Bike Review test the amazing BMW S 1000 XR Adventure Sport bike... Here's the full review. Test by Jeff Ware Photography by Mark Dadswell

BikeReview S 1000 XR BMW20150805_0239The mighty S 1000 XR I tested for BikeReview featured some extras not included on the $22,190 + ORC base model, being Pro riding modes that give Dynamic and Dynamic Pro modes in addition to the standard Rain and Road modes. It also includes Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) instead of the standard Automatic Stability Control (ASC). Gear Shift Assist was fitted (up and down clutchless shifting).

Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) was also fitted to the bike, as well as ABS Pro. It was called the Dynamic Package and also included cruise control and white LED indicators – at an upgrade cost of $1,400.00 on top of the standard RRP. You would be crazy not to do it!

There is also a Touring Package that includes Dynamic ESA, Prep for GPS, Luggage Grid and Case Holder left and right for $1,800.00.

According to BMW the S 1000 XR is not designed for off road use but is as tough as nails and handles dirt roads well.

According to BMW the S 1000 XR is not designed for off road use but is as tough as nails and handles dirt roads well.

2015 BMW S 1000 XR – THE RIDE

Wandering around the bike on a sunny morning on the NSW Far North Coast, I knew I was in for a good day. Why? Lots of mountain roads – bugger all cops and Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres. The hoops themselves tell the story of the bike – more sports than adventure, the emphasis on cornering performance and fun. Happy days.

The S 1000 XR is not overbearingly big. Despite being an inline four, the XR feels slim. The reach to the ‘bars is very comfortable and neutral but initially the ‘bars felt high to me. The seat height, at 840mm, is tall – a problem for shorter riders, who will need to opt for the $250 lowering kit only available with the Touring package if the 820mm option seat ($620) is still too tall.

Not surprisingly, the S 1000 XR feels like an S 1000 R with a taller seat, ‘bars and a bigger taller front screen and fairing – that’s basically what it is, which is brilliant. The rest of the layout is typically BMW spot on. I don’t think I have ridden an uncomfortable BMW for at least a decade… The switchegear is quality and comprehensive, with most of your controls on the left block for ease of use.

There is plenty to fiddle with, however, although the dash is comprehensive, it is just too small and very hard to read on the move. I don’t get it – there is room for a much larger display. Hopefully the next model will have some improvement there…

The seat is wide and very supportive and the screen position just right – at least for my 183cm height.

Good protection, still get fresh air, minimal buffeting and no dramas with vision. Good thing. The hand guards are great and the mirrors do the job but could be bigger.

Finish is top quality and I like the look, others will not…

Firing up the oversquare inline four reveals a raspy note from the stainless-steel four-into-one. It is still super quiet but at least the note has some balls and isn’t sewing machine soft like many Japanese inline fours.

The S 1000 XR is an incredibly capable sportsbike despite the fact it isn't one. Not much on the road could beat this thing when it is in its element, fast country roads.

The S 1000 XR is an incredibly capable sportsbike despite the fact it isn’t one. Not much on the road could beat this thing when it is in its element, fast country roads.

I make life easy and select Road mode – this sets the engine to Road and the ESA to Road.
We head out of town quickly and start climbing a twisting mountain route with decent pace almost immediately after leaving the 60km/h zones. I am comfortable on the XR within a few corners – always the sign of a good bike.

The feeling of familiarity brings confidence and that along with the fantastic Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II hoops means that me and the other journo’s are on it quickly – it’s like a MotoGP race through the countryside!

The engine is fundamentally the same specification as the brilliant S 1000 R, which means it is hard accelerating with strong mid range and a pretty decent top end. The gearing feels lower, as the XR is very buzzy in top gear at freeway speeds, with excessive high frequency vibration in the handlebars that will need addressing.

Rolling from turn to turn on the gas is vibe free and the up and down quickshifting is fantastic. The bike sounds horn when it pops into the next gear, giving a little ‘crack’ out of the pipe. A bit like a GP bike…

Like all BMW bikes with Gear Shift Pro, you need to watch out for the clutch switch. If you rest your fingertips on the clutch lever, or have more than 1mm of play in the cable, the clutch switch will activate and the quickshifter stops working!

This gets confusing, as one minute it works then it doesn’t. It can be as you get faster, wind pressure takes up lever travel, or your fingertips on the lever… the trick is zero cable play unfortunately.

The XR engine pulls really hard to 11,000rpm where it tails off nicely with lots of overrev available to hold gears between turns. On the other hand, short-shifting and using the torque available, which peaks at around 9000rpm, is also extremely rewarding and fun. Make no mistake – this is one fast motorcycle and for experts only…

When it comes to pulling up, BMW motorcycles do it better. The S 1000 XR is equipped with non monoblock Brembo calipers (while the S 1000 RR and S 1000 R get monoblock), however, this has not reduced braking performance. The bike stops very well, with fantastic feel at the lever and even on Road ESA, with plenty of front-end support and rear stability on the brakes.

The forks are soft but the dive well controlled by the ESA system. With ABS Pro onboard, the ABS works even while cranked over to prevent the front folding – and has rear wheel lift control that can be switched off as well – hand when braking hard into bumpy turns when the rear may lift. Without the lift control off you could easily run too deep if the ABS released the brakes. Good feature to have an option to switch off in my opinion.

The rear brake is brilliant and has good feel and can be used to advantage in balancing the bike through the tight stuff, while the chassis offers a feeling of a planted ride with lots of mechanical grip. It goes where you look – a key feature on a roadbike. It has good ground clearance as well, and the DSC does a great job while not being too intrusive…

As the going gets more radical and the pace turns nuts, I switch the bike to Dynamic. I like the improvement in throttle response but find the ESA too firm, so switch back to Road where I feel I can ride quicker with more confidence in the softer set-up on bumps. When we hit smooth sections, I switch to Dynamic. It is that easy…

With suspension adjustment a push of the button on the fly, adapting to changing conditions while punting hard is an excellent option to have and really adds to the ride experience.

With suspension adjustment a push of the button on the fly, adapting to changing conditions while punting hard is an excellent option to have and really adds to the ride experience.

I later had a good run in Dynamic Pro and even managed a few wheelies in this mode, which is suited to very hard riding on smoother roads. Honestly, the level you can push this bike to is simply mind boggling and it still keeps tracking straight and no matter how deep you brake into a turn it hooks up and goes in. It feels glued to the road – and we were riding over some horrible surfaces…

At the end of a hard day riding I felt refreshed and had no aches or pains – which would not be the case, had I been on a sportsbike. The next day we did the same ride again and all of us arrived safe and fresh at the end – testament to the comfort and controlability of this machine.

The S 1000 XR is an amazing motorcycle almost designed for Australia. With some of the many accessories available, you could make one exactly what you want – and it would be a keeper…
If you are a sports rider who is getting older like me (40) and a few aches and pains are on the way, go and try one of these before you buy your next sportsbike or nakedbike…

BikeReview S 1000 XR BMW20150804_02372015 BMW S 1000 XR Specifications

Price: $22,190 + ORC
Warranty: Two-year, unlimited kilometer
Colours: Racing Red, Light White

Claimed power: 118kW[160hp]@11000rpm
Claimed torque: 112Nm[82.6ft-lbs]@9250rpm
Wet weight: 228kg
Fuel capacity: 20L

Engine: Liquid-cooled, in-line four-cylinder, four-valves per cylinder, DOHC, 80 x 49.7mm bore x stroke, 999cc, 12:1 compression
Gearbox: Six-speed
Clutch: Multiplate mechanical wet clutch

Chassis: Rake: 25.5, Trail: 117mm
Suspension: 46mm USD forks, compression and rebound stage adjustable, 150mm travel, single rear shock, rebound damping adjustable, 140mm travel

Brakes: BMW Motorrad Race ABS, dual 320mm front rotors, Brembo radial four-piston calipers, single 265mm rear rotor, two-piston Brembo floating caliper

Wheels & Tyres: Cast aluminium wheels, 3.50 x 17in, 6.00 x 17in, 120/70 – 17in, 190/55 – 17in

Dimensions:
Wheelbase: 1548mm
Seat height: 840mm
Overall length: 2183mm
Overall height: 1408mm
Overall width: 940mm

Instruments: Analogue tachometer, digital multifunction display

2015 BMW S 1000 XR Gallery

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