BMW R1100S (1999 - 2005) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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…
EngineNext up: Reliability
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 qualityNext up: Value
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 rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||8v boxer twin, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Steel tube monocoque|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|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||£101|
|Annual service cost||£150|
|Used price||£2,500 - £3,700|
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
1999: BMW R1100S launched.
2002: Boxercup limited edition launched.
2004: Boxercup replica linited edition launched.
2005: BMW R1100S discontinued.
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)
17 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Version: Boxer Cup replika
Annual servicing cost: £100
Seat height is a little high for my 5'6"frame but managed to get a lowered seat which means that I can plant both feet albeit only the balls of both. Great comfortable fast tourer, two up is great and obviously becomes lower. Very tall for pillion to get on though especially with luggage fitted. Acceptable mpg and tank range, totally reliable so far 16000 miles only so should be.
At its best on fast A and B roads. Very stable on long M way jaunts. I did Leicester to Loch Lomond with pillion, with just one coffee stop and a couple of fuels calls, never felt tired nor uncomfortable, could easily have gone further.
Pretty torquey engine no need to rev too high between changes, will take 6th from as low as 3000 rpm., if you're taking it easy. For the type of engine and weight of bike, the overall performance is very good, and ridden well will satisfy a sporty rider.
As above, totally reliable but only 16000 miles.
I do the servicing myself, oil, filter, transition gearbox and final drive simple. Tappets checked all round in less than an hour, simple job. Access to the battery a real pain as a lot of body work to remove, terrible design. So look after the battery via an optimate.
Great looking bike in my view, especially in boxer Cup replika guise. No abs which is a good thing, brakes are excellent especially coupled with good engine braking. Inspires a pride in ownership. Could do with better passenger grab handles, optional extras comprehensive, like heated grips full luggage, taller screen.
Buying experience: Bought privately four years old 9000 miles, full history Maxton suspension upgrade for £5400. Advertised at £5900.
Annual servicing cost: £100
The fairing can be a pain to remove for battery, aifilter, £1.200 for a clutch replacemebt
About 2 hours
Plenty of power if you need it
But triple this if you go through tyres!
Buying experience: Private - seller wanted 3G I got it for 2.5G
Version: Boxer Cup Replika 282/300
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!
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.
95hp, 78flbs/torque, decent performance and pull, top speed of 155mph (indicated) achieved. Low speed torque roll is felt, otherwise not.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Version: Boxer cup
Annual servicing cost: £100
Version: BoxerCup Mk.2 motorsport edition
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
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.
Buying experience: A long time ago now. Main dealer was okay
Version: Boxer Cup (limited edition 7/25)
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
She's never let me down in 16 years
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very economical and there is a wealth of after-market and second-hand parts available.
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.
Version: Boxercup replika
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.
high passenger seat as per any sports bike not too comfortable on very long journeys.
typical bike twin grunt.
BMW panniers fit (with Brackets)
Buying experience: A good deal from a family member (I could not let it go)
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).
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.
All that you'll ever need from a bike, does it all, in comfort.
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!
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....
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. Strengths comfort reliability good fuel consumption Weaknesses Not as quick as its Japenese countaparts
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. Strengths Effortless mile munching ability coupled with plenty of usable torque for when you need it. Weaknesses 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!
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. Strengths Handling,build quality, resale value, exclusivity (better than a 999 or MV and nowhere near as fragile) Weaknesses Dealer back up, although my dealer has recently lost his franchise so this may be an isolated case