BMW has once again succeeded in throwing a little dirt over the competition.
It was heart-wrenching, returning the BMW S1000RR. It was like being stripped of my wings, walking the plank on my own ship, or being reared off of my demonically fast steed. Lucky for me, I had another beast to tame waiting for me: the sporty and adventurous 2015 BMW S1000XR. And what a beast it proved to be. The heart and soul of the RR, its in-line four 999cc engine, lies within the aluminum composite frame of the XR. I could not think of an engine better adapted to its new purpose.
The four-headed menace of the RR has been tranquilized, but only by a small degree. Instead of the monstrous 198hp at 13,500rpm figure BMW labels the RR with, the XR delivers 160hp at 11,000rpm. This is no feeble amount of power for an adventure-sport; the FJ-09, a sizeable competitor to the S1000XR, outputs approximately 105hp, and weighs only 8 pounds less than the XR at 494lbs. Ducati’s 2015 Multistrada 1200 weighs in at 518lbs and delivers the same 160 horses the XR does. In all cases, BMW’s adventure-sport seems to come out on top. The question then becomes, does it manage this power well? The answer is yes. Yes it does.
In a way, it’s difficult to notice the change in power from the RR to the XR. The midrange prowess of the XR results in a much more linear power band. Pinning the throttle is absolutely invigorating, and upshifting is clean and simple with the inclusion of BMW’s Gear Shift Assist Pro quickshifter. Downshifts with the quickshifter were a little bit squirrelly at first, but with the addition of an extra blip of the throttle, the XR is capable of some buttery gear changes.
The standard package of the XR comes with two ride modes, but the optional Ride Modes Pro package (highly desirable as it includes lean-angle sensing ABS) includes three. These three ride modes of Road, Rain, and Dynamic extend the versatility of the XR and alter overall traction control. In all three of these modes, opening up the throttle yields a different experience, each suited to its own conditions. Dynamic mode offers the rider freest reign over the lift of the front tire and the slipping of the rear tire: perfect for a little off-road ramble. All of these ride modes are adjustable on the go with a neutral throttle and a click of a button by the left thumb.
The left thumb has access to several other useful features, such as cruise control (what a relaxing experience) and BMW’s Electronic Suspension Adjustment system. Bumps and holes in the road may go unnoticed on the XR; the front forks offer a deep 5.9 inches of travel, and the rear offers 5.5 inches. Combined with the vibration numbing rubberized handlebar mounts, riding the XR is almost like gliding. At certain RPMs though, it becomes apparent that the motor on the in-line 4 is lacking a counter-balancer. Still, I didn’t see it to be much of a problem.
On the right side of the handlebar, available in the Standard Package at a base price of $17,200, is the control switch for heated grips. Though there are two different levels of heat, it seemed as if my mitts were toasting a little too much on both, but hey. It still felt pretty damn nice.
Ride Modes Pro does not only include the extra Dynamic riding mode, but also introduces ABS Pro. This goes beyond anti-lock braking with the incorporation of a lean-angle sensor. BMW’s motive was to provide increased safety in curves, allowing the rider to safely come to a stop in any hazardous situation, even if it should occur in a bend in the road. On top of this, the XR has plenty of stopping power. A 320mm twin-disc, radial 4-piston caliper covers the front, while a single 265mm disc provides a good balance in the rear. The ABS is also disengageable, so fret not, dirt riders; you can have a little bit of fun.
Once you swing your leg over the 33.1 inch seat (BMW does offer ample raising/lowering to accommodate riders of different heights), the motocross ergos become immediately apparent. The tank feels nice and slim between the knees, and the pegs placed in a position to enforce an upright and comfortable position. The handlebar is made of aluminum and is astoundingly wide, yet surprisingly relaxing to grip. It makes slow-speed manoeuvring effortless 160 horses the XR does. ds less. sizeable competitor to the S1000XR, outputs and long-distance riding painless. For those lengthy trips, the Premier Package includes a centre stand and a luggage rack. Saddlebags and other various accessories are available as well.
BMW has once again succeeded in throwing a little dirt over the competition, and looking damn clean in comparison. The electronics are sublime, the ride is smooth, and it looks like it has a good deal of character to it. On top of all of this, the versatility of the 2015 BMW S1000XR seems to be unparalleled. BMW’s entrance into the adventure-sport category has been explosive, what’s next?
2015 BMW S1000XR Gallery