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BMW R1200C Custom Motorbike Review

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BMW R1200C motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

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.



MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

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.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

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.


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 4

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.


BMW R1200C (1997-2005)

Detail Value
Used price range View BMW R1200C bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1170 cc
Power 61 bhp
Top speed 105 mph
Insurance group 13 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 3
Engine rating is 3 rating is 3
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 4 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

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.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

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

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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.


Top speed 105 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 15.9 secs
Max power 61 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Weight 236 kg
Seat height 740 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 13 of 17
Engine size 1170 cc
Engine specification 8v flat twin, 5 gears
Frame Hybrid with stressed engine
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Front brakes Twin 305mm discs
Rear brake 285mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 170/80 x 15

See all BMW R1200C motorcycles for sale


9560 miles



8400 miles


Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(1 review)

  • Better than HD 1200


    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

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

    24 April 2007


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the  BEST CRUISER YET> 10/10

28 December 2008 08:03


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Better than a Harley

No not really but definately different. I do not feel the R1200C suffers as a result of too few cubes as the previous comment suggests. There are plenty of examples of smaller engined cruisers that are perfectly adequate, including Harleys own 883 Sportster. Handling is good provided you don't have the terrible high rise bars that the classics come fitted with, which do make the front end feel very remote and don't worry about pitted chrome all over the place. They all do that. ABS can be a bit hit and miss at this age as BMW's systems don't seem to last forever. The system is however very battery charge sensitive. If it isn't working check the battery first before being tempted to splash out £100's on a new ABS unit though as a weak one is usually the cause 9 times out of 10. It's an OK cruiser but lacks the all important noise and attitude of it's competition which is actually better on a long trip as these so called character attributes can become intrusive after a few hundred miles. I really like my 98 model and have no plans to sell it. It's a really good two up tourer.

06 February 2008 22:28

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