A Different Kind of Review: BMW Motorcycles

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Sep 1, 2016 | BMW | Posted in Buyer's Guides | Never miss an article

Are we into motorcycles, too? Of course. We don’t write much about them, but we recently spent some time with three BMW bikes: the S 1000 RR, R NINE T and F 800 GS Adventure. How good were they? Good enough that we figured we should spread the word.

Our favorite was probably the S 1000 RR, the sport bike of the group.

Does it offer amazing performance? Duh, of course, it’s a modern sport bike. Its 1-liter engine offers 199 horsepower. Let that sink in for a bit and think about how many cars have offered plenty of performance with just about the same amount of power—cars like the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S, the latest Honda Civic Si, and even the iconic 3.2-liter Porsche 911. In this bike’s case, that horsepower only has to lug around 450 pounds plus riders.

Retail price is about $15,000. Yeah, you can get a new liter sport bike for less. Either you’re into the BMW bikes or not.

Want to walk around this bike with our own J.G.? Just watch this:

Less is More

What exactly is the BMW R nineT, the next bike on our list? Call it the bruiser of the bunch.

The style? Minimalistic. Bare. A bit retro. It’s kind of a bobber, but one done at the factory. You’re either going to love it or hate it.

The punch? Plenty. Its air-cooled, flat-two 1170cc engine offers 110 horsepower. You sit up tall in the saddle—nice and comfortable.

Like the S 1000 RR, it also retails for about $15,000. Some people will see that as a deal for a turnkey bike that has some seriously cool looks; others will point toward the less expensive retro bikes from the Japanese brands.

Into the Wild

Last, we spent some time with the F 800 GS Adventure, the perfect bike for those about to cross the wilds—riders like Neal Peart. For us, though, it required a bit too much inseam for daily use.

One thing this sampler taught us after years of not paying much attention to BMW’s latest motorcycle offerings: Their old bikes are legendary, sure, but their fire still burns. We’re happy to see that it does.

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View comments on the GRM forums
chuckles HalfDork
2/14/17 10:51 a.m.

30 years ago, Suzuki introduced the GSXR 1100 and I bought the first one available. I had ten years experience roadracing bikes and wanted to move up from the 550's and the 750 Interceptor. My first laps at Texas World, I realized that I no longer recognized the racetrack. It was just awesome and I eventually came to grips with it but it was hard, scary work.

One of the magazines put one on a dyno. 92 hp at the wheel.

pinchvalve MegaDork
2/14/17 10:56 a.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: —cars like the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S, the awesome hot-hatch Fiesta ST, and even the iconic 3.2-liter Porsche 911. In this bike’s case, that horsepower only has to lug around 450 pounds plus riders.

Fixed that for ya.

Huckleberry MegaDork
2/14/17 11:06 a.m.

Funny they chose not to send their flagship and best seller R1200GS over for you guys to ride instead of the F800. I guess maybe they don't need more exposure to sell those.

You guys should try the S1000R and S1000XR if you loved the RR's motor but are getting a little long in the tooth for having the shifter located somewhere back near the rear axle They offer a seating position for grown-ups :)

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