Your 10 best BMW motorcycles

BMW's best motorcycle models - as reviewed and rated by you!

Posted: 18 February 2013
by Sachin Rao

THIS month, we reveal the ten best BMW motorcycles, according to Visordown users. The base criterion for selection, as with last month's Your Top 10 Adventure-Sport Bikes, is that a bike has a minimum of five user reviews on our database. We then average out owners' detailed ratings on the Engine, Brakes, Handling, Comfort and Build to arrive at a final score. The higher the score, the more highly rated the bike. 

It's hard to define which bike is 'best' - after all, each motorcycle offers different benefits to different people. However, when you can condense what lots of people have to say about something, that makes it easier to get the big picture. That's why our Bike Reviews Database, and the 2,500-plus owners' reviews it contains, is such a great source of insight.

So which are your top-rated BMW models? What is the best BMW motorcycle ever made? (Surprise, surprise - That Bike Ewan Rides is not in the Top 10 - again!) Scroll down for the definitive list...


K1200S ... a solid performer

10. BMW K1200S

(Owner's overall rating: 4.33)

At its launch in 2005, the K1200S represented a radical departure for the German manufacturer. Its 163 bhp inline-four, also seen in the naked K1200R and the touring K1200GT, was BMW's first all-new engine in half a century, marking the start of a bold new chapter for the company. 

The S is a big, swift, Hayabusa-challenging sports-tourer, built for the Autobahn, with handsome if unmemorable looks and clever tricks such as electronic suspension. Owners have praised every aspect of the bike, from the styling, brakes and suspension to the power, all-day comfort and fit and finish. The K1200S however loses marks for driveline lash from the shaft and heavy steering at low speed, a clunky gearshift and poor pillion comfort.

Read BMW K1200S owners' reviews.


K1300S ... more refined

9. BMW K1300S 

(Owner's overall rating: 4.38)

In 2008, continuous refinement of the new engine (and ironing out problems) saw the K1200S grow to become a 1300. The reworked engine and capacity rise unleashed enough extra torque and power to take the already superfast S (and its siblings) to stratospheric speeds, while also improving fuel consumption. A more stable front end at high speed, refined ABS, traction control and improved electronic suspension make the second-gen K-S a mile-destroying hypertourer.

Owners love the fact that it outperforms litre-bikes while retaining the ability to carry luggage and a pillion across countries, with good wind protection, ergonomics and the Duolever suspension adding to its ability. But quality niggles seem to be a concern, with reports of rusting and corrosion. Purchasing and running costs are also said to be on the high side though that's not entirely uncommon to all the bikes on this page. 

Read BMW K1300S owners' reviews


K1200GT ... good tank range

8. BMW K1200GT

(Owner's overall rating: 4.43)

The 2006-2009 model of the GT tourer replaced its flat-four engined predecessor, with the 152 bhp, inline-four powerplant from the K1200S. Its slab-sided looks are less elegant than that of the S, but that's not most people's first criterion when considering a BMW; all-round capability, comfort, performance and build quality are, and here the GT puts its hand up, offering more power and features for the money than the FJR1300 or the Pan European. 

Owners are impressed by the big GT's willing engine, excellent ride quality, protection from the elements,  adjustable heated seats, and its 50-55 mpg fuel economy, which makes for a sizeable tank range. Of course, the bike is big and heavy, and as ever, replacement parts are expensive if not covered under warranty, but overall, GT owners are a happy bunch.

Read BMW K1200GT owners' reviews.


R1200RT ... a police favourite

7. BMW R1200RT

(Owner's overall rating: 4.46)

The R1200RT replaced the R1150RT in 2005. With 15 per cent more power from the new 1170cc boxer twin (which had debuted on the R1200GS the previous year), the model line's heaviest styling revisions for nearly a decade, and 20kg less weight, it was a potent light-touring package. With 2010 seeing in a torquier DOHC engine and a liberal sprinkling of electronic trickery, the RT has only got better. 

A lively and agile bike, it wins a lot of fans (once they get past its looks) with its strong engine and stable ride. Owners say the high riding position, comfortable seats and capable handling make it a hassle-free yet involving ride. The gadgetry is a winning proposition, and its quality panniers and windscreen are also commended. 

Read BMW R1200RT owners' reviews


R1200R ... under the radar?

=5. BMW R1200R

(Owner's overall rating: 4.50)

Tying for fifth place are two very different bikes: a big naked 1200cc air-cooled boxer twin, and a touring-oriented 800cc parallel twin (see panel below).

The R1200R replaced the five-year-old R1150R in 2006. Lighter and more powerful than its predecessor and with effective Telelever front suspension, it remains a popular model, representing classic BMW values of stability, comfort, reliability and a less-than-racing pulse. 

Owners think it's a great all-rounder, praising everything from the handling and braking to the smooth, torquey engine. The bike's weight and price are singled out for a moan, but otherwise, this is a simple, sound favourite.

Read BMW R1200R owners' reviews.


F800ST ... frugal performer

=5. BMW F800ST

(Owner's overall rating: 4.50)

The only one of the F800 family - introduced in 2006 and powered by Rotax-built parallel twins - to feature in this Top Ten. The ST is a popular choice amongst those sport-touring riders - especially shorter ones, who love the lower-seat option - who want to ride a smaller, sharper BMW than the outsize R or K bikes. Its counterbalanced engine makes it smoother than typical parallel twins, and it makes bags of torque. 

Owners think the bike is a good handler even fully loaded and two-up, and a strong performer. It's well-equipped with heated grips, onboard computer and ABS, and the fuel economy (up to 85 mpg!) is staggering. Downsides? The screen doesn't offer the best protection and the fairing is a bit inadequate for taller riders, the seat isn't an all-day affair and the mirrors are reported to be ineffective. 

Read BMW F800ST owners' reviews.

Click 'next page' to see what your best BMW motorcycles are...



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Discuss this story

not one, zero, eff all. They are all ugly and unreliable - IMO

Posted: 25/02/2013 at 10:12

The buying public disagree as BMW are defying the recession and growing their customer base.

The S1000RR, K1300S, R1200RT, K1600GT and R1200GS are all the best bikes in their classes.

Posted: 25/02/2013 at 22:18

so wheres the R1100RS?!

Posted: 22/05/2013 at 22:03

Too bad you don't own one.
Servicing costs are comparable to the Kawasaki and Suzuki's I've owned.

Posted: 22/08/2013 at 22:22

Talkback: Your 10 best BMW motorcycles