BMW R1150RS (2001 - 2005) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £300
Power: 95 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.1 in / 790 mm)
Weight: Medium (494 lbs / 224 kg)

Overall rating

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

The BMW R1150RS is a motorcycle designed for the road not race tracks. It's a low glamour, high practicality sports tourer. The GS model BMWs grab headlines and sales figures but the The R1150RS shares its virtues plus has grippy road tyres too. A superb, versatile workhorse or plaything – the BMW R1150RS is not the fastest motorcycle out there but it's one owners grow to respect and even love.

Ride quality & brakes

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

The R1150RS's Telelever front suspension is novel but works well with minimal dive when braking into corners. Wide, upright bars give good control. Stability is unswerving at any speed although the R1150RS is not as nimble as lighter motorcycles. Brakes are partially linked, servo assisted with ABS – it sounds complex but it’s an effective set up.

Engine

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

The R1150RS's flat twin has its roots in the 1920s but BMW has managed to update it reasonably successfully. There’s torque a-plenty which keeps things nippy – fast even if revved hard. Six-speed gearbox is slightly better than the 1100s five speeder with superior economy from the overdrive but it’s still no smoothy.

Reliability & build quality

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

The BMW R1150RS is well thought out, well built and better able to resist the UK climate than most other motorcycles – brakes don’t seize at a hint of salt, unlike so many bikes. A few niggles are reported at high miles – they’re mainly electrical and the R1150RS is still better than pretty much everything from rival brands.

Value vs rivals

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

The BMW R1150RS's new price was around £9K which was always more than rivals. Now more reasonable on the used market. The R1150RS holds its value well but doesn’t have stablemate GS’s cast iron residuals. Triumph’s Trophy and Honda’s VFR are cheaper but not quite so practical. Find a BMW R1150RS for sale.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The BMW R1150RS's comfort is superb. Seat, bars and screen are adjustable and most riders can get them just right. The R1150RS's pillion accommodation is excellent, too, which matters more than an extra 20bhp at 9000rpm after a 500 mile day. Comprehensive instruments, shaft drive, centre stand loads of options including hard luggage. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1150RS in the MCN Shop.

 

Specs

Engine size 1130cc
Engine type 8v flat twin, 6 gears
Frame type Three section steel composite
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 790mm
Bike weight 224kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost £300
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 73 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12.2 secs
Tank range 220 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2001: BMW R1150RS launched.

 

Other versions

BMW R1100RS: predecessor to the R1150RS sold from 1993-2003. Smaller engine with one spark plug per cylinder, only five gears, inferior wheels and less sophisticated brakes.

 

Owners' reviews for the BMW R1150RS (2001 - 2005)

7 owners have reviewed their BMW R1150RS (2001 - 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 R1150RS (2001 - 2005)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Engine: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Annual servicing cost: £300
5 out of 5 Classic Bèemer.
01 May 2021 by 70's Biker.

Version: 1150RS

Year: 2003

Annual servicing cost: £300

I've ridden bikes since 1970. All sorts and configurations but never a Beemer. Always wanted one and after buying my low mileage bike and riding it non stop, (just a gas fill), for 600 kms, I knew I would never regret it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I find it a great sports tourer. Mine has full hard luggage and a tank bag, so able to spend weeks on the road. No problem to burn a tank of gas without having to have a break. I'm 66 and have had lower back surgery, so if I can, anybody can. I live in an area with some of the best motorcycling winding roads in the world and often take the Beemer for an adrenaline thrash. While it's not a straight sports bike, it doesn't disgrace itself and I'm always smiling afterwards.

Engine 5 out of 5

I love it's torquey nature, I love the bit of vibration, and its bugger all compared to seventies British, because it keeps it real. You know what revs your doing, because you feel it. I guess I'm influenced by my 30 year love affair with my XT5oo Yam.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Never a problem, just services. Looks like new still after 18 years. Build quality is superb.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I do my own servicing which is simple on these. Just need a good manual. Keep a good battery in your bike because they aren't really a bump start option.

Equipment 5 out of 5

You can't beat BMW when it comes to accessories. As I said, hard luggage is superb, adjusting for rider is fantastic, seat, bars, screen. Mine has no ABS and I didn't want it. Brakes are brilliant and have saved me from a few, no hope, blind drivers.

Buying experience: Bought privately from the first owner.

5 out of 5 Classic Bèemer.
01 May 2021 by 70's Biker.

Version: 1150RS

Year: 2003

Annual servicing cost: £300

I've ridden bikes since 1970. All sorts and configurations but never a Beemer. Always wanted one and after buying my low mileage bike and riding it non stop, (just a gas fill), for 600 kms, I knew I would never regret it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I find it a great sports tourer. Mine has full hard luggage and a tank bag, so able to spend weeks on the road. No problem to burn a tank of gas without having to have a break. I'm 66 and have had lower back surgery, so if I can, anybody can. I live in an area with some of the best motorcycling winding roads in the world and often take the Beemer for an adrenaline thrash. While it's not a straight sports bike, it doesn't disgrace itself and I'm always smiling afterwards.

Engine 5 out of 5

I love it's torquey nature, I love the bit of vibration, and its bugger all compared to seventies British, because it keeps it real. You know what revs your doing, because you feel it. I guess I'm influenced by my 30 year love affair with my XT5oo Yam.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Never a problem, just services. Looks like new still after 18 years. Build quality is superb.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I do my own servicing which is simple on these. Just need a good manual. Keep a good battery in your bike because they aren't really a bump start option.

Equipment 5 out of 5

You can't beat BMW when it comes to accessories. As I said, hard luggage is superb, adjusting for rider is fantastic, seat, bars, screen. Mine has no ABS and I didn't want it. Brakes are brilliant and have saved me from a few, no hope, blind drivers.

Buying experience: Bought privately from the first owner.

4 out of 5 superb bike designed for growups only.
28 September 2020 by he who smells of wee

Version: injection non-abs

Year: 2002

loses a star because of mirrors not on fairing

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

brakes are excellent but loses a star due to needing lots of experimentation with all the suspension settings,i started out with excellent handling but then i "fiddled" with the settings and it went downhill from there haha,best to take it to someone who knows what they are doing.

Engine 5 out of 5

superb ,excellent at filtering etc despite being injection.

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

i had to add a handlebar conversion as oem bars were far too low for me. plus i find footpegs a bit small for my size 12's

2 out of 5 Air heads or if not Ducati st2 st4 st4s proper sport tourers
26 June 2016 by Pete holland

Year: 2001

Annual servicing cost: £250

Good mile muncher woeful handling comfortable for the rider but not for the very very experienced pillion carries loads well but uninspiring to ride and also dangerous in side winds, traded it in for a BMW R100R far superior bike in every respect.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

In a straight line motorway. Don't bother anywhere els I do not like motorways - autoroutes - etc but the Beemer I had before a R100RS we did 86000 miles hardly ever going on motorways in 8 years of continental touring and the R100R we did 19000 miles in two years doing the alps Pyrenees massif central etc on the 1150 we stuck to main roads at all times. Pillion could manage an hour.

Engine 3 out of 5

It goes

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Burnt oil all the time never got better even after 39000 miles heated grips worked sometimes ! Usually when it was warm ? ABS didn't most of the time. Heavy on tyres. Getting the battery out WTF. Took it to the dealer who tried to fix the probs by cutting all the cable ties off under the fairing.

Value vs rivals 1 out of 5

Tyres-fuel-tyres-oil-some more oil- I persevered but when the clutch broke and it cost me £400 I traded it in for the R100R

Equipment 2 out of 5

My favourite feature was they gave me good money for it when I traded it in

Buying experience: Dealer can't remember the price but expensive, to expensive as it turned out.

5 out of 5 BEST BIKE I've owned
26 August 2015 by Craig Melville

Year: 2002

Annual servicing cost: £350

Best Bike I've ever owned. Fast (not hyperbike fast but real world point to point its a real weapon.) Ultra reliable does 80 miles a day 5 days a week without a worry in comfort.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Comfy, Brakes are awesome, ABS is useful if you get caught in snow! Soft enough for all day riding without being wallowy should the pace step up. Seat and bars are adjustable.

Engine 4 out of 5

Bit lumpy when cold and at tickover too, buts thats my only complaint. Pulls like a train when revved but dong 70 I can get 55mpg. Torquey so good for lazy commute .

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I bought mine with 92 thousand miles and its been as good as gold using very little little oil in the time I've owned it. Built the proverbial toilet block and it shows too. Looks better than most 5 year old Jap bikes I looked. Got knocked off in Winter on it, the bike was ridden home with minor damage and the car that hit me was written off.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Most of the servicing can be done at home if you do some homework and its mostly easy peasy. People are scared by the complexity but it doesn't break it's not a worry and I've found parts to be mostly reasonable.

Equipment 4 out of 5

loads of pillion space, most have decent Bmw luggage fitted, heated grips aren't as hot as I like.

4 out of 5 Nubees opinion.
10 June 2015 by Larry

Year: 2004

First bike at 58 years old, but I rented a few Harleys. My staff said I'm a certain image kind of guy and to get a sexy bike. I bought a 33 K mile nice one. Very good in Nevada cross winds but needed one more inch of side fairing for complete leg wind protection. I think it's very easy to handle as a first bike. Nice safety features, shuts off in gear with kick stand down. Rear tire slipped out accelerating slowly in a curve, haven't figured that out, didn't think I'd be doing that so early in the game but it didn't drag on any foot rests.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Good city bike. A little more vibration than I expected at highway speed but gets to 90 mph with allot of comfort and doesn't vibrate any more in 6th gear than 4th. And that's coming from a guy who just started riding.

Engine 5 out of 5

A little higher rpm on first gear starts than I was expecting. I stalled it a time or two.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Very difficult and painful to change fog lights. Both were burned out at 33 K miles. It took about 2 hours to change one. I haven't changed the other yet. I have to figure out why first gear is hard to engage without pumping the clutch a time, maybe just cold? That makes me a little nervous at the traffic light. The antenna broke shortly afterwards at the fairing and the rear luggage lock lever broke shortly afterwards too!

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

Love the button controlled wind screen when riding.

Buying experience: Private buyer. Good value, well maintained. Certain type of clientele!

4 out of 5 Everyday riding
12 July 2009 by roosterman

Quality, reliability and equipment levels are very good. A bit pricey but I don't mind paying for reliability. The engine is torquey but very rough, with vibration usually restricting revs to below 5000. As a tourer this bike could go all day every day if it wasn't for the engine vibration. I get sore hands after about an hour, which severly limits its practicality. Range is about 250 - 300 km. The bike is extremely stable in all situations, is very well balanced, and is very easy to ride slowly. It is big but manages twisty roads quite well. Brakes are good but don't have much feel. Panniers are large, easy to use and mostly waterproof. Overall a very good bike for what it's intended to do, but is let down by the engine vibration.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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