BMW S 1000 XR in the driving report: Evolution of madness

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1/10
There is no more screeching race feeling in the long-legged class. We have already driven the BMW S 1000 XR.

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2/10
From 7,000 tours, the new four-cylinder seems to literally explode.

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3/10
The noise and vibration levels are also lower than the previous model.

Now the power foursome is still full of character, but less hooligan-like to work.

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4/10
Below 3,000 rpm, the punch is noticeably below expectations and the previous model.

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5/10
For a machine of this size, turning is almost shockingly easy.

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6/10
With the S 1000 XR you are driving dynamically at a very high and lonely class level.

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7/10
The Dynamic ESA Pro worked perfectly, at least when the speed of the backlight was wet.

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8/10
If you pull too hard on the e-gas, the traction control catches you gently again, imperceptibly.

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9/10
The overall result is a more compact and feedback-rich feeling on the motorcycle without losing any of its handiness.

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10/10
Even in the second generation of models, the madness still has its method: There is no more screeching race feeling in the long-legged class.

BMW S 1000 XR in the driving report

Evolution of long-legged madness

Even in the second generation of models, the madness still has its method: There is no more screeching race feeling in the long-legged class. We have already driven the BMW S 1000 XR.

The aggro adventure bike S. 1000 XR from Munich is a bestseller in the BMW portfolio. For 2020 the XR has been extensively revised and with the new inline four-cylinder from the S 1000 RR. The most noticeable and perhaps the most surprising change, however, is the lack of the variable valve adjustment "ShiftCam". Surprise number two: contrary to the trend, it remains at 165 hp.

Weak at the bottom, explosive at the top

No matter: Nobody has to be afraid of not leaving the farm. The new unit also runs forward as if there was no tomorrow, igniting all of its fuel at once from almost 7,000 turns, and then exploding with almost two-stroke sawing. Very impressive and only interrupted for a fraction of a second by the perfectly operating shift assistant (subject to a surcharge). All of this, however, only when you have exceeded 3,000 rpm, below that the punch is noticeably below expectations and the previous model. The noise and vibration levels are also lower than the previous model. Now the power four is still full of character, but less hooligan-like to work, the first barking after the start is much more socially acceptable, the constant grinding and scraping off the bow a good shovel more discreet. The now lower speed level in the higher gears fits in with this, which no longer lets you poke desperately for gear number seven.


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Speaking of poking around: it is now a bit more confident in the thicket of curves, because the ergonomics have shifted slightly away from the decoupled adventure world to the real roadster world with a 30 millimeter narrower handlebar and more front wheel cover. The narrower knee fits well. The frame concept called “Flex Frame” now integrates the motor more strongly as a load-bearing element, which in particular in the front area, namely material, overall width, and weight could be saved.

Driving dynamics in a class of its own

Overall, this creates a more compact and feedback-rich feeling on the motorcycle, without sacrificing handiness. For a machine of this size, turning is almost shockingly easy. It is only when you turn it down that you quickly realize that you are still not sitting on a sinewy roadster. Nevertheless, in terms of driving dynamics, you are at a very high and lonely class level.


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Thanks to the new six-axis sensor box, “Fahrmodi Pro” now offers even more options for intervention and is always on board. Interestingly enough, there are only two settings for the throttle response, the parameter with the most everyday relevance: a soft and a normal. The former seems superfluous, but the latter is also soft and easy to tap on the gas at any time, without missing the required directness. And if you still pull too hard on the e-gas, the traction control starts gently again, imperceptibly. Not a theoretical, but a practical impression, because the Andalusian test roads were unusually rainy.

The chassis should be pro

The largest asset of the series features, however, is the semi-active "Dynamic ESA" chassis. Here the donation trousers from Munich are limited, because in the basic version there are no adjustment options apart from the pretensioning. In turn, this requires "Dynamic ESA Pro" that offers two hardness settings and an automatic load adjustment.

We were only able to try the latter, and it worked perfectly, at least when the low-speed flame was wet. The spread between the two settings “Road” and “Dynamic” is now significantly higher, it responds fine both at the front and at the rear, and the damping reserves seem to be more than sufficient for most situations even in the more comfortable mode.

Conclusion

Even in the second generation of models, madness still has its method: There is nothing more screeching racing feeling in the long-legged class. Even the more polished manners do not change that. It is gratifying that BMW has specifically addressed all the weaknesses of the old XR. The price surcharge is noticeable, but fortunately also the plus in series features.

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