New Euro4 -com­pli­ant S1000XR is smoother and faster than ever

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

‘The 20-litre fuel tank al­lows 150 fast miles be­fore the light flicks on’

BMW launched the S1000XR in late 2014 and the Ger­man ad­ven­ture sport mis­sile was an im­me­di­ate suc­cess, win­ning MCN’S Best Ad­ven­ture Sport Bike crown in 2015 and 2016. Since its birth the XR has faced stiff com­pe­ti­tion, but the pow­er­ful, in­line four has al­ways been able to leave most ri­vals in its wake.

For 2017 BMW needed to up­date the S1000XR to make it Euro4 com­pli­ant. While the XR was in the work­shop the Ger­mans added a few ex­tra ponies, in­creased its pay­load and tried to limit vi­bra­tions, which had been a crit­i­cism of the orig­i­nal bike.

It’s easy to for­get how good some bikes are – and the S1000XR is just such a ma­chine. The XR is phys­i­cally enor­mous – there’s no hid­ing the fact it’s tall and car­ries its 220kg high up in the chas­sis – but the power and ex­cel­lent han­dling make up for its size and weight.

But don’t be fooled by the XR’S tall stance and ad­ven­ture styling, it can cut it in the twisties and its 162bhp is backed up by ex­cel­lent rider aids. ESA semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion copes with the weight and per­for­mance ad­mirably, while the ABS brakes are strong. In fact, the XR’S per­for­mance is so im­pres­sive you can eas­ily get car­ried away and find your­self ap­proach­ing sit­u­a­tions 10-15mph faster than you were ex­pect­ing.

Bril­liant er­gonomics and all-day com­fort help keep the S1000XR ex­pe­ri­ence civilised. The man­u­ally ad­justable screen is a lit­tle cum­ber­some and with­out the of­fi­cial BMW sat-nav fit­ted the nav­i­ga­tion wheel is a lit­tle point­less as it is no longer connected to the menu on the clocks. But apart from these few gripes and the bike’s slightly in­tim­i­dat­ing di­men­sions for smaller rid­ers (like 5ft 6in me), the BMW is hard to fault.

You can blast down to the South of France in com­fort – the 20-litre fuel tank al­lows 150 fast miles be­fore the light flicks on – and then have some fun in the Pyre­nees once you are there. Like so many of the best Beemers, it is hugely ver­sa­tile.

That said, I do won­der if BMW could have done a lit­tle more while they were mak­ing the XR meet Euro4 reg­u­la­tions. If you al­ready have an XR I can’t see why you’d want to up­grade to the re­vised model and you could save cash by buy­ing used. BMW claim fewer vi­bra­tions through the bars, and it cer­tainly feels smooth, but I never re­ally had a prob­lem with the orig­i­nal bike. The vibes were there but are un­ob­tru­sive. So, yes, the 2017 bike is cer­tainly an im­prove­ment, but it’s a sub­tle up­grade rather than a seis­mic trans­for­ma­tion.

Semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion is wel­come

The view from the seat is info-packed

Load up and get ready to cross Europe

ADAM CHILD SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER adam.child@mo­tor­cy­cle­

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