BMW R1200C (1997 - 2005) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £220
Power: 61 bhp
Seat height: Low (29.1 in / 740 mm)
Weight: High (520 lbs / 236 kg)


New N/A
Used £4,000 - £5,300

Overall rating

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

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.


Ride quality & brakes

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

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.


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

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.

Reliability & build quality

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

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.

Value vs rivals

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

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.


2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.



Engine size 1170cc
Engine type 8v flat twin, 5 gears
Frame type Hybrid with stressed engine
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 740mm
Bike weight 236kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 305mm discs
Rear brake 285mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 170/80 x 15

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost £220
New price -
Used price £4,000 - £5,300
Insurance group 13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 61 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 105 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 15.9 secs
Tank range 180 miles

Model history & versions

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.

Owners' reviews for the BMW R1200C (1997 - 2005)

7 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200C (1997 - 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 R1200C (1997 - 2005)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
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: £220
4 out of 5 Reliable and comfortable scoot around town, but overall not my cuppa. Also seems to attract a 'particular' type of rider.
11 August 2020 by Ming on Mongo

Version: Avantgarde

Year: 2000

Coming from a long line of BMW airhead and oilhead RT's, their popular sport-touring model, was looking for a second bike and this extremely low miles R1200C came along at an out-of-state dealer, that was too good to pass up, even including the shipping. KInd of a 'quirky' bike with a lotta 'non-standard' features, like an airbox 'ya gotta remove the seat sub-frame to really get at. And it has more noticeable torque around town, but not that much more, and with 30 ponies less than my RT, passing power is 'adequate' but not quite as 'authoritative'. Comfy on the straightaways, though with a longer wheelbase, feels a bit heavy pushing around, despite weighing nearly 100 lbs less than the RT. Otherwise typical BMW reliability, but overall not as nimble feeling as I'd hoped, so not my cuppa and will probably eventually sell it, as they're slowly becoming collector's items

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 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 BMW R1200C 2002 Value
06 March 2018 by Russell Brown

Year: 2002

Annual servicing cost: £500

The bike is clean with no known defects.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Best on long trips. Break three hourly mostly.

Engine 5 out of 5

Relentless. Very reliable.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

No corrosion. Never broken down.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Other than the odd tyre, it costs little to maintain

Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Private. $5000. I paid $4500

5 out of 5 Way of the old
13 August 2017 by Daniel

Year: 1998

Annual servicing cost: £70

I came off a K1200RS which I loved. I am 60+ years old, and arthritis forced me to get a bike that would put my wrists into more comfortable position. Also, the wife was terrified to be on K1200RS with me. And that's how the R1200C came to my home. This machine turns heads! It's VERY comfortable, and just fast enough for me to enjoy scenery.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I can ride this thing all day. Sharp cornering is out of the question, but it handles the road beautifully.

Engine 5 out of 5

The Boxer is definitely different that the K! It surprised me how mellow it is, and how it pulls in high gear without downshifting. It looks GREAT, and it makes me feel "special". And all that for less than 4K!!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

This thing is 20 years old, and looks, drives, and behaves, like it came out of the factory yesterday. There is NO corrosion anywhere. Gear shifter, and rear brake levers have peeling chrome (to be re-chromed in short order).

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I service all my vehicles by myself, and I run Castrol Platinum Edge Synthetic in all of them. On this bike, five quarts of oil, and K&N oil filter, is all the maintenance I will be doing this season. When the snow starts to fly, I will tear this thing apart (except engine), and service EVERYTHING. This thing will be stored inside my house (in the "man cave"), and since I don't waste time on social media, I'll be listening to some classic Rock, and wrenching on the bike all winter long.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Advertised at $4,000.00 from private party. Paid $3,800.00 (front wheel chock, and new helmet included)

5 out of 5 Proper Beemer!
30 July 2017 by Marcio Filho

Version: Classic

Year: 1999

Annual servicing cost: £200

This is a proper BMW. From a no-nonsense time when bikes were made to be cool and last. Dynamically speaking it is not the best bike in the world. Gearbox quite clunky, ergonomics could be better... The engine is great. Lots of low down torque and plenty of grunts... Top speed reasonable but that's missing the point. This is a cruiser... If you judge a bike by its capability you will probably buy something else, but if you judge a bike by how it makes you FEEL? Get a BMW R1200C and get the Bond out!

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

Mine had 40.000 miles and I had to spend a bit... nothing too bad but they are a classic so expect to spend.

Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 Fun and unusual cruiser!
19 June 2016 by Gary

Version: R 1200 C

Year: 2001

Annual servicing cost: £100

Torque, balance, and unusual style.

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

Lots of pep on the low end makes it fun to ride. Top end power not impressive.

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

Oil filters available at O'Riley's.

Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Better than I expected
18 July 2015 by thermen

Year: 1998

Beats expectations!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

enjoy much in inner city

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

no problems

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

low maintenance

Equipment 5 out of 5

windscreen takes adjustments at operator's discretion.

3 out of 5 Better than HD 1200
24 April 2007 by flyingdragons9999

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

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