Touring Barcelona on BMW S 1000 XR

By A. NACHI | 6 August 2015


BMW was into motorcycle making much earlier than cars. In the motorcycle industry, BMW Motorrad is synonymous with sports and touring bikes.

Recently BMW Motorrad unveiled their latest creation in Barcelona.

It is none other than the much talked about BMW S 1000 XR which has the character of the GS (touring) and Sports (superbikes) bringing you a new machine to the market which is dubbed as “adventure sport”.

The XR uses the same 999cc, four-cylinder engine as the S 1000 R, held in a new aluminium-framed chassis whose adjustable screen, upright riding position and luggage-carrying ability are more reminiscent of the R 1200 GS.


The straight four-cylinder engine on the new BMW S 1000 XR is basically derived from the S 1000 R roadster. It has an output of 160hp at 11,000rpm and generates maximum torque of 112Nm at 9,250 rpm.

The minute I laid my eyes on the bike in Barcelona, the front beak reminded me a lot of the Ducati Multistrada, but however the machine’s DNA is definitely different from the Italian bike.

The ergonomics of the S 1000 XR is definitely well thought of.

The handlebar is designed to be closer to the rider and the height is spot on, thus making the whole up right sitting position feel very natural. And not to forget, the foot pegs are placed in the correct spot to ensure no leg fatigue during doing long distance rides.

The all-new S 1000 XR is equipped with Rain and Road modes.

In Rain mode, the maximum power output is reduced to 148hp, the acceleration response softened and the traction control is more intrusive. In Road mode, the maximum power is restored back to 160hp and traction control systems ie the Automatic Stability Control (ASC) or Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) take a longer time to kick in.

I also experienced the sporty side of the S 1000 XR via the Dynamic and Dynamic Pro modes (not available on basic S 1000 XR; they are options).


On the freeway while on Dynamic mode, I experienced lightning flash throttle response and very little intervention from DTC making the bike behave like a superbike. Awesome.

Meanwhile in Dynamic Pro mode, the ABS and DTC intervention were minimized and anti-wheeling was disabled.

One thing that I realised after riding the bike for some time was that its power delivery was very gradual till you reach the 4,500rpm revs. Once you have passed the 4,500rpm mark, it’s like the opening of floodgates.

Don’t be shocked if you feel light vibrations on the bike when you are below 5,000rpm.

The vibration did not bother me at all because it is simply impossible to be riding lower than 5,000rpm for more than few minutes when there is so much of power on this bike.


The S 1000 XR offers a great mid-range power around 7,000rpm to the red line.

The minute I clocked 240kph on a Barcelona highway, the bike was effortless.

In fact, I was tempted to go faster but something within me stopped me from tearing the roads.

Its must have been the pre-ride briefing by BMW officilas who said: “You need to pay if you are booked by the authorities. . .”

The S 1000 XR’s gearing is close to perfect, from slow to fast or vice versa.

I was able to clock 220kph on my early third gear within seconds of changing gear.

Besides doing well on the highways, the S 1000 XR performed to perfection on Barcelona’s city roads.

In fact, I even rode out from a corner just below 3,500rpm without any jerks.


The bike has more than ample reserves of power on tap.

The power delivery was also crisp and smooth when I was entered and exited countless corners and hairpins on out-of-town mountain roads.

All the media test bikes came with the Pro Shifter. The Pro Shifter allowed me to tame the mountains without having to worry about squeezing the clutch lever at all.

All I have to do is twist the throttle and forget about the clutch. How convenient. I love it.

This new creation’s wet weight is 228kg, making it easy to flick through corners and tight hairpins on mountain roads.

The weight distribution is good and the centre of gravity not too high, which allows easy manoeuvering at low speed and in the curves.

I was very impressed as I could handle this bike like a MotoGP rider.

Furthermore the robust chassis of the S 1000 XR gave me all the confidence I needed and the planted feeling when I was taking the corners.

Besides the confidence, the suspension offered comfort I needed be it on freeway, coarse roads or corners with the long-suspension travel of 150mm at the front and 140mm at the rear.


BMW Motorrad has always placed safety as an important criteria in all their motorcycles.

The S 1000 XR is fitted with Brembo brakes at the front with dual floating 320mm discs with two radial 4-piston calipers and a rear 265mm disc with dual-piston caliper. With Brembo brakes, you can expect the best.

From my ride on the S 1000 XR; it is very obvious that bike has dynamic touring qualities, sporty performance and high levels of comfort as well as outstanding everyday usability.

In short, the new S 1000 XR serves up its own individual mix of sporting and touring flair which one cannot ignore.

The S 1000 XR is available locally and priced from RM112,900.