The adventure-y one
You can thank KTM and their brilliant SMT950 for inventing the adventureshaped sports tourer. It was a bike that combined big power and thrills with surprising practicality and comfort.
Now the class has grown to include the do-it-all Ducati Multistrada 1200, KTM’S own fiery 1290 Super Duke GT and this BMW S1000XR.
Sports adventurers like the BMW are all about insanely powerful engines, superbike chassis technology, cuttingedge electronics and extreme comfort.
With a motor lifted out of the German firm’s RR superbike and retuned for more mid-range grunt, the 163bhp 999cc masterpieces gurgles on the overrun, pops and bangs through its gearbox blippers and goes like merry hell. It’s a four-cylinder cacophony of noise, aggression and power when you poke it with a stick, but relaxed and tractable when you’re just cruising and watching the world waft gently by.
BMW says it’s banished the engine buzz from this updated model with new anti-vibe bars, but those tingles are still there. They bother some riders more than others, but it’s a blot on the Beemer’s otherwise blemish-free copybook.
It doesn’t just go like a superbike, it handles and stops like one, too, but it isn’t as stiff or as flighty so even on the bumpiest of backroads it doesn’t tie itself in knots. It just glides on its semi-active Sachs suspension as you sit back and admire its easy composure and mountain-crushing speed.
It’s not cheap, especially this fully loaded Sport SE model, but you get every conceivable touring and sports toy, including Rr-aping rider aids, cruise control and heated grips.
Vibey bars are one of the only grumbles