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Are BMW Motorcycles Reliable

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  • 27-10-2022
Are BMW Motorcycles Reliable

The internet is littered with forums and threads about people complaining about the reliability of BMWs. How accurate are these people, and how much money can you save by making simple repairs and replacements at home instead of going to a garage? This article will go over what is required from you when owning a BMW motorcycle and how reliable they will be to you over the years.

Are BMW Motorcycles Reliable?

BMW has been known for its excellently handled and sleek designed cars and motorcycles for nearly 100 years, but we have to ask why? Are they reliable, or are they just a popular option with a big name attached to them? 

Since 1923, when BMW released their first motorcycle, the brand and company have been associated with class and sophistication. Consumer reports can back up how reliable BMW motorcycles are, how many miles you can expect while owning one, and realistic maintenance times, but we want to continue to shed more truth over this. 

BMW Motorcycle Reliability

There may be some stigma and rumours online that BMW motorcycles aren't reliable, but we want to destroy that rumour right here. BMW motorcycles can reach 200k miles in total while receiving regular maintenance, of course. Many factors go into this, such as how often the rider is using the bike and how far they're driving, but a BMW motorcycle can last you a very long time.

Owners of a BMW bike have quoted that they notice an issue within the first four years of driving, but this can be replaced by an engineer almost immediately. If you think you can operate a bike without any repairs for four years, then you're going to be in for a surprise. Compared to other major competitors, such as Porsche and Ducatis, you can see a similar pattern.

Consumers of such models quoted that 33% of Ducati owners noticed a failure within the same timespan, and BMW falls only slightly behind with 40%. This 7% is minuscule if you're regularly caring for your bike. If you can periodically change the rear end oil, you will rarely notice problems, as with any appliance. That's not to say that BMW creates perfect bikes because they don't. But it would be best if you took what you read on forums with a grain of salt. 

BMW motorcycle Pros & Cons

There are many pros and cons to be evaluated with BMW motorcycles, and both sides are worth listening to.


BMW Motorcycles are known to be comfortable and sporty, meaning that you're able to safely and efficiently get around. Customisable hard cases are available, and once the right windshield has been picked, you're able to have a fantastic experience. They will provide a comfortable experience, even on longer journeys of ten hours and upward.


They're no more expensive than any other motorcycle brand to maintain and run. Any oil filters, tires, and oil changes will be priced accordingly, so don't let the BMW name fool you. Many repairs can be done at home due to how low the maintenance is. If you know what you're doing, then valve adjustments can be completed DIY, and valve covers are easily removed with four bolts. You may need to take the bike to the manufacturers for more significant issues, though.


BMW bikes can handle a lot of different elements that you throw at them. Sure, they will still experience rain, snow, ice, dirt, and grime issues, but they are sturdy and reliable against the varying weather. Some cheaper brands can prove unreliable against stronger weather, especially if you're driving for extended periods. 


Given the proper care, BMW engines will last you a long time. If you want all of the listed above perks, you need to realise the level of care and maintenance these bikes will require. You can't expect high-quality comfort and performance without something being given back.


Pricey Parts


Comfortable Experience


Some customers have reported an issue with the latest generation of BMW motorcycles and the oil breaking down on longer rides. The heat and the gears meshing too tightly are likely culprits here, and BMW can potentially fix this with a final drive oil replacement. Of course, this won't be as much of an issue for those making much smaller commutes on their bikes. Rear-end oil changes are recommended every 20k miles, but anything more severe you've noticed can be reported and fixed.


Once again, this is an issue that very few BMW customers note suffering with. This will happen to less than 1 in 20 bikes but is an issue that occurs when the input shaft or clutch splines are never lubricated. There's no way of knowing if your individual bike will have this issue, but as long as you're greasing the clutch every 15k-20k miles, then you shouldn't have a problem.

Once again, this is an issue that very few BMW customers note suffering with. This will happen to less than 1 in 20 bikes but is an issue that occurs when the input shaft or clutch splines are never lubricated. There's no way of knowing if your individual bike will have this issue, but as long as you're greasing the clutch every 15k-20k miles, then you shouldn't have a problem.


Despite saying that the repairs will cost as much as other brands, there's no denying that these repairs and replacement parts will be expensive. Depending on what breaks, you can find yourself spending a lot more than expected. However, you will get the same with any other motorcycle, be it Hayabusa or BMW. Some riders have also noted some electrical and quality control issues, especially in older models from the early 2000s. This is something worth looking out for if you're contemplating buying a second-hand model because faults like these also depend on how the previous owner treated and cared for the bike.

Are BMW motorcycles expensive to maintain?

As you hopefully realise by now, there's a certain level of care and maintenance required for BMW motorcycles. However, is this almost constant maintenance expensive? Rumours online and BMW customer horror stories will tell you that dealers and repair engineers will attempt to get as much money as possible, regardless of the issue.

Unfortunately, this is true for most dealers. This is why it's important to understand as much of the maintenance yourself, so you can save money by performing the fixes at home. At the very least, be sure to take care of chains and cogs on your bike, as this can save you money the next time a service or repair is needed.

Service engineers always manage to find something else that needs repairing, and therefore money forking out. However, there are a lot of parts that you're not going to be able to get as BMW don't want customers fixing their own motorcycles. They'd rather make money from the repair cost, which makes sense, right?

If your bike has an engine failure and needs a replacement, for example, this can easily cost you £1000 and upward, depending on any other parts that need servicing. Some BMW parts are designed so that you can't fix them with motorcycle parts you can easily buy, instead requiring specific, custom-made parts. The same can go for not regularly caring for chains and cogs, as this could require an extra £100 every time you take it to the garage, as the engineers will replace them.

BMW bike service cost

Getting your BMW serviced at a garage can prove expensive, which is why any owner will tell you to learn how to fix some of it yourself. If you're not afraid to get under the hood and understand the inner workings of a motorcycle, then you're not going to regret owning one.

When you take a motorcycle to a garage, you're not just paying for the service. You're also paying for the labour costs. This means that any parts that need repairing or replacing aren't the total bill, and full service for your bike can easily cost £300 and upward. Diagnostics need to be conducted, valve clearances and they need to approve the vehicle for the road. All of which can be expensive.

Tire changes will be frequent for anyone covering more distance on their bike, as they will get thin. The driveshaft oil and general oil changes can also prove pricey, but this more straightforward fix is something most bike owners can do from their homes. 

If you're able to either make these changes yourself or find someone who can do it for cheaper, then you will enjoy the experience of owning a motorcycle much more. BMW may have a strange reputation online, but the quality of ownership of one of their bikes is entirely up to you. You can find yourself reaching high mileage without many issues, or you can maybe have some faults within the first 5000 miles. It's all about care.

Jap & German Motorcycles provides the best services in and around West London. Whatever you require, our team can assist you with everything from BMW motorbike repairs to providing motorbike spare parts.