Survey of BMW R1100GS Owners

Survey of BMW R1100GS Owners

In March 1998 a survey of R11GS owners was carried out on the
BMW GS Mailing List; here are the summarized results from the 70 owners worldwide who responded.

Survey Index




Not all questions were answered by all 70 owners who replied so the numbers don't all add up.

[ Back to Survey Index ]

About the Owners

Total replies: 70


Gender: M/F 69/1


  0  /    5   /   29   /   24  /   11  /   1   /  0
[ Back to Survey Index ]

What made you buy one?

test ride/good deal/looks/friend has one/other
       21/    5    /  2  /       1      / 42



I had always wanted another bike for street riding. I had thought that a BMW would be a poor choice. Then one day I rode a friends R100GSPD off-road and on road. WOW, I had to have one.

test ride/friend has one/looks

You'll laugh, but I wanted a bike to hang some Jesse bags on... (really, that was only a small bit. I wanted a bigger bike for commuting, and I wanted shaft drive)

My other bike was getting worn out

Mag article

Reliability, longevity

Dreamed of it for years

Sick of my R100GSPD breaking

Always thought Beemers were cool and especially liked the off-road aspects of the GS

Erm, wanted a all round bike e.g. good for touring and scratching and something that I can pop into town on etc

It was a gift

Spec sheet, good looks, long tour and high speed characteristics

An old desert rat that was a friend of my mother had an r80g/s, he loved the thing and I always wanted one. I live in Utah and it is an ideal place for a GS. I never owned another moto. You should have seen my dealer when I drove off after asking him you shift it! I just wanted to try it.

Rave reviews on the internet mailing lists

Test ride and fell in love with it!

BMW's reputation, no other bike available at the time with cat, abs, shaft-drive

Taking trip to Alaska this summer, wanted peace of mind regarding reliability.

Best bike for adventure touring/commuting/twisties/some off-road

bike style / all round performance / technology

Reliable Engineering/Looks Good/Always wanted one

General concept

Its unique purpose

BMW reputation



Reputation, reliability, looks


It was time to buy a replacement for my R100RT, didn't like the looks of the prospective R11RT, always heard GS's were the best all-around bike...




Best Giant Trail bike available (various sources)

I rode a GS in Europe on an Edelweiss tour and liked it so much I had to buy one.

needed something that would go off road when required

Friend has one, was impressed with handling.


Review in Brit magazine "BIKE", other reviews, BMW reputation

Own BMW cars, ABS, Telelever, Multi Use, Large/tall

They make no more Yamaha FJ1200. I wanted tourer capable of of anything between earth and sky.

test ride/friend has one/looks

I have always enjoyed the bizarre looks of the 11gs and found a good deal on a second hand (almost new) one. I also do alot of touring 2-up and needed the extra horsepower and torque for gravel-dirt road travel.

test ride, spectacular handling, always wanted a BMW

Incredible ride and ABS

Had huge tank slapper on my R90 when I hit a cat. Fortunately no injuries or damage (except that the cat is now slightly used), but decided a stronger front end (telelever) was necessary.

[ Back to Survey Index ]

About your R11GS

Model year:
             4/21/23/16/ 6
Is this your first BMW?
Bought new?
Approx annual mileage:
up to 5000/5-10000/10-20000/over 20000
       5  /  24   /   28   /   12
Percentage of annual mileage offroad:
        23/46/ 0/ 0/  0
Percentage of annual mileage with passenger:
        26/34/ 5/ 3/  1
Bike mostly used for:
          56%  /  20%   /   21%   /    3%



mostly riding on sat or evenings

Adventure touring

Sport touring (x 2)

touring/commuting/bicycle race officiating and support

Touring and Rallies


Twisties & Touring into Thailand

[ Back to Survey Index ]

What do you think of the looks?

          Butt ugly/OK/Not bad/Handsome/Work of art
              8    / 9/   8   /   13   /    22

          Butt ugly work of art  9



Butt ugly/Work of art (something so ugly has to be celebrated. To misquote tibor kallman (head of M & Co.) "it does not look good, but it accepts its homliness")

Muscularly statuesque

Much better since I removed the top front fender

Funky, grasshopper in red

Function more important than looks and influences how I think a machine looks. My GS - looks great.

Bad to the bone

It's so ugly it's good looking. Like Mick Jaegger.


Not butt ugly but not cute either

In a class by itself - weird

Good (in a hooligan way)


OK but damn close to butt ugly!

Butt ugly but thats why I bought it

Strangely beautiful- insect, terminator looking

A bold fashion statement

[ Back to Survey Index ]

ABS and tires

Have you ever triggered the ABS when braking?
            YES/NO/HAVEN'T GOT
             60/ 4/  5 
Favourite tires:
OE: Michelin T66/Metzeler Enduro 4
       21       /   17

Avon/Bridgstone/Dunlop/Continental/No favorite/Other
 15 /     9    /  1   /     2     /     4     /  0
[ Back to Survey Index ]

Favorite/Least Favorite Features

Absolute Favorite Feature

  • Allround ability
  • Handling (on road)
  • Touring ability
  • Pulling power (torque)
  • Riding position
  • Character
  • Reliability
  • Comfort
  • Build quality
  • Offroad ability
  • Instrumentation
  • ABS
  • Fuel consumption
  • Looks
  • Everything on this list
  • 38
  • 12
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 1

Least Favorite Feature

  • Weight
  • None
  • Cleaning (esp spoked wheels)
  • Offroad ability
  • Fuel consumption
  • Comfort
  • Oil sight glass
  • Seat height
  • Heavy and tall
  • Price
  • Exhaust noise (lack of)
  • Reliability
  • Instrumentation
  • Clutch and transmission
  • Gearbox
  • Surging
  • State of tune - detonates
  • Hitech engine management system
  • Mickey mouse tool box
  • Acceleration (it's no ZX-11)
  • Sidestand stops engine
  • Fairing
  • Short tire life
  • Allround ability
  • Touring ability
  • Handling (on road)
  • Pulling power (torque)
  • Build quality
  • Riding position
  • ABS
  • Character
  • Looks
  • 26
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

[ Back to Survey Index ]

BMW Accessories

Favorite BMW Accessory

  • Heated grips
  • Saddlebags
  • None
  • ABS
  • Multivario tank bag
  • Handprotectors
  • Rider Information Display
  • Topcase
  • Catalyst
  • K12 rims
  • BMW helmet
  • BMW boots
  • Throttle grip
  • BMW alarm
  • BMW engine bars
  • 31
  • 10
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0

Least Favorite BMW Accessory

  • None
  • Saddlebags (small and awkward shape)
  • Catalyst
  • Multivario tank bag (small and expensive)
  • BMW engine bars
  • Handprotectors
  • Heated grips (good idea but don't work well on the R11GS - no good below 30 F)
  • Rider Information Display
  • Top case
  • Saddle bag latch
  • Flashers
  • Puncture repair kit (difficult to use)
  • High-beam indicator (too bright)
  • BMW alarm
  • 26
  • 10
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 0

[ Back to Survey Index ]

Aftermarket non-BMW Accessories

Screens Seats Comfort Hard luggage Tank bags Electrical Performance Miscellaneous

Non-BMW accessories fitted

  • Givi
  • Aeroflow
  • Parabellum
  • Wudo
  • 11
  • 7
  • 5
  • 2
  • Corbin
  • Mayer
  • Russell
  • Travelcade heated
  • Airhawk seat pad
  • other
  • passenger backrest
  • 9
  • 4
  • 3
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • Lower footpegs
  • Acerbis handguards
  • Cruise control
  • Back bars
  • Softer handgrips
  • Fat foot
  • Brake snakes on rear brake and shift levers
  • Lever skins on clutch and front brake levers
  • Heated grip wrappers
  • 4
  • 3
  • 6
  • 3
  • 1
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • GIVI topcase
  • GIVI saddlebags
  • Al Jesse Panniers
  • Touratech Panniers
  • non BMW topcase
  • large left bag
  • 6
  • 4
  • 5
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • RKA tank bag
  • Roadmaster tankbag
  • POLO Enduro tank bag
  • Chase-Harper full tank cover
  • tank panniers
  • Bagster tank bag
  • U-Bag (for 2-up camping)
  • Gearsack soft luggage
  • Lockhart-Phillips 1/2 tank bra
  • large 'fanny pack' with two water bottle holders wrapped around the tank bag
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • PIAA lights
  • Hyper lights
  • Bosch running lights
  • Driving lights
  • Touratech dual headlight with wig wag alternating flasher
  • Motolites
  • Buddylites
  • GPS
  • Fiamm horns
  • Alarm
  • Intercom
  • CB radio
  • Disconnect sidestand switch
  • 12
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1
  • Unifilter air cleaner
  • K&N air filter
  • D&D low pipe
  • BMP exhaust
  • Staintune exhaust
  • RS cat/muffler
  • Ohlins rear
  • Progressive shocks
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • Touratech 41 liter tank
  • Engine bars
  • ICO Enduro speedo/odometer
  • Bicycle computer
  • Acerbis road book
  • Top-of-the-Line Rack
  • Rear tray
  • Larger rear rack
  • Top-of-the-line exhaust guard
  • Top-of-the-line headlight/oilcooler guard
  • Lockable oil filler
  • Bobs filler plug
  • PD plastic headlight guard mounted to 5 Star crash bar
  • IBMWR license plate
  • 1
  • 6
  • 1
  • 3
  • 1
  • 3
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
[ Back to Survey Index ]

Dealers and Problems

How do you rate your normal BMW dealer:
          2 /   26  /  40

        Don't have a dealer: 1
Does your bike have a full service history:
            62/ 8
Serious problems:

None: 29

Question left unanswered: 12

94 model
- replaced gearbox 22000 km
- electric conection to ignitionlock?!  broke 65000 km
- Cylinderhead gasket started leaking 70000 km

94 model
What's serious? This is all that's 
ever gone wrong with the bike from new apart from 
normal maintainance items:
     1. Camchain tensioner broke off and dropped to
        bottom of crankcase without causing further
        damage. Bike off road for about 1 week.
     2. Sender unit for gear display on RID failed,
        replaced in a day. 
     3. Oil seal on final drive failed, resulting 
        in gear oil dripping onto wheel and tyre. 
        Replaced in a day.

94 model 
     Problem 1 Hard to shift
     Solution: clutch replace

     Problem 2: leaking valve cover gaskets 
     Solution: replaced 3 times including one valve
     Problem 3: Shaky Mirror
     Solution: replaced handlebars (updated version) 

Clutch is wearing (7000 km, some serious off-road riding)

95 model
Oil leak at the engine/tranny junction.
It was fixed by ONE drop Loctite and 7000 BEF (190 USD)
No warranty extension by BMW Belgium -:(

95 model
Surging, poor starting, no idle when cold, vibration

95 model
Leaking front master cylinder, bike out of warr, 
they traded me a new one for old, I installed.


95 model - Gear slipping in 3rd - Mod fitted - came 
back 2 months later - new g/box fitted under warranty

95 model - long-term problem with pinging. Replacing 
catcode plug with euro version helped.

95 model - ABS went south at 11K miles. Replaced
under warranty.

95 model - The bike has been fine, but I got squashed 
by a truck last summer and it took the dealer four 
weeks to fix it, and then he couldn't fix the ABS.  
Another dealer found a broken wire in about 20 minutes.

95 model - cat became clogged after riding in Mexico 
and had to be replaced. I opted for a staintune rather
than the stock exhaust since I continue to travel in

95 model
Lots of little niggly things: bad paint, faulty relay,
broken muffler mount kept it at the dealer a total 
of 3 months in the first three years

96 model - Surging / BMP pipe (non-cat)

96 model - Knackered Clutch - Same day Warranty Fix
 - Knackered Gearbox/Shaft (Booked in next week)

96 model - Rear main Seal failure in the transmission 
resulting in complete transmission meltdown.

96 model - Out of sync throttle cables once due to me 
bumping right side cable while removing battery. Bike 
would barely run. 
Fixed it with help via phone from dealer.

96 model - Oil leak, dealer fix under warranty, 1 day.

96 model - blown head gaskets (2 right side, warranty) 
         - speedo cable twice (warranty)

96 model 
oil leak from transmission onto clutch at ~15kkm, 
clutch and main seal replaced under warranty, 8 days. 
Leaked again at ~20kkm.
Clutch and every single seal / o-ring replaced under 
warranty but had to pay for the o-rings (not warranted
by BMW, but at least had nothing to pay for the labour).
6 days. No problems since.

(sometimes) stuck starter pinion at ~38kkm. Cleaned, 
lubed by the dealer at no cost at 40kkm service. 
No problems since.

broken speedo cable at ~ 45kkm, replaced. Work costs 
more than the cable assembly. 1 hour.

97 model
Engine knock, required several repair attempts by 
dealer, could not be resolved even after new barrels, 
pistons, timing chain etc.
BMW eventually supplied brand new complete engine.
Total downtime of just over 3 months in the 9 months
since purchased new. 

97 model - Surging and stalling.  Stalling was fixed 
with proper tunning.

97 model - Surging and stalling (e.g. injection fine 
tuning too sensitive)

97 model - Leaky head gaskets replaced under warranty 
by dealer in one day.

97 model - It is my second one because my first one was
very unreliable and spent many weeks in the garage 
being fixed for one reason or another. I will list the
problems for you.

Petrol leaking from the fuel tank. Easily solved at 
600 mile service, damaged 'O' ring.

Alarm would not de-activate. Had to take train home. 
Fine the next day when warmer. Did the same thing on 
Christmas Eve. Alarm replaced with a Spyball. Would not
operate in the cold. Replaced and sited differently - 
moved from in-between the tank and the engine (just in 
front of the air intake) to under the tank somewhere, 
out of the range of crap thrown up by the tyres etc. 
No more problems.

Fuel consumption increased from 43 mpg to 25 mpg and 
accompanied by frequent and almost deafening backfires.
Returned to garage for about a week, but no change. 
Returned again and wiring replaced. No change.
Finally help sort from BMW and they suggested injector
Injectors replaced and problem solved. In total the 
garage had the bike for over a month with this problem.

Clutch cable broke. Replaced. Broke again after 2 weeks.
Replaced. Broke again after week and a half. Replaced.
Broke again after another two weeks. Replaced. Broke 
again in a week.

This was the final straw as I had lost all confidence 
in the bike being able to get me from A to B and back 
to A without breaking down.

In the end BMW suggested that I have a new bike,
but that I should pay for it. After about a month of 
negotiation I got a new bike. 

I used to have a Honda NX650 Dominator prior to the BM
and the finish was superior. Cleaning the bike during 
winter was very easy and came up looking like new. The
R11GS does not winter so well. The wheels soon look
pitted as do various other exposed parts. This I find 
disappointing. The problem about not being able to 
fill the tank to capacity or risk it being
syphoned out are annoying.

97 model - Rear shock failed and replaced

98 model - SURGING - at dealer now (1200 miles).
STALLING - these things are damned dangerous unless BMW
fixes the stalling problem.  LOTS of folks on the list
have mentioned this.  The surging is just a pain in the
ass - the stalling is a safety defect.  If it weren't 
for these two problems, I have damn near the perfect 
bike.  Until they are fixed - it's a piece of shit!
[ Back to Survey Index ]

Assessment of your R11GS

Ratings from 1 (poor) to 10 (wonderful) Average of responses:
     1  Handling               9.2
     2  Braking                9.0
     3  Touring                8.9
     4  Performance            8.5
     5  Build quality          8.3
     6  Town riding            7.6
     7  Ease of maintenance    7.4

        Average rating         8.4
Is this the best bike you have ever owned?
         64/ 5

No, my R80 G/SPD is

Yes, by far (x2)

Yes, tied with my ST1100

YES - only bike ever owned
If your R11GS was stolen would you buy another?
         62/ 7
If you had to buy another bike but couldn't buy an R11GS which would you buy?
     Triumph Tiger             8
     BMW F650                  7
     BMW R11RT                 7
     BMW R11R                  6
     BMW R100GS/PD (Used)      4
     Honda Africa Twin XRV750  4
     KTM Adventure             4
     BMW R11S (or is it 12S?)  3
     BMW K12RS                 3
     Yamaha TDM850             3
     Kawasaki KLR650           3
     Honda Firestorm VTR1000   2
     Honda ST1100              2
     Honda Hawk                2
     Bimota 500 Vdue           1
     BMW K11                   1
     BMW R11RS                 1
     BMW R12GS (next model?)   1
     BMW R12C                  1
     BMW R850R                 1
     BMW R80GS Basic           1
     HPN                       1
     Cagiva Elefant            1
     Ducati 916                1
     Ducati Monster 900        1
     Ducati ST2                1
     Honda Goldwing            1
     Honda XR6501              1
     Honda XLR650              1
     Honda Transalp            1
     Honda Pacific Coast       1
     Honda 650                 1
     Honda VFR                 1
     Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird 1
     Big Jap road rocket       1
     KTM 620 Multisport        1
     Ride my wife's R100GS PD  1
     Buell                     1 
     Moto Guzzi                1
     Maybe the KTM Adventurer. 
     Maybe a Cagiva Elephant. 
     Maybe a TT600. 
     Weeeh, I want the BMW :-(
[ Back to Survey Index ]

Stories/thoughts on your R11GS



When I was laying out the course for the Reno 200 Dual Sport Ride I found myself at the foot of a jeep trail that would make an experienced dirt bike rider smile in anticipation. On the other hand I was on my R11GS. The trail was very narrow and steep so there was no turning back. I stood up and applied constant throttle and used the bike's mass to keep momentum when climbing over helmet sized rocks and small logs. The bike also kept going through mud and running water. The climb was so rough and steep that I lost all of the contents from my partially open tank bag (eg my clear glasses and maps). My concentration at keeping forward momentum and picking the best path was such that I did not see the tank bag contents jump out. Through all that was there the GS kept walking over and up the trail to the top.

96 model - The only problem I have had with this bike is the seals on the transmission. Other than that it has been problem free.

98 model - As mentioned above -- this is one great motorcycle, EXCEPT for the fact that it surges like a buckin bronco at certain rpms. Some call it character - I say it's poor design. The stalling problem has caused many folks to lose confidence in this bike -- you just never know if it is going to stall or not! My K bike had its shortcomings, but I never questioned its safety or reliability. I do with the oilhead. I have three years on the warranty. If they can get things fixed - I'll keep it. If not - it's history. Otherwise, it's a great bike.

Second R11GS, I totaled a 1995 with 20,000 miles on it in May. The only problems I had with that bike were a burned out tail light. I have 10,000 on this one, and love it.

We use the R11GS in our rental fleet. Just purchased another one. They are popular and have been reliable. They get dropped often due to tall seat and weight.

94 model - this is my 9th beemer and 20th motorcycle. With over 70,000 miles in the last year on the r11 with many offroad, it's truly a remarkable machine. I have alway admired the durability of the beemers, although the 60,000 miles I put on my r100gspd left serious questions about bmw and lack of reliablility. The r1100gs now confirms that these mistakes are now water under the bridge. I can't wait for the next generation of gs. I'd buy one now but i want more, faster, better and all i could get is same thing for more money.

I think that this is about the best allround machine available today and I really love it's goofy styling.

brilliant all round bike, as I'm a short arse I wish the seat was slightly lower (2cm) the after sales service as good as the bike (mixture of Coopers of Reading or Heathrow BMW). I'm off to France tomorrow so this will be my first trip abroad on it so looking forward to it!

It feels like I am dancing with it in the twisties. The suspension is so wonderful it makes me smile when I turn corners.

I love my big GS. I just hate how big heavy and ungainly it is to haul around town or off-road. Still, it does get the job done and on the open road it really shines. It is FUN on the open road. As I say my first ride was pretty funny. The GS is my first motorcycle, and when I bought mine I had not ridden a bike since a friends dirt bike in Sixth Grade. So I was more than a little nervous. My dealer told me to head for the freeway. He was right. By the time I got home I felt OK. Hell of an imposing to bike to learn on!!

Great bike! Superb handling and brakes. Some minor warranty issues, but none so bad that I wouldn't buy a BMW. I never took it offroad, that is why I am replacing my dear departed GS with a Roadster. Same powertrain, similar handling, etc...

First Oilhead bike - long time airhead owner and reluctant to change to something more expensive and less user mainteance / repair friendly. After traveling several thousand miles with a friend riding a GS and reading the praise of other owners on the internet I was convinced I needed to give them (GSs) a try. I may be a convert - time will tell.

- has no oil thermostat for the oil cooler at low temperatures, which prevents the motor warming in resonable time. Solution: piece of card in front of oil cooler to prevent air flow.
- beware tiny spiders getting into the instruments (they build webs and may stick the needles). Instruments can not be opened nondestructively.

The R1100GS is the grown-up hooligan's bike.

I've only had my R11GS for three months, so our relationship is still growing. I wish it was better off-road when carrying luggage. It does better than expected off-road when unloaded.

I believe that BMW got it exactly right with the R80G/S... and has been making it heavier and more complex ever since.

Best all-around bike I know of. Improve the gearbox and it would be perfect.

I was going to buy one of these in the UK but felt the weather protection for the wet weather in the UK was not sufficient. (Then moved to Long Island, USA) Here on Long Island the GS/Weather are a perfect combination. I ride all year round.....

This is a wonderful, wonderful bike. It opens up a whole new world.

The surging is a real fly in the ointment of an otherwise outstanding motorcycle. I tried for four months and many warranty hours to solve the problem via by-the-book BMWNA standards. It did not happen. I am very happy to have solved it through eliminating the restrictive exhaust and cat. On the current models I have heard there is a stalling problem, which would really annoy me. This has not happened to my bike at 16K miles.
Also, the Achilles Heal of the bikes offroad capabilities seems to be, not only the bulk and weight of the bike, but the subframe mounting at the transmission case, which you may already know, has been known to break under heavy load (offroading). I bought my bike for road use only, so it does not worry me as much. But this is a major flaw in the design. It is outrageous that BMW has not corrected it.
In spite of all this, my R11GS is the best all-around, smile-inducing mount I've owned. It is very confidence inspiring in the handling department. I would likely hesitate to get another, mostly for the reasons I've listed but would probably go for it anyway.

too heavy for off-road, not comfortable for high milege touring but love my 11GS - 50,000 miles/3 years


Love this bike. Great looks IMHO; if you can own three bikes you might be better off with something different for off-road, touring and scratching. If you can own only one, this is the one.

I purchased this bike because of it's performance, handling and ergonomics. It seemed to be a big standard. I replaced the stock rims with rims from a K12RS in order to be able to mount sport bike tires. Having completed this project, this is the best handling bike I've owned in over 33 years of riding. I've owned Ducati motorcylces in the recent past, so I know what good handling is.

My R11GS is about 90 pounds lighter than my RT, handles better and I'm not constantly concerned about scratching its beautiful fairing. Also, I can pick it up unaided (once in a parking garage).
(Owner aged "over 65"!)

I had a R100g/s in 1992. It was a great bike. Then I bought a 1994 R1100GS in April 1995. The ride, power, handling and comfort were excellent.

I am now getting out of BMW and I have bought a Honda XR650l from my BMW/HONDA dealer. My dealer has lost his BMW status since BMW has been restructuring in Canada. I have been from New Brunswick to Texas, to California and to Colorado. I always travelled alone and this bike has been exceptionally reliable. My worst problems on those trips were leaky valve cover gaskets and speedometer cables breaking. I love the bike. If I would have kept it, I would have considered changing the seat and the wind screen. I tried an "Aero Screen" but it was terrible. The accessories were very well manufactured. I don't think the aftermarket accessories available are better than the product supplied by BMW.


As the miles progress, I molded my bike to fit me, to become one with each other. I have succeeded in making her the best handling/touring/road friend I've had in approximately 20 bikes that proceeded her in the 39 yrs I've been riding. Yes, it's love.


My previous bike was a BMW F650. Handling equally good, rest was less.

Generally a fantastic bike. Mine has started to rust a little after one winter (I have not yet complained to my dealer, but I will be doing so).

At first was intimidated by size and weight, but got used to it. You can pack incredible amounts of gear on the bike, making two-up camping possible. Excellent handling, I can outperform most street bikes on the pavement. Off road abilities are adequate, as long as you recognize limitations . Previous bike was R100RT, which now seems like a Model T when compared to the ride and performance of the GS

Too soon to comment, only had bike a week. Did 250 miles yesterday, comfy, good handling, will have a good idea at the end of the summer.

Second R11GS. First is declared total-loss, but is currently being rebuilt (into a rat-R11GS)

Although I love the bike, it is my second one. First was replaced due to unreliability.
People tried to warn me about the cost of running a BM, but I have found the opposite. Service intervals are longer and costs cheaper. Depreciation is a little disappointing in the early years, but not in the long run. On the whole I would not swap my bike, but I would make improvements.

First bike from passing test. Now taken & passed advanced test also. Its a big imposing bike that looks a lot meaner than it really is. The surging problems (on early models) lets it down but its a small price to pay for putting a F**k**g big smile on you face every morning

My wife and I rode the GS 2500 miles in about 8 days last October, Colorado to Baja and back. Did everything from interstate freeways to dirt roads. I cannot imagine another boke this would ahve been so fun on - or even possible! Great bike; no complaints!

Although a DP by name, I don't consider this more than 1% dirt bike. Loads of comfort, touring ability, torque, fun!

Dealers need to tune bike to run, not blindly follow BMW methods if they don't work.

Bike has been very reliable and satisfying to own. It tends to get attention from other road users because of its size and appearance which I feel is a positive safety factor. It has enormous reserves of grunt, good brakes, handles well with the right tyres and has good fuel range. It doesn't make me any more comfortable with offroad riding but that's my fault, not the bike's.

Seat comfort is appalling. I have had a local upholsterer make changes to it but it is only slightly less appalling than it was. Next step is sending my rider's seat to the USA for Russell to work some magic on it. An expensive exercise but one I hope will result in greatly improved long distance travelling. A more protective fairing would also be nice, I have a Givi in mind for my next improvement. The panniers are reasonably waterproof but their shape and the reduced volume of the left side pannier reduce their usefulness when touring. Low pipe and large left bag should be sold as a kit by BMW for touring riders but failing that, I shall eventually install an aftermarket pipe and larger bag myself.
Also, while I think of it, where are you meant to keep your handbooks? There are no hidden storage areas on the bike at all. My handbooks are stored in the left pannier, held upright with adhesive velcro so they don't get in the way. Don't know what you are meant to do if you don't have panniers. The shock absorbers are starting to feel a little tired (at 60000KM) but will have to last a bit longer before I can afford to replace them.
Finding Hi-Octane Unleaded fuel can be difficult away from major highways in Australia. Many riders here use leaded fuel instead (no catalytic converters here) risking heavy fines. I have found my bike to run acceptably on low octane 'standard' unleaded when touring but I am still experimenting and will need to monitor the bike for signs of damage from doing this.
All in all, a brilliant, effortless touring bike which, with a little bit of adjustment to suit my requirements, will continue to fulfill my needs for some years to come. Besides, I can't afford to replace it. Looking forward to your results when they come online.

Absolutely the BEST all around bike on the market! I use it mostly for street riding and I have little to no dirt riding experience, but I am also very impressed by its off-road capabilities. Sure, it's not a true off road bike and it's more of an "adventure/explorer" bike, but I had one extensive training day in very slick and thick mud, and I learned a lot about the bike's abilities.

I'm tall 6' 2" and 260 Lbs so this is a good fit for me. I love the BMW design technology.

Love the bike but heavy commuting use eats Brakes (~3000m), Tyres(~3000m), Cash

Too tall gearing + shaft drive -> expensive or impossible to fix. Bought the bike tax-free, when I moved from Finland to Japan. Because of very high vehicle tax, got it for only almost the half of the retail price in Finland. Otherwise I'd never even considered this expensive bike.

The engine related grief (undiagnosed knocking, resolved after 3 months by new engine under warranty) had us frustrated to the point of almost walking away from the whole issue, bike & all. Now that the new engine is in (still being broken in), the pleasure is returning. The sour taste hasnít left yet, but weíre on the way. There certainly isnít another bike like it, that is the main reason we put up with the engine problems as long as we did.

This is my 5th Beemer, having replaced a classic R65. Took a test ride on a used 95 R1100gs and couldn't stop smiling. I was still smiling when I wrote the check for the new one. Boy, did I surprise my family, left on an R65, stopped by on a black GS then returned with a red GS...they confiscated my check book, but what do I care, I've still got the GS.

I loved this bike when I bought it and after a 6500 mile tour on Highway, Dirt roads, backroads, off road I now believe that there is no other replacement unless they can give me 100 less pounds and 50 more horses. This is a real -do it all- One of a kind, completely enjoyable bike.

This bike has put me in motorbike heaven!

[ Back to Survey Index ]
Back to the:
  • GS Telelever and 4 valves engine introduction page
  • G/S and GS Home-page

  • This page is for information only. NO COMMERCIAL CONTENT.

    Go to MicaPeak home page.
    For contact and questions :
    Hari Ahluwalia ( or
    Updated the 04 December 2000