How Reliable Are BMW Motorcycles? (Helpful Facts & Tips)

BMW Motorrad motorcycles are widely recognized as some of the most unique, high-performance luxury motorcycles available.
But since BMW motorcycles are expensive to maintain and source parts for, reliability is a deciding factor when considering a BMW bike.
This article explores the reliability and consistent performance of BMW motorcycles, the factors affecting the bikes’ dependability, and how the reliability of BMW motorcycles compares to other brands.

Here’s the Short Answer to How Reliable BMW Motorcycles Are:

BMW motorcycles are reliable, though less statistically dependable than other brands such as Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda. Reliability depends on proper maintenance, which can be expensive for BMW bikes.

Common issues that BMW motorcycles face are fuel pump failures, oil leaks, and electrical problems.

Are BMW Motorcycles as Reliable as Other Motorcycles?

BMW motorcycles are not as reliable as some other motorcycles, according to a Consumer Reports study conducted in 2015.

They may have lower reliability ratings than brands like Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda, which are known for their durability and low maintenance costs.

That said, if they are properly maintained, BMW motorcycles can still be reliable, which may require more frequent and expensive service than other bikes.

BMW often garners an unfair reputation for being unreliable based on the recorded rate of failures, which is often skewed by a lack of maintenance due to more expensive parts and labor costs compared to other motorcycle dealerships.

Reliability issues on BMW motorcycles can be avoided or minimized by following the recommended maintenance schedule for your BMW motorcycle model, using genuine parts and fluids, and checking for any recalls or service bulletins that may apply to your bike.

Meanwhile, it’s great for you to know if BMW motorcycles are good for beginners or if you need to be an expert.

– “I have owned 3 BMWs and 2 Hondas. The Hondas were more reliable, but the BMWs were more fun to ride. The BMWs required more maintenance and repairs, but also had more character and personality. I don’t regret buying any of them, but I would say that BMWs are not for everyone. You have to be willing to pay more for the privilege of riding a premium bike.”

(Source: Bikepics)

– “I have ridden several brands of motorcycles over the years, including Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Harley-Davidson, and BMW. I currently own a BMW R1200GS and I love it. It is the most versatile, comfortable, and capable bike I have ever ridden. It has never let me down, even on long trips and rough roads. It is not cheap to buy or maintain, but it is worth every penny. I think BMW motorcycles are very reliable, as long as you take good care of them and follow the service schedule.”

(Source: Motor Biscuit)

How Reliable Are They Compared To Similar Brands?

This method of gauging vehicular reliability with respect to other models may be the best lens through which reliability should be viewed.

It often helps us measure reliability and affordability at the same time. That way, even if a bike is more reliable than another, it may not be the best option if it’s too expensive.

BMW vs. Triumph

According to the 2015 consumer reports study, BMW has a higher reliability rating than Triumph, which has a mixed reputation for reliability.

That said, while BMW may have had an advantage in the reliability department at the time the study was conducted, Triumph has made significant improvements in its engineering and designs in the subsequent years, with fewer recalls, lower failure rates, and higher satisfaction ratings than BMW overall.

There’s definitely more you can know about the reliability of Triumph motorcycles.

BMW vs. Ducati

BMW and Ducati are both premium motorcycle brands producing high-performance, stylish, and technologically advanced machines, but when it comes to reliability, BMW has an edge over Ducati.

According to a survey by Consumer Reports, BMW motorcycles had a 40% failure rate within the first four years of ownership, while Ducati motorcycles had a 33% failure rate.

Still, Ducati motorcycles can also require more complex and expensive maintenance than even BMW, and with fewer dealerships and service centers available, evening things out.

Owners of both these luxury-Euro bike brands often overlook these drawbacks for the sake of riding a unique and thrilling bike.

BMW vs. Honda

BMW and Honda are both popular motorcycle brands that offer a range of models for different riding styles and preferences. That said, when it comes to reliability, Honda takes the cake.

According to the survey by Consumer Reports, Honda motorcycles had a 12% failure rate within the first four years of ownership, while BMW motorcycles had a 40% failure rate.

Also, the maintenance costs are much lower for Hondas than for BMW motorcycles.

Furthermore, Honda offers longer service intervals, more dealership technicians, and service centers. That said, BMW motorcycles are more original, luxurious, and advanced in terms of performance, style, and technology.

How Many Miles Do BMW Motorcycles Last?

BMW motorcycles can last anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 miles or more, depending on the model and its owner’s maintenance habits and riding style.

When considering how long motorcycles typically last, you’d usually find the BMW brand at the top of the list.

Here are some quotes from real-life BMW riders showcasing their odometer readings:

– “I have a 1985 R80RT with 150,000 miles on it. It is my first and only bike and I love it. It has been a faithful companion for many adventures and memories. It still starts every time and handles well.”


– “I have a 2016 S1000RR with 100,000 miles on it. It is my track weapon and street rocket. It has been an amazing bike that has given me so much fun and excitement. It still performs flawlessly and looks stunning.”

Is the BMW Motorcycle Brand Still Considered High Quality?

The BMW motorcycle brand is still considered high quality by riders, mechanics, and bike builders around the world.

  • BMW motorcycles are made with high-quality parts and materials and are built to a high standard, and offer a range of models with high performance, style, and technology.
  • However, the sheer price of labor and exclusivity factor makes routine maintenance less accessible for some BMW owners on a budget.
  • Beamer bikes do have a higher failure rate than some other motorcycle manufacturers, but this reputation is often earned from owner neglect and unreliable used models.

Therefore, BMW motorcycles can be as reliable and long-lasting as any other motorcycle brand if properly cared for, but they may not be the best choice for riders seeking low-cost and low-maintenance bikes.

BMW motorcycles tend to appeal more to those who value the premium riding experience and are willing to pay more for them.

What Usually Breaks First on BMW Motorcycles?

There is no definitive answer to what usually breaks first on BMW motorcycles, as different models may have different issues and weaknesses—some of the most common problems that BMW motorcycles face are related to the fuel pump, oil leaks, and electrical systems.

These semi-frequent failures may affect the bike’s performance, efficiency, and safety and often require costly repairs or replacements, though BMW recalls and warranties have covered some of the repair costs.

  • Fuel Pump Failures: Some BMW motorcycles, especially the R1200GS models, have been reported to have faulty fuel pumps that can cause the bike to stall or lose power. This can be dangerous, especially at high speeds or in traffic. The fuel pump may need to be replaced or upgraded to fix this issue.
  • Oil Leaks: Some BMW motorcycles, especially the older models with boxer engines, have been known to leak oil from various places, such as cylinder head covers, valve covers, oil pan gaskets, and oil cooler lines. This can cause increased-oil consumption, smoke, and fire hazards and may be caused by worn or damaged seals, gaskets, or hoses that need to be replaced or repaired.
  • Electrical Problems: Some BMW motorcycles, especially the newer models with complex electronic systems, have been reported to have various electrical issues, such as faulty switches, sensors, indicators, lights, displays, and ABS modules, affecting the functionality and reliability of the bike’s features and systems and may require diagnostic tests and software updates to fix.

How Often Do BMW Motorcycles Break Down?

There is no definitive answer to how often BMW motorcycles break down, as different models have different failure rates and dependability.

That said, in a survey by Consumer Reports, BMW motorcycles had a 40% failure rate within the first four years of ownership, meaning that four out of ten BMW motorcycles may experience a major problem that requires a repair or replacement within the first four years.

To be clear, this does not mean that all BMW motorcycles will break down often, as some models may be more reliable than others, and some owners may take better care of their bikes than others.

The frequency of breakdowns significantly depends on mileage, riding style, and maintenance frequency.

Do BMW Motorcycles Cost More to Repair?

The average cost of a BMW motorcycle service varies depending on model, mileage, region, and type of service.

BMW owners report paying between $200-$500 for a standard 10K service, with major services costing between $1,000 and $3,000 for a higher-than-usual repair cost average of $652.

  • BMW motorcycles usually cost more to repair than some other brands, such as Honda, Yamaha, or Suzuki, as BMW bikes are made with high-quality parts and materials that are more expensive to replace.
  • BMW Motorrad uses more complex and advanced technology and systems that may require specialized tools and skills to diagnose and fix.
  • BMW motorcycles may also have fewer dealers and service centers available, which may charge higher rates for their services.

What Are the Most Reliable BMW Motorcycle Models?

Here are three models included in the ranks of BMW Motorrad’s most reliable motorcycle models:


The BMW R1200GS adventure bike is known for its durability and long-lasting performance, making it a popular choice among on/off-road riders.

It stocks a 1170cc air/liquid-cooled boxer-twin engine that delivers 125 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque.

The R1200GS hosts a range of reliability-enhancing features and options, such as ABS, traction control, electronic suspension, and navigation.


As a popular and accessible dual-sport adventure bike, the F800GS is known for its reliability and versatility. It has a 798cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine that produces 85 hp and 61 lb-ft of torque.

The 798cc version of the GS also has a lightweight and agile chassis, a 21-inch front wheel, and a 6.3-gallon fuel tank and performs reliably for both on-road and off-road riding.

R nineT

The BMW R nineT is a retro-inspired bike engineered to offer a unique blend of classic style and modern performance and is often cited as one of the more reliable BMW motorcycle models.

Equipping a 1170cc air/oil-cooled boxer-twin engine that makes 110 hp and 86 lb-ft of torque, the R nine T’s minimalist design, modular frame, and customizable appearance make it a reliable yet fun and engaging bike to ride.

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