BMW released their first motorcycle in 1923 and since then the brand has become synonymous with legendary handling, adventure, and urban mobility
Over the years BMW have become increasingly popular and has launched many motorcycle models to target different customer segments with varying needs and preferences.
From sportbikes to cruisers, you are bound to find a motorcycle just right for you.
In this article, we will assess the longevity of BMW bikes, read on to find out more…
Here is the short answer to how long BMW motorcycles last:
BMW motorcycles are generally very durable and can be seen lasting about 200,000 miles easily; 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.
How Many Miles Can You Expect From A BMW Motorcycle?
From our research and personal experience with BMW motorcycles, a reasonable mileage would certainly be in the 200k region.
However, again this varies immensely depending on
- Owner’s riding habits
- How frequently the motorcycle is ridden
- The model
- Its maintenance schedule
- Whether the bike is ridden on or off-road
Though BMW bikes have developed quite a reputation for not being that reliable, it really is no more than a myth.
BMW motorcycles, on average, can cover 200,000 miles and newer models can even be seen pushing beyond 300,000 miles or more.
Nevertheless, though older models can be seen slacking compared to newer bikes, they still allow for a good 100,000 miles.
BMW motorcycles feature luxurious designs, premium aerodynamic bodywork, and top-class suspensions.
Though, as stated earlier, not acclaimed for their reliability, they are still seen lasting considerably longer than other motorcycle brands and are reported by many customers to have lasted for 30+ years.
A BMW customer had once reported putting in up to 387,000 miles on a 1975 BMW R75/5 with rather normal maintenance throughout its useful life.
While another customer stated that their 2005 BMW R1200RT had amassed 115,000 miles in 48 states and 6 countries with relatively cheap repairs and maintenance and an overall fantastic experience.
Regardless of the model, however, its important to stress the value of regular maintenance and repairs as soon as they are required.
The durability of a BMW motorcycle is completely dependent on these factors and will last longer with responsible usage and upkeep.
Some useful tips for regular upkeep include:
- Frequently riding your motorcycle
- Follow BMW’s maintenance schedule
- Inspect your air filter regularly
- Routine oil changes.
- Use the clutch and brakes conservatively and accelerate smoothly
Treating your BMW right will help it last longer and stay in top condition, conversely neglecting it will diminish its lifespan.
In summary, BMW motorcycles are definitely durable but its down to the owner to get the most life from their bike.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on a BMW Motorcycle?
According to reviews and reports from motorcycle owners, BMW motorcycles start to rust on average 2-3 years after being bought, although, less noticeable rust can be seen as early as one year after purchase as well.
However, do not, by any means, consider this an absolute estimate, as many factors are taken into the equation when dealing with rust.
For example, bike owners residing near the coast are more likely to experience rust due to the prevalence of salt in the air, which can accelerate corrosion.
Locations where it snows a lot are also susceptible.
Not only does the moisture from wet snow cause corrosion, but the roads are often salted in these places and that too directly increases the chances of your bike rusting.
Most parts in modern BMW motorcycles are made of stainless steel, which is less likely to corrode, but the same cannot be said for older models.
Due to the prestigious name BMW has created globally, there has been a rise in the number of counterfeit parts being sold, particularly online.
These imitations not only scam owners into thinking that BMW motorcycles aren’t durable, but they also noticeably tend to rust within a couple of months of use.
Based on the reports received from owners, the following areas in BMW motorcycles are more susceptible to rust:
- Stock exhaust
Motorcycles officially bought from a BMW dealership usually come with a 2-year rust warranty, therefore if you experience an early onset of rust you should contact them directly.
To help delay the risk of developing rust early on, the following tips can prove to be useful:
- Cover your bike when parked
- Regularly lubricate your bike chain with oil
- Use anti-corrosive products to cover susceptible parts
- Use protective paint on scrapped parts before it’s too late
- Regularly clean your bike and, after every wash, make sure that all the parts of your bike are properly dried
- Apply a coat of wax on painted parts after washing
How Long Do BMW Motorcycles Last Compared to Similar Models?
BMW motorcycles are famed for their luxurious designs and durability, but how does BMW compete with rival companies? Let’s find out.
BMW vs. Honda
Honda is one of the most celebrated manufacturers in the world when it comes to motorcycles, and true to this solid reputation, their models certainly do last quite long.
Honda not only has an extensive variety of budget-friendly bikes but their superbikes are also renowned for being some of the best driving machines in the world.
When compared on the basis of similar models, BMW and Honda are mostly on par in durability, and both last about 200,000 miles.
However, when speaking in terms of affordability, Honda offers more economically-priced motorcycles.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Honda Motorcycles Last?
BMW vs Yamaha
Yamaha is also among the top 4 motorcycle manufacturers in the world, known most for its efficient mileage and power.
It is a luxury brand that offers premium motorcycle models when it comes to raw speed and power.
However, in terms of reliability and even affordability on some models, BMW is certainly better than Yamaha.
Yamaha motorcycles of a similar model have an average of about 150,000 miles – less than the BMWs average.
How reliable is a BMW Motorcycle?
With the right care and maintenance regime, we can safely say that BMW motorcycles can be very reliable.
It’s difficult to give a truly accurate answer as its 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.”
A 2015 Consumer Reports survey depicts BMW motorcycles as having sub par reliability however we think these findings should be taken with a pinch of salt and are by no means absolute.
The main problem with BMW motorcycles is their cost of repairs.
Though they are certainly more reliable than the media puts them out to be, BMW motorcycles usually have costly repairs and maintenance.
Due to their luxury brand reputation, parts are also extremely expensive to replace and more often than not, these bikes are deemed unreliable because of the high costs of basic repairs.
You may also be interested in our article: Are BMW Motorcycles Worth the Money?
The Best and Worst for BMW Motorcycles
BMW is widely considered a first-class premium brand; here are a couple of models to watch out for:
The 2001 BMW R1200C has gone down in history as one of BMW’s worst motorcycles.
Introduced in the market in the 1990s, this was the time that BMW Motorrad had lost its sense of direction and was mainly attempting to copy Harley Davidson’s designs to increase sales.
The model borrowed very little from BMW’s previous models and didn’t do well with the public due to its uncomfortable design.
The motorcycle mostly lacked what cruisers generally had at the time, and ended up not being able to successfully appeal to the target audience.
In contrast, the 2009 BMW S1000RR is one of the most applauded models of all time amongst motorcycles enthusiasts.
This superbike has a hard-accelerating 193bh 14,000rpm with a range of electronic complexity, and even caught the Japanese big 4 manufacturing brands off-guard with its release.
Even economically, the motorcycle is considered great for its value, what with it being much cheaper and yet a lot faster than motorcycles of similar models from different manufacturers.
Are BMW Expensive to Maintain?
Yes, BMWs are expensive motorcycles to maintain.
There are usually bound to be some repairs you have to undertake eventually when owning a motorcycle from any brand, but BMWs are surely more expensive and do have parts that are costly to replace.
Due to the wide variety of BMW motorcycles in the market, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact cost of maintenance.
Maintenance through BMW dealers and mechanics can cost as much as $700 a visit.
For smaller and less expensive models, components are generally cheaper and easier to source.
How Long Do the Brakes Last?
BMW brake pads normally last about 18,000-20,000 miles; however, this can vary depending on your riding habits.
How Long Do the Tires Last?
The average lifespan of BMW tires is about 18,000-19,000 miles.
This is a rough estimate, and tires may wear out quicker based on different factors.
Driving habits such as heavy braking or drifting wear out tires much earlier than usual, and so can off-road driving.
You should regularly check your tires and ensure they have sufficient tread and the correct air pressure.
How Long Do Transmissions Last?
Your BMW motorcycle transmission should last you about 150,000-200,000 miles and at least 100,000 miles.
Oil changes are vital to help things run smoothly and should be done at least twice a year.
How Long Do Spark Plugs Last?
BMW motorcycle spark plugs normally last around 16,000 miles.
Once again, this may vary depending on the model.
For example, BMW models with iridium spark plugs tend to last much longer by covering about 30,000 miles.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Harley Davidsons Last (Complete Guide)
What about Insurance Costs?
Monthly insurance can vary from $100-612 depending on the model of the motorcycle and the type of insurance coverage.
Tips to Prolong the Life of Your BMW Motorcycles
Here are a few tips you would find useful in extending the life of your BMW:
- Change your engine oil regularly as per manufacturers guidance
- Don’t leave your bike unridden for long
- Have your bike routinely serviced
- Wash your bike regularly
- Keep your bike stored in an enclosed space
- Replace the air filter when needed, approximately every 10,000-15,000 miles