BMW may be most recognized for luxury cars, but they started out as an aircraft engine manufacturer in 1916 – around the same time as WW1.
The first BMW Motorrad (motorcycle in german) hit the streets in 1923 and featured a flat-twin boxer engine, a configuration still used in their bikes today.
The German manufacturer currently produces a variety of motorcycle models from Street to Touring to Roadsters… but are they worth the money?
BMW motorcycles are worth the money because of their high-tech features, comfortable riding ergonomics, sleek designs, solid build quality and sporty handling. Riding a BMW motorcycle is a unique thrill thanks to their high-performance engines and superior on-street and off-road suspension.
Read on and you can decide for yourself if you think BMW Motorcycles are worth the money…
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Why BMW Motorcycles are Worth the Money:
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for – and this holds true for motorcycles.
BMWs are expensive to buy relative to an equivalent Japanese bike because their brand identity is deeply rooted in exclusivity and luxury, this means their bikes are built to a high standard, have the most up-to-date tech and use high-quality parts and materials.
Their bikes typically come with a wide range of state-of-the-art features which enhance safety, comfort and convenience, including:
- Automatic Heated Grips
- Cruise Control
- Side View Assist (blind spot warning indicator)
- On-Board Computer
- TFT Color Screen
- Navigation & Communication Systems
They are also undeniably good-looking. If you hope to turn heads whenever you go out on your bike, rest assured that these models will deliver. Even the more practical options have a sleek, sporty look that other brands struggle to replicate.
Across their line-up of models BMW bikes are praised for their high levels of comfort; individual configurations allow you to get the perfect seat height and riding position by adjusting the height of the handlebars, bike and seat to your body size.
The bikes are also well known to pack heaps and heaps of power and bottom end torque.
Many BMW Motorrad enthusiasts will tell you that they can’t envision riding anything else simply because the bikes are that good.
It’s important to note that while some engine components are manufactured in Austria, China, and Taiwan, the brunt of production and assembly still happens in Berlin, at the BMW Motorrad plant – this ensures build quality is of a high standard.
The most popular BMW bike concept is its R1200GS Adventure bike, accounting for almost 30% of its sales, one of the big selling points of this bike is its unrivaled comfort for long-distance riding.
What Makes a BMW Motorcycle Different from Other Motorcycles?
High-status, luxury, modern tech, industry-leading suspension and handling and powerful engine designs make BMWs different from other motorcycles. BMW Motorrad bikes are also different in that they specialize in adventure bikes and dual-sport bikes while still developing lines of heritage cafes, sport, and roadster bikes.
One of the most significant contributing factors to the charm of BMW bikes, a quality that also makes them different from other motorcycles, is the small-scale production.
As we mentioned earlier, most of the manufacturing process happens in Berlin, where the brand is located.
BMW Motorrad bikes use different types of engineering than other bikes in the realms of:
- Engine characteristics
Due to the various technologies used, special knowledge is needed to work on their motorcycles, and specialty parts are often required for maintenance and repairs.
In addition to the mechanical knowledge required to work on BMW motorcycles, BMW is also known to use high-grade materials for engine and frame fabrication.
High-Quality metals and alloys add to the overall cost of production therefore making BMW different from other motorcycles and more expensive.
Here are a few more points to consider; take it from some real-world BMW Motorrad riders:
- BMW Motorrad Motorcycles are unique in design. However, owning a high-end, uniquely engineered motorcycle will mean paying more for parts and labor.
- BMW motorcycles may be expensive compared to other brands, like the Big 4 Japanese Motorcycle manufacturers. Still, Japanese bikes are generally mass-produced and accused of having ‘no soul’ while there is an exclusivity present in BMW’s motorcycle production.
- For the first fifty years of production, the BMW Motorrad motorcycle division essentially focused on one design – the opposed air-cooled twin, aka, ‘airheads’. Although no longer in production, the airhead engines are monolithic and their reliability was unrivalled amongst other brands, this set the foundation for BMWs reputation and inspired the many engine designs used today.
Pros and Cons of BMW Motorcycles?
- BMW Motorrad motorcycles provide a unique riding experience due to their top-class suspension technologies.
- The bikes are some of the best looking on the moto-market
- They have comfort in abundance and come with lots of added features that you wouldn’t find on cheaper alternatives
- The airhead engine design is iconic, reliable, simple, and easy to work on.
- Most BMW Motorrad bikes are still made at home, in the brand’s German HQ in Berlin which ensures build quality remains high.
- BMW offers a wide range of bikes at varying price points.
- Used BMW bikes can be found at great prices.
- One of the most famous adventure bike manufacturers in the world
- The uniqueness of BMW bikes puts them in a specialty class and drives up the price of parts and labor.
- BMW motorcycles lose their value quickly due to a loyal following willing to pay the total price for new Motorrad motorcycles.
- BMW Motorcycles tend to score less in reliability and customer satisfaction than other brands, partially due to the lower-end modern models.
How Long Do BMW Motorcycles Last?
BMW motorcycles are generally very durable and can be seen lasting about 200,000 miles; however, this does vary depending on the model, how well the bike is maintained, and the style of riding it is subject to. If you average 4000 miles per year, a well-kept BMW motorcycle can last 50 years.
Our research and experience with BMW motorcycles show that it’s not unheard of for a Beamer bike to hit 200,000 miles.
However, again this varies immensely depending on
- Owner’s riding habits
- How frequently the motorcycle is ridden
- The specific model and year of production
- Whether or not the owner adheres to the bike’s maintenance schedule
- Whether the bike is ridden on or off-road
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do BMW Motorcycles Last?
Are BMW Motorcycles Good Quality?
BMW motorcycles are made with high-quality parts and materials and are built to a high standard. They are considered a luxury class of motorcycles partly due to the overall upscale look and feel of the bikes and the status attached to the BMW brand.
BMW only manufactures a limited number of Motorcycles, primarily from their home plant in Berlin, Germany. By keeping production volume it allows them to keep quality control in check.
Be sure to check out our article: Are Triumph Motorcycles any Good?
Are BMW Motorcycles Reliable?
BMW Motorrad motorcycles are reliable, providing they are stored and maintained correctly, ridden responsibly, and regularly serviced as per the owner’s manual. Complaints about BMW reliability often have more to do with the high maintenance cost.
That’s right, even though a copywriting feeding frenzy attacked BMW’s reliability after a 2015 study revealed they had the lowest rate of customer satisfaction among motorcycle owners, the study’s results had more to do with the cost of ownership than with the bikes reliability.
Because the cost of repairs, maintenance and replacement parts is so high, these bikes have been labeled unreliable with some BMW riders hesitant to spend the extra money keeping up with service maintenance.
With the right care and maintenance regime, BMW motorcycles can be very reliable.
It’s difficult to give a truly accurate answer as it’s such a broad question and can more easily be answered on a model-by-model basis as reliability can vary substantially.
As one owner stated, “BMW motorcycles are a dichotomy. If you get a good one it will last forever. If you get a bad one it will cost you multiple thousands of dollars on a regular basis. A good one can be a lifelong companion. There aren’t many bad ones, but there are enough to make it a regular internet topic.”
Failing to maintain a BMW bike and follow its service schedule will make it significantly less reliable.
Maintenance is a big part of motorcycle ownership and getting a bike with a maintenance cost within your price range will ensure you keep up to date with servicing therefore getting better reliability.
Do BMW Motorcycles Hold Their Value?
BMW Motorrad Motorcycles tend to depreciate quickly compared to other bikes due to the buyer demographic – BMW’s are generally purchased by wealthy riders who finance the newest model every few years. A high turnover, fast-paced new-vehicle market drives down the price of used BMW Motorrad models.
This is the same for any “luxury” vehicle, including BMW cars.
It doesn’t say much about the BMW motorcycle’s quality, mind you; it’s a general statement about the luxury vehicle market.
BMW Motorrad motorcycles are of quality materials, boast modern tech and are of limited production.
This drives the price of the new motorcycles up high, sure, but it’s a price the market is willing to pay.
Wealthy beamer bike connoisseurs will trade in their current Motorrad for the most up-to-date model available every few years.
Because of this, the used BMW bikes tend to move slow, making the value on them less than desirable.
That said, you can usually get a decent deal on a used BMW because of that.
Because of the market logic outlined above, a BMW bike purchased used will hold its current-market value longer than one bought new.
Cost of Ownership
The cost of ownership on a BMW is relatively expensive when compared to other brands. Maintenance through BMW dealers and mechanics can cost as much as $700 a visit, as both parts and labor costs are higher than that of other bikes. Failing to keep up with routine services will affect bike reliability.
Due to the exclusivity and quality of the parts, upkeep on a BMW motorcycle is expensive but should under no circumstance be neglected.
Since BMW has such a variety of motorbikes to offer, it isn’t as simple as nailing down the price paid for a service trip to the BMW Motorrad dealership.
- It’s no doubt that motorcycle maintenance on a new Beamer through BMW mechanics can be pricey; we’ve heard figures of $700 per visit from some owners.
- Naturally, parts for luxury bikes like these Motorrad beamers are expensive. Some components for smaller and less costly models are more accessible to source and less costly.
- Insurance on a motorcycle as valuable as a BMW average between $75-$100 a month, depending on personal variables like driving record, etc.
- A decent helmet is between $100-$300.
- Rain gear is another $100, while leather chaps will cost between $200-$300.
- A decent riding jacket is at least $150.
- Many BMW Motorcycles are intended for dual-sport use on and off the road. This adds additional costs in protective of gear, to the tune of about $500.
You may also be interested in our article: Are Indian Motorcycles Worth the Money?
Consider Buying a Pre-Owned BMW Bike Instead of a New Model
Buying a used BMW motorcycle is advantageous because BMW motorcycles depreciate so quickly due to a high turnover of new bikes among BMW Motorrad enthusiasts. Since owners of BMW motorcycles that are just a few years old often trade their bikes in for the latest BMW models, you can often find a used BMW motorcycle relatively cheap.
In used-market situations like the high-turnover among beamer bike owners, used vehicles hold their value more than new—such is the case with BMW motorcycles.
In a luxury market where a high percentage of consumers buy a new version of the exact vehicle every few years, the constant turnover drives down the used-market value.
On the one hand, you can buy a new BMW motorcycle for $25,000. In a few years, when 75% of the market is flooding the floor with two-year-old trade-ins to get the latest model, the bike isn’t worth half that in trade-in value.
That said, in the luxury bike market outlined here, if you buy a two-year-old BMW motorcycle for half the new price, the bike doesn’t have much room to depreciate.
Give it another two years, and you’re likely to get close to what you paid for it. In some situations, depending on the market, you might get even more.
Buying a like-new BMW motorcycle for significantly less than the market price is a good play, especially if you’re considering trading your BMW in down the line.
And even if you aren’t, a well-kept BMW will last over 200,000 miles, never mind two years.
What is the Typical Cost of a BMW Motorcycle?
The typical cost of a BMW Motorrad Motorcycle varies depending on the type of bike but ranges between $5,295 for the G310R and $78,000 for the race-track-ready BMW HP4 RACE. Used BMW Motorrad Motorcycles cost between $3,300 and $59,000 for the same two bikes, respectively.
|Bike||Cost New||Cost Used|
|S 1000 RR||$15,995||$9,995|
|R 1200 S||$15,245||$9,995|
|Bike||Cost New||Cost Used|
|K 1600 GTL||$31,495||$22,000|
|K 1600 GT||$25,595||$17,000|
|R 1200 RT||$18,395||$15,000|
|F 800 GT||$12,292||$9,000|
|K 1600 Grand America||$26,645||$17,000|
|K 1600 B||$26,995||$18,000|
Check out our article: How Long Do BMW K1600 Last? (9 Important Facts)
|Bike||Cost New||Cost Used|
|R 1200 R||$14,345||$11,000|
|S 1200 R||$13,995||$10,500|
|F 800 R||$9,000||$7,000|
|G 310 R||$5,295||$3,300|
|Bike||Cost New||Cost Used|
|R nine Scrambler||$12,995||$9,000|
|R nineT Racer||$13, 545||$9,500|
|R nineT UrbanG/S||$12,995||$9,000|
|R nineT Pure||$11,995||$8,000|
|Bike||Cost New||Cost Used|
|R 1200 GS Adventure||$19,145||$15,500|
|R 1200 GS||$16,895||$11,000|
|S 1000 XR||$16,695||$11,000|
|F 800 GS Adventure||$13,895||$9,000|
|F 800 GS||$12,295||$9,000|
|F 700 GS||$9,995||$6,995|
|G 310 GS||$5,695||$3,300|
|Bike||Cost New||Cost Used|
|C 650 GT||$10,995||$7,995|
|C 400 GT||$8,495||$5,595|
What’s Your Bottom Line?
As you can tell from the price ranges above, BMW offers a range of moto styles and Motorrad aspects for various modes of riding, from off-road to city ripping to the race track; they even provide models for multiple combinations of the three.
Before you hit the moto-market looking for a new Motorrad Beamer, ask yourself what it is you need out of your motorcycle.
If you’re just starting, spending seventy-eight grand on a race-ready track bike or $30,000 on a touring bike with rugged off-road suspension probably won’t give you very much value for your money, as your inexperience will prevent you from utilizing the bikes costly features.
That said, a base model G310GS Adventure Bike gives you the signature BMW Mottorad dual-sport capabilities for the low price of just over five grand. You have to rock-crawl before you can run, and learning on that world-renowned BMW suspension is well worth the G310GS price point.
Knowing what you need is the first step, and knowing what resources you have to work with is the second.
Just because you have thirty grand to drop on an Adventure Bike doesn’t mean that you need to pay for a rugged frame, off-road suspension, and technological features if all the riding you’re going to do is bar hopping around the city.
If you’re looking for something to ride to work, a sexy, slender, and slick-quick R nineT Urban G/S will have more value to you and give you more bang for your buck, regardless of the lower price.
Things to Consider When Buying a Used BMW Motorcycle:
- How often did the previous owner ride their BMW motorcycle/how hard was the engine pushed?
- How was the BMW bike stored?
- Ask for service records, ensuring that the previous owner maintained the bike according to the service schedule in the owner’s manual.
- Ask if the bike was ever involved in a collision. If so, what was the damage, and where was it repaired?
- Run the vehicle’s VIN to endure it hasn’t been reported stolen or totaled.
Unique BMW Motorcycle Features
Let’s take a look at some of the unique BMW Motorrad features that make BMW motorcycles worth the cost:
Single-sided Rear Suspension
BMW Motorrad debuted their unique mono lever suspension design in 1980.
The suspensions system bounced on a single universal joint stationed behind the engine.
You won’t find a bike from the era worth more in the realm of rear suspension.
Paralever Rear Suspension
The brand didn’t stop at the single-sided joint but advanced their engineering less than a decade later, the Paralaver.
The Paralever decouples torque reaction during compression, bypassing the tendency to duck and jump during hard throttle rips.
I know what you’re thinking; every motor-manufacturer in the biz has some version of a telescopic fork-improved front suspension.
True, but BMW developed the first hydraulically damped telescopic fork back in 1935 and steadily improved the design.
As we said above, BMW Motorrad’s unique front suspension kept developing, becoming one of the smoothest and most recognized in the game.
The telelever fork design unique to BMW Motorrad Motorcycles improves handling and stability, cornering and braking, and comfort.
It uses a mono-shock attached to a wishbone-like component that pivots on the engine block.
There’s no lower triple clamp, making the fork’s siders longer and lighter, and reduces unsprung weight.
Duolever Front Suspension
BMW Motorrad updated the telework design again with the Duolever.
Unlike the lateral twisting tubes of other telework imitations, the Duolever isn’t influenced by opposing shock forces, making it well worth the extra money.