BMW R1100R (1995 - 2003) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £240
Power: 80 bhp
Seat height: Low (29.9 in / 760 mm)
Weight: High (518 lbs / 235 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Often overlooked as a new machine, BMW's R1100R now makes tons of sense as a used bike. It’s the naked version of BMW’s twin cylinder ‘Boxer’ – undoubtedly their best range of motorcycles at the time. The R1100R is an incredibly versatile machine that does anything well except high speed work and track days.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The BMW R1100R's Telelever front suspension takes some getting used to but works extremely well once you are. Paralever rear minimized the effects of the shaft drive and the motorcycle handles well in a smooth, slow turning manner – but don’t think it can’t hustle if required. Brakes are reasonable and ABS is handy where fitted. Great round town – and popular with couriers as a result.


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Charming, simple and torquey or an underpowered antique with an atrocious. The BMW R1100R is both so whether you’ll enjoy it depends on whether you’re a glass-half-full person. The air/oil cooled twin’s not hugely changed since the 1950s. Vibey at low revs but with plenty of midrange. 

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Apart from couriered examples, the BMW R1100R seems to get an easier life than most used BMWs. They don’t seem to rack up the huge mileages or get used in winter as often as their stablemates. The R1100R is still up to these feats though. Dealers, official and unofficial are excellent.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Considering a Honda Hornet 600 will outperform the BMW R1100R for a fraction of the price, it could seem like an expensive buy. But the BMW’s high quality and durability help justify the price. It also feels like a special motorcycle. Plus when you sell it, you won’t lose much as depreciation is low. Find a BMW R1100R for sale


4 out of 5 (4/5)

Considering naked bikes are often pared down to the bare minimum, the BMW R1100R is quite well equipped. ABS was on all its motorcycles until 1999 when it became an option. Comfort’s excellent (a screen helps on the motorway), a centre stand’s always useful and the instruments are pretty comprehensive for the time. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1100R in the MCN Shop.


Engine size 1085cc
Engine type 8v opposed twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel spine
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 760mm
Bike weight 235kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 305mm discs
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost £240
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 11 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 80 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12.3 secs
Tank range 210 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1995: BMW R1100R launched.
1997: Small changes – chrome mirrors and bar ends, silver oil cooler cover and pillion handles. From September.
1998: Non ABS model available from November.

Other versions

BMW R850R: Similar but with smaller 848cc engine, lighter (210kg). ‘Classic’ model with special paint available in 2003.

Owners' reviews for the BMW R1100R (1995 - 2003)

9 owners have reviewed their BMW R1100R (1995 - 2003) 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 R1100R (1995 - 2003)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Engine: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £240
4 out of 5 My old companion
21 May 2021 by Scotty

Version: R1100RS se

Year: 1996

Annual servicing cost: £410

Good solid long distance tourer, still capable of nipping around the lanes.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes need an annual deep clean

Engine 4 out of 5

Adequate power and smooth in a cruise

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Plus tyres £190

Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Private 24yrs ago

4 out of 5
28 July 2020 by Michael

Version: 75th Anniversary Edition, spoked wheels

Year: 1998

Annual servicing cost: £250

Best: Very comfortable seat, shaft drive, easy (but often, 6500 miles) valve adj, torque. Worst: Heavy, very expensive parts, throttle return springs too stiff, could use a 6th gear, persnickety transmission. I would not recommend it to the average motorcyclist, you would have to be that special person.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brembo brakes, so good there. The ride quality is great on the highway, but a little rough in town. Too heavy and ponderous to use just in town, but fantastic on the highway. (the larger 18" spoked wheels may make it handle worse than the version with 17" wheels) Never had a passenger but it's the most comfortable bike I have owned for long rides.

Engine 4 out of 5

The engine has good power and torque, and it moves the bike quite well. You never have to downshift, it's strong on roll on. I wouldn't say its a fun bike to ride, performance wise. I would not have liked it when I was 25.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

It's built to last, but needs routine maintenance more intensive than an average motorcycle. The ABS worked for awhile, but now it needs the ABS rebuilt. ($700+ labor)

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Parts are expensive. I replaced the driveshaft at 37,400 miles. The part alone cost $1025! The fuel pump was $337. Fuel filter was $45.50. On this bike you have to replace the engine oil, the transmission oil, and the final drive oil.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Of course I like the shaft drive. I also like the character and the feeling I am on something special. I installed a windshield, a must if traveling on the highway. The stock seat feels fine to me.

Buying experience: I bought from a private seller, $2900. (his price) He had added a windshield, replaced the seat cover, changed all the fluids and installed new Michelin tires.

4 out of 5 Long tur(24yrs)
10 April 2020 by Scotty

Version: R1100RS SE

Year: 1996

Now old. No equivalent available.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

ABS never had worked as I would like. Does not pulse.

Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Buying experience: Private. No problems

5 out of 5 You'll make sone Japper riders think!
15 July 2018 by Blackwolf

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £200

I bought mine in Sydney NSW in 2009. In 2018 after a couple of years storage I decided to rebuild her and her back on the road. I'm hooked on her.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Disconnected ABS (Shhhh...) I prefer her this way. Brakes always when and where I need very well.

Engine 5 out of 5

I'm biased for boxers. Yeah it has a vibe at low revs, but tickle her and the torque will zap you down the highway nice and smooth.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

My R1100R has had some rough treatment, Bush rides, long rides, dropped twice, ridden in rain, sleet and scorching heat. Hasn't missed a beat and has never let me down.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Oil, filters tyres and two batteries in 9 years. German quality means reliability. Great bang for the buck.

Equipment 5 out of 5

All luggage by BMW. Cannot fault fit and usefulness.

5 out of 5 Best deal out there...
02 December 2015 by peter e

Year: 1996

Only the transmission really stands out as less than ideal. The rest is pretty much perfect for what it is designed to be (an uber-reliable tourer with serious performance capabilities).

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

ABS does go out from time to time. Given that most similar bikes don't even have ABS, it's hard to hold it against this bike...

Engine 5 out of 5

Great torque. Winds right up, for a fairly simple design.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Change the brake fluid... The brake master cylinder is integral to the throttle and really expensive to change out. The running gear is uniquely bullet-proof.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The BMW tour bags are always fantastic. The simple naked look ages really well -- all those fairings get nicked and dated pretty fast...

Buying experience: It's hard to buy a bad one, although I'm sure there are some about.

4 out of 5 Great All Rounder that stands out from the Crowd.
23 September 2015 by NICK

Year: 1999

Annual servicing cost: £100

Great all round bike, fun on twisty roads and can cruise long distances for touring too with the hard bags. Worst feature is the stock seat, I find it uncomfortable in as little as 60 miles. You hear some luke-warm comments about performance but mine really flies and is super torquey..

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I found fitting the high friction pads made the brakes even better.

Engine 4 out of 5

If set up properly, throttles and air screws correctly synchronized the engine is very smooth. It is also very quick for what it is, good acceleration for overtaking and it's hard to keep your cruising speed down it will sneak up to 80-90 mph if you are not careful. My engine is super torquey too, that improved dramatically with an aftermarket chip that makes it run a little richer. They come terribly weak from the factory. I even get better mpg with the modification. The factory exhaust is extremely quiet but makes the bike sound anemic. I finally broke down and fitted a Remus system that transformed the riding experience. Even more mid range and a satisfying exhaust note which at idle and cruise are very little louder just much deeper in tone. When you get on the power the sound is quite addictive.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Solidly built, the finish and appearance definitely looks up market.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

If you source your parts from ebay etc. normal maintenance parts are not expensive. They are also very easy to work on, with good access too, things like adjusting valve clearances takes no time at all. Bike comes with a comprehensive tool kit .

Equipment 4 out of 5

I wish it had a fuel gauge

Buying experience: I've owned it for 6 years now and love it, I've not found anything that's motivated me to change. It does everything I want of it and still has style. I still get asked about it almost every time I stop for fuel, people seem to think it's a new bike with it's still somewhat futuristic look.

4 out of 5 Unsell-able Bike
15 January 2008 by GregorSamsa

I keep thinking I ought to sell this bike, but every time I get close to it, no other bike matches up to this machine's all-round ability. It has impeccable handling, you can brake deep into corners, cursing the wobbly part-timer on the sportsbike in front of you as he slows you down through the turn. It even has a very loud hooter for urging the spotty oiks out of your way. Given the right kind of camber conditions, you can even hoik the front end up coming out of corners, certainly this happens frequently during spirited roundabout negotiation. A punchy heavy beast, a proper bloke's bike that you can also carry your missus on, not to mention a ton of camping gear. It's not a toy it's a 1/4 ton of bouncing (but in a controlled way), throbbing joy between your legs, a second willy if you will. And like the other one, it can most certainly be enjoyed with the missus sat astride it, or if you're more the solo type, then with just a twist of the wrist of course as well...

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 BMW R1100R
21 April 2007 by macinnr

A great bike that hardly anyone knows about. Owned a GS1150 before this but pound for pound this is a better bike if you only ride on road. Doesn't have the kudos of the GS hence they are bargains. Bucket load of torque, brilliant b-road handling, perfect riding position, all day comfort excellent headlight, build quality better than post '99 beemers. Downsides - not exactly a looker, clunky gearbox, no span adjustment on clutch lever. Go and buy one and save £2k over a GS

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 Great All-Rounder
27 March 2007 by tflinders

Very reliable, tours well two-up with luggage. Fairly economical to run, if you avoid main dealers, 44mpg isn't that good for the performance. Cruises all day (literally) at fast motorway speeds. Worth fitting a screen. Worst point is gearbox, which makes it a pain around town. Heavy, but weight disappears on the move. Rear shock gets tired after 40,000 miles, replacing it transforms bike.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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