BMW R1200C (1997 - 2005) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£220|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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 qualityNext up: Value
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 rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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 type||8v flat twin, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Hybrid with stressed engine|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|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||£96|
|Annual service cost||£220|
|Used price||£5,800 - £7,500|
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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
1997: Original BMW R1200C launched.
1998: Available now without ABS.
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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£220|
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
Annual servicing cost: £500
The bike is clean with no known defects.
Best on long trips. Break three hourly mostly.
Relentless. Very reliable.
No corrosion. Never broken down.
Other than the odd tyre, it costs little to maintain
Buying experience: Private. $5000. I paid $4500
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.
I can ride this thing all day. Sharp cornering is out of the question, but it handles the road beautifully.
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!!
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).
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.
Buying experience: Advertised at $4,000.00 from private party. Paid $3,800.00 (front wheel chock, and new helmet included)
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!
Mine had 40.000 miles and I had to spend a bit... nothing too bad but they are a classic so expect to spend.
Version: R 1200 C
Annual servicing cost: £100
Torque, balance, and unusual style.
Lots of pep on the low end makes it fun to ride. Top end power not impressive.
Oil filters available at O'Riley's.
enjoy much in inner city
windscreen takes adjustments at operator's discretion.
Engine capacity is still too small to qualify as a real road cruiser. The pipe sound is not outstanding enough. Sex appeal not enough!