BMW S1000R | Bike Tests | Latest Tests
A formidable contender in the supernaked class, the BMW S1000R features an eye-popping spec sheet, high-performance S1000RR lineage and great pricing that helped it win AMCN Motorcycle of the Year in its debut back in 2014. Two years on it remains an extremely attractive package for those with a penchant for performance, a love of technology, and an eye for a cracking deal.
As well as being incredibly civilised – with cruise control, heated grips, and comfort tuned suspension settings at the touch of a button – the BMW is also extremely well-endowed with the faaaaaark factor. It’s the seamless bringing together of these two worlds that makes the S1000R much more than a superbike sans fairings.
Brilliant as it may be, no bike is without glitches, and the BMW has some notable blemishes: a narrow rev band of high frequency vibration – something the engineers appear to have addressed on the 2017 S1000R and XR models with new rubber handlebar mounts.
Our test bike’s slipper clutch gave a lot of kick-back at its annoyingly non-adjustable lever. There is also excessive travel at the front brake lever before reaching its bite point. Once at the bite point, the brakes border on being too aggressive for sedate road use, but then again, we’d always prefer too much braking power than not enough.
As is the case with the RR, its gear change action is too heavy. Next year’s model adds clutchless downshift to the current model’s upshift, and hopefully a lightening of the selector mechanism.
One of the most appealing things about the S1000R is its chassis, and more specifically its front end – confidence inspiring, pinpoint accurate and capable of holding its line whether the going is tight or fast, bumpy or smooth. Being able to electronically adjust the suspension on the fly is a standout advantage, too, allowing the S1000R to swap from taut track settings to compliant and comfortable when changing conditions dictates.
Creature comforts such as cruise control and heated grips, and the broad range of rider-mode settings make this a far more versatile machine than you may expect from such a seemingly sports-focused design.
Whether you’re a fan of in-line fours or not, the simply eye-watering rush of acceleration delivered by this awesome screamer has to be admired. If it’s a machine for pure adrenal excitement you’re after, or wanting the sharpest tool in the shed to beat your mates in a naked race, the S1000R is still the duck’s guts. It’s not perfect, but it just works. No matter where we rode it, or who rode it, it never failed to impress.
With the competition conspiring to knock the S1000R off its perch, the BMW too is receiving some tasty updates for 2017. Can’t wait!
Craig Coxhell – The ultimate track bike. It’s fast, stops and handles but it also makes you work for it. A great all-rounder too. Electronic suspension softens the bike for the road, plus there are several maps, heated grips and cruise control. The seat is comfortable, but it’s a bit hard on the arms over a long distance.
Steve Martin– There’s no denying it, this is feasibly the fastest nakedbike around. The BMW is a serious bit of kit that rewards the rider immensely, but you have to earn that right.
At a sedate pace with all the settings on soft it’s quite a good cruiser, and very rideable in tricky conditions as we found out on the Great Ocean Road in stormy weather.
Paul McCann – BMW has delivered a hyper-naked that fits well with its reputation for hitting the mark in every genre it contests. The clutch lever was a stretch even for my long digits, but heated grips, a swag of engine modes and cruise control make it easy to live with. The brakes on this motorcycle have to be felt to be believed.