2023 BMW M1000R

The M1000R truly is a bike that does everything BMW says it will, and then some
The M1000R truly is a bike that does everything BMW says it will, and then some

by Theron Lane | October 9, 2023


If you ever got onto a 1000-cc sport-naked motorcycle and thought, “wow, this is fast, but I really wish it would shift space and time around me, give me tunnel vision, and generating enough g-force upon acceleration to break my nose on the inside of my helmet,” I have good news for you. Such a bike now exists, and it’s the 2023 BMW M1000R.

Spawned from some super-futuristic laboratory in Berlin, the M1000R is a class above the already capable S1000R. Rolling out of the factory with a powerplant now tuned to produce 205 horsepower, a set of winglets on the fairings, and dripped in an M Motorsport colourway, there is nothing subtle about this bike and I love it. Design-wise, it’s everything I wanted its less powerful sibling to be — it tells onlookers the M1000R is not a “normal” motorcycle without being dripped in bright red, chrome paint, or full carbon fairings. It’s loud, but I don’t find it obnoxious.

BMW Motorrad has basically built a version of the S1000RR that’s ride-able for eight hours straight, but without sacrificing any of the performance. In fact, the heart of the M1000R has been directly transplanted from an S1000RR — the gearing feels very similar, if not exactly the exact same, and the way it puts power down feels just as linear once you pass 8,000 rpm. This really is what I had hoped the S1000R would have been, but alas, it feels incredibly tame compared to either of its tougher siblings. BMW dubs the M1000R as a “hyper roadster” and they’re well within their rights to do so.

My time with this particular motorcycle was splendiferous. From the moment I first saw it, I was impressed. From the moment I first threw my leg over it, I was seduced. This M1000R is the closest thing to perfection I’ve ridden since I first got my motorcycle license over a decade ago. The ride itself is incredibly dynamic, easily transitioning between puttering through traffic or side streets, to unleashing the fury of a thousand suns on a set of sweeping s-bends. It’s hard to really find fault with the M1000R — it truly is a bike that does everything BMW says it will, and then some.

Road manners are impeccable, and for the most part, predictable. The M1000R oozes power, but thanks to some electronic trickery, it puts the power down with as much drama as you want. I spent most of my time with the bike in Dynamic mode, thinking I was getting a pretty sharp riding experience with full power. The M1000R felt damn fast, but almost a bit bogged down in the lower RPM ranges, not truly coming alive until after the 8,000 rpm mark where it would blast through the gears and make the indicator look more like a stopwatch.

It wasn’t until I configured its custom ride modes that I realized the M1000R was actually dialed back one stop from full power. I set it to full power, stiff suspension, low wheelie control, and road-tuned ABS before setting out again on my favourite loop — and after five minutes, I was convinced BMW somehow installed a hyperdrive mode on the M1000R. Acceleration even under three-quarters throttle is mind-bending, and attempting to use full-throttle was an exercise in utter terror, well before Halloween. The M1000R is unambiguously furious in its power delivery in this engine setting. The exhaust note reflects this as well, getting throatier with the signature pops that come with closing the throttle.

Once I had deleted several county concessions, I came up to a steep set of bends. The M1000R had been compliant in dynamic mode, but after generating several lateral Gs of acceleration, I approached cautiously before applying power at the apex. I really didn’t need to — even braking late and pushing hard into a corner, the M1000R dives in without abandon. It wants you to blast it through corners, and it’s prepared to take care of you when you mess up and overshoot, or overestimate a braking point. I felt  superhuman thanks to the electronics, and its astonishing to think this is what BMW has come up with after just over a decade of producing sport bikes. There’s so much feel, predictability, and stability on almost every situation you can throw at this bike on the road, I can only begin to dream about what unholy physics-defying magic it can produce on a racetrack with a set of slicks.

The M1000R may be the closest thing to perfection I’ve ridden, but nothing is perfect — then again, none of the knocks I’m about to mention are deal-breakers. First, there is a significant amount of vibration translated into the handlebars, so anyone with carpel tunnel should consider weighted bar-ends. A side effect of all that vibration is that the mirrors are effectively useless at highway speeds, and any headlights you see in them at night time just look like shaking halos where cars could be. I’d fit a set of bar-end mirrors onto the bike if it were mine, anyway, but that’s a longtime personal preference. To heck with antenna mirrors, and to heck with the M1000R’s bar-mounted floating mirrors; I don’t hate them, but I definitely don’t love them.

Lastly, despite the winglets affixed to the bike, the front end feels light and borderline unpredictable at high speeds after a shot of throttle. My first encounter with this was unsettling, but once I realized the inputs trigger it and the steering dampener handles it, I regained confidence. Again, bar weights could help this issue, as just a bit of extra weight on the front end can make a big difference.

After spending a week on the M1000R and burning through several tanks of 93-octane fuel, I’m happy to report it’s the best bike I have ever ridden. If I can justify adding one to my garage, I’d gleefully hand over the keys to my beloved 2015 S1000R to another buyer. With a starting price of $25,495, the 2023 BMW M1000R isn’t out of reach for most of us, and believe me, most of us should be reaching for it. The only ones who shouldn’t, are those without experience, or a single ounce of self-restraint.

See Also

2023 BMW S1000RR

2023 BMW CE-04

2023 BMW R18 Bagger

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About Theron Lane

Motorcycle Content Editor

Having graduated from Sheridan College’s Applied Photography program, Theron brings a keen photographic eye to DoubleClutch.ca. When he isn’t taking his sweet time to get the perfect angle, he is often found on the saddle.

Current Toys: ’24 Defender 110, ’15 S1000R