popularity over the last decade or so. A brand that was something of a niche-filler at the turn of the millennium, BMW has become a leviathan since then with a model range comprising some of the world’s most popular mainstream bikes.
But which of its models are the most desirable? The DfT has released the latest DVLA registration figures giving a detailed breakdown of bikes sold in the UK last year, showing precisely which models and even sub-models were BMW’s best-sellers in 2018.
Here are the top 10:
Go back a decade or two and BMW’s boxer-engined tourers were its bread-and-butter, breeding the stereotype of the flip-up-helmeted, Aerostitch-clad, IAM-approved BMW rider. Despite the firm’s expansion into new pastures it’s never forgotten those loyalists and the R1200RT is the model aimed at that demographic. There’s clearly no cutting of corners in the world of BMW tourer buyers, as the most popular RT is the range-topping ‘LE’ model, which retailed at £16,270 last year. It comprehensively outsold the £13,950 base model at a rate approaching two to one.
We all know that BMW’s R1200GS has been the nation’s most popular motorcycle for the last decade or so, but that ‘R1200GS’ umbrella encompasses a host of sub-models. It’s notable that the base GS doesn’t appear on this list – only the most expensive versions. It seems that high-end variants are simply more popular than the cheaper specs. The TE Exclusive, now superseded along with the rest of the R1200GS range by the new R1250GS, was around £3k pricier than the base model last year.
While most of this list is made up of particularly pricy BMWs, the £5275 G310GS is a notable interloper, showing that BMW’s tactic of entering the lower-capacity market is working. You could get three of them for the price of an R1200GS TE Exclusive, but exactly the same number (316) were registered in 2018, putting both bikes at 8th= in this list.
The R1200RS Sport SE was a final fling for the R1200RS before it was replaced with the 2019 R1250RS, and piled on all the extras. A one-year-only model that went on sale at the end of 2017 and disappeared 12 months later, it accounted for almost all UK sales of R1200RS machines in 2018. Only 26 non ‘Sport SE’ versions were registered during the year, compared to 411 of these.
Yet another example of the high-end bike outselling the base model, the S1000R Sport – which gets kit like heated grips, more riding modes, cornering traction control and quick-shifter – easily beat the base model in 2018. Only 129 of the entry-level S1000Rs were registered, compared to 459 Sports, despite a near £2k price difference.Head to page two for the top five >>>