2019 BMW S1000XR model really is an awesome machine. A rocket ship on two wheels. In the hands of the not too experienced maybe even a tad too frisky.
For the older lot, like myself, it’s about a lot more. Like comfort, smoothness, good geometry, excellent ride capabilities, plus power where you need it, when you need it.
Before getting on I need to go back a couple of years.
First encounter – 2017
Spring, or was it early summer 2017, someone recommended to take the S1000XR for a ride and test it. I did, less than 200 meters down the road from the dealer I thought to myself, why am I doing this?
Sure, it had the looks, plenty of power, a fantastic engine, great riding capabilities. Supposedly a cross-over machine that even would permit gravel riding. Labelled an adventure motorcycle, that adventure didn’t last long for me.
I almost instantly disliked it. The seat was bad, sitting position for a guy my size not good. The engine felt unresponsive in the lower end register, where I usually like things to work. Past 5500/6000RPM things really began to happen. But such involves more active riding, and more gearing.
Let me clarify a few things. I am a “boxer guy”. A-someone who likes power to come out and play, in the lower spectrum of RPM. With plenty of torque, in the same range. Like on the R1200GS Adventure, which is my current, main motorcycle.
So as you can understand, my preferences might be different from those who’d appreciate higher rpm machines, something like the BMW S1000XR.
2019 BMW S1000XR HP
it wasn’t planned or meant to happen. I was at my dealers turning in my motorcycle to get stuff fixed and had made arrangements to borrow a scooter. But the scooter was gone, and so was their second option, a BMW R310GS .
They tried to find something to give me. Signing some papers I realized, oh I’ll get a brand new 2019 S1000XR HP, pretty aweszome! I dare say it helps to be a good customer at times! The manager of the shop handed me the keys and I took off.
A few seconds later on the way out of town I thought to myself, well well now, this…is something else! Indeed, the 2019 model felt totally different. The seat and sitting comfort surprisingly good, handle bar position pretty good. The sound of the engine was more pleasant than what I recalled from the 2017 model.
But what really surprised me, almost immediately, was the responsiveness of that engine. Even from lower rpm it was just as if it was waiting for me to give my command. in 6th gear the beast woke up where the previous model gasped. I have to say, I was mighty impressed.
What in 2017 took me only seconds to dislike, now only took seconds to like. The next thought that hit me was, could I own it? Could I ride to Italy, to the Alps, and back with this beast?
Improvements, in every way
Finally out of town I took it along some small roads, and lots of twists and turns. The S1000XR 2019 model just does everything so bloody well. The engine pulls like a train, and has more than enough torque to set things in motion from 3000rpm. The 6th gear is now almost like an overdrive, and unless you really want to take off, you can leave it.
I also noticed there were much less vibrations than one the previous model. In all ranges. The quickshift is silky smooth, much better than on boxer models, and I’ve tested it on several generations of GS, also the new R1250GS.
The BMW S1000XR is extremely stable, tracks phenomenally and goes down in corners so easily you think you ride a much smaller motorcycle. I that sense it’s as deceptive as other family members, like the GS series.
I remember the sound had me a bit annoyed a few years ago, but mentioned before, i am used to a different frequency but somehow, the new engine sounds more pleasant to me.
BMW supposedly have done a lot of tweaking on the 2019 engine. It feels that way, it’s noticeable, and it makes the motorcycle much more of an Adventure thing. I am not sure how confident or comfy I’d feel on gravel roads with it, but with the right tires, and the phenomenal suspension in the right mode, who knows?
BMW S1000XR – final thoughts
This time around I think BMW Motorrad nailed it. But it has to be said, I’ve not tested it on really long rides. One thing I noticed though, the S1000XR is considerably more thirsty than my R1200GS Adventure. On that motorcycle I’ve done better than 4.7 liters on 100 kilometers.
On the S1000XR I think you’ll have to work hard to get it below 5.5 liter/100 kilometers. it all depends on the riding, but adding luggage my guess is it’ll be around there somewhere. Harder riding and I’d imagine the mileage will be considerably poorer. Well lets say, you can watch how it consumes fuel on the display. Still, a 20 liter fuel tank should last you a decent leg, and then some.
The next day I turned it back and rode away with my own motorcycle. Trying to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Won’t even attempt it. I am however pretty adamant that the S1000XR is one of the better machines in its class today.
If you’re after something like this, a cross over machine, one that can work for commuting, shorter trips, maybe longer adventures, then you should try it out. if you’re a shorter guy than me (6″3/193cm) then it’ll fit you better.
I return to my boxer and am happy with that. You on the other hand, should at least consider, and try, the S1000XR before making up your mind. If you’re in the market for a rocket ship, with wheels 🙂