Youngtimer test: BMW C1

Youngtimer test: BMW C1 roof scooter

Classic or flop? BMW C1 in the test

The BMW C1 was way ahead of its time, and yet it is already yesterday’s news. However, its concept is forward-looking.


The BMW C1 is something very special. But it remains a matter of taste.

It sweaters. Yes, even the little four-stroke engine pulls, and bravely, but more on that later. It pulls mainly on the head, even though the C1 comes with a large laminated glass pane and roof. Both components of the safety cell, which is intended to protect the driver from injuries in the event of an accident or falls, but also from wind and weather. However, the convertible effect strikes when driving: swirls of air pouch the driver’s head and ensure a stormy hairstyle and a cool neck when the driver is not wearing a hat. That’s not the only thing that takes getting used to on C1. The towering safety cell is to blame for the high center of gravity, which initially turns inclined positions into frightful positions. Is it tipping over or is it not tipping over? You have to trust yourself and get used to the view of the world outside in front of the glass dome. You also have to get used to the start of the innovative BMW scooter.

It starts with lifting off the main stand. In the beginning, gross motorists regularly broke off parts of the levering or the stand stop due to too impatient action, which is why these were soon reinforced by BMW. Driving is actually child’s play: accelerate and let the Rotax 125 four-valve engine and the centrifugal clutch plus automatic operate. The propulsion starts a little delayed, however, when cornering you should always keep the load under tension early to avoid nervous tilting. Insecure footing when turning can quickly catch the eye, because at least 201 kilograms have to be propped up in an emergency and pushed by the 15 hp single cylinder when starting the traffic light. The latter always happens with loud, annoying roaring and roaring. In general, the four-stroke engine needs revs to develop power. Therefore, the promised 2.9 liters per 100 kilometers are not enough for him, but on average he usually uses 3.5 liters – in pure city traffic even 4.5 liters. C1 driving was never cheap anyway, because the base price of 10,685 marks (5463 euros) was usually accompanied by expensive extras such as heated grips or seats, a top case or the praiseworthy ABS for a good 500 euros. The stable chassis, the excellent, snappy brakes and the good light deserve praise, but the C1, designed as a short-distance and city scooter, is not too easy to drive. In return, it still attracts the glances today, compassionate and admiring, right from the start. Helmet? You don’t need it. You have to wear a seat belt, there is a belt like in a car. Then the blocking procedure, and in the case of rainy weather, first turn on the windshield wipers and ensure visibility. And then the C1 owner drives away with his space glider, gazed like an alien. The C1 was only built from 2000 to 2004. But the concept has a future. And Captain Future will return. Guaranteed.

Short judgment


  • Proven security cell
  • A roof over your head when it rains
  • Excellent brakes
  • Stable straight-line stability
  • High noticeable factor


  • Noisy engine
  • Moderate temperament
  • Cumbersome jacking up / down
  • High (used) price

Technical specifications


High security wing: The C1 protects with an aluminum space frame, deformation elements and a seat belt.

The data (factory information):
engine   Single cylinder four stroke
Displacement   125 cc
Power transmission   Variator / belt
power   11 kW (15 PS) at 9300 rpm
Max. Torque   12 Nm at 6500 rpm
Front brake   Disc (Ø 220 mm)
rear brake   Disc (Ø 220 mm)
Front tires   120 / 70-13
Rear tire   140 / 70-12
Suspension travel front / rear 75/85 mm
Tank capacity   9.7 liters, super
Colors   Yellow / blue, orange red / blue
Maintenance intervals   7,500 km
price   5.463 euros (new price 2000)

The readings:
Top speed   106 km / h
acceleration 0-80 km / h 12.3 sec
Draft 60-80 km / h 5.7 sec
Weight with a full tank   201 kg
Payload   159 kg
Consumption highway   3.4 l / 100 km 



In the city:
The high weight is annoying when maneuvering, the high center of gravity due to the towering safety cell makes the C1 wobbly, and jacking up and down is cumbersome. The BMW does not move very quickly at the traffic lights, and it is only practical for shopping with a specially ordered topcase.

On the country road:
The C1 always wants to be kept under tension, then its tendency to tilt is limited. The high weight and the high center of gravity spoil the handling on brisk country roads. After all, the solid chassis guarantees stability and the brakes (optionally with ABS) are top notch.

On the highway:
Not without a hat. At full throttle it pulls the head (from behind) powerfully, although 106 km / h top speed is not particularly glorious. The C1 stubbornly pulls its course, protecting the face from the lashing wind and the whole body from rain. The range with the 9.7 liter tank is moderate.


Although the Rotax four-stroke engine has a real 15 hp, it makes a really annoying noise, is not overly economical and does not make the C1 particularly lively.
(3 out of 5 stars)

landing gear
Elaborate front wheel guidance, stable chassis and rigid safety cell allow the BMW to drive safely in a straight line. It tends to tilt in curves.
(4 out of 5 stars)

The easy-to-dose, extremely effective brakes would look good on some large motorcycles, and the ABS (as an extra) regulates reliably.
(4 out of 5 stars)

The C1 has a lot as standard, such as good light, storage compartment, windscreen wipers, many were only available for an extra charge (ABS, topcase, etc.).
(4 out of 5 stars)

The C1 is adequately sprung, offers decent space and great wind and weather protection. However, the engine runs loud and rough.
(4 out of 5 stars)

Suitable for beginners
Even experienced bikers have to get used to the BMW, beginners can quickly be overwhelmed by the high weight and wobbly.
(3 out of 5 stars)

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