The XR has the same basic configuration as the S1000R & RR in being a twin beam aluminium perimeter frame with cast aluminium double-sided swing-arm, but both are all-new to deliver different geometry. The steering head angle is 0.8º shallower than the S1000R with 18.5mm more trail while the swing-arm is 65mm longer to give a wheelbase of 1548mm, 109mm more than the S1000R, all to improve traction and stability. While the suspension is 30 and 20mm longer travel front and rear. There’s also a steering damper fitted under the ‘beak’.The resulting blend of stability and sharpness is truly impressive, this is one upright bike that will give many a sportsbike a run for their money.
Essentially the same 999cc, dohc, liquid-cooled four as introduced with the S1000RR, but in ‘detuned’ spec virtually identical to that of the S1000R roadster launched last year. That means revised porting, cam timing and valve lift plus a reduced rev threshold to cut peak power from 198 to 160bhp at 11,000rpm and bolster midrange and peak torque to 83lbft at 9250. The main difference the XR has over the R is an all-new stainless steel exhaust in a low-slung design to help facilitate the panniers deemed vital for the XR’s touring role.The result is easy low-down tractability, impressive real-world mid-range and a thrilling (and howling) top-end rush, and all enhanced further by switchable rider modes (two as standard but with the option for four), sophisticated traction control and more.
Again, it’s a BMW so there should be little to worry about. Quality is definitely up there with the best and, while it’s too earlier to be 100% sure about reliability, there have been few problems with the R and RR on which the XR is mostly based. On top of that, BMW has an enviable ‘dealer experience’ and reknown for fastidiously looking after customers in the event of an recall issues and you can’t really ask for much more than that.
The price range of £12,400 to £14,750 isn’t cheap whichever way you look at it, but then this is not just a brilliantly-executed motorcycle, it’s a premium product from an aspirational brand and one that’s competing head-on with that most aspirational of Italian rivals – Ducati with its equally impressive (and similarly priced) Multistrada 1200. In that context, I wouldn’t expect the XR to be priced any differently. One final thought, however: this is now one of the most competitive classes of all and there are more than a few brilliantly able (if smaller capacity) rivals, such as Yamaha’s bargain MT09 Tracer and MV Agusta’s exotice Turismo Veloce 800 that offer much of the same experience for less.
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Being a BMW, a bewildering variety of options and accessories are available in different ‘packs’. The standard version gets two rider modes, ABS, and two-way adjustable screen. But most will go for the Sport version, with extra modes, quickshifter, Dynamic Traction Control, cruise control and heated grips for £1245 more while the Sport SE gets all that PLUS BMW’s excellent Dynamic ESA (electronic suspension adjust), onboard computer, mainstand and luggage grid for a further £1105. All of it is top notch and works brilliantly, but for best residuals, the blingier the better.