BMW uses a three segment nomenclature for motorcycles. The first segment indicates the engine type, the second indicates the approximate engine displacement in cubic centimeters (with one notable exception – the F 650 GS, which has an engine displacement of 798cc), while the third indicates the class of motorcycle (e.g., sport, sport touring, dual-sport, etc.). The three segments are separated by blanks.
A similar 3 segment nomenclature is used for BMW automobiles. However, there is significantly less consistency across the range with respect to the second segment (engine displacement/100).
- R – air cooled, horizontally opposed (“boxer”) 2 cylinder, water cooled after 2014
- K – water cooled, inline 3, 4 or 6 cylinder
- F – water cooled, vertical 1 cylinder (through 2006), vertical 2 cylinder (after 2006)
- G – water cooled, vertical 1 cylinder
- S – water cooled, inline 4 cylinder superbike
Engine displacement in cc
- Current models: 1600, 1300, 1200, 1000, 900, 800, 650 and 450. Previous models included 850, 1100, and 1150.
- Older model BMWs divide the approximate engine displacement by ten for the model number. For example, K75 = approx 750 cc.
Styling suffix designations:
- C – Cruiser
- CS – Classic Sport
- G/S – Gelände/Strasse Off-road/Street
- GS – Gelände Sport Off-road Sport (Enduro)
- GT – Gran Turismo or Grand Touring
- LS – Luxury Sport
- LT – Luxus Tourer (Luxury Tourer)
- R – Road or Roadster – typically naked
- RR – Superbike/Racing
- RS – Originally stood for Rennsport, but since 1976 has stood for Reisesport
- RT – Reise Tourer (Travel Tourer)
- S – Sport
- ST – Strasse (Street) or Sport Tourer
- T – Touring
Additionally, a bike may have the following modifiers in its name:
- A – ABS
- L – luxury
- P – police
- C – custom
- PD – Paris Dakar
Examples: K 1200 S, R 1200 RT, F 650 GS, R 1150 RSL, K 1200 LT, K 1200 LT-C, R 1200 RT-P, R 1200 RSA, S 1000 RR
Prior to the introduction of the K 100 series and the R 1100 series motorcycles, the letter prefix was always the same, and the numbers were either based on displacement, as mentioned above, or were just model numbers.