Just like their cars, BMW manufactures luxury motorcycles known for their performance, style, and technology.
Still, due to the unique engineering, a common question among riders who are interested in buying a used or new BMW motorcycle is, how long do they last?
This article investigates the factors that affect the longevity of BMW motorcycles, highlighting some of the longest-lasting models in the brand’s history and comparing them to other motorcycles to find out just how long they last.
Here’s the Short Answer to How Many Miles and Years BMW Motorcycles Last:
The longevity of BMW motorcycles depends on multiple factors, such as the model, maintenance, mileage, and riding style. Online survey sources suggest that BMW motorcycles can last up to 200,000 to 300,000 miles or more if well-maintained and cared for.
Some of the longest-lasting models include the R1200GS, F800GS, and R nineT.
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, maintenance frequency, storage habits, and riding style.
Here are some real-life examples of BMW motorcycles with high mileage:
- A 1975 BMW R75/5 with 387,000 miles on it. The owner said that the bike had normal maintenance throughout its life and was still running well. (Source: bmwmoa)
- A 2005 BMW R1200RT with 225,000 miles on it. The owner said that the bike had been ridden in 48 states and six countries and had relatively cheap repairs and maintenance. The bike was still running great, and they had no plans to replace it. (Source: r1200gs.info)
- A 1999 BMW K1200LT with 275,000 miles on it. The owner said that the bike was his daily commuter and long-distance tourer and had been a fantastic bike that never left him stranded. The bike still looked good and rode smoothly. (Source: bmwlt.com)
How Many Years Do BMW Motorcycles Last?
BMW Motorrad motorcycles can last for decades, depending on how often and aggressively they’re ridden, and how well they are maintained. Some well-kept BMW motorcycles can last for over 40 years, while less-responsibly maintained Motorrads may last for less than 10.
Don’t take our word for it; here are some real-life examples of BMW motorcycles with long lifespans:
- A 1985 BMW R80RT with 150,000 miles on it. The owner said that the bike was his first and only bike, and he loved it. According to him, the bike had been a faithful companion for many adventures and memories and was still starting every time and handling well. (Source: advrider)
- A 1982 BMW R100RS with 100,000 miles on it. The owner said that the bike was his second BMW, and he had owned it for over 20 years. The bike had been reliable and enjoyable to ride and had no major issues or breakdowns. (Source: motorcycleclassics)
- A 1971 BMW R75/5 with 50,000 miles on it. The owner said that the bike was his third BMW, and he had owned it for over 40 years. The bike had been well maintained and cared for and had no problems or failures.
The bike was still in its original condition and looked beautiful. (Source: Motorcycleclassics)
Make sure you also read about how reliable BMW motorcycles are.
How Long Do BMW Motorcycles Last Compared to Similar Brands?
Below is an illustrative comparison of how long BMW motorcycles last compared to similar brands:
BMW vs. Honda
According to a Consumer Reports survey, BMW motorcycles don’t last as long as Honda bikes.
Honda motorcycles have a lower failure percentage and lower maintenance costs than BMW motorcycles, as well as more dealers and service centers available.
Therefore, Hondas are maintained more regularly and consistently than BMWs, giving them a leg up when it comes to the raw percentage of life-depleting failures.
That said, while Honda motorcycles may also have simpler and cheaper parts and technology than BMW motorcycles, BMW motorcycles can offer more performance, style, and modified technology than Honda’s recent lineup.
BMW vs Ducati
BMW motorcycles typically last longer than Ducati motorcycles, according to online sources. Ducati motorcycles have a higher failure rate and higher maintenance costs than BMW motorcycles, as well as fewer dealers and service centers available.
Also, Ducati motorcycles tend to utilize more complex and equally expensive machinery and electrical equipment than BMW motorcycles. That said, to the right rider, Ducati’s stable offers more character, personality, and excitement than BMW.
BMW vs. Triumph
While some sources say BMW motorcycles last longer and are more reliable than Triumph, others celebrate Triumphs for their durable longevity.
Triumph motorcycles have a mixed reputation for reliability and longevity, as they’ve had some issues with oil leaks in the past, as has BMW.
Triumph bike parts and dealerships can be as exclusive as BMW, depending on where you live, but BMW is almost always more expensive. This has been a tempting incentive for Motorrad owners to delay routine services more often.
Still, while both brands prioritize innovation and originality, Triumph motorcycles may offer more in the realm of heritage and nostalgia factor.
How Soon Should You Expect Rust on BMW Motorcycles?
There is no definitive answer to how soon one should expect rust on BMW motorcycles, as it depends on many factors. As a general rule, rust shouldn’t appear within the first five years of ownership unless there are exceptional circumstances.
After that, rust may start to show up gradually, depending on how well the bike is maintained and protected.
BMW motorcycles undergo corrosion protection treatments that are usually comprehensive to fight against rust. That said, rust may still form as the bike gets older, especially if it is not properly maintained and appropriately stored away from corrosive airborne chemicals.
If your BMW bike is neglected, abused, or damaged, rust may form sooner than usual.
The timeframe and extent of rust formation vary depending on the bike’s model, year, and climate in which you’re riding.
Moreover, some parts, such as the exhaust pipes, spokes, bolts, and brackets are more prone to rust than others.
Are New BMW Models Expected to Last Long?
New BMW models are expected to last long, but they may not be as reliable as some older models, which are easier to fix at home for cheap.
Also, new BMW models have more advanced technology and features, such as electronic suspension, traction control, ABS, and navigation.
While these features enhance the bike’s longevity, reliability, performance, comfort, and safety, they can also increase the complexity and cost of maintenance and repair.
Additionally, new BMW models may also have more recalls and service bulletins than older models, which may indicate some quality issues or defects, but also could reflect a more conscious brand approach to dealing with flaws.
Therefore, new BMW models may last long but require more intricate care and attention than older models. On this note, make sure you check if BMW motorcycle is good for beginners.
What Are the Most Common Problems on BMW Motorcycles?
Some of the most common problems on BMW motorcycles are related to the fuel pump, oil leaks, and electrical systems. These problems can affect the bike’s performance, efficiency, and safety and may require costly repairs or replacements.
Here are some examples of the most common problems with BMW motorcycles:
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 a more efficient pump design to fix or prevent this issue and enhance the bike’s longevity.
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 oil consumption, smoke, and fire hazards, impacting how long your BMW motorcycle will last.
The oil leaks are often caused by worn or damaged seals, gaskets, or hoses and may need to be replaced or repaired.
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.
If left unchecked, these problems can affect the functionality and reliability of the bike’s features and systems.
Mind you, preserving the lifespan of a newer BMW motorcycle model requires routine diagnostic tests and software updates to locate and fix electrical failures before they cause irreversible damage.
Are BMW Motorcycles Expensive to Repair?
BMW motorcycles are usually more expensive to repair than some other brands, such as Honda, Yamaha, or Suzuki. This is because BMW motorcycles are made with high-quality parts and materials that are more expensive to replace.
These motorcycles also have more complex and advanced technology systems that may require specialized tools and skills to diagnose and fix.
BMW motorcycles may also have fewer dealers and service centers available in your area and often charge higher rates for their services. Therefore, the motorcycle owners may have to pay more for repairs and maintenance than owners of other brands.
What BMW Models Last the Longest?
There is no definitive answer to what BMW models last the longest. This is because different models may have different reliability ratings and longevity factors, the most important being storage, maintenance, and riding habits.
That said, online reports suggest that three of the longest-lasting BMW models are:
This adventure bike is known for its durability and long-lasting performance, making it a popular choice among riders. It has a 1170cc air/liquid-cooled boxer-twin engine that delivers 125 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque.
It also has a range of features and options, such as ABS, traction control, electronic suspension, and navigation, to help enhance its longevity.
Another popular adventure bike, the F800GS, is known for its durability and versatility. It has a 798cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine that produces 85 hp and 61 lb-ft of torque.
It also has a lightweight and agile chassis, a 21-inch front wheel, and a 6.3-gallon fuel tank. The bike can handle both on-road and off-road riding without shortening its lifespan.
BMW R nineT
This retro-inspired modern classic offers a distinct combination of old-school style and modern performance and is often cited as one of the most reliable models in the current stable.
It has a 1170cc air/oil-cooled boxer-twin engine that generates 110 hp and 86 lb-ft of torque. But since it’s lightweight, the modular frame is minimalist in design, the engine is never stressed, which helps it to last for miles of fun, dependable riding.
That said, these models are not guaranteed to last longer than other models, as longevity depends on many factors besides the model itself.
Mind you, any BMW model can last long if it is well taken care of by its owner. Conversely, any BMW model can fail prematurely if it is neglected or abused by its rider.
On this note, make sure you read about how long motorcycles engines last.