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The BMW hater story

Five critics test BMW motorcycles

BMW has many enthusiastic fans, but also some (v) bitter critics. MOTORRAD invited five of them to take a trip – precisely with the BMW motorcycles, which they strongly dislike.


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Why do they all have to look like Karl Dall??

Two headlights of the same size would ultimately be cheaper ".

The response was simply overwhelming: Everyone wanted to be there when it came to BMW. The Internet call "BMW haters wanted" at www.motorradonline.de triggered a veritable flood of letters to the editor. In the end, five men (see page 24) were selected for an extensive test round with the unloved bikes. The goal: MOTORRAD wanted to find out why the only German manufacturer with international market significance is polarizing so much in its own country.

In the early morning of a sunny Friday in September, the BMW opponents are sitting on the terrace of the Stuttgart Motor Press and are already giving out a lot. Christian Czupalla heats up the mood with a joke: “The drivers of a Yamaha, Honda and BMW knock on the gates of heaven. Petrus opens: ‘Lawn, wheelies, open horn – the Honda driver has to go straight to hell. His excuses are of no use to the Yamaha rider: ‘Worn tires, meandering through traffic jams, hit-and-run – even off to hell! The BMW driver wants to confess his sins, when Peter interrupts him: ‘Come in, my son. Because you’ve already had hell on earth. Christian "Christian hits his thigh with a laugh at the punch line:" Do you know what’s funniest about it? It’s not a joke at all. "

The man has had bad experiences. After 200,000 kilometers on various BMW motorcycles – most recently on a 1200 GS – that suffered from all sorts of technical defects, he is now the satisfied owner of a Yamaha XT 1200 Z. And that brings us to the first argument against BMW opponents: the Bavarian ones Machines are not reliable! An impression that MOTORRAD’s 50,000-kilometer long-distance tests do not necessarily refute. It rarely ran completely without problems for BMW models, whether the R 1200 GS, K 1300 GT or S 1000 RR. But is that representative? Certainly one cannot say that the BMW engines regularly blow the drivers around the ears. Readers’ letters and voices from the market show that many BMW drivers have no problems whatsoever with their machines.

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The BMW hater story
Five critics test BMW motorcycles

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Enemy BMW – The prejudices and flops


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K 1600 GT: “Too much of everything: engine, plastic, weight, size. Driving a car, I think it’s better ".

Enough of the preliminary considerations, here we go. The five test motorcycles are available in the underground car park and represent a cross-section of what BMW offers: the super sports bike S 1000 RR, the two naked bikes F 800 R and K 1300 R, the super tourer K 1600 GT and, of course, the R 1200 GS, that most successful BMW bike of all time. Repacking is the order of the day. While strings are being pulled and belts lashed, Harald Rössling argues about the ambiguous image of BMW: “When the Bavarians insisted on a maximum of 60 hp, the old-fashioned design and overpriced prices in the 70s and 80s, the Japanese overran them practically overnight. And now suddenly the opposite is supposed to be correct? ”You can feel how much the Bavarians lag behind the image of earlier years, a change doesn’t happen overnight. It took Audi around 20 years, for example, to take off the coat of the old man’s vehicle with the dachshund in the rear. 

The round trip over the Swabian Alb begins in the inner-city meandering of Stuttgart. The last traffic light, finally free travel on the expressway. For a short time the speedometer needle soars to over 200 km / h. For those taking part in the excursion, driving fun quickly overshadows BMW hatred. At the first stop after climbing the Alb, you can see smiling faces. Okay, these Bavarian things don’t drive that bad, is the general tenor. Harald, for example, has this to say about the K 1300 R: “I deduced from the modest appearance that it was handling and am extremely surprised. It drives really well! ”But after these hymns of praise it is quickly time to mow down again. The discussion shifts back to the eternal hot topic of design. “The F 800 R looks as if the designers weren’t up for it in the middle,” says Christian Tomanik. And Daniel Braun, at 22 the youngest in the group, grumbles: “If the engine of the K 1300 R dies, you bring the box to the scrap metal, you can then bend a traffic light or a crash barrier from the remains. On the other hand, you put a disused MV Brutale as a piece of jewelry in the living room. ”This is how you can see it.

Go on. At an incline through the meandering curves of the Alb. Even the smallest streets with third-class pavement are not left out, after every 30 kilometers the guys swap bikes, around noon it is time for a first conclusion.

Tea 1600 supertourer surprises the most. “A single disaster when maneuvering,” Christian groans Czupalla, “But otherwise you have to admit: Kudos to BMW. The GT is a milestone, suitable for long journeys, super comfortable, easy-to-use clutch – and it’s really fun once it’s rolling. "Harald scratches his head and says: "After starting, I asked myself whether the six-cylinder was on, it runs so smoothly. But everything is too much for me – too much plastic, engine, equipment. I don’t need any of that. ”Except for the high price (test machine: 21,870 euros) and the design, most BMW opponents don’t find any disadvantages in terms of driving dynamics. Rainer’s comment: “I would never spend that much money on a car with only two wheels. I also want to see the front wheel while riding my motorcycle. You only see plastic here. "

The series test winner R 1200 GS is also viewed extremely critically. Christian Tomanik: “Riding a motorcycle on the GS feels like squatting in a water balloon and tripping over the water – the chassis decouples me too much from the ground. I don’t know what’s below and have no feedback at all. ”Harald doesn’t like the GS hordes on the street. His thesis about the typical GS driver, his enemy: “The GS is the bestseller and always the winner on points in the tests. Probably rightly, but for me it is not a matter of the heart. I lack feeling, emotion. ”Daniel tries his hand at objective criticism:“ The GS becomes very light when accelerating at the front, that gives an unsafe feeling. ”Although the fear of unwanted wheelies is actually completely unfounded thanks to ASC. “That’s also something I don’t like about BMW bikes,” Christian Tomanik throws in, “too much electronics on board. All just potential sources of error. ”He is alluding to the introduction of the CanBus system at the turn of the millennium. In the beginning, the complicated electronics needed a lot of electricity even when the ignition was switched off, and the battery was often drained after a few days of idle time. This is now yesterday’s news, but it also haunts the minds of some BMW opponents, such as the buzzing brake booster that the Bavarians built into their models in the first half of this decade: when the ignition is switched off, the machines hardly brake at all, when switched on on the other hand, the braking effect came abruptly and was hardly controllable. Also past.


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“Driving slowly is not possible. And I also find it a disaster to drive tight turns with her. The thing belongs on the racetrack ".

Nowadays, BMW stoppers are at the absolutely highest level in terms of deceleration, controllability and ABS rule and set reference values ​​in ABS tests.

Saddle up, drive on. Golden autumn light, 23 degrees, calm. 200 kilometers over idyllic curves. Motorcycling can be so nice – even as a BMW hater on a BMW. When twilight covered their cloth over the sun, the five men summed up the F 800 R: Although it was completely easy to drive, the vibrations in the middle speed range were unbearable. “In addition, the engine has a rubber band character,” says Harald. “The linear performance development is without kick and makes you fall asleep. Drive a Triumph Street Triple. Then you know what I mean. ”With the S 1000 RR, however, the criticism runs out of arguments, since the smallest weaknesses are exaggerated. Christian Tomanik raves about power, driving stability and full damping suspension elements, but criticizes the hard seat: "My GSX-R is much more suitable for everyday use." Harald is annoyed by the sluggish throttle: "I don’t have that much feeling for the performance." Daniel, who has never driven a super sports car in his life, raves: “Great steering behavior, great sound and simply great for driving fast. However, the temptation to do this permanently is too great for me. The S only makes sense on the racetrack. ”Christian Czupalla grudgingly comes to the conclusion:“ Hats off! With the S 1000 RR, everything is technically at a high level, including the electronic helpers. I can’t really say anything negative about the machine. ”Most testers around the world couldn’t either, the Bavarian debut in the supersports segment won the comparison tests in rows. The S 1000 RR must have been a shock for the BMW opponents. Because no one had believed that Bayern would be able to keep the established Japanese super sports competition in check from the start.

Finally, there is the K 1300 R, the performance of which has made a lasting impression on all five. But still you can’t get really warm with the power bike, the unusual design is the crux of the matter. "When I go into my garage, I want to be happy about something nice," says Harald, "with the 1300 I would have to suppress a gag reflex every time." This Kalong gearbox is unreasonable. ”Only Christian Tomanik mentally processes the driving impressions:“ It’s hard to believe how manageable the motorcycle is despite the extremely long wheelbase. ”

And the bottom line? Have the prejudices of the five been strengthened after 200 test kilometers or perhaps softened a little? There is little doubt that all five BMW motorcycles are great driving machines. "But if you don’t like the design, the sound or the character of a bike at all, even the best driving dynamics and the most powerful engine won’t convince you," says Daniel. And Harald sums up: “BMW motorcycles are technocratically developed and work really flawlessly in terms of driving dynamics. But the perfection of the technology kills any emotion. For me, a BMW is comparable to a sterile three-room apartment: no pictures, no colors, no jewelry. Just space, heating and light. ”A tough summary, but a subjective assessment. Tens of thousands of BMW fans will have a completely different opinion – maybe they should be invited.

The five critics

Christian Tomanik (33), A test stand engineer from Reiskirchen grinds off 2200 kilometers on the weekend with his anniversary Suzuki GSX-R 750 and smiles at the many fully equipped, baggy BMW bikes that are dragged along on trailers on vacation. In addition to the design, he also criticizes the “excessive use of electronics” in BMW bikes and asks: “What actually justifies the price? Many of the components look pretty cheap. "

Rainer Schnieber (44), Freight forwarder from Memmingerberg, hates the brand-specific special position of BMW drivers, who – in his opinion – only greet BMW employees back. He considers BMW bikes to be products that are completely unjustly praised by the German press and accuses Bavarian products of unreliability. In return, he is absolutely convinced of his 2011 Kawasaki Z 1000 and his 19-year-old Suzuki GSX 1100 G..

Harald Rössling (51), SAP consultant from Großaiching, brings his youthful memories into modern times: “BMWs have always been old-fashioned, stuffy and expensive.” Today, BMW drivers symbolize the perfect enemy for him: non-greeting, arrogant and clad in warning vests. He also accuses Bavarian products of lack of emotion. In contrast, his own vehicles: MV Agusta Brutale, Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K6 and Triumph Bonneville.

Daniel Brown (22), Mechatronics technician from Ingelheim, is learning at Adam Opel AG. His job-related antipathy for BMW cars has also spread to the two-wheeler sector. Daniel has had an unrestricted motorcycle license for three months and is currently driving a Honda CBR 1000 F. On his Yamaha XJ 600, he covered around 20,000 kilometers a year. Because of the design, he could never imagine buying a BMW.

Christian Czupalla (38), IT sales and marketing expert from Echting, has been driving a BMW for more than ten years and has "fed up with numerous workshop visits and annoyances". He says: "Only BMW has the arrogance to abuse its customers as test drivers and to react completely ignorantly to complaints." Instead of the R 1150 GS, he now drives the two Yamaha Ténéré models with 1200 and 660 cubic meters and is in love with their reliability.

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