The BMW S 1000 R – Your Everyday Rocket Ship

An incredible naked sport bike designed for everyday riders
By Ben Jackson   June 19, 2017 7:53 am UTC

bmw-s1000r-motorcycle

In the face of resounding success, and almost cult-like adoration of the BMW S 1000 RR, it is no wonder that the naked version of that bike came along in 2014. It seemed a natural fit, to clone the best parts of the 1000 RR supersport, and package that in a naked sport bike, designed for everyday riders.

BMW isn’t always the first name you think of when you think about supersports, but maybe it should be. The S 1000 R weighs in at a mere 450 pounds and puts 199 horsepower out through the rear wheel. The website only claims a top speed of “over 125 mph,” but don’t be fooled: this bike is good for over 200.


Theoretically, we could have even seen this bike sooner than 2014; naked bikes have become more popular in recent years, similar to the IPA takeover of craft beers. The BMW S 1000 R is pretty close to it’s supersport sister, but with a little bit less all the way around. Less fairing, less motor, but certainly not less exciting. This bike is pure fun; it’s comfortable, powerful, beautiful, and for the average Joe, substantially easier to ride.. which is important to those wanting to ride on a daily basis. The RR is a spectacular bike for what it is, but it lacks practicality.

The Body

When it comes to the design, a low front and high rear make the bike both aggressive and attractive. The large asymmetrical headlamps identify the brand and show the intriguing character of it, in classic street fighter style.
However, make no mistake, this is almost the same bike. Same chassis, same engine and electronics in state of the art to control its piloting, but all in a more friendly package, ready for urban and road use. Flat out – it’s an incredibly gorgeous looking machine. Stand next to one and it’ll work you. BMW didn’t mess around with this bike.

The Engine

BMW packed 160 horsepower and 999cc into the S 1000 R, which they’ll also tell you is “educated” for good behavior. The liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine packs a punch, and never leaves you wanting more. Electronic fuel injection standard, of course. 83 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm.
bmw-s1000r-exhaustThere’s no shortage of torque distributed throughout the rev range, but it won’t surprise you with a smattering of all 160 hp at one time. The compression ratio on this bike is 12:1, which is decreased from the 13:1 ratio seen in the RR model. The growth of the revolutions is gradual, progressive, and very controllable, aided by the same command – “throttle by wire” (basically an electronic accelerator, without cables) that also equips the RR.

It may seem like a minor detail, but when compared to the RR, we found this bike much more usable on streets and roads. Meaning it’s much more well-suited for a daily rider, even though it’ll clearly hold it’s own on the track as well.

Riding Capabilities

Also, the interference of the traction control (ASC) does not appear as much in its intervention as in the first models of the RR. The “Rain,” “Road” and “The Dynamic” modes seen in some of the other BMW bikes are part of the 1000 R, as well as an optional “Pro” mode. Most of the time, the Dynamic mode seems to make the most sense, as it adapts to individual riding characteristics and street conditions, as the various sensors continuously perceive the attitude of the motorcycle.
bmw-s1000r-frontIn Rain mode, ASC interventions are greater, for use in situations where the bike needs to grip the road, in preference over power and performance.

Flip the 1000 R to Road mode if riding conditions are perfect and you’re not worried about traction – and you’ll experience the S 1000 R responds with a full delivery all the power that the engine has to give.

Shift Assist

It seems that the other bike manufacturers have yet to realize how important BMW’s “shift assist” system is for overall bike performance. Few companies use a similar system.

It works like this: you go out frequently and give all the acceleration to a perfect start. Without taking your hand off the accelerator, you raise the shift lever to move to the next gear. In a fraction of a second, the engine is cut off and the gear goes in, and then the engine returns to the same acceleration situation because the throttle continues in the same position. The result is that there is no interruption in speed growth (acceleration) and no distraction from the rider in coordinating the clutch together with the shift lever drive. Because of this, there was a revolution in the tracks, that all the riders, to the extent that the regulation of their category allows, either install one of these on their motorcycle.

Of course, the 1000 R also has an active suspension (DDT Dynamic Damping Control), derived from BMW’s HP4. It adapts to the riding conditions in milliseconds, allowing agility and dynamic performance. The rider does not have to change the settings manually or with tools to modify the system, and the bike is in its best condition in any situation on the track. You can choose between two options of comfort, soft or hard and two choices of loading, solo piloting or with croup. Thus, by adjusting your options, the characteristics of the suspension automatically adapt to the riding and driving situations.

Advanced Brakes

The brakes are also integrated into the “intelligence” of the bike. The Racing ABS of the BMW S 1000 R offers the maximum deceleration, always considering the conditions of traction, options suspension calibration, and an analysis of the current ridnig situation generated by the other sensors of the motorcycle, like the inclination and the differences of speeds of the wheels. In Pro mode, the rear can be locked in “drift” and the system that prevents the front and rear of the motorcycle can be turned off.bmw-s1000-peel-outAll this cycling is integrated with the intelligence and is in the service of equipment of the first line, as much in the suspension, as in the brakes, chassis, motor and wheels. So the whole bike works as a unique and quite adaptable set.

Riding Position

Sitting on it, you will notice the “inheritance” of a super sport feel. The forward-leaning posture is the result of the same seat that equips the RR and the position of the wide and straight handlebar. True, it is a posture that is a little more advanced than most naked street bikes (consider the Suzuki SV650 or the Yamaha FZ07) but the position still feels incredibly comfortable. The 1000 R positioning allows for riders to stretch their legs more than a typical crouched super-sport, which adds to the overall comfort even when riding for several hours.bmw-s1000r-upright-riding-positionSomething to consider though if you’re planning on taking this out on the freeway more than a couple of times. Any bike with a naked front will be susceptible to gusts of wind.. and we wouldn’t want to be riding this bike on especially windy days. It’s a street bike, but it’s not designed to protect you from wind in the front, which should be obvious when looking at the design. Even with an advanced headlight assembly and micro fairing, there’s almost nothing between the rider and the open road.

Personally speaking, I’m not a fan of having someone sitting behind me while riding. If that’s your thing, go out and buy a Harley designed for touring. Street bikes are incredible fun; don’t take anything away from it by trying to take someone for a cruise – it probably just won’t be enjoyable for either party involved.

The Price

You can buy a new 2017 S 1000 R for $13,795.

Of course, there’s quite a few options you could add on which will quickly eclipse $20,000.

In Conclusion

Riding on the BMW S 1000 R is something like an incredible dream. There’s more than enough power and acceleration for those enjoying a speedier ride, and consistently delivers enjoyment. It combines the best of the naked street riding experience, with super sport DNA. You won’t feel the need to “move up” in size in a few years, as the bike is more than capable. If you’re someone who wants a powerful, comfortable, responsive everyday street bike with more than enough engine – the S 1000 R checks all the boxes. For the price, you’re getting BMW supersport DNA in a street-friendly design. We’re big fans of this bike.

bmw-s1000r-side

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