BMW R1100S (1999 - 2005) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
Power: 98 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.5 in / 800 mm)
Weight: Medium (459 lbs / 208 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £3,000 - £10,500

Overall rating

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

The BMW R1100S is now starting to be regarded as something of a classic, especially in Boxer Cup form. Classy (and crucially un-ugly) styling, VFR-esque comfort and versatility plus BMW quality and residuals make for a stonking and attractive all-rounder, if not quite the sports bike BM intended…

 

Ride quality & brakes

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

The plush ride usually delivered by BM’s novel Telelever/Paralever suspension set-up is present and correct on the R1100S but for some reason it manages to avoid much of the steering vagueness that comes with it. The BMW R1100S is no super-sharp sportster, but it is smooth, predictable and pleasing enough to hustle along country A-roads…

Engine

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

The BMW R1100S's first incarnation ‘new school’ boxer engine is now thoroughly outmoded by later 1150 and current 1200 versions but it’s still pleasant, flexible and bulletproof. Don’t expect fireworks and you won’t be too disappointed…

Reliability & build quality

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

The R1100S is a BMW so… the usual peace of mind applies. Although being the sportiest of the R-series the same is true of the S, especially as it’s powered by the understressed 1100 engine. As long as it’s been looked after and regularly  serviced, it should be fine, even well over 50,000 miles…

Value vs rivals

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

In terms of bang for your buck, the £9000+ when new BMW R1100S can’t hold a candle to the best from Japan. But as a classy, versatile, and durable all-rounder, there’s not much that comes close. Just don’t expect explosive performance. Replicas are best of bunch (but have high seats). Find a BMW R1100S for sale.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

The BMW R1100S has nothing to get worked up about, unless a previous owner has treated him/herself to the BMW options list. In stock trim there’s OK instrumentation and… not a lot else. Cup Replicas get jacked up suspension, belly pan and special paint, but heated grips, luggage and a myriad other goodies are available. Compare and buy parts for the BMW 1100S in the MCN Shop.

Specs

Engine size 1085cc
Engine type 8v boxer twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tube monocoque
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 800mm
Bike weight 208kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake Single 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17 in

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 48 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost £160
New price -
Used price £3,000 - £10,500
Insurance group 13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 98 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 141 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 11.9 secs
Tank range 150 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1999: BMW R1100S launched.
2002: Boxercup limited edition launched.
2004: Boxercup replica linited edition launched.
2005: BMW R1100S discontinued.

Other versions

BMW R1100S Boxercup: Limited edition version built to commemorate the Boxer Cup race series, as 1100S but with race replica belly pan and specil paint job.
BMW R1100S Boxercup Replika: 2nd limited edition version, as before but with different paint job

Owners' reviews for the BMW R1100S (1999 - 2005)

16 owners have reviewed their BMW R1100S (1999 - 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 R1100S (1999 - 2005)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Engine: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Equipment: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
5 out of 5 BMW R1100s
10 October 2021 by Kevin P Brett

Year: 1999

Annual servicing cost: £100

The fairing can be a pain to remove for battery, aifilter, £1.200 for a clutch replacemebt

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

About 2 hours

Engine 5 out of 5

Plenty of power if you need it

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

N/A

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

But triple this if you go through tyres!

Equipment 5 out of 5

N/A

Buying experience: Private - seller wanted 3G I got it for 2.5G

4 out of 5 Stunner!
25 September 2021 by bcrdave

Version: Boxer Cup Replika 282/300

Year: 2004

Annual servicing cost: £400

Suspension is rock solid, engine is strong, brakes are good, low RPM vibration, torque roll, sounds awesome, looks amazing! 17 years and 78k miles later, I still get positive comments every time I ride it!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Bike is best whenever I'm riding it, good for touring( I have a Seargent seat) and twisties. 3 hours is about time to take a break.

Engine 5 out of 5

95hp, 78flbs/torque, decent performance and pull, top speed of 155mph (indicated) achieved. Low speed torque roll is felt, otherwise not.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

78k miles, have owned it since 11k miles, 2nd owner, no issues with anything! I've changed oil and filter, done valve adjustments at recommended intervals, as well as other fluids, no breakdowns at all!

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

300 for tires, 100 for fluids and oil filter. K&N air filter, so clean and reinstall, I do the valve adjustments and fluid changes. If dealer was doing this work, my score would be a 3-4, quite expensive to have work done at dealership.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Mine is non-abs, no center stand due to belly pan, added SS braided brake lines to enhance braking performance.

Buying experience: bought from original owner in private sale, purchased in 2009 with 11,027 miles for $7,000.

5 out of 5 Built for comfort. Old, spirited and classy.
22 June 2021 by Si Boult

Version: Touring

Year: 2004

Annual servicing cost: £120

High screen, lowered pegs, heated grips, hard luggage. Use the luggage to take your spare helment and lunch to the track day, missus on the back - what's not to like? Not as fuel efficient as I was hoping for, made up by the 'grunt' available. Little on the heavy side, but once rolling the weight falls away. Love the 'funny' front end - makes it very stable when cornering. Can't say I've noticed the alleged lack of feel for not having 'proper' forks.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Ride quality excellent on account of the weight. Brakes not as pin sharp as other sporty bikes - again - probably down to the weight. Only criticism these days (on account of my arthritic knees) is foot pegs. But then there is a handy heated 'cruiser rest' built in - also known as cylinder heads apparently. Damping adjustable front and back, spring rates adjustable back only. Never really fiddle with settings as I've struck on a really comfy setting that seems to handle really well too.

Engine 4 out of 5

Historically artificially restricted - EU floating the idea of a 100hp cap - hence it came in at 98 - 99. Could probably put out more. Big bang of the flat twin torque, though, makes it very flexible (and thus make the rder quite lazy). But it will take the abuse on the ocassional track day.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only the battery has ever let me down - tend to last 3 - 5 years. Pain in the backside to change (buried under everything, body fixings fiddly and time consuming to remove / re-fit. All other aspects - reliable as anything else out there. Totally dependable.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Annual serving OK, major service prohibitive at main dealers. Find yourself an independant who employs an ex-air head beemer mechanic and you're sorted.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Mine came specc'd with hard luggage, power point, heated grips and a higher screen. Little things that make day to day living with it even better.

Buying experience: Back in 2007 - 3 years old at the time, February. I think the dealer was happy to have a January sale TBH - dealer service was excellent (Williams, Manchester).

4 out of 5
15 January 2021 by Joe Agens

Version: Boxer cup

Year: 2004

Annual servicing cost: £100

Fast

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Fast

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 BMW Boxer Cup R1100S
03 July 2020 by Matt

Version: BoxerCup Mk.2 motorsport edition

Year: 2004

Its rugged and reliable. The battery under tank is a terrible design, made even more frustrating by the bodywork fittings which are truly awful. Even main dealers forget to put some panel screws back in

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

A later Boxer Cup model from the range. Still rides well and gets admiring looks in its BMW Motorsport colours. This bike has aged well, is very low maintenance, can be serviced at home and provide more than adequate sporting performance for British roads.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: A long time ago now. Main dealer was okay

5 out of 5 Boxer Cub
11 April 2020 by Richard Symonds

Version: Boxer Cup (limited edition 7/25)

Year: 2002

A lovely bike, reliable, owned for 16 years and never let me down. A track day bike with heated grips and panniers. From the days before BMW went sporty. She is quite a heavy girl and you need to get used to her weight but once you've sorted this out you're away with a big grin on your face

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

She's never let me down in 16 years

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 Affordable, lively and unique
13 July 2016 by jonton

Year: 2004

Annual servicing cost: £100

Affordable, lively and unique looks that combine the striking boxer engine with beautiful flowing body panels. It's at its best on highways and back roads, where the smooth suspension and aerodynamics come into their own. Excellent two-up touring. Around town the dry clutch and poor throttle response at low RPM can make it a little tricky. But this can be alleviated by installing an after-market ECU chip.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

It's the smoothest, most enjoyable bike I've ever had. Keep the rev's up and you can ride the engine around twisty roads better than most sports bikes. Avoid the ABS versions, the standard brakes are fantastic and the telelever front suspension keeps everything stable.

Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is a throw-back, but looks striking with those cylinders and header pipes poking out of the side. Try to get a twin-spark version. If you're interested in that sort of thing then a little tweaking can get some serious performance gains. Easy stuff like removing the cat and remapping the ecu will help. Maintenance is easy for anyone who has confidence with a socket set.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Things do break of course. The paint finish is a very high quality but the plastic of the front indicator surrounds cracks easily around the screws. Starter motors fail because of the placement next to the clutch and poor quality control. Some owners have had problems with the clutch splines, but this isn't as common as you might think from the forums. The engine is bullet-proof. Follow the service schedule and it will last 50 years.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Very economical and there is a wealth of after-market and second-hand parts available.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Fantastic panniers as long as you can find the city lids. Simple dash and none of the electronics and trip computers of later BMWs, which I prefer. The standard seat is too slippery.

4 out of 5 Boxercup
04 April 2016 by Alan

Version: Boxercup replika

Year: 2003

It is a timeless classic with good modern feel and performance, although it may be classed as a pure sports bike it could have had a "glove "box or small carrying capacity under the seat.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

high passenger seat as per any sports bike not too comfortable on very long journeys.

Engine 4 out of 5

typical bike twin grunt.

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

BMW panniers fit (with Brackets)

Buying experience: A good deal from a family member (I could not let it go)

3 out of 5 68kmiles and a WVM
13 May 2009 by minivin

Had mine for five years till White Van Man wiped me out just before Christmas. Handling and Engine were faultless in my eyes. Quality and Reliability was dyre, what with a failed fuel pump, failed battery, seized callipers each year, ABS being tempremental, paint peeling off and having to wait a month for the warrentee job to get done et cetera. However I'm struggling to find something to replace it's all-round capability...... can't seem to fit a Land Rover gearbox on the pillion seat of many other bikes :o) (yes, LT77 from a mates to home. Didn't have a car at the time).

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5
Value vs rivals 2 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 2nd BMW
01 November 2008 by johnyrunnerbean

I have had the R850R and grew to like it, this R1100s does what I want and with the same reliability, its smoother, sharper and feels really safe, looking forward to years of happy sports touring.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Boxer cup Rep
04 August 2007 by steven durno

All that you'll ever need from a bike, does it all, in comfort.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Brilliant
22 May 2007 by Onebag

The daily Scarborough - Whitby commute has never been so much fun! Down on power compared to japanese sports tourers, but more than makes up for it in every other way!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 1st 'Big Bike'
21 May 2007 by Boult

Purchased this after writing off my SV650S. Came with luggage so I can travel a bit with it. Love it! Just grown up performance without waking up the neighbours. Sporty looking but with a mature kudos. Does everything I ask of it - tours, commutes, gets silly....

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Boxer cup replica (R1100SS), with luggage
14 August 2006 by L4YKY

I've ridden just about everything over the years including various beemers, and owning mainly japenese fours this bike is a revalation, it covers miles with ease, doesn't kill my back or knees and has room for my 6' son when he's pillion and the missus loves it too. Not too bad for a bit scratching once you get used to the size. I'm glad I watched the race series, seeing titanium sparks coming of the head covers is a sight to behold.<br><br>Strengths<br><br>comfort reliability good fuel consumption<br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>Not as quick as its Japenese countaparts

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 A BMW with style and performance - surely not!!
24 July 2006 by jamesreeves

What a revelation! I have a 60 mile commute on a mixture of motorway, A and B roads and this bike handles it superbly. A brilliant mixture of comfort and real world usable performance with the added advantage of shaft drive. Have to admit was initial sceptical of a BMW but you would need to prise the keys away from me now.<br><br>Strengths<br><br>Effortless mile munching ability coupled with plenty of usable torque for when you need it.<br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>There is some vibration at certain speeds, but that it part of the character of the bike and also it isn't bad so don't let it put you off!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 When it's time to slow down
17 April 2006 by lyallhazard

I purchased this bike new last year after owning a GSX-R750, Fireblade, Hayabusa and a ZX12R that I crashed in France! When I took stock of what I really wanted from a bike the following were important to me;Something that looked the part, sensible power out-put, a physicaly large bike (I'm 6ft 4)and it had to be affordable (I leased the bike from BMW on a 'select'finance deal, it costs me less than £100 a month with a £1200 deposit and i can hand it back after 3 years!). The bike is the best handling that i have ever owned, ok its not the quickest but thats not why i bought it. it attracts all sorts of attention, even has people photographing it at bike meets. You dont need to worry about the race rep crowd either, this bike gets respect as a genuine racer on the road.<br><br>Strengths<br><br>Handling,build quality, resale value, exclusivity (better than a 999 or MV and nowhere near as fragile)<br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>Dealer back up, although my dealer has recently lost his franchise so this may be an isolated case

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