BMW R1250R (2019 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Smooth ShiftCam boxer engine
  • Comfortable roadster riding position
  • Impressive chassis and brakes

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £270
Power: 134 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: High (527 lbs / 239 kg)

Prices

New £11,215
Used £8,800 - £10,800

Overall rating

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

With its dark, rumbling soundtrack, lavish reserves of lowdown power and a searing top end, BMW’s new R1250R is as classy as they come. Its new Shift Cam boxer engine offers just the right balance of quirky refinement, transforming even the shortest journey into a grin-fest.

Wind protection is non-existent, but it’s roomy, calm and easy to manage, with the poise and grace of a super naked in the corners with stonking brakes to match.

Build quality is Tonka Toy-tough and standard spec is generous, but it’s pricey, especially loaded with extras and isn’t a big step on from the old 1200.

2023 BMW R1250R

2023 BMW R1250R

BMW unveiled an updated version of their R1250R roadster for 2023 with tweaked styling, new lighting and a frugal Eco riding mode to eke the most from each tank of fuel.

The throttle response is softened and your efficiency is displayed at the top of the TFT dash. The standard and SE models both now come with BMW’s lean-sensitive ABS Pro and Dynamic Traction as standard, too.

As-well-as the new headlight – with optimised high and low beams and optional cornering lights - the indicators have been redesigned and are now LED units.

2023 BMW R1250R Triple Black

The chassis and engine remain unchanged but there’s a sporty cosmetic makeover to the bodywork and optional pillion cancellation. You can also have the moody new triple black colour option with dark black and grey details.

The updated models will hit dealers in February next year. The standard bike will cost £12,330 while the higher spec SE version is £14,580.

Ride quality & brakes

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

There are no major changes in the chassis department, but that’s no bad thing. With its semi-active damping (adjustable through the multiple riding modes on our test bike), the BMW can be as motorway-floaty, soaking up the bumps, or racer-tough and crisp steering, depending on your mood.

Like the old 1200, S1000RR-style 45mm upside forks replace the Telelever set-up of its sister boxers and give more feel tipping into corners. The way the R1200R rolls on to its side with the grace of an Öhlins-clad Tuono or Speed Triple RS is a testament to genius of BMW’s test riders, the grip of the Michelin Pilot 4 sports touring rubber and set-up of its shaft drive system. 

In a move that had the internet buzzing with incredulity, BMW’s new generation Shift Cam boxers and even its new flagship S1000RR superbike have dumped their Brembos in favour of BMW branded calipers, made by American brake maker Hayes.

Cornering on the BMW R1250R

The reality is that BMW aren’t stupid and these new calipers are every bit as good as before, but the good news for purists is the R1250R still wears its golden (cornering ABS-equipped) Brembo jewellery with pride. They’re superbike-strong, reassuring and add to the roadster’s exotic feel. A special mention must go to Beemer’s brilliant rear brake, too.

In many ways this is the purist of all the BMW’s boxer twins. Stripped down to its bare essentials it might still be a very heavy machine by sports naked standards (239kg fully fuelled), but it’s uncluttered by the bulky adventure and touring clothes of its sister machines.

It’s the most agile of the family, the briskest accelerating, best braking, easiest to get your feet flat on the floor at a standstill and the most fun. A comfortable, spacious riding position makes all day riding a doddle, but with zero wind protection you’ll get the full force of the wind and weather at speed, but BMW offer an optional fly screen - a must for big trips.

Engine

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

BMW has stretched power at both ends with an extra 84ccs and a clever new variable valve timing 'Shift Cam' system. Power is up 11bhp to a healthy 134bhp and torque is increased 14ftlb to an even more impressive 106ftlb.

At gentle throttle openings and below 5000rpm the boxer engine sits on its mild, low-lift cams and delivers flawless grunt from as low as 2000rpm. Ask for more power and the camshafts obey by snapping across the top of the engine, in just five milliseconds, delivering the kind of hairy cam acceleration that makes the roadster think it’s a mono-wheeling S1000R.

With its pokey-out cylinder heads BMW’s boxer engine sticks two fingers up convention. But don’t be fooled by its strange looks because the Bavarians have refined this flat twin to perfection and made something work well exceptionally that shouldn’t, like a Porsche 911.

It has the seamless thrust of a blueprinted race engine and a growling, rhythmic chocolatey exhaust growl to match. Throttle pick-up is flawless, even at town speeds and there’s enough oomph from the motor to stick it top gear and leave it there all day. Or, you can slice through the gears and visit the motor’s dark and angry side.

Reliability & build quality

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

Our online Owner’s Reviews don’t reveal any major problems, but servicing costs are on the expensive side.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

Even in standard trim the R1250R is big money for a naked and pricier than a Yamaha MT-09SP and top spec Triumph Street Triple. Throw in some accessories and you could get yourself a supernaked for the same money.

But if you compare it to other roadsters like the Ducati Monster 1200 or the Indian FTR1200 it's just about priced in line.

BMW R1250R SE vs Ducati Monster 1200 S

Ducati Monster 1200 S vs BMW R1250R SE

We took the BMW around the UK’s toughest test route, the MCN 250, to find out how it compared to competition from the Ducati Monster 1200 S.

Built more for stability than agility, the R1250R is fun on the backroads but you can’t hide the near 30kg of extra mass it’s lugging around over the Monster, causing it to roll into bends rather than flick. It’s stable once lent over and can be hustled but it doesn’t feel like a sporty naked, more a relaxed roadster, albeit one with a storming motor.

I’m a huge fan of the ShiftCam boxer and on any road and in any situation it is hard to find fault with. Blessed with a beautiful throttle connection, bags of mid-range and a light clutch action matched to a faultless quickshifter for when you are out of town, it is just wonderful.

In comparison, the Ducati’s Testastretta V-twin is good but it still has the age-old V-twin lumpiness at low revs and heavy clutch, making it better suited to flowing roads than congested traffic and it wasn’t much fun in built-up areas.

Despite iffy conditions, the Monster lapped up the B-road route, feeling lighter and more responsive, not only in terms of its agility but also the speed with which it picks up revs. The Ducati is heaps of fun when the road ahead is twisty.

It may lack the BMW’s semi-active suspension but instead it has mechanical Öhlins, whose damping qualities deliver an equally plush ride over the roughest of undulations, making you wonder if all the fuss about flashy reactive suspension is justified. Adding tech isn’t always a good thing – as the Monster’s finicky and recalcitrant quickshifter proves.

 


Watch our Yamaha MT-09 SP video review here:

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

A 6.5-inch colour screen, traction control, road/rain riding modes, LED daytime running lights and an automatic hill start control are standard on the base machine.

Using technology from the new S1000RR, the R1250R’s satin-fronted, colour dash is clear and easy to read at a glance, packed with information and even records lean angle, braking and acceleration force during your ride.

This R1250R Sport test bike has extra riding modes, an up/down quickshifter, engine spoiler, HP paint and accessories, including heated grips, electronic suspension, cruise control, centre stand, pannier brackets, chrome exhaust, alarm and emergency call service.

Changes from August 2020

The Sport version is now a metallic yellow with a matt black frame, while a change to Euro5 sees the ABS on permanently. Pro mode now includes drag torque control and there’s even more of those opinion dividing ‘Option 719’ parts.

Specs

Engine size 1254cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v flat twin
Frame type Tubular steel, engine stressed member
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 239kg
Front suspension 45mm non-adjustable upside down forks
Rear suspension Paralever with single spring adjustable for preload and rebound damping (Dynamic ESA optional)
Front brake 2 x 320mm front discs with four-piston Brembo radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 276mm rear disc with twin piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £270
New price £11,215
Used price £8,800 - £10,800
Insurance group 12 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Three years

Top speed & performance

Max power 134 bhp
Max torque 106 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2006: BMW R1200R takes over from R1150R
  • 2015: Uprated air/liquid cooled boxer engine, ride by wire and conventional upside down forks replace old Telelever front end. Enough optional extras and electronics available to turn it into the ultimate tourer and sportsbike, all rolled into one.

Other versions

There are no other versions.

Owners' reviews for the BMW R1250R (2019 - on)

8 owners have reviewed their BMW R1250R (2019 - on) 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 R1250R (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Equipment: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £270
5 out of 5 A truly capable all round machine
24 April 2023 by Steven B

Version: SE

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £380

Best features: TFT is class leading. Boxer engine is a masterpiece of engineering. Unique ability to be a doddle to ride in town, cruise all day long and then tear up the tarmac when you want to give it some. Don't let the 134hp fool you into thinking this bike isn't fast. Think of it like a tuned up TDI car engine. Grunt! It's also supremely comfortable to ride. Yes, it is a naked bike but a bolt on fly screen helps on the longer runs. Remove it again for the butch naked bike looks. I like to think of the bike as a connoisseurs bike. A gentleman who likes a bit of naughty every now and then. In terms of looks. Well...that's subjective. It's not a Superbike-in-a-pretty-skirt type of bike. Think of it like a muscular bouncer. Those cylinder heads are the huge biceps flexing! This bike can handle too. It feels planted and stable at all speeds. It corners predictively well too. Lovely.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Amazing brembo brakes offer great feel and bite. I've had the ABS working on the rear wheel when a car driver suddenly decided to slam their brakes on and take a late turn. No dramas. Easily 2-3 hours of riding for me. The seat is excellent. I don't take pillions but the pillion seat is broad and well shaped/padded so should be equally good. This bike is such a good all rounder that it's hard to decide where it specifically excels. The engine allows you to easily adopt any riding style without complaint.

Engine 5 out of 5

A masterpiece. Better than a non-shift-cam engine? I'd say yes. I had a R1200GS 2017 before. It was a great engine. The 1250 shift-cam just feels more smooth and there extra grunt is certainly more noticeable. The power delivery is creamy smooth. You just waft along on a wave of torque. I honestly can't think of any negative flaws with this engine.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Top drawer build quality. The rear wheel flicks up a lot of much so an aftermarket hugger or guard will help to prevent the intricate areas getting mucky. No corrosion anywhere. Bike is 4 years old now. It didn't start on one occasion but this was down to my battery charger not working properly. BMW Roadside Assist were very quick to respond and get me on the bike. No other issues.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Expect a service to cost around £320-£400 perhaps. Paralever arm need an oil change every other year. But at least there is no chain to fuss over. Fuel economy is good. This is a bike that can do 90% of everyday riding under 4,000rpm. That means 60+mpg is quite easily achieved. Much better than my old R1200GS. Insurance is on par with a GS although that is relevant to each individual.

Equipment 5 out of 5

SE spec with all the option boxes ticket with the exception of the rear top box rack. Pannier rails were included. Cruise control is good and surprisingly useful and helps on longer motorway rides. Especially as this is a naked bike. It helps to keep fatigue at bay. Fly screen is a must if you do lots of long haul riding. It can easily be removed when not needed. I bought an aftermarket slip on exhaust as I was not keen on the chrome silencer. It was just too big and attracted muck and sticky tarmac. My Fuel exhaust is much lighter, smaller and sounds much better. However, it is still whistle quiet when cruising which is ideal for me.

Buying experience: Bought used from Bahnstormer Maidenhead. I gave my bike a proper detailed clean top to bottom after gettign it home. Purchase experience was excellent though. Very helpful and welcoming. A seamless process throughout. PX's my R1200GS. I realised the R1250R was the bike I should have bought in the first place. £10,500 was the price. However, my px meant I literally paid pennies to change bikes.

4 out of 5 Great bike but not for a rainy day unless you want to be covered in road filth
12 December 2022 by Patrick Connellan

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £400

BMW have never taken into account that this motorbike should ever go out in wet weather.As a rider you are covered in road filth in wet weather. Also the head light is about as powerful as my bicycle.Other than that it’s a great bike.I would recommend it to a friend.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Being over 60 years of age about 200 miles. The bike is a decent all round bike which is forgotten as there are more sales for the GS.The R1250R is a quicker bike than the GS

Engine 5 out of 5

It’s just perfect.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Built quality is not bad but I do have poor paint work on the swing arm and on the carburettor pipes as it’s peeling off. In its three years the petrol tank lock failed but was replaced under warranty and also the front wheel bearings also replaced under warranty.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Getting tyres through BMW have a premium price on them at least £60 over just because it’s BMW

Equipment 5 out of 5

Heated grips

Buying experience: From a BMW dealer. As it was the new model in 2019 I paid the price it was advertised at £13100

5 out of 5 BMW R1250R Sport
18 December 2021 by Steve Scatterty

Version: Sport HP

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £170

I love the colour scheme on this HP model and the effortless engine, torque, power and economy. It's very easy to ride and the most comfortable bike seat for distance. The instrument panel is exceptional clear especially since fitting a small visor. You feel quite special riding it. A rear hugger should be fitted as standard. Would highly recommend to anyone.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I find the Road setting for the suspension too soft and the Dynamic to hard over rougher surfaces...the best option appears to be the Automatic Road setting but even this can feel strange at times, and I'm sure I can feel the electronics making some of the adjustments. Pillion comfort is excellent (So I'm told by my pillion) the seats have just the right density foam and the rear seat is shaped for passenger comfort. All day riding is easily achievable.

Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is a peach with great pulling power especially when the shift cam comes on although sometimes I feel there is a momentary lag but this maybe because it's a twin as opposed to the Japanese fours that I'm used to.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Everything appears to be top quality but early days to comment on possible rust problems. There are oil traces on the front forks after every ride, more than I would have expected, this is something I will monitor. I had a problem with the keyless fob not connecting with the bike, but a new battery in the fob resolved that.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

The bikes only had a first service, but I understand running and service costs on BMW's tend to be higher than their Japanese rivals.

Equipment 5 out of 5

This R1250R Sport appears to have a fairly high spec level including things like a main stand (Very useful) heated grips etc. My favourite feature is just the shear look and presence of the bike. I disliked the original rubbers it came on, they just didn't give me confidence and I quickly swapped them out for Micheline Road 5's (This is probably more of `It's in your head thing`) than any problem with the actual tyres. Extras for me are: small screen. radiator guard, instrument panel visor and rear hugger.

5 out of 5 Love it. Mine's a keeper.
06 August 2020 by Klunk

Year: 2019

I think this is a brilliant all rounder, with lovely low speed balance and low center of gravity, massive aounts of thrust on hand if required for overtakes etc., yet also very rideable and eager to please. It will cope well with weekend spirited rides, but will also commute, and with the addition of a screen tour with luggage and/or a pillion just as well. I used to dismiss BMW boxers as old mens bikes, but not any more. Maybe old men know a thing or two after all.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Absolutely superb. It's perfectly happy to thrum along at a sedate pace if that's the mood, but with the suspension in sport mode will also just as happily properly attack the curves with a real confidence inspiring sure-footedness.

Engine 5 out of 5

An abolute beauty. Seamless predictable linear thrust from slow walking pace and all the way up. Whooshes up to speed like a steam turbine powered, butterscotch sauce covered hovercraft.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far have had no issues of any kind

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

It's just about to go in for it's 1 year service with my local BMW motorrad dealer, and I have been quoted 'around £200' for this, which seems little salty. May turn out to be more, though may also be less.

Equipment 5 out of 5

It's got, or can have from the accessories list, the lot.

4 out of 5 Huge torque
18 June 2020 by Monkey hanger

Year: 2019

With a remap and a full system this bike will have well over 110ftllb of torque. This means I’m not sure there are many bikes, if any, that will beat it in the twisties......

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 Bloody good bike but fabulous when remapped....not sure that ANY other naked bike beats it on torque?
26 May 2020 by BMW Torque

Version: HP sport colours

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £270

Heavy bike otherwise a 5. Remap this bike and it turns it into a super naked killer on the road as it gives it over 115ftllb of torque. Stick a set of Bridgestone S22’s on and your uncatchable.....

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Low down weight is good, brakes are fab.....

Engine 5 out of 5

Fabulous but it gets a 6 when remapped...3rd gear pull is mental....

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Annoying that you have to buy rear shock guard and front engine casing guard as extras....

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Needs a remap to improve fuel consumption but it’s very good when you do!

Equipment 3 out of 5

All the extras cost a packet..... but you want em Deffo!

Buying experience: Great personally

3 out of 5
29 August 2019 by Neil

Version: Basic version, black colour.

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £165

Expensive if you want to have extras that are standard on most other motorcycles of the same type.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Riding position hurts knees after more than 1 or 2 hours.

Engine 5 out of 5

Great engine and power delivery.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

The bolt holding the rear frame to the engine came out after 800 miles. this was not noticed by BMW mechanic that serviced the bike. Very bad for a new BMW motorcycle..

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

First service cost.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Equipment supplied as standard is very good. Additional equipment also good but expensive. Sports screen not very effective as wind protection.

Buying experience: BMW agent did not contact me for test ride after I had left my contact details. I had to follow up with phone calls to get test ride.

4 out of 5 Superb Machine, But ......
21 June 2019 by Joe Average

Version: Sport

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £250

Superb machine. However, at £16k with toys & couple accessories, hand on heart I'd suggest saving £6k & buy a low mile 1200R. Its 19/20ths as good. A screen is a must if you intend long high speed journeys.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Quite simply superb.

Engine 5 out of 5

1250 is the first boxer that likes to rev out. Typical boxer torque with a nice rush as the revs climb. Very smooth at low revs, vibes more akin to a 4cyl when its pressed hard. IMO I'd say BMW engineers have kept the power down from the original hype of 150hp for a reason.

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

All the toys in the shop and then some - at a price.

Buying experience: BMW dealer experience 2nd to none for the most part.

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