The ad­ven­ture-y one

Con­tin­ued over

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -


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

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