), and since I don't waste time on social media, I'll be listening to some classic Rock, and wrenching on the bike all winter long.
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Advertised at $4,000.00 from private party. Paid $3,800.00 (front wheel chock, and new helmet included)

5 out of 5

Proper Beemer!

30 July 2017 by Marcio Filho

This is a proper BMW. From a no-nonsense time when bikes were made to be cool and last. Dynamically speaking it is not the best bike in the world. Gearbox quite clunky, ergonomics could be better... The engine is great. Lots of low down torque... Read more and plenty of grunts... Top speed reasonable but that's missing the point. This is a cruiser... If you judge a bike by its capability you will probably buy something else, but if you judge a bike by how it makes you FEEL? Get a BMW R1200C and get the Bond out!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Mine had 40.000 miles and I had to spend a bit... nothing too bad but they are a classic so expect to spend.
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Fun and unusual cruiser!

19 June 2016 by Gary

Torque, balance, and unusual style. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
Lots of pep on the low end makes it fun to ride. Top end power not impressive.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Oil filters available at O'Riley's.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Better than I expected

18 July 2015 by thermen

Beats expectations! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
enjoy much in inner city
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
no problems
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
low maintenance
Equipment
5 out of 5
windscreen takes adjustments at operator's discretion.
3 out of 5

Better than HD 1200

24 April 2007 by flyingdragons9999

Engine capacity is still too small to qualify as a real road cruiser. The pipe sound is not outstanding enough. Sex appeal not enough! Read more

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

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2005
Original price -
Used price £5,500 to £8,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £120
Performance
Max power 61 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 105 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 15.9 secs
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Specification
Engine size 1170cc
Engine type 8v flat twin, 5 gears
Frame type Hybrid with stressed engine
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 740mm
Bike weight 236kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 305mm discs
Rear brake 285mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 170/80 x 15

History & Versions

Model history

1997: Original BMW R1200C launched.
1998: Available now without ABS.

Other versions

BMW R1200C Classic: Rebadged R1200C sold from 2003.
BMW R1200C Avantgarde: Less chrome, medium height bars, ABS a cost option.
BMW R1200C Independent: Single seat, new aluminium wheels, windshield, foglamps, white indicator lenses, BMW rondel on alternator cover.
BMW R1200C Montauk: Overall ‘beefier’ design. Extra wide front end and wheels from the R1200CL, braided brake hoses, additional vertically stacked headlight.
BMW R1200CL: Full dress touring model based on the R1200C.

Photo Gallery

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  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Side view
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  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Brakes
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Suspension
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Engine
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Side view
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