2003 BMW R 1200 CL

General Comments:

This is my first touring bike. I ride mostly by myself and enjoy every minute. I am 62 and it took me over one summer to get used to the weight and handling of the bike. I had not ridden in over 40 years and my last bike was a Canam 175.

This BMW, once you get used to it, you become totally comfortable, and attach to the bike. I meet all kinds of motorcycle in the Rocky Mountains and I would not trade this bike for any of them. This machine is a classic, it's got it own style and is easy to control. Once you're on the go, you rarely have to shift to a lower gear even in the Rocky hills. I can lead or follow any bike out there running at a reasonable speed. My trip are usually between 600 to 1000km per day with only a few stops for gas; it does over 300km per tank.

Maintenance for me is an air filter, an oil filter and an oil change once in a while. Never had a breakdown; the engineering of this bike is just awesome. Just turn the key, push the starter button and go.

If you find one, buy it, you will not regret it. I would buy another BMW today.

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

Review Date: 15th April, 2016

28th Feb 2017, 12:47

I agree that it's a comfortable ride. Somewhat under powered, which is a good thing considering the amount of torque steer caused by the boxer engine. It will push you into a right corner and out of a left. I had my 1200CL for a year, put 22000 km on it, sold it and bought a Yamaha Royal Star. It was quite an upgrade. In closing it is a comfortable bike with good features, but handles like a bumper car.

2003 BMW R 1200 CL


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


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:


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...).


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