What do you get when you put a race-bred engine into an adventure bike chassis? Answer: You get one of the best combinations ever to ride across the country, whether for cruising highways or carving twisty back roads. The best part is that the bike is made by BMW Motorrad. It’s like you have hit the jackpot!
This was the feeling when testing the BMW S1000XR along with motocross champion turned Superbike rider James Saulog, the elder brother of living legend Jovie Saulog, also of motocross fame.
When it comes to design, the combination of pearl white and black make for a timeless look. BMW has chosen the conservative approach, which is just fine. With black covering the chassis, seats, hand grip covers and the rims, this makes it easier for the rider to have fun and getting it dirty without the need to clean it all the time. The XR badge then becomes the only highlight on the body and it’s hard to miss that.
You will love the way BMW designed the front fairing with the raked headlights and intake ports in between. Complimenting the look is the functional wind visor mounted high up. All of these features give the image of speed and its execution is handsome.
The rear design is minimalist with the small rear light, turn signals and fender. This looks good and shows that this bike has sporty intentions. The rear aluminum carrier is a good addition as it is rigid and incorporates the grab handles for the back rider.
Once you sit on it, you know that this is a wide and tall bike from its Adventure Sport design. I’m 5’8” and I still have to tip-toe to reach the ground. The fuel tank is also wide.
What’s reassuring though is when you look for the controls, they are all well-placed and adjusted properly. Even the instrument display is easy to read even while riding. It takes time to get settled in traffic because of the bike’s width.
James and I brought the bike to Tagaytay, down the high-speed turns of Lemery and up the tight Talisay to Tagaytay roads. We were able to test the bike’s suspension, brakes and BMW’s engine electronic controls that range from Road to Dynamic Pro. We left the anti-lock brake system settings to the default setting and didn’t try to disengage the ABS as we deemed it better to test that at the track.
The Road engine setting provides a huge amount of torque at the low engine speeds or rpms, and is more than enough for normal road use. When you switch to the Dynamic pro setting, the power comes in earlier in all gears and makes the engine growl stronger. We both agreed that the Dynamic Pro setting was best and left it there for the duration of the test.
The fantastic sound of the 116-hp (118Kw) BMW inline 4-cylinder engine, with 83 lb-ft (112 Nm) of torque at 9,250 rpm, is addicting. The intake roar it produces is like having twin-side draft carburetors placed in between your legs. It was definitely music to my ears and I was always tempted to flick the throttle to hear it again and again.
The S1000XR loves the open road and just carves up the mountain roads with gusto. The combination of the light aluminum perimeter chassis, which is load bearing, and the superb suspension, front and rear, just gives the rider more confidence to attack the curves. The brakes are very strong and will not fade during high performance trips in the tight twisties.
BMW has really made a very good fairing and the wind just goes past my helmet, and I didn’t have to lean down to avoid it. The bike is also very stable even when I encountered bumps and strong crosswinds along the route. The feeling is so confidence-inspiring that I found myself cruising way above the comfort zone in naked bikes.
In the end, we both agreed that we don’t want to change anything on the bike, and this is really one perfect example of how an Adventure Sport bike should be. Besides adjusting the bars to my relaxed riding style and adjusting the dampers for less rebound, the BMW S1000XR is perfect.
My only wish is to find the P1.3 million to buy this amazing BMW!