Everything You Should Know About BMW Motorcycles (Reliability, Cost & How Long Do They Last)

In the world of luxury motorcycles, BMW is one of the best, most trustworthy companies out there. In fact, I’ve personally considered buying a BMW bike during my own search. It’s hard to ignore this company’s dedication to innovation and creativity, especially within the realm of their motorcycles.

No matter what you’ve heard about BMW in the past or what you think you know about BMW models, we’ll break down the ins and outs of these incredible bikes. From the costs to the resale value to buying new vs. used, we’ll cover it all.

After all, BMW bike models are sleek, attractive, and oftentimes affordable, but are they reliable?

Although some surveys have suggested otherwise, BMW motorcycles are generally pretty reliable and are even more so if taken care of, serviced regularly, and driven properly. Not caring for your BMW bike is the fastest way to tank its reliability as a trusted luxury motorcycle.

However, let’s break down that reliability a bit more.

How Reliable Are BMW Bikes Compared to Other Brands?

BMW bikes aren’t necessarily known for their reliability. In fact, there are other brands and companies considered by customers to have more reliable bikes. BMW motorcycles are often known for being expensive to repair and maintain, thanks to their modern features and refined engineering.

However, this isn’t a surprise considering the luxury motorcycle industry. In fact, when compared to other brands — like Honda, Ecosse Spirit, and Neiman Marcus — most luxury motorcycles have an expensive upkeep and less reliability. It seems to be more of an industry standard than something only BMW bike riders deal with.

Why Pick a BMW over Other Motorcycles?

BMW motorcycles are extremely popular due in part to how sophisticated the manufacturing is.

Its engineering stands out as well. BMW prides itself on innovative technology, modern engine characteristics, and ever-evolving suspension tech.

BMW is special as it also manufactures specialty dual-sport and adventure motorcycles while still continuing to build upon and improve sport, roadster, and lines of heritage bikes.

In terms of reliability, BMW bikes are known to use materials and parts that are high quality. All BMW models are built with a high standard in mind and, as such, exist within a luxury class of motorcycles. Their status and popularity, along with the modern look and feel, make BMW bikes sought after. 

In comparison to other motorcycle manufacturers, BMW, in particular, keeps its production volume lower by limiting the number of bikes produced. These are produced mainly in the home plant in Berlin, Germany. BMW is able to maintain a good quality control due to its lower volume production.

However, besides factors out of your control, a BMW bike’s reliability is going to heavily depend on the model and on how it’s taken care of. They need to be regularly serviced according to the owner’s manual and should be both maintained and stored properly.

The bike’s reliability goes down exponentially if it’s not maintained well and doesn’t adhere to the owner’s manual service schedule.

The only real negatives around BMW reliability are the maintenance costs, which can run high.

How Long Do BMW Motorcycles Typically Last?

Though it depends on the model, maintenance, and riding style, BMW motorcycles are expected to last around 50 years and 200,000 miles — around 4,000 miles per year. BMW motorcycles are pretty durable in general.

The longevity of your BMW motorcycle will depend on many factors, including how you ride it; what model it is; the year it was manufactured; where you ride the bike; and whether or not you keep up with the BMW bike’s regular maintenance.

For example, not taking care of your bike can drastically decrease its life, especially if you fail to adhere to the expected maintenance schedule. Riding the bike off-road and riding it recklessly can also negatively affect the BMW motorcycle’s life.

To make your BMW motorcycle last as long as possible, you’ll want to keep up with it as best you can. Store it in a safe place, free from outside elements, and keep up with all the receipts and paperwork from services.

Even though BMW motorcycles have a good longevity that can be positively affected by how you take care of them, there are a few other things you should keep in mind when deciding between getting a BMW bike or not.

Pros and Cons of BMW Motorcycle

BMW motorcycles have some unique pros and cons.

For starters, nobody thinks up suspension technologies like BMW. They’re great, innovative, and ever-improving. These bikes are also almost exclusively manufactured in Berlin, Germany, and because of the limited production, demand high standards.

For bike enthusiasts, BMW is appealing as they offer a plethora of various options with ranging costs. Although there are certainly costly BMW motorcycles, the range in price allows for some more affordable choices. And used bikes are often even more budget-friendly.

BMW bikes are also just so visually appealing and stand out in the motorcycle industry. At the end of the day, BMW is a well-known company that’s respected and known for its quality machines.

However, on the other hand, because BMW motorcycles are so unique, their components and service costs are much higher than other bikes. Though they’re high quality parts, that definitely shows in terms of cost.

The value of BMW bikes also doesn’t hold up to the test of time, which we’ll evaluate more in-depth below.

Do BMW Motorcycles Hold Their Value Over Time?

Unfortunately, BMW bikes, on average, don’t hold their value very well over time.

In fact, they have a tendency to depreciate faster than other motorcycles and even autocycles such as the Polaris. This is tied to the demographic of BMW motorcycle buyers, who are generally drivers who finance the latest BMW bike model every couple of years and have the money to do so.

In turn, this decreases the value of used BMW motorcycle models. However, this doesn’t really have to do with its quality; it’s more closely related to supply and demand.

Although you might not guess it, a used BMW motorcycle will usually maintain its market value longer than a brand new bike due to the turnover rate. Still, you shouldn’t count on its resale value when buying a BMW. At least, resale value shouldn’t be your only deciding factor of whether or not you want a BMW motorcycle. 

Besides the market’s effect on BMW bikes, their value is also dependent on factors that are essentially in your control. The value of the bike is going to depend on, in part, how well you treat your vehicle prior to putting it up for resale.

For example, if you keep your BMW bike outside in the sun or rain or if you tend to drive a bit recklessly, this could affect the motorcycle’s value negatively. As you can imagine, it won’t be near as valuable if it’s not kept in a safe place, driven reasonably and safely, and up-to-date on all its service as per the BMW service schedule.

How Much Does a BMW Motorcycle Cost?

A BMW motorcycle’s cost depends completely on the model, whether it’s new or used, among other factors. However, BMW motorcycles usually range from $5,695 to over $32,000.

There are many models, but the six most common BMW motorcycle models are the Sport bike, Touring bike, Roadster bike, Cruiser bike, Adventure bike, and the Scooter.

The cheapest BMW bike is the BMW adventure motorcycle, whose starting price ranges from $5,695 to $20,345. The roadster and the scooter are also on the more affordable end. While the roadster generally ranges from $8,995 to $14,995 to start, the scooter has a starting price that ranges from $8,245 to $11,795.

The most expensive motorcycle from BMW is either the touring bike — whose starting price ranges from $19,595 to $26,895 — and the sport bike, which ranges from $15,695 to $32,495 to start.

BMW’s cruiser bike is in between, running from $10,995 to $25,995 as a starting price.

Below are two tables comparing the model with the new and used pricing. However, keep in mind that used pricing can vary pretty wildly. That’s because used bikes are priced based on many factors, so there isn’t one exact figure to represent the used price of a BMW bike model.

ModelPricing (New)
Adventure Model R 1250 GSStarting at $23,700
Sport Model M 1000 RRStarting at $36,995
Tour Model K 1600 GRAND AMERICAStarting at $27,745
Roadster Model R 1250 RStarting at $14,995
Heritage Model R 18 TRANSCONTINENTALStarting at $24,995
Urban Mobility CE 04Starting at $11,795
ModelPrice (Used)
Adventure Model R 1250 GSStarting at $19,000
Sport Model M 1000 RRStarting at $22,699
Tour Model K 1600 GRAND AMERICAStarting at $19,350
Roadster Model R 1250 RStarting at $9,999
Heritage Model R 18 TRANSCONTINENTALStarting at $11,000
Urban Mobility CE 04Starting at $9,999

Should You Buy a Used BMW Model?

If you’re interested in buying a BMW motorcycle, you should at least consider buying a used model.

On the one hand, buying a used bike usually won’t break the bank. That’s because of the depreciation of BMW motorcycles. They tend to depreciate fast because of the higher turnover of new motorcycles. You’ll be able to find a still-new used BMW for affordable prices.

There really aren’t many drawbacks to buying a used BMW model. The obvious con being it’s not factory “brand new.” However, at the end of the day, this shouldn’t really matter. Keep in mind, if you were to buy a brand new bike, it wouldn’t be worth half its original value in a couple of years. So by buying an older (or just used) BMW bike, you don’t have to concern yourself with the depreciation, and you still get to drive a smooth, sleek-looking motorcycle.

Still, there are other factors worth considering before you choose to buy a used BMW motorcycle or not.

What Should You Consider Before Buying a Used BMW Motorcycle?

BMW motorcycles have a lot going for them, and used bikes are no less impressive. Here are some of the best, most unique features to consider before buying a used BMW motorcycle.

Unique BMW Motorcycle Features

BMW motorcycles boast some pretty unique features. It’s no secret that BMW is a leader in up-and-coming technology. Its innovation in suspension, technology, and engine specs makes it stand out all on its own.

From telescopic fork front suspension and telelever fork design, to the Duolever front suspension and single-sided rear suspension, these impressive features and technological advances in the motorbike sphere make BMW stand out.

Read on to learn more about these unique features of BMW bikes.

Telescopic Forks

Although many manufacturers claim to have a type of telescopic fork front suspension, it was BMW who first created the hydraulically damped telescopic fork. Since the 1930s, BMW has been committed to improving and building upon that original design, and its telescopic fork front suspension is worth bringing up.

Telelever Fork

BMW motorcycles use a telelever fork design to enhance many aspects of riding, from stability to braking to handling and cornering and even comfortability. The fork’s siders are a bit lighter and longer since there’s no lower triple clamp and many riders cite this feature as one of their favorites — an unsung hero of the BMW bike.

Duolever Front Suspension

The Duolever is one of the more recent BMW bike features. The Duolever front suspension is BMW’s updated telework design that isn’t affected by opposing shock forces. It’s extremely innovative and its torsion resistance is impressive. Although it costs a bit more, it’s worth your consideration for sure.

Single-sided Rear Suspension

BMW’s single-sided rear suspension is lighter but comes with more torsional stiffness. In comparison to a conventional suspension with two swing arms, a single-sided swing arm decreases the weight while still offering higher torsional stiffness, as well as an easier installation and removal of the bike’s rear wheel.

Paralever Rear Suspension

The cardan shaft — a secondary drive in between the rear wheel and manual gearbox — is guided by the paralever system on the inside. The lightweight design ensures the rear wheel suspension’s very sensitive response characteristics. One of the main benefits is that, in the BMW bike’s rear wheel area, it has much higher ground clearance.

Service Cost

Because BMW motorcycle parts are both high quality and exclusive, service costs are also going to be expensive. With BMW bikes, the higher service cost needs to be something you consider, but it shouldn’t be an automatic disqualifier by any means.

BMW bikes are definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a new (or used) luxury motorcycle. BMW crafts high-tech features and innovative takes on classic motorcycle mechanisms to improve the riding experience, and their hard efforts show through their current offerings. These motorcycles are also sleek, attractive, and easy to handle.

All in all, BMW motorcycles are decently reliable, can be budget-friendly, and have some unique features that aren’t seen anywhere else. Although they depreciate pretty quickly. Either way, these bikes are definitely worth taking a second look at.

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