BMW R 1100 GS Motorcycle Reviews on Cycle Insider (1)
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2002-03-18 1999 BMW R 1100 GS Dual Sport View Listings

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I really like this bike when riding backroads. It's very acceptable on the freeway, and a very good tourer with an aftermarket screen and saddle. I don't like BMW's customer service (they basically suggested I should rather not buy another BMW, and this is to a couple who own the GS, an F650 and a 330xi, and at the time I was looking to buy a K12RS). Dealer problems have been extremely expensive servicing, over $800 at the 12k services, even under warranty, as well as incompetence (except for Freeman Cycle in Beverley, MA, and they are quite expensive) - see below. It has surged to a lesser or greater extent most of its life (the only dealer I trust reckons this can be fixed at the expense of fuel mileage and power). The battery failed at 8k miles / 10 months (no warranty as BMW claimed this was my fault, in spite of this being a service item, and in spite of the dealer being asked to check it 2 weeks before). 6K service: dealer did not check battery (see above), did not check ABS lights faulting ('just ride it' was his comment), cross-threaded the oil drain screw, and did not fit a gasket. He also wanted it for a whole week to do the service. The fuel filter exploded at 16k miles. Three weeks out of action, as the dealer only puts bikes bought from him on priority (even though we bought the F650 from him and BMW put the original dealer out of business). You can't fix it yourself as that would void the warranty. The fuel tank imploded at 18k: blocked cannister, according to the dealer. No warranty. The injectors, a throttle body, fuel filter and a few other items were replaced at 24k / 3 years, under warranty. It still surges (a bit less when I balance / tune it myself according to internet recommendations), it still vibrates between 75 and 90 mph, the ABS lights still fault out whenever the temperatures are below 50F, and often even above that. I really like it otherwise, it handles very well, has good (if somewhat boring high-end) power, good brakes, rides extremely well, especially across broken pavement. It has a very good mix of comfort, handling, ride. I have used it for a fair bit of dirt roads, but it is too big, heavy and expensive for me to feel comfortable on dirt. The original screen and saddle didn't do their job very well, and with an Aeroflow large screen and lowers, fuel mileage sucks (around 36 on the freeway), with a safe range of under 200 miles. Shocking as my '88 Kawasaki Concours in similar conditions with much better wind protection always gets over 40, and goes at least 260 miles. My wife prefers riding on the old Connie, mostly a function of superior comfort, wind protection and smoother (non-jerky, less vibration) powerband. This from a person who really believes in BMW (she is the F650 / 330xi person). Upshot, if the service and attitude had been acceptable, I would be riding a K1200RS today. If the GS had been unfailingly reliable (instead of being in the garage waiting for service and repairs for 12 weeks in 3 years), I would be riding a K12RS. As it is, I am waiting for the FJR1300 or ST1300. Until that happens, I am probably going to buy a newer Concours, and put the GS up for sale.
- Tony , Moultonboro, New Hampshire

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