Your 10 best BMW motorcycles

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

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...

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.

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

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.

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

=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.

=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...

- the top three

=3. BMW K1200LT

(Owner's overall rating: 4.55)

It's a tie for third place, with two very different styles of bike proving equally popular with owners.

The 1999-2008 K1200LT is a 'tour de force', with its ability to waft across continents matched only by the Honda Goldwing. A 390-kg giant powered by a smooth 115 bhp ('05 model) four-cylinder mill, the 'Flying Brick' has such niceties as automatic centrestand operation, adjustable seats and optional heating and CD changer. 

Owners have given the LT the thumbs-up for its high-quality luxury, with the smooth engine, all-day seats, good wind protection and its ability to inhale flowing tarmac coming in for the most praise. However the LT's sheer size (one owner half-jokes that the moniker stands for Light Truck) leads to complaints about its top-heavy feeling at low speed and car-like turning circle. But they know that once on the move, it's a magic carpet. 

Read BMW K1200LT owners' reviews

=3. BMW K1200R

(Owner's overall rating: 4.55)

Essentially a stripped version of the K1200S, the R was the world's most powerful (163 bhp) naked bike when it was launched in 2005. With outrageously different styling (bug eyed headlights, Duolever suspension, steeply canted forward engine) and brutal acceleration, the R did everything it could to help move BMW away from the 'luxo-barge' reputation it had built up over decades. 

With that stonking motor, rock-like stability and good wind protection, yet all the creature comforts you'd expect from a BMW, it's a well-deserved rating for the K1200R. Owners love the fact that it can scratch and tour with equal ease. On the downside, its size and weight can make low-speed work a bit of a chore, and early fuelling issues were a blemish.

Read BMW K1200R owners' reviews

2. BMW R1100S

(Owner's overall rating: 4.58)

Nearly at the top of this list is that sporty old favourite, the R1100S. Launched in 1999, it's getting to be a bit of a cult bike now, especially in Boxer Cup guise (primarily better suspension and fancy paint), despite its decidedly odd, pug-nosed 'face'. Though neither as quick as a sportsbike nor as comfortable as a tourer, it does each well enough that the overall package, combined with typical BMW traits such as stability, comfort, build quality and generous equipment, has earned it a fan following.  

Owners consider it an ideal real-world sportsbike, with the reliability and legs for distance work, though its weight and heft take some getting used to. The 1085cc, 98 bhp boxer twin and the six-speed gearbox are smooth and the bike's road handling is surprisingly good. Reported fuel economy varies from 30 mpg to 60 mpg.  

Read BMW R1100S owners' reviews.

1. BMW S1000RR

(Owner's overall rating: 4.72)

And owners' top-rated BMW is... the awesome S1000RR sportsbike. When BMW introduced the WSB-homologated RR in 2008/09, interest was so strong that the first 1,000 bikes were snapped up quickly, prompting full-scale commercial production to begin in 2010. With its hard-accelerating, 14,000-rpm redlined 193 bhp engine, and a vast array of electronic trickery including top-notch traction control, the S1000RR caught the Japanese Big Four snoring, and almost overnight, became the litre-bike class leader.

The second generation S1000RR, introduced in 2012, features slightly altered steering geometry, better traction control and a quicker-action throttle. Owners are madly in love with the S1000RR's incredible power delivery, as well as its sharp handling, comfortable ergonomics and excellent build quality (though the side-stand recall does get a mention!). While aspects of the styling evoked a few grumbles and some even opined that it lacked soul, the ratings prove that the S1000RR has raised the bar so high, its challengers would need to be fitted with a pair of wings to vault it. 

Read BMW S1000RR owners' reviews.