PICKING the best BMW motorcycles ever is surprisingly tough. The firm has a longer history than most, but its models tend to be long-lived and to evolve slowly.
What’s more, there are always several bikes based on the same components, so there are models that don’t make the list that are mechanically near-identical to ones that do.
Be prepared to compromise on certain elements and there’s often a chance to get 90% of the bike for a fraction of the cost of the most desirable models. For example, settle for an R80/7, an R65GS or an R100GS rather than an R80 G/S; or an R100S instead of an R90S, and you’ll have a much fatter wallet.
There’s also the question of the firm’s occasional oddballs. These tend to be rare, weird and perhaps not immediately appealing, but often get more attractive with the rose-tinted specs of nostalgia.
You’re sure to disagree with some of our choices, so let us know your favourites in the comments.
Here's our top 10 countdown, starting with...
10: G650 XChallenge
Let’s get straight in with a controversial one. BMW’s G650 range – the XMoto, XCountry and XChallenge – was short-lived and slow-selling, and the firm soon reverted to the more familiar G650GS, which was really a revamped version of the old F650GS single, renamed to make space for the twin-cylinder F650GS and F800GS models. But the ‘X’ models were actually pretty decent; much lighter than you’d expect, with sharp styling and punchy motors. The XChallenge has some serious off-road ability as a result. Road-only riders might be happier with the supermoto-style XMoto.