Next in the flurry of new bikes from EICMA Milan 2014 is BMW's answer to the magnificent Ducati Multistrada – the S1000XR. Featuring the same wild-eyed 1000cc, 160-horsepower, inline 4-cylinder engine that scared the wrinkles out of my undercarriage in the insane S1000R nakedbike, the XR is a fire-breathing, road focused light adventure bike with as much potential for long-range touring as it has for blowing the mirrors off sportsbikes in the twisties. It also features this year's latest must-have gadget – lean angle-sensitive ABS Pro, as well as BMW's wonderful cruise control unit to round out an impressive electronics package.
If you're familiar with the BMW S1000R nakedbike, and you owe it to yourself to make sure you are, because it's one of the greatest road bikes ever built and an astonishing demonstration of how peak horsepower doesn't mean a damn thing on the road … anyway, if you're familiar with the R, the XR is a very similar beast.
Dressed in slightly more respectable clothing and aimed at an older market, the XR is one of these light sports adventure bikes we're starting to see more of. The theory is simple enough: people like the look and the riding position of the big adventure bikes like BMW's R1200GS, but most riders never venture beyond the odd gravel road - thus the off-road tires, long travel suspension and hardy baseplates of the big adventure bikes end up making them worse for what they actually get used for: mainly road riding.
Ducati's Multistrada set the tone for this kind of machine by being basically a sportsbike in an adventure chassis. Wildly impractical for real bush-bashing, it excelled at nearly everything else, especially hard, twisty road riding. The S1000XR looks like a very similar sort of machine, with a couple of extra tweaks.
Like the S1000R, the XR has a "detuned" version of the S1000RR inline 4-cylinder superbike engine. It loses 40 horsepower in the conversion. But if the R's aggressive power delivery is anything to go by, you're not going to miss a single one of those ponies; the road-focused version of this engine is an absolute torque beast that actually ends up accelerating you vastly quicker than the RR superbike at any legal road speed and a fair way beyond. It's a beast.
Electronics-wise, the XR gets the same package as the R, with Rain and Road modes, and an optional "Dynamic" package with two more modes, all of which set the lean angle-sensitive traction control, wheelie control, ABS, engine power output and throttle response to suit the way you're riding.
Optionally, there's a Touring package that features pannier mounts, heated grips, mountings for a sat-nav system, center stand, luggage grid and BMW's excellent electronically adjustable suspension, fully integrated into the riding modes setup.
There's also a Dynamic package that opens up access to those extra riding modes, adds a quickshifter, the all-important cruise control and a new addition to the S1000 family – ABS Pro, a lean angle-sensitive braking system that makes it much, much after to brake hard while leaned over in a corner.
BMW has been kicking goals left, right and center in the last five years or so, with one model after another that elevates its class. We see no reason why the S1000XR shouldn't be another raging success. Well, maybe one reason – the S1000R has a kick like an angry mule, and if the XR is the same, it's gonna scare some riders off!
Here's our video review!