bmwbike

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).

Engine type

  • 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.

We are giving away $25 in service or parts
Join our mailing list to be entered to win. We are giving away one in April and one in May!
We respect your privacy.