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BMW R 1100 RL reviews

4.4
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Reliability
4.4
Overall quality
4.4
Performance
4.4
Comfort
4.4

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14 ratings and reviews

Voted most helpful review

Brian Zubia

South Bend , Indiana

Reviewed on 2012-03-25

Motorcycle reviewed2001 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
My 2001 black with white pin stripe, as of March 2012, has 50,553 miles on it and has never had a problem. It has been a fantastic motorcycle for daily commuting, twisty road Sunday rides, touring and even seen a track days (yes, I said track day). I have ridden this bike over 5,500 miles from Chicago to the most Southern point in Mexico and Yucatan and back. I've done a few cross country trips all without problems. With all the miles my stock rear shocks were getting soft and saggy. A few weeks ago I did replace the front and rear with Ohlins shocks at $1,300. Shocks are a wear and tear item. I read a review here where the rider said the exhaust was too quiet for him. The stock exhaust is almost silent, yery stealthy! But I did miss a little rumble and wanted to make a few performance changes. I decided to drop 28 lbs. and gain better Bhp by changing the exhaust to a full Two Brothers Racing ($289) setup. I also added a Techlusion Tfi ($169) fuel/air tuner like a power commander. Right away the exhaust note blew me away. This bike rumbles like a Ducati with Termigonis! The weight loss and hp make a huge difference in "get up and go". I will say I love the increase in performance but when on long distance rides, I wish I had the stock silencer on it purely for the peace and quiet. The RL handled twisty curves with grace and now with Ohlin suspension, it feels surgically precise and I feel very, very confident in corners. The R1100RL can be a great all-around bike. It has the museum quality in it's throw back classic BMW styling with new technology performance. It's a great bike for shorter height riders as the seat has three height settings from 29.6-31. 5 inches. You do feel like rider and bike become one. I think everyone who truly rides should own 2-3 bikes. It's a fun bike, a commuter and long distance tourer. This bike is fun, but not as fun as a Ducati sport bike. Although, it will still have your heart pounding and put an ear to ear smile on your face! It is a fantastic city commuter. I have even ridden a suit and tie to work on this stylish machine. I added the Parabellum Scout faring so with side cases, tank bag and large BMW bag on the optional luggage rack, it will get the job done riding long distance tour bike, but not as comfortable as the new K1600GTL on long trips. This why I say you always need the right bike for the job. Some are more versatile than others. BMW does a great job at making a bikes that can have multiple uses. The R1100RL really does this well! This is one bike I don't think I will ever sell.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Jay Ryan

Troy, New York

Reviewed on 2003-03-18

Motorcycle reviewed2001 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
Have had mine for 3 years and love it. Not a problem. But I wish that the Germans would go to Iraq with us!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Dave Whittaker

Baltimore, Maryland

Reviewed on 2002-07-29

Motorcycle reviewed2000 BMW R 1100 RL

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1.0
I loved this bike when it was working properly. Unfortunately that was not very often. I won't go into the numerous minor, but annoying, repairs that this bike required. I don't have the energy or memory to hit them all. Some of the more serious problems were the cracked subframe and the complete exhaust system replacement. The stalling is what finally did it for me though. The bike had a stalling problem from the day I bought it until it went back to BMW. The dealer made numerous attempts to fix the problem but the only result was to add backfiring and black smoke from the exhaust to the list of troubles. BMW NA was rude, untruthful and pointedly unhelpful in my attempts to get the bike replaced. Finally I ended up suing the dealer and BMW NA. They settled and I got my money back. I can understand a mechanical problem with a bike. I cannot understand or accept BMW's behavior in this case. They were deliberately unhelpful. They did not stand behind their product and did not support the customer. If BMW had replaced the bike(or even repaired the problem) they would have earned a customer for life. Instead they've convinced me that I should never buy another of their products. I was foolish. I belived the hype about BMW. In my experience they do not deserve the quality reputation they enjoy. On a happier note, my Triumph Sprint RS has been a great bike.
Reliability
1.0
Quality
1.0
Performance
1.0
Comfort
1.0
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Voted most helpful review

Jay Ryan

Troy, New York

Reviewed on 2002-06-02

Motorcycle reviewed2001 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
Bought the bike last year. It was the last one in Albany NY. Its a great bike and everyone loves it. Not a problem and it seems to get better as it breaks in.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

craig

Bellflower, California

Reviewed on 2002-03-11

Motorcycle reviewed2001 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
i now have 6k on the bike and it runs better all the time. A real highway cruiser. The bike is well thought out and very functional. The instrumentation is great with the analog clock. I had a Harley Sportster as a previous bike, I will never go back.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Tom Wiley

Austin, Texas

Reviewed on 2002-01-24

Motorcycle reviewed2000 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
About three months after I bought this bike, a friend sent me an email to check out a bike review she'd found on the web about my new scooter. I did and was very pleased. What I found was that a California based zine had a road test on my year and model and called it the Decades Best Bike for the Money. Pretty strong words. Well, I've had the bike for 18 months and have put almost 30,000 miles on it, and I'd have to totally agree with them. My last ride was an 800 plus touring bike. I wanted a lighter, more responsive canyon carver, but one that I could still set up for touring. Working with a clean slate, as a naked bike is, I was able to set it up my way. First, the canyon carver part. While the ergonomic are a tad bit cramped for my sub 6 foot frame, it's not uncomfortable. But the slightly agressive riding position puts me where I need to be to really get into a curve. The effort on my part is minimal. The bike really reads my mind. I found out early that I'd better be ready for the next curve, because the bike was already there. At 80 hp, it's the power baby of the Beemer twin lineup, but that's still a hell of lot more than I've ever had before. It's a speeding ticket waiting to happen. You just don't realize you're going as fast as you are. Although it doesn't have ABS, this scoot has the best brakes I've ever used. The bike is so forgiving. And with gobs of torque, I can still shortshift it and lug around town like I used to on my cruiser. Now, the touring part. Since its purchase, my Roadster has sprouted an Aeroflow windscreen, Russell seats, a luggage rack, padded passenger backrest with a T-Bag, OEM hard bags on the side, OEM tankbag, ThrottleMeister speed control, padded grips, and more I'm probably not remembering. I love this bike. With BMW's reputation for reliability, this may be my last bike.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Howard Larkin

Chicago, Illinois

Reviewed on 2002-01-21

Motorcycle reviewed2000 BMW R 1100 RL

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4.0
The R 1100 RL is an excellent bike overall -- though mine has had a few significant problems. The bike requires a little more committment than others I have owned. First, there's the break-in period. It lasts about 5,000 miles. For the first 1,500 or so the bike shook like a demon above 4,000 rpm. Then it smoothed out. With 8,500 miles it's smooth all the way up. Second, there's the oil consumption. The bike started out consuming about a quart every 1,000 miles. It's down to about a quart every 3,000, but you need to keep a close eye on the oil level. Third, there's the engine surging. My bike can be very brupt coming off closed throttle and sometimes surges perceptibly at 3,000 or so rpm. Synching the trottle bodies at 6,000 iles helped but did not completely eliminate this problem. The abruptness at the low end is fading but not completely gone. Last, there's the weird stuff. At about 300 miles, my battery went dead for no apparent reason. OK, a weak battery, so what? At 6,800 miles, oil began seeping out around the site glass. My dealer repalced it on warranty. Less than 100 miles later it popped out, along with about half the oil in the crankcase, dousing my left boot and the rear tire with oil. Luckily I was able to pull over and shut down before any engine damage was done. Then there's the occassional stall. When coming off th throttle, the engine occassionally dies, though this probelm also seems to be fading as time goes by. So what's the payoff? A superbly smooth, quick bike with excellent suspension and brakes. It is very stable at highway speeds up to 100 mph, which is as fast as I've had it going. The shaft drive is great with no jacking. I ride every chance I get. The bike gets smoother all the time and is a great touring machine. I plan to keep it for good.
Reliability
4.0
Quality
4.0
Performance
4.0
Comfort
4.0
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Voted most helpful review

Vance Young

Wabash, Indiana

Reviewed on 2002-01-19

Motorcycle reviewed2000 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
Let me begin by saying this is my first bike in over 20 years. After a not-so-nice divorce I treated myself to something I always wanted. The banks wouldn't loan me money to buy anything EXCEPT a BMW. That should tell you something! The bike is almost too big for a novice. Note I said ALMOST. After about 300 miles on it I became confident enough to take the driving part of my test. The examiners couldn't believe I used an 1100 cc bike instead of the little 250 cc jobs eveyone else used. It handles THAT good! The bad news is my dealer went belly-up, so now I have to drive 70 miles or so to get it serviced. WAIT, that's GOOD! The BMW brand accessories are salty, but there are a lot of other stuff out there if you look hard enough. Suggestion: buy a GOOD riding suit. I drive every weekend when there isn't snow on the ground. You don't see any Harley riders out in 15 degree weather (but you will see me). I could go on and on, but I won't! Write me if you want. And if you see one of these...BUY IT!
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

The Belgian

Dallas, Texas

Reviewed on 2002-01-09

Motorcycle reviewed2001 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
Hello everybody, I bought my bike in November, 2000 and have a little more than 8,500 miles on it so far. What can I say: "What a perfect standard bike!" After 5,000 miles I really felt this engine loosening up. Every 1,000 miles after that ... smoothness galore! This is my second bike. Before this one I had a BMW F650. After one year I wanted more power and stability so I upgraded to the R1100RL. Feels much safer now on the highway at 80 mph. This bike feels like a train on tracks! I love the seating position and the heated grips. The only negative point I feel are those spokes. They look wonderful but cleaning them takes forever! My wife enjoys sitting on the back when we go on little trips. She says she feels that this is a far more stable bike and that she has more space too. By the looks of it you don't assume that this bike is fast but I can assure you that she can kick butt if necessary. In a few years I am planning on buying the R1150RT while definitely holding onto this one. It's a keeper! I wish all of you safe and happy motorcycle-moments for 2002.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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Voted most helpful review

Scott B.

USA

Reviewed on 2001-08-12

Motorcycle reviewed2001 BMW R 1100 RL

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5.0
This is my second bike, having bought and sold a Buell Blast in the course of 3 months. don't have a lot to compare it too but this bike is smooth and powerful but not overpowering. Still braking the bike in but so far its great in the twisties and stable at speed. I have the ABS brakes, which I would highly recommend for beginning riders. One good thing is that you don't see a lot of them on the road. No complaints, anticipate many happy miles ahead.
Reliability
5.0
Quality
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
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