BMW S1000XR review: Genuine all-rounder with sportsbike-like performance

BMW Motorrad positions the S1000XR in its range of “adventure” models, but, in truth, it should be in the “all-rounder” category – if there was one.

In fact, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what sort of bike this is – but only in a good way.

That’s because it offers sportsbike performance, adventure-bike styling and road presence, and tourer comfort and technical features.

It’s a great-looking bike, with sleek lines and a wave-like curve to the silhouette.

Stylish: It's a great looker
Stylish: It’s a great looker

There’s a choice of three colourways and the paint quality is excellent.

On board, the seat is nicely cupped and not too wide, nor too high, which means you can confidently plant both boots on the tarmac.

Nevertheless, the ride position feels high and commanding, but extremely comfortable at the same time, with wide, upswept bars.

It fitted me perfectly and I felt I could ride all day.

The large TFT dash is clear and easy to use, and indicates which of the four ride modes you have selected – Rain, Rode, Dynamic or Dynamic Pro.

Clear: Large TFT dash
Clear: Large TFT dash

Each of these adjusts the throttle response and the amount of torque in the lower gears.

There’s also cornering ABS and traction control.

Start up and the engine let’s you know it’s credentials with a sound that’s more sportsbike than adventure.

On the road, the adjustable screen and fairing do a fine job of protecting you from the wind, and the mirrors offer a clear view past your elbows.

Smooth: Fraser rides the S1000XR
Smooth: Fraser rides the S1000XR

This engine is a real beauty.

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It has all the power and torque of the superb S1000RR, but delivered in a more refined and manageable way.

The upper gears are long and the torque is smooth and power-delivery linear.

But don’t underestimate it. The acceleration if you open it up is awesome and you’ll be thankful for the (adjustable) wheelie control.

Intuitive: Switch-gear and toggle
Intuitive: Switch-gear and toggle

Suspension is via BMW’s D-ESA system which electronically adjusts the forks according to the conditions and has selectable rear spring-load setting for the monoshock.

There is also an upgraded D-ESA Pro, which offers a stiffer Dynamic damping mode and instead of the preload settings, has an automatic function to adjust the shock according to the load.

Through the bends, the S1000XR is an absolute joy.

It’s light and flickable, but also super sure-footed and confidence inspiring.

Power: Fraser tests the Beemer
Power: Fraser tests the Beemer

Braking, with 320mm front discs and four-pot calipers is extraordinarily powerful yet sensitive.

The superb D-ESA means you can brake quite hard into corners with no fork dive – and no rebound as you ease off and accelerate out.

As with all BMWs these days, there is a large range of configurations and optional extras available – mine came with separate Sat-Nav and fog lights.

Smart: Sat Nav fitted
Smart: Sat Nav fitted

Overall, this is a truly fantastic machine. The consummate allrounder.

Get £30 off your insurance here:

Capable: Great for two-up touring
Capable: Great for two-up touring


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