Here’s The Scoop On The 2019 BMW Motorcycles

BMW is widely regarded as a leader in the motorcycle/scooter field for its pragmatic design elements with cutting-edge performance, but doesn’t neglect the creature comforts and luxury items today’s riders expect and demand. It’s an effective combination holding the marque in good stead on the world stage, both in the motorcycle realm and the automotive sector. The factory covers nearly all the bases from entry-level scooters all the way up to racing superbikes, including adventure bikes and historical tribute pieces, along with forward-looking electric and hybrid-drive rides.

BMW Motorrad History:

BMW Motorrad Guide To The 2019 Lineup
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The Bayerische Motoren Werke started in 1916 during the waning years of the Great War as a builder of aviation engines and later made motorcycle engines for other manufacturers. It made the jump to two- and four-wheeled, ground-bound transportation starting with its first motorcycle in 1923. BMW bikes were instantly recognizable from their bulky air-cooled, flat-boxer engines. BMW Motorrad still uses the flat-twin boxer configuration in its "R" series line, but now manufactures engines in a variety of configurations.

Between the two World Wars, Beemer (or “Bimmer” if you like, but not “Beamer” as that refers strictly to the automotive division) established itself as a respectable competitor on the track, and we can only speculate where BMW would stand had World War II not seen their factories land on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. As a point of interest, that accident of politics and geography gave rise to the Eisenacher Motoren Werke and the Soviet Union’s Ural Motorcycle company, the latter of which still operates today. After the second World War and periods of financial distress, BMW recovered to become the world-class heavyweight we see today.

BMW Motorrad Model Names Decoded:

BMW Motorrad Guide To The 2019 Lineup
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BMW Motorrad uses a three-segment model identifier, each segment is separated with a space. The first segment or prefix letter identifies the engine type. The second segment usually indicates the approximate engine size, but there are exceptions to that ’rule.’ Case in point, the F 750 GS has a 853 cc engine. The third segment or suffix letter(s) identifies the motorcycle class or body style.

Prefix letter:

C: water-cooled, swingmount engine Scooters
R: water-cooled, horizontally opposed ("boxer") two-cylinder From 1994 to 2013, “R” stood for air-cooled boxer engines
K: water-cooled, inline three-, four- or six-cylinder
F: water-cooled, vertical two-cylinder Through 2006 “F” was the single-cylinder identifier
G: water-cooled, single-cylinder
S: water-cooled, inline-four sportbike

Suffix letter:

Letter(s)Body StyleNote
C: Cruiser
CS: Classic Sport
G/S: Gelände/Strasse Off-road/Street
GS: Gelände Sport Off-road Sport — Enduro
GT: Gran Turismo Grand Touring
LS: Luxus Sport Luxury Sport
LT: Luxus Tourer Luxury Tourer
R: Roadster
RR: Racing Replica
RS: Reisesport Sport Travel – Stood for Rennsport (racing) up to 1975
RT: Reise Tourer Travel Tourer
S: Sport
ST: Strasse Street or Sport Tourer
T: Touring

Additional suffix modifiers:

L: Luxury
P: Police
C: Custom
PD: Paris Dakar

BMW Motorrad Terminology:

BMW Motorrad Guide To The 2019 Lineup
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Boxer engine: The nickname given the flat-twin engine BMW favors for many of its models. It carries a pair of jugs set in an 180-degree, opposed-cylinder configuration. The back-and-forth motion of the pistons is where the “boxer” moniker comes from. They tend to be short on the vertical axis but very wide with both cylinder heads exposed forming the main objection to the style as it leaves some very critical and expensive components potentially in harm’s way. (Ural Motorcycle uses an earlier Beemer boxer as the basis for its sidecar models.)

BMW Motorrad: The brand name of the motorcycle division of the BMW AG.

Duolever: The front suspension system by British inventor Norman Hossak. It uses a pair of semi-trailing arms that relies on a central coil-over monoshock for support and damping. It has the benefit of separating suspension and steerage so changes in suspension load don’t affect steering. The Duolever system is also extremely torsion resistant.

GS: Stands for Gelände Sport which translates to “off-road sport” though the family has expanded to include road-centric adventure models. This is not to be confused with the G/S designator that means Gelände/Straße and translates to “off-road/street” to describe the dual-sports that are more biased toward dirt rather than the blacktop.

Oilhead: Indicates a four-valve, oil-cooled head that replaced the “airhead” plant back in 1995. By 2013, the factory added its “precision-cooling” feature that circulates liquid coolant around the heads to draw waste heat away from the combustion chamber in a bid to bolster the efforts of the air- and oil-cooling system.

Paralever: BMW favors the Paralever rear suspension system consisting of a hollow aluminum swingarm that doubles as a housing for the cardan (drive shaft). It relies on a coil-over monoshock for support and damping, and resists the old “shaft-jacking” effect that makes the rear end tend to raise up under power and settle upon roll-off.

Telelever Fork: The Telelever system looks like a standard telescopic/hydraulic fork, but the fixed tubes and sliders don’t operate like standard forks. It uses a frame-mounted yoke and coil-over monoshock that actually handles all the suspension duties. This makes for a very rigid front end since the tubes are supported both at the top and just above the wheel for a wider triangulation than you can get from the usual triple-clamp setup.

BMW Motorrad Models

BMW Motorrad Sport Segment:

2019 BMW S 1000 RR
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The “Sport” segment is Beemer’s sleeper hit. Far from the flash of the Italian market and the ubiquity of the Japanese sport segment, the BMW “S” models are full-on sportbikes that compete against any comers. Beemer’s “S” range includes the limited-edition, track-tastic HP4 Race model that’s set up to compete on the closed circuit or road courses. This family shuns the classic boxer-twin in favor of an inline-four configuration for its high-revs and horsepower output. Visually, Beemer’s “S” models blend right in with the preponderance of sport/street/super-bikes.

HP4 Race $78,000 999 cc
S 1000 RR $15,995 999 cc

BMW Motorrad Tour Segment:

2018 - 2019 BMW K 1600 Grand America
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The “Tour” bikes are more properly labeled sport-tourers. They come with large front fairings for weather protection, and boast lockable dry storage along with comfortable seating as part of the standard equipment package. A full electronics suite delivers all the top-shelf fandanglery to put the range among the top tourbikes on the market in both comfort and safety.

The “R” models carry Beemers boxer-twin mill to button up the mid-range with around 125 horsepower and 92 pound-feet of torque. If it’s inches you’re after, the inline-six plant in the “K” models deliver the cubes with a 1,649 cc engine cranking out 160 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. Across the range, the Euro flavor is impossible to ignore as it sets itself apart from such sport-tour heavyweights as the Honda Gold Wing and Kawasaki Concours 14.

K 1600 B $20,095 1,649 cc
K 1600 Grand America $25,595 1,649 cc
K 1600 GT $22,995 1,649 cc
K 1600 GTL $25,995 1,649 cc
R 1250 RT $18,645 1,254 cc
R 1200 RT $18,395 1,170 cc

BMW Motorrad Roadster Segment:

2019 - 2020 BMW R 1250 R / RS
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Roadster” means the same thing to BMW as it does the rest of the world; an essential bike with no superfluous equipment to weigh it down and clutter it up. Beemer’s roadster range is a mixed bag with the entry-level G 310 R and the S 1000 R (not to be confused with the S 1000 RR superbike) along with the pending R 1250 R/RS models. Again, as with the full-on sportbike line, BMW’s roadsters are similar in appearance to much of the rest of the European and Japanese naked-sport/standard families. All components and body panels are absolutely necessary to the function, and these bikes all come with some consideration for a passenger, but the pillion gear is fairly Spartan, as well.

G 310 R $4,845 313 cc
R 1250 R / RS TBA 1,254 cc
S 1000 R $13,995 999 cc

BMW Motorrad Heritage Segment:

2017 - 2019 BMW R nineT Pure
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BMW’s “Heritage” line is, thus far, a handful of variants based on the R nineT base model. Like the roadsters, there is very little weight wasted on non-essential equipment, but the overall look and frame geometry is more like the old school standards/UJMs, which plays right into the historical aspects of the line.

The base R nineT and “Pure” models deliver a clean look that generally borrows from the standards of the ’70s and ’80s, as does the dual-sport Urban G/S. However, the Scrambler ties specifically into the early dual-surface bikes that were largely home-built custom machines made to be capable off-road while retaining their street capabilities.

The “Racer” brings back the nostalgic café racer look complete with both the classic bullet fairing and tail fairing of the originals, and of course, the boxer-twin plays right into the design. The current lineup runs with the air/oil-cooled 1,170 cc powerplant with 110 horsepower and 86 pound-feet on tap. Another bare-essential ride, the factory leaves off all the electronic engine controls and ride-quality tweaks in a bid to keep prices down and the bikes simple; relatively speaking, of course.

R nineT $15,495 1,170 cc
R nineT Pure $9,995 1,170 cc
R nineT Racer $13,545 1,170 cc
R nineT Scrambler $12,995 1,170 cc
R nineT Urban G/S $12,995 1,170 cc

BMW Motorrad Adventure Segment:

BMW Motorrad Guide To The 2019 Lineup
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BMW’s adventuresome “Adventure” line is another mixed bag of primary designators, engine size and model suffixes. The range rocks the bird’s beak front fairing with extra fling coverage from the front fender. Vented windshields are a constant across the family for comfort and protection, as are the tall fuel-tank humps and low saddles that are typical of the Adv-bike genre.

As the engine prefixes indicate, the line comes in a range of engine sizes and types starting with the thumper-driven G 310 GS at the bottom of the foodchain. The “F” models have a parallel-twin configuration across the F 750 GS and F 850 GS and GS Adventure, and the “R” units, naturally, tote a boxer-twin mill. At the top of the totem pole we find the “S” model with a liter-size, inline four-banger that turns the S 1000 XR into a streetwise tourbike par exellence.

Unlike Beemer’s tourbikes proper, the GS line rolls off the showroom floor sans luggage, but the factory offers panniers as part of a robust accessory line that lets you kit out for anything up to and including globetrotting “Long Way Down/Round” adventures and Dakar-style desert rallies.

G 310 GS $5,795 313 cc
F 750 GS $10,395 853 cc
F 850 GS $13,195 853 cc
F 850 GS Adventure $$14,295 853 cc
R 1250 GS $17,695 1,254 cc
R 1250 GS Adventure $19,945 1,254 cc
S 1000 XR $16,895 999 cc

BMW Motorrad Urban Mobility Segment:

2017 - 2019 BMW C Evolution
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BMW’s scooters all fall under the “Urban Mobility” umbrella. Far from the classic Italian-style rides, Beemer’s models are more substantial, and without exception, all qualify as a Maxi-scoot (C 650 GT), or at the very least, a Mini-Max (C 400 X, C-evolution). The “C” model designator indicates a swing-mount drive system that uses the engine and constantly-variable transmission (automatic) as stressed units. This replaces the swingarm and uses a monoshock to support and dampen the rear wheel.

Internal storage compartments provide some built-in dry stowage, and overall, the “C” line is geared toward urban commuters, professional/office workers, and students. Don’t be fooled by the fact that these rides are scooters. The C 650 GT’s parallel-twin, for example, cranks out a respectable 60 ponies with a top speed at or above 112 mph. Yeah, it’s like that.

The “C” line is also BMW’s vanguard for the EV market. The C Evolution delivers 48 horsepower with 53 pounds of torque, a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds and up to a 99-mile range to make it a functional plug-and-play commuter that’ll definitely get out of its own way.

C evolution $13,995 NA
C 400 X $6,795 350 cc
C 650 GT $10,995 647 cc

BMW Motorrad Spezial Overview:

BMW Motorrad Guide To The 2019 Lineup
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Option 719

BMW’s factory-custom “Spezial” line adds distinctive and historically significant features along with model-specific paint schemes and hand-laid details that make each one unique unto itself. Milled-billet and forged components all come under the “Option 719” umbrella for a crucial historical connection. The Berlin factory has always used that moniker for its custom swag. Currently, the factory offers the R nineT, R 1200 RT, K 1600 GT and K 1600 GTL in Spezial packages.

Further Reading

BMW C Evolution

2017 - 2019 BMW C Evolution
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See our review of the BMW C Evolution.

BMW C 400 X

2018 - 2019 BMW C 400 X
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See our review of the BMW C 400 X.

BMW C 650 GT

2017 - 2019 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT
- image 752233

See our review of the BMW C 650 GT.

BMW F 750 GS/ F 850 GS

2018 - 2019 BMW F 750 GS / F 850 GS
- image 749296

See our review of the BMW F 750 GS / F 850 GS.

BMW F 850 GS Adventure

2018 - 2019 BMW F 850 GS Adventure
- image 837244

See our review of the BMW F 850 GS Adventure.

BMW G 310 R / GS

2017 - 2019 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS
- image 751714

See our review of the BMW G 310 R / GS.

BMW HP4 Race

2017 BMW HP4 Race
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See our review of the BMW HP4 Race.

BMW K 1600 B

2018 - 2019 BMW K 1600 B
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See our review of the BMW K 1600 B.

BMW K 1600 Grand America

2018 - 2019 BMW K 1600 Grand America
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See our review of the BMW K 1600 Grand America.

BMW K 1600 GT

2017 - 2019 BMW K 1600 GT
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See our review of the BMW K 1600 GT.

BMW K 1600 GTL

2011 - 2019 BMW K 1600 GTL
- image 837243

See our review of the BMW K 1600 GTL.

BMW R 1250 GS

2019 BMW R 1250 GS
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See our review of the BMW R 1250 GS.

BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

2019 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
- image 826180

see our review of the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure.

BMW R 1250 R / RS

2019 - 2020 BMW R 1250 R / RS
- image 836896

See our review of the BMW R 1250 R / RS.

BMW R 1250 RT

2019 BMW R 1250 RT
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See our review of the BMW R 1250 RT.

BMW R nineT

2017 - 2019 BMW R nineT
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See our review of the BMW R nineT.

BMW R nineT Pure

2017 - 2019 BMW R nineT Pure
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See our review of the BMW R nineT Pure.

BMW R nineT Racer

2017 - 2019 BMW R nineT Racer
- image 789319

See our review of the BMW R nineT Racer.

BMW R nineT Scrambler

2016 - 2019 BMW R nineT Scrambler
- image 752417

See our review of the BMW R nineT Scrambler.

BMW R nineT Urban G/S

2018 - 2019 BMW R nineT Urban GS
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See our review of the BMW R nineT Urban G/S.

BMW S 1000 R

2017 - 2019 BMW S 1000 R
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See our review of the BMW S 1000 R.

BMW S 1000 RR

2019 BMW S 1000 RR
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See our review of the BMW S 1000 RR.

BMW S 1000 XR

2016 - 2019 BMW S 1000 XR
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See our review of the BMW S 1000 XR.

Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour

2018 - 2019 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
- image 742322

See our review of the Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour.

Kawasaki Concours 14

2015 - 2020 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
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See our review of the Kawasaki Concours 14.

BMW Motorrad

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Read more BMW news.

Allyn Hinton
Writer and Associate Motorcycle Editor -
If it had moving parts, it had Allyn's interest from a very early age. At age 11 when bicycles were too simple to hold her interest any longer, her father found her taking apart the lawn mower. When he asked why she was doing it, she replied, “I need to see how it works.” That curiosity and mechanical drive served her well over the next 40 years as she pursued careers in both the automotive and motorcycle industries. Having shared her love of motorcycles with her now husband, biker TJ Hinton, Allyn brings that love and knowledge to TopSpeed as writer and associate motorcycle editor.  Read More
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