The S1000R is a versatile, easy motorcycle to live with, master and ride at both sedate and extreme speeds
BMW Motorrad launched the S1000RR in 2009 to witness great success in the super sport motorcycling world. The great reception of the track-focussed bike inspired the Bavarian bike specialist to build a naked version, offering similar performance with an ergonomics edge very much part of the package.
Typical of a modern day BMW bike, the S1000R relies on an angular, cutting-edge industrial design theme. Overall quality and fit-finish are exceptional, as expected from all bikes bearing this well known German maker’s badge.
The S1000R's front shows off a set of unique, asymmetric headlights. Its traditional, yet well laid out, instruments offer a sporty, white-back analogue rev-counter, while the digital display shows speed, a gear shift beacon, lap-timer and other performance settings along with the basics.
The motorcycle comes with beautifully shaped, reach-adjustable control levers, excellent quality switches and mirrors, with everything easy to operate and intuitively simple to come to terms with. There’s a compact fuel-tank, and panels reaching down to cover the otherwise exposed frame sections. Gill-shaped slats on the minimal shrouds enhance the bike's overall visual appeal. At the rear sits a dinky LED tail-lamp, similar to the S1000RR.
The S1000R power train is based on the beastly RR; a 999cc engine where the fuel injection system and the exhaust have been tweaked. The S1000R makes 160 bhp at 11,000 rpm and 11.4 kgm of torque at 9,250 rpm. These figures translate to a capable and quick motorcycle. However, you need to be careful when accelerating as this bike builds power effortlessly and you can dart ahead lightning fast. The power comes in smoothly and the engine revs all the way up to the limit.
The shiny exhaust looks spectacular, but sounds even better as the in-line four screams its way through the rev range, with a sporty burble barking out under hard deceleration. Exciting when pushed to its limits, yes, but the S1000R is also versatile, an easy motorcycle to live with, master and ride at sedate speeds. The clutch feels perfect, as does the gearbox, a quick shifter making flicking up through its six ratios without clutch application or shutting the throttle a doddle. Throttle response stays sharp and aggressive even when riding outside ‘dynamic pro’ riding mode; another three softer modes are available for riders looking for more usability, including ‘rain’ for wet days, which limits power to a relatively sedate 136 bhp. BMW has loaded the top-end S1000R with a solid array of electronic riding aids, traction control and ABS, all working to help you stay in command even when riding conditions turn a bit iffy.
The S1000R comes with an aluminium twin-spar chassis, similar to the one on the RR, slightly modified to suit its more upright but still pretty sporty, riding ergonomics. The 1000R comes with flat set handlebars, and adequate legroom despite its rear set footrests. A highlight is semi-active electric suspension, with three settings offering a soft, medium and hard ride.
Button controlled and effortlessly shifted on the go, ride quality is firm even in its softest suspension mode. The BMW handles and steers with precision and a light, taut turn in, still providing a planted feel around corners.
Its light for the class, with a kerb weight of just 207 kg, a brilliantly engineered chassis helping the motorcycle feel surprisingly light and agile at all times. There’s a set of 320 mm, four piston radial-mounted caliper front disc brakes, supported by a 220 mm disc at the rear. The ABS system works like a dream, and the brakes work in tandem to provide a solid bite with a reassuring feel at the lever. The S1000R also comes with top grade tyres front and rear, the bike gripping the road even when pushed to its limits. Cornering capabilities are right up there with the best in the class.
Which brings us to the fine print; the S1000R is priced at a whopping Rs. 22.83 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai) in India. The very best litre class street-naked motorcycle sold in India? Yes, undoubtedly, as the S1000R scripts a strong case compared to rivals as able as Kawasaki’s Z1000. The best value-for-money litre class street-naked motorcycle in India? No, not by a long shot! The S1000R retails as an exclusive bike for an elite few, for whom price is no hurdle.
For lesser mortals, this amazing BMW makes a brilliant bike to aspire for.