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The insanity of BMW pricing for parts

tommymck

Active member
I think that we can all agree that $10K to do a 100% replace for the stock exhaust on a $20K bike is absurd. Not sure when this would ever come up though except if you crashed the bike, in which case, insurance would be involved (and even then, doubtful that you'd need to replace the entire exhaust.)

For me personally, this bike doesn't motivate me to want to customize it. I had a bone stock R1200C for over two decades and was happy as a clam. The cost of ownership of that bike was for me on par with Japanese or American bikes. I'd expect the same of the R18. If you're into inexpensive accessories, I'd agree that BMW might not be your jam. If you want to keep it more or less stock and plan on having it a while, I think it'll compare favorably with equivalent Harleys from a cost perspective over the long haul, even with the more expensive consumables such as filters and plugs.
 
I think part of the sticker shock on parts is how affordable the bike is. My R18 cost 60% what a similar looking Harley or Indian would have cost so it seems like an affordable platform, which it is if you keep it stock. The nice part is, you can pretty much keep these bikes stock and they work great.

I've had my GS for 8 years and haven't put any factory accessories on it, all I've gotten from the dealer is maintenance parts, so factory accessories being pricey is a non-issue.
 

nielsm

Active member
I think part of the sticker shock on parts is how affordable the bike is. My R18 cost 60% what a similar looking Harley or Indian would have cost so it seems like an affordable platform, which it is if you keep it stock. The nice part is, you can pretty much keep these bikes stock and they work great.

I've had my GS for 8 years and haven't put any factory accessories on it, all I've gotten from the dealer is maintenance parts, so factory accessories being pricey is a non-issue.
Also waiting for some sales on accessories can help. I made the deal to buy my Classic the week of Thanksgiving, but it wasn't finalized & delivered till the 2nd week of December. BMW was running a deal at Thanksgiving for up to 20% off accessories, so I bought the Weekender seat & backrest and the frame bag, hoping they'd be delivered around the same time as the bike. Normally those 3 items would have been ~$1017, but I got them for $813.
 
Aftermarket accessories for the R18 are hard to find and expensive. It won't get better because the bike really flopped. But, it is a gorgeous bike and the accessories are nice.

I got a windshield for $229 from puig, I did buy the Weekender seat... but it is no more or less expensive than a mustang seat to replace a Marquis de Sade seat on a Harley (and lemme tell ya... Noone makes a comfortable stock motorcycle seat. Don't like the BMW floorboards? You do know the Harley or Kuryakns go right in the same place, right... same with a heel toe shifter. There are reasonable solutions for the exhaust coming out as we speak but BMW roped in Vance and Hines, so we have to be patient.

I don't complain about the prices. I bought the bike because I liked it as is. The fishtails are a necessity on an art deco bike. They aren't cool but they have to be there. When I want to ride a bike that sounds broken, I ride my Harley; it has straight pipes and sounds like a helicopter.

No matter what it is, if you want to play, you have to pay. BMW's accessory pricing is nuts but its mainly because they don't have them anyway. It takes years to develop an aftermarket parts competition for any bike and the R18 is like nothing else before... ever. Give it time; the aftermarket business will come up with cheaper substitutes. But cmon, floorboards and shifters are standardized, don't worry about that.
 

nielsm

Active member
Aftermarket accessories for the R18 are hard to find and expensive. It won't get better because the bike really flopped. But, it is a gorgeous bike and the accessories are nice.
It's a bit hard to tell it was a flop. It is a new category for BMW and certainly some of the discounts available might suggest sales were less than hoped. On the other hand, the US is likely the largest market for the R18 & unit sales increased there from 12,000 to 16,000 year over year or ~32%. Looking globally, unit sales climbed from 169,272 to 194,261. While the new RT was also released in 21, the R18 line was the other major release. Other models were carry overs from prior years, so it's not unreasonable to infer that much of the overall increase came from the R18 line especially since BMW's press release calls out the R18 as driving much of the increase of the boxer based models.

Now for some irony, Harley in 2021 had 194,252 units sold globally, about 9 fewer than BMW! Harley launched the Pan America in 2021 and many consider it a good launch, yet Harley's overall sales increased 7.8% from 2020, while BMW increased 14.8%. So was Harley more successful with the new Pan America than BMW with the R18, or was it the other way around?
 

pbosik

Active member
I am starting to see more stuff coming out for the R18 models. My understanding is that the bike, is selling well in other countries. I also think, that it is selling better, in the US, as time goes on. BMW didn't just dip their toes in the water, to feel the temperature. Imo, they dived in! If you look back on the K1600GA and B, they didn't sell well in the beginning. I recall buying my 2018 K16B for over 5k off of msrp, and saw dealers, selling them for ever more $ off. I think BMW, is committed to the R18 line, for many years to come, and that... aftermarket parts, and availability will improve. Just my 2cents...
 
It's a bit hard to tell it was a flop. It is a new category for BMW and certainly some of the discounts available might suggest sales were less than hoped. On the other hand, the US is likely the largest market for the R18 & unit sales increased there from 12,000 to 16,000 year over year or ~32%. Looking globally, unit sales climbed from 169,272 to 194,261. While the new RT was also released in 21, the R18 line was the other major release. Other models were carry overs from prior years, so it's not unreasonable to infer that much of the overall increase came from the R18 line especially since BMW's press release calls out the R18 as driving much of the increase of the boxer based models.

Now for some irony, Harley in 2021 had 194,252 units sold globally, about 9 fewer than BMW! Harley launched the Pan America in 2021 and many consider it a good launch, yet Harley's overall sales increased 7.8% from 2020, while BMW increased 14.8%. So was Harley more successful with the new Pan America than BMW with the R18, or was it the other way around?
It's an awful flop; they are discounting the bikes like crazy. I can only give you one indicator of the PanAmerica's success and why Harley loves it. OK, two

A. I've owned almost every iteration of the GS. There is noone who loves it more, and
B. It took Harley an hour to convince me to buy it, it kicks the GSs butt in every single way and the bike is sound as a pound. It was their first year of the bike and it leads the class. They hit a home run. The R18 has reliability issues, is being deeply discounted and it was made for the US market and doesn't get buying interest. I'm sure BMW enjoys its press releases; but I own the only R18 in my owner's club :).

Harley didnt make many PanAm specials and they sold 2500 of them. And they giggled like school girls because every one was a takeaway from the Europeans. BMW shipped a lot of R18s... a lot. My dealer still has 4 first edition R18s... get em while they're hot :). I think if BMW would have only shipped 1500 bikes, and then 1500 baggers... they would be happy as clams. But they shipped a lot and they are sitting.

I love my R18 but it has been junky at best. It's a niche bike; I don't want to wrench on a bike from 1955 but I love the look of BMWs from the 30s 40s and 50s :)
 
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nielsm

Active member
It's an awful flop; they are discounting the bikes like crazy. I can only give you one indicator of the PanAmerica's success and why Harley loves it. OK, two

A. I've owned almost every iteration of the GS. There is noone who loves it more, and
B. It took Harley an hour to convince me to buy it, it kicks the GSs butt in every single way and the bike is sound as a pound. It was their first year of the bike and it leads the class. They hit a home run. The R18 has reliability issues, is being deeply discounted and it was made for the US market and doesn't get buying interest. I'm sure BMW enjoys its press releases; but I own the only R18 in my owner's club :).

I love my R18 but it has been junky at best. It's a niche bike; I don't want to wrench on a bike from 1955 but I love the look of BMWs from the 30s 40s and 50s :)
I don't disagree that the discounts (in the US) on R18s could represent slow sales, but they could also represent an effort to get a ton out in the market to further encourage demand. Personally I think they likely built too many First Edition packages and they were priced too high for the package, so there weren't a lot of more basic R18s available to buy which may have depressed overall demand. I'd planned on buying a 2022 since I didn't want all the chrome, but the discount on a First Edition encouraged me to move my purchase up several months.

But, if the Pan America was taking away GS sales and the R18 is a flop, how did BMW increase sales in the US by 32% and globally by 14.8% while Harley increased sales by only 22% in the US and only 7.8% globally, while allowing BMW to pass them in overall unit sales (just barely) for the first time? Something doesn't add up.

Maybe it's regional? I'm in the northeast of the US. At a local Bikes & Breakfast event a few weeks ago that hosts bikes from every brand, fully 15% of the bikes there were R18s. From what I've seen in reviews of the Pan America, it competes well with KTM & BMW on the adventure category. Yet, I have seen a number of R18s out on the road, but have yet to see a single Pan America & I'm mostly an Adventure rider, so it'd be of interest to me.
 
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BobW

Member
It's a bit hard to tell it was a flop. It is a new category for BMW and certainly some of the discounts available might suggest sales were less than hoped. On the other hand, the US is likely the largest market for the R18 & unit sales increased there from 12,000 to 16,000 year over year or ~32%. Looking globally, unit sales climbed from 169,272 to 194,261. While the new RT was also released in 21, the R18 line was the other major release. Other models were carry overs from prior years, so it's not unreasonable to infer that much of the overall increase came from the R18 line especially since BMW's press release calls out the R18 as driving much of the increase of the boxer based models.

Now for some irony, Harley in 2021 had 194,252 units sold globally, about 9 fewer than BMW! Harley launched the Pan America in 2021 and many consider it a good launch, yet Harley's overall sales increased 7.8% from 2020, while BMW increased 14.8%. So was Harley more successful with the new Pan America than BMW with the R18, or was it the other way around?
U.S. sales may have grown from 12,000 to 18,000, but how many were R18s? I purchased mine in late 2021 and it was one of VERY few that had been sold in the entire Region. Even in the largest market of California I see dealers still have new left over R18 inventory. Anyway, I do hope the incentives helped with establishing some sustainable momentum as it is an incredible motorcycle, but they botched the first release IMO and now have to get their shit together making accessories available, etc.

As to Harley, I think they too dropped the ball on releasing the 1250 models with multiple delays and their line in general is bloated with mostly overlapping models and little that talks dirty to me. That said, their fit and finish, fueling, etc., as well as ease of maintenance and aftermarket support defines Top Shelf. Their business model has weak links too though from the bad paper and stimulus bail outs, revolving door CEOs, etc., etc. Indian has small numbers too and they gave a poke in Harley's ass more than BMW will with the R18, but all competition is good for riders regardless what they choose to buy. I do think BMW is chasing man buns and Orange County Chopper demographics (at least in their video ads), which is fine to chase conquest sales, but going by the people that post on the forums they at this point have more "traditional" purchasers be they long time BMW or other Brand cross shoppers that may have a focus BMW should not ignore nor take for granted.

As to the Pan American v. GS, if not for continually returning for shaft v. chain final drive I would go for the Harley or the very nicely updated KTM options. All the electronics are adding $$$$ to these bikes, but we're looking at almost $28,000 U.S.D. for a fully loaded GSA and $25,000.00 for the GS that is huge jump from not so long ago and the KTM S or R and Pan American are just shy of $20,000.00 and have been upgraded in fit, finish and even offer some goodies the BMW doesn't have. I would really have to think hard why I should buy another GS/A as that is serious money and will provide for a bunch of chain lube, tires, gas, servicing, etc., etc., etc.

Bottom line, there are so many great motorcycles being offered nowadays that major issues are almost nil and the rest are minor and easily addressed. It's a very good time to enjoy motorsports in general.
 
In my opinion BMW would have hit a sales volume home run and would never had to discount if the r18 was released back in the day instead of that stupid miss mosh of a pseudo cruiser R1200C, the James Bond cruiser bike. Those were the cruiser heydays. Imagine the R18 released in 1997 in the peak of the cruiser market.

Back in 1997 Harley was exploding, Indian was trying to get into the game, Polaris was trying with the Victory brand, and even the Excelsior-Henderson was trying. And the "retro" look and retro feel were all the rage. Funny how BMW brags/shows off how the R18 shakes upon ignition starting, yet the current Harleys no longer shake upon starting. That was Harleys visceral "trademark" but that is now long gone. What's weird is that BMW is trying to replicate a 1997-2015 Harley feel. Even the "potato-potato" sound on new Harleys is barely audible replaced with a more high tech revving idle sound. Dear BMW, your 10-25 years too late, you are replicating OLD Harleys of yesteryear.

To me, the R18 arrived 10-25 years too late to take advantage of the buyer that would have been clamoring over it.

I still cannot believe how stunning beautiful all the variations of the R18 are. Artwork. Add in the reverse gear, shaft drive and other tid bits and to me its pure man-jewelry. The design blows my mind, as a die hard Harley fan and owner of 3 Harleys.

But I have to fully disclose and admit that despite the beauty and my desire to get one I would have never parted with $22k to buy the bike. I am so happy that the incentives came along, and came along so quickly, allowing me to buy one.

At $20k to $22k a Harley still has more appeal due to brand recognition in the cruiser segment. But once the price dropped down to $13k after incentives, OMG what a steal for a piece of ARTWORK.

Is the bike a flop ? Yes and No. Yes because how quickly the deep discounting and incentives came along, ( within 12-14 months after launch) but its also NOT a flop because of the sheer volume of R18 bikes that BMW dumped onto this soft declining cruiser market.
Harley would also be a huge flop if it dumped double the production volume that it currently sells. If Harley doubled production way beyond market demand, it also would have bikes selling for a heavy discount.

If Harley dumped 20,000 copies of their adventure bike on the market the first year, they also would have to offer deep discounts to move that bike off the showroom floor. Harley is smart and only produces the volume it thinks it can sell. NO dumping of high volume.

If BMW only offered 3,000 first editions on launch world wide , every one would sell for sticker or even over.

Is the R18 a sales flop ? possibly only because BMW has been flooding and dumping these ARTWORK new R18 bikes into this soft declining dying cruiser market with massive excessive volume of R18's, way beyond what demand would or could ever be today.

I believe I read somewhere that the first year BMW sold 10,000 R18's. ( I could be wrong also). I believe the true market volume demand is half of that at around 5,000 units per year, and possibly as high as 7,000 units per year.

Youth today and even people in their 30's are not riding, they are too busy playing video games on their phones.

Just imagine the R18 released in the period of 1995 thru 2009. WOW, this bike would easily sell 10,000 units per year . The right bike just at the wrong time.
The BOMB of all ugly designs, the R1200C sold 5,000 units per year according to wikipedia. BMW must have figured that the R18 would sell double that today.
It could easily sell 10,000 copies of the R18 back during the time period that the R1200C was sold which was from 1997 thru 2004.

But Not today. Even Harley is having difficulty moving bikes currently.

I am just so glad I bought my Man-Jewlery R18 for $11,500 brand new zero miles after all incentives and discounts.
This beautiful high end Jewelry finished and designed piece of artwork cost me less than a crappy Japanese Rice cruiser. Thank you BMW !!
 
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