When BMW Motorrad debuted the S 1000 XR at the 2014 EICMA motorcycle exhibition in Milan, there was universal praise from BMW enthusiasts worldwide. Fast forward six months later to Barcelona and the motorcycle media have finally got their hands on this exciting new adventure sport machine. The first impressions are extremely positive...If the thought of being one of the first to ride the S 1000 XR is exciting, then think how excited and cautiously nervous the staff of BMW Motorrad must have been to receive the first wave of 30 international media journalists when they rolled into the town of Terrassa, situated just outside of Barcelona. Over the course of two days, this group of media were introduced to the bike by way of an in-depth presentation, facts and figures as well as a presentation by the S 1000 XR design team. The same introductory format followed for a further three riding groups. In all, over 12 days, 120 journalists representing specialist motorcycle press, lifestyle and social media from 29 countries attended the S 1000 XR launch.The second day of the media’s introduction to the XR consisted purely of riding the new motorcycle. And what a ride! Roads near Barcelona, via Montserrat, are everything that lets your heart beat fast in awe and appreciation but also highlight the best and worst a motorcycle can offer. So, not only challenging for the rider but also for the XR with wide, open fast curves, twisty first and second gear corners, short stretches of highway, flat roads that lead into the hills and mountains of forest and stone that makes this part of Spain such a tourist high spot. In all, perfect riding situations for a motorcycle that defines ‘adventure sport’ by its very makeup of sporting engine manners derived from the S 1000 R, coupled with travel comfort that has made BMW Motorrad masters of distance touring motorcycles.The presented bikes were all in Racing Red colour scheme and equipped to the same specification, complete with available optional accessories such as ABS Pro, HP Pro Gear Shift Assist Pro and Dynamic ESA. So with the playground bathed in sunshine and 30 XRs lined up to be ridden, the start of approximately 250 testing kilometres began.First of the print media to bring its report coverage to the eagerly awaiting was the UK’s MotorCycle News (MCN). Its vastly experienced journalist enthused on the subject of the XR’s riding manners. “On the evidence of this first ride, so-called adventure bikes have never been so sharp. The front end remained precise and controlled throughout the whole plot, partly thanks to the steering damper, stable and assured. Simply, it never got out of shape.”1000PS of Austria was similarly complimentary on the XR’s ability to blend adventure bike comfort and ability with sporting prowess: “Either the damper works as unobtrusive, or you could even do without it, because the bike is permanently stable anyway. The 46 mm upside-down fork has a travel of 150 mm, the shock of 140 mm. These are 30 and 20 mm more than on an S 1000 R. Uncomfortable roads are also impact and stress-free to cross. With their Pirelli Diablo Rosso II and the Bridgestone T30 Evo (standard equipment) it is made 100% for the road.”Motorrad magazine of Germany made a point about how great the power is from the S 1000 R derived engine, even with a new exhaust designed to exceed the next batch of noise emissions regulations. “There is usable thrust as mentioned already in the lowest speed ranges. If you don’t want to end up with long arms they should not turn the throttle at 7,000 rpm. It sets off catapult-like acceleration from down below to shoot you towards the next bend. Anyone riding these areas on the road needs to know what he is doing. Continuous stirring of the gearbox isn’t really necessary. Power but great fun.”The same effect of the 999 cc engine – essentially the same unit that is powering the S 1000 R naked roadster – all 118 kW (160 hp) and 112 Nm (83 lb-ft) of it, brought a similar response from PS (Germany) magazine. “And what about the motor? With minimum mapping changes lies precisely in the XR the same impulsive propellant as the naked bike, i.e. huge 160 horses transmission tugging.”International freelance motorcycle journalist Roland Brown put his thoughts about the XR to keyboard for online biking specialist Visordown. “At 228kg fully fuelled the XR is respectably light: 21kg heavier than the S 1000 R but 10kg lighter than the R 1200 GS. Although steering geometry isn’t quite as steep as the S 1000 R’s, that wide handlebar gave enough leverage to make the bike fantastically easy to flick through the endless hairpins on the road that wound from Sabadell to Manresa.”Such praise is hardly likely to waiver with a pillion, plus the optional luggage system filled to the brim with clothes. While the XR has a justifiably potent engine for moments of fun riding, everything else around the engine was designed and built to accommodate the desired aspects of an adventure bike and touring machine, and that is to cover distance in sufficient comfort.Online blog site motorbiker.org, had this to say about the XR: “If the S 1000 R roadster's ancestry is evident at first glance, one cannot help thinking about the other models in the BMW range, including the S 1000 RR for the front asymmetric headlight and the R 1200 GS for the top tank, the front little beak and wide handlebars inducing an upright riding position. The whole is rather homogeneous and shows a build quality and finely crafted finish.”But while the majority of the world’s biking media put across their first ride review, many were unanimous in their verdict that BMW Motorrad has built a motorcycle that not so much fills an obvious hole in the grand scheme of motorcycling but has created a whole new genre that will stir the interest of most motorcyclists.“We should get used to this,” said 1000PS. “Because this is the future of sports touring bikes, as I see them. And apparently not just me….”MCN underlined the thinking of 1000PS with this: “Bike for all reasons? Definitely. In fact I struggle to think of any reason why you shouldn’t.” High praise indeed, but it was MCN’s final verdict that arguably will make BMW fans weak at the knees in delight and also attract many ‘competitor’ riders through BMW Motorrad dealers’ doors. “The new S 1000 XR is probably one of the best BMWs ever. To be just that, though, with a transverse four engine, chain drive, telescopic forks etc, it’s also one of the least-BMW-like. Does it matter? Not a bit.”For more information and a test ride on the new benchmark-setting S 1000 XR, please visit your local BMW Motorrad dealer. A word of warning before you do: adventure sport is the new name for a machine suited to those people who want adventures but also something more than a touring machine. That something is the new S 1000 XR.
May 2015 | © BMW Motorrad
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