BMW R 1200 CL Review from Canada

2003 BMW R 1200 CL

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2008
Acceleration marks 6 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 7 / 10
Handling marks 8 / 10
Braking marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance41000 kilometres
Previous motorcycleYamaha XV1000/TR1

Summary:

Good intro touring bike, but buy some tie down straps to secure the saddle bags

Faults:

ABS idiot lights go on in the rain in years 1 and 2, then on permanently in year 3. BMW tried many times to fix, finally replaced cable harness ($1,800 Canadian, under warranty).

Hard saddle bags failed many times, both sides, mostly due to poor latch design. One time I lost $2,000 worth of goods (went back looking, could not find). BMW did not compensate at all.

Battery died exactly 2 years later. I would expected at least 3 years. Trickled charged at times during the winter.

General Comments:

Good:

It is a low cost touring bike (about 2/3rd the price of their high end, but about the same as other brands), and still good enough for my 8,000 KM 23 day trip.

4 headlights!!! That's 2 low beams and 2 high beams. I can see very well at night, and no fear of a bulb burnout being an issue. Oncoming traffic can see me well too (wide profile, lots of lights).

Automatic signal cancel (15 second timer).

Heated seats, heated grips, they work okay, but if it is that cold, then you need warm gear anyhow, and the feet still get cold (I did drive once when it was snowing).

Seat comfort is "okay", but could have been shaped better to avoid cutting into thighs.

Has a clock (oddly useful, as I rode the bike to work a lot...).

Bad:

Maintenance is EXPENSIVE.

No room for highway pegs (some like them, some not). On long trips on back highways (little traffic), I like them. Missed them (well, there are some after market, but $400 for a pair is too steep).

Dealers were "nice", but could not completely solve issues in a reasonable time. Even with a 15 day in shop maintenance for the ABS under warranty, they could not fix in time (had to use bike without ABS).

The bike is "top heavy" because the windshield is mounted on the handlebars. This made cornering a delicate act (and a real problem).

Bike sits very high due to engine design, so not for small people (I am 6 feet, and *just* okay for me).

No driver backrest, but after market solved that (at $500).

No center stand.

Tail light is better than my previous bike, but I still went out and bought after market.

Forget the stereo system (a $2,000 option). I did not have it, and other owners with the same bike rarely used theirs.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 2nd January, 2008

Average review marks: 6.3 / 10, based on 1 review