BMW S1000XR (2015 - 2019) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£330|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The BMW S1000XR has been a consistent MCN 'sports adventure' group test winner from the beginning, sitting neatly in between the relaxed Ducati Multistrada 1200/1260 and bonkers KTM's 1290 Super Duke GT. A eniable mix of feisty S1000RR and classy R1200GS/R1250GS, it's no wonder the end result is brilliant.
- Related: New 2020 BMW S1000XR review on MCN
It's upright, practical and comfortable with RR-like speed, handling and braking performance. Add in typical BMW style, build quality and a bewildering amount of optinal goodies to make your day, safer and more comfortable and you've got yourself a formidable all-rounder.
Updated in 2017 for Euro 4, BMW gave the XR an extra 5bhp, new handlebars to tackle the vibes and a beefed-up the subframe to take an extra 10kg - all subtle changes, which didn't add up to a big difference in the real world. What we'd really like to see now is an XR version of the brilliant 2019 S1000RR...now that would be very special indeed.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The XR has the same basic configuration as the S1000R & RR - 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'.
It doesn’t just go like a superbike, it handles and stops like one, too, but it isn’t as stiff or flighty so even on the bumpiest of backroads it doesn’t tie itself in knots. It just glides on its semi-active Sachs suspension as you sit back and admire its easy composure and distance-crushing speed.
In June 2019 we were given the chance to test the XR again during the launch of Pirelli's latest Angel GT II tyre and have updated this review accordingly.
EngineNext up: Reliability
With a motor lifted from the German firm’s RR superbike and retuned for more mid-range grunt, the 999cc masterful motor gurgles on the overrun, pops and bangs through its gearbox blippers and goes like merry hell. It’s a four-cylinder cacophony of noise, aggression and power when you poke it with a stick, but relaxed and tractable when you’re just cruising and watching the world waft gently by.
Undergoing the Euro 4 treatment in 2017 with a new exhaust and mapping, BMW also added an extra 5bhp, bringing claimed power up to a tasty 163bhp and rubber mounted bars to banish engine vibes, but those tingles are still there. They bother some riders more than others, but it’s a small blot on the Beemer’s otherwise blemish-free copybook.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Our BMW S1000XR owners' reviews show mainly positive reports, with only a few buyers complaining of problematic electrics and badly vibrating bars - the latter of which can be fixed using aftermarket items mentioned in the Equipment section of this review.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
It isn’t cheap, whichever way you slice at it, especially when you've added lots of tasty extras, but it's one of the best all-rounders money can buy, mixing superbike performance with comfort and practicality.
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 options include extra riding modes, quickshifter/blipper, traction amd cruise control, heated grips, semi-active electronic suspension, an onboard computer, centre srtand, and luggage. For best residuals, the blingier the better.
Does your BMW S1000XR have vibrating bars?
In order to address this known issue with the XR's bars vibrating too badly, aftermarket firm Cymarc have sought to remedy the problem with their aftermarket bar ends.
The steel powder-coated bar ends weigh 270g each and are designed specifically to soak up the vibes on the XR. The fasteners are made from stainless steel.
The bar ends cost £39 a pair and are easy to fit, with no need for specialist tools or knowledge.
|Engine type||16v, inline four|
|Frame type||Cast ali, twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm USD forks, fully-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single rear shock adjustable for preload and rebound damping.|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with four-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||265mm single disc with twin-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£330|
|Used price||£8,800 - £15,000|
15 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||160 bhp|
|Max torque||83 ft-lb|
|Top speed||155 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
- 2015: Model introduced
- 2019: New BMW S1000XR launched
Owners' reviews for the BMW S1000XR (2015 - 2019)
23 owners have reviewed their BMW S1000XR (2015 - 2019) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£330|
Version: Sport SE
Annual servicing cost: £230
Best all around bike out there, it can do just about anything (on road)
Awesome brakes, plenty of power but could do with a bit more feel
Comfortable when not pushing on, and with the press of a button it can eat the Twisties.
Expensive to buy but you get what you pay for.
Can't think of anything else you could want on a bike
Buying experience: Brought from dealer good service so far
Version: S1000XR sport SE
Annual servicing cost: £280
All day comfort and out performs a lot of sport bikes on British roads.
Brakes are exceptionally strong,ride quality is good,can wallow a tiny bit but only if it is really being pushed.
Huge performance right where you need it.
280 for 6k service
Older LCD dash but nothing wrong with that. Gives you everything you need to know. Slight glitch when service light and readout comes on it stays on so you wont be able to see engine temp until fuel light warning comes on and then it alternates between fuel and temp every few seconds.
Buying experience: Motorrad Bristol offers a top notch buying experience.
Quite how so many owners and reviewers overlook the issues which afflict this bike is beyond me. Maybe I've been unlucky, but I have tried other bikes and the same issues were there, so it wasn't just mine. The electronically adjustable suspension is woefully mismatched, with a hard as nails front, and bouncy castle rear. Scrolling through the settings makes only a marginal difference. The vibration through the bars is intrusive. Great engine, but how did BMW let this bike into the showrooms so massively under-geared? I hear for 2020 they are revising the suspension and gearing. Too late for me BMW. MCN consistently rate BMW reliability among the highest - try owning one
The bike is awesome, great one or two up, has a cracking engine and lots of toys to make the ride more comfortable, faster and safer.
Awesome engine and suited for all roads. Whether you are riding around town, the motorway, or open roads.
Buying experience: Great customer care.
Annual servicing cost: £165
A lovely bike which will suit a tall rider. Those of you under 6'0 may struggle.. Horrendous vibration problem
The brakes are very responsive and are first class with plenty of bite and feel. The major draw back with this bike is the horrendous vibration at motorway speeds. I work as a Police Motorcycle Instructor and have ridden many bikes and many BMWs and this has to be one of the worst vibrating BMWs that i have ever ridden.What make it worse is that the vibration is very apparent in 5th or 6th at 70mph. Bike is going back to dealer to see what can be done to address the problem. If the problem cannot be addressed then it will be bye bye. How a quality outfit like BMW can let a bike with this serious problem out to the general public is beyond me. I do not understand how this issue was not identified during testing. Would not advise anyone to purchase one ( and i am a big BMW Fan )
A cracking engine that pulls from low down in the rev range. Very responsive.
It's a BMW so the build quality if first class!!
Plenty of toys for everyone.
Buying experience: Purchased from Riders in Cardiff ( who have now closed down!!)
Annual servicing cost: £200
Touring comfort, RR fast... Briliant combination👍
No problem riding 2 up for 3hours, fill up an go again- nice seat and upright riding position. And still no problem going hard at the twisty bits. It does it all - brilliantly!
Love the sound and the power, no vibration on the 2018 model that’s bothering me.
Not a problem so far.
Love the qick shifter, works great, and the cruise control is nice and handy to avoid speeding when needed. Breaks is class leading. Tires:For touring and canyon riding I preferred Metzeler roadtech 01, for hard sport/track day Michelin power RS worked a treat.
Annual servicing cost: £1,000
(Bonkers) Boris has now done 6000 miles with me including 4000 traveling to Greece and back. He is not inspiring of affection but I do respect his firepower. He has the ability to raise a smile with handling on anything from a mini roundabout to a hairpin. And a twist of the wrist with an open road ahead and the feel of all that grip (and technology) pushing and pulling me along makes me grin all over my face. I have only been riding bikes for 18 months so the XR is perhaps surprising but I wanted something that could do long trips, carry decent luggage, and absolutely wasn’t a GS because everyone has one of those and I like to be different. I also fell in love, or was that lust, with the engine after riding the S1000R. Apart from the inevitable weight, which is carried quite high on the XR and a tall stance which demands at least a 32” inside leg Boris is surprisingly well behaved around town. In Tirane, Albania, he did a fair impression of a scooter as we jousted with traffic in what was, at times, a surreal hazard awareness test. He has real road presence and great visibility through that adjustable screen. Overall it’s not a love affair more an arranged marriage which has blossomed into a pretty committed partnership with plenty of laughs along the way.
We have had to cope with everything from unmade roads through to immaculate and fast tarmac. The ride modes which can and should be adjusted for different conditions is really effective at limiting his feistiness when necessary. If you prefer more excitement the dynamic gives you the feeling of riding a semi wild pony. New Mecklam tyres have significantly improved handling I think.
At 3000rpm he growls like he is clearing his throat and waiting for something more interesting to happen. At 4000rpm in pretty much any gear he feels like you could set off from nothing, handle any corner, overtake anything, and the engine braking would get you back to planet earth quickly. At 5000rpm he is a bloody nuisance with the worst of the vibrations and buzz that everyone talks about. At 6000rpm he starts to shout his appreciation that life is suddenly getting more interesting. At 7500rpm the scenery starts to blur as the bike gets into its stride. Corners are a wonder of grip, noise and flashing rev light. On a straight I wussed out at 110 when the seemingly endless stretch of empty foreign motorway suddenly developed fast corners that hadn’t been visible seconds before. Needless to say I am fishing in the bottom end of the rev counter most of the time.
I have only had normal servicing so far
This is more likely due to my higher mileage which is likely to exceed 10,000 and so includes new tyres.
My bike came fully loaded. The cruise control is useful on long trips. The luggage is great size wise and I don’t find it hinders filtering. ABS has proved (very occasionally) useful. The technology does a fabulous job of flattering the rider.
Buying experience: My original BMW F800GT developed a fault and I was offered a Bonkers deal on this bike. The dealers are head and shoulders above other bike dealers who I have spoken to (but not purchased from).
Annual servicing cost: £165
Simply the best!
I find the bike's handling, brakes and engine superb not lacking any where. I never carry a pillion and have removed the rear foot pegs to discourage me from doing so!
The engine is extremely flexible with amazing torque even from low down revs and when you do use the powerband and quick shifter hold on tight!
I’m into my second year of ownership and covered 5k miles both in the UK and abroad and its never missed a beat!
I’ve had 2 services so far, max of £165.
I have the SE model which is extremely well equipped. I bought the Navigator 6 and it is awesome, the screen quality is the best I've ever seen. The only criticism I have is the headlight, come on BMW you can do better than this.
Annual servicing cost: £161
The S1000XR is reliable and the cornering is superb making it easy to ride. The screen is useless for tall riders like me, so most riders will fit an aftermarket one. I repainted the panniers as the standard grey was not to my taste. Lowering kits are available for shorter riders. I've covered 4.5k miles so far since September with no issues. I'm considering upgrading the seat as 4hrs of riding gives me a numb bum. I leave mine in Dynamic mode regardless of weather. There is no vibration issue with this bike and I leave mine in 4th at around 5000 rpm for most road work up to 60mph. No chain adjustment required so far.
I've ridden this bike in some bad weather which can be a lot of the time here in Scotland but no issues for handling or corrosion. After 2-3 hrs my bum is numb so going for an after market seat this winter.
Does whatever you ask it to and then some more. My average fuel consumption is 45mpg.
Not the easiest bike to clean.
£161 for a 600 mile service was a bit steep. It should have been included in the price.
Extras fitted: Givi screen, sidestand enlarger, brake pedal enlarger, radiator and oil guard, Givi side and hand wind deflectors and changed the exhaust.
Buying experience: Douglas Parks in East Kilbride, Glasgow. Nice friendly crowd, always helpful.
Version: WE Sport
No sign of vibes
What a rush...GS comfort with pure speed and great handling
Buying experience: Made simple by transformers at Alton
Version: Sport SE
Annual servicing cost: £500
The most exciting motorcycle I have ever ridden in 40 years of biking. It is everything you could wish for in a Sports/Adventure bike. Highly addictive.
With the coding plug fitted post 1st service, a fourth mode option, Dynamic Pro, is made available. This mode although designed for track use, is absolutely awesome.
Sweet as you could wish for.
No issues whatsoever.
Set price for servicing available at most dealers.
Electronic rider aids are amazing with the quickshift pro giving seamless gear changes. Only small gripe is the OEM seat unit that does not aid knee down riding so optional HP seat is worth purchasing. Vibes are grossly exaggerated. I purchased Evotech Performance handlebar weights to offset expected problems but they have not been noticeable. I suppose if you sit at 5000 reve all day then you may feel some vibes in which case, a Harley Davidson may be the bike for you!
Buying experience: Excellent BMW customer service. Deals worth shopping around for a deal if you are a cash buyer.
Version: Sport SE
Annual servicing cost: £500
I've owned a X-Max 250, Black Bird, NC700, Z1000SX, Ducati MTS 1200 S, Rocket 3 Roadster, FZ1, Diavel, and finally by far the most comfortable, and exhilarating, and safe ride ever, the BMW S1000XR Sport SE, plus exceptional BMW Emergency, and Customer Service. Yes there is some vibration in the bars but Man up! Or use the cruise control! Most bikes have some vibration, my Z1000SX (a superb bike) was unbearable for my pillion and I after an hour on the road, the Rocket and Diavel ( also exceptional bikes) were the same on long journeys, maybe they just need breaking in. The BMW's competition Ducati MTS 1200S has the looks and the comfort for touring but the BMW S1000XR has the fun factor hands down, as well as comfort for touring.
Hilariously, Exhilarating ride, and yet safe at the same time, the Quick shifter is a real treat Sport SE models only, brakes are awesome!
It's a BMW!
The electrical components on the handle bars seem a bit flimsy, I had a flat tyre but was alerted by hazard warning lights on the dash, arrangements were made with BMW Emergency Services to collect and fix the tyre at my nearest dealer. My ECU packed up but thanks again to BMW's Emergency Service and excellent Customer Services, I was back on the road again. Thankfully its still under warranty, which can be extended/renewed on its anniversary date. This also includes the exceptional BMW Emergency Service.
Servicing plus tyres. Running costs - depends on how you ride it!
Need to familiarise yourself with all the computer equipment, recommend the Sat Nav 5, its not just a Sat Nav! It also tells you what the bike stats are.
Buying experience: I bought from a Dealer, Ex-Demo Sport SE with 4500 miles on the clock for £13500 PX my Diavel for a good price. Plus low finance package.
Version: Sport se
Anyone put off buying an XR by reports of vibrations should not worry. This is a serious weapon. 2 up its quicker than my old gsxs1000. Out handles any bike I've ridden. Brakes are epic, the quick shifter and auto blipper are intoxicating. It has the ability to be comfortable for 300 miles+ in a day and extremely capable of a Sunday blast. Leaves you with the thought that you could have ridden faster and harder after every corner. Yes it does had a slight vibration at 5000 rpm but so what it's fantastic in all other areas.
Very very powerful
I've had my XR for four months now and love it. It's without a doubt the best sports road bike you can buy. Talk about handle bar vibes are massively overblown. I think GS owners are riding this bike don't get it if you love your GS it's not the bike for you. It's a bike for sports bike riders who want more comfort and does it deliver, back roads and twistys are where it shines and you can ride it all day. The technology is awesome and easy to use, rider modes suspension set up on the move, quick shifter makes you feel like you're on a race bike so does the power, cruise control and heated grips add to the all day rideabilty. So if you want to cruise across continents no but if you want super bike performance you can ride all day YES.
With all the extras electronic suspension, quick shifter, ect you can't live without it's a lot more than the base price advertised.
You have to have all the options technology is what this bike is all about.
Version: Sport SE
Annual servicing cost: £110
4.6 out of 5 actually
Stick in the chip and go to dynamic pro if you are an experienced rider to get proper riding thrills. Good safety for those not so experienced If you leave chip in the draw.
4.6 out of 5. Really very good give me the full 200bhp not 160. Mines a little vibey but no where near as much as others complain of
Very very good although switch gear a little plasticky
Only had 600 mile service so far. Bike is a little over expensive to buy. Fuel is giving me 41mpg so not great but expected.
4.6 out of 5. To be perfect it needs a hydraulic clutch, adjustable clutch lever and tyre pressure sensor. Higher screen would be a benefit to.
Buying experience: Good as you are going to get
I do not recommend this bike to anyone while BMW do not solve the problem with vibrations. It is quite impossible you ride more than 100 kms. without being regretful for your decision. Your hands will get damping due to the hard frequency of vibration after 4.000 rpm. The suspension is also hard and in long distances you feel very uncomfortable. Seems that BMW did not test properly before finishing this project and starting production of this bike. Very frustrated as I had the GS1200 and sold it to buy the S1000XR...
Not comfortable as announced for long distances. It is not a touring bike even if you had a GS1200...
The engine is strong but it causes extreme vibrations as informed before. So, it is not good.
At the second day of use appears the yellow light with the information: D-ESA! The suspension got totally hard and I needed to take the bike back to the seller for checking.
Buying experience: The bike costs much more than it value in comparison with others bikes with the same price.
Version: Sports edition
Fantastic bike stock exhaust sounds awesome Shed loads of technology and all changed by touch buttons on handle bars only slight negative is the vibration but cured this with heavier bar enfs from cymarc
Comfy seat and brembo stoppers up front nuff said
Open it up and watch your licence
No dramas so far
Initial service only
Shed loads too much to list
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer no problems with the service received
Version: Sport SE
After various sportsbikes I went from a Gixxer Thou to a BMW S1000RR then onto the S1000XR. I loved my RR - incredible machine and by far the best sportsbike out there 2 years ago (don't know how the 2015 model compares to the new R1 and ZX10 etc). And I toured on it, found it absolutely fine cross Europe etc. However I couldn't take my wife on the back and thats what we want to do. So I tested the XR and was blown away. Got a great trade in on the RR so signed up for the XR. We have done a long weekend mini tour to visit family and have booked a tour to Spain next year - I love it for its sporty characteristics (its actually faster on normal UK roads IMO due to the low down grunt) and my wife is very comfortable on the back. So very happy. I considered a 1200 GSA, and would be tempted if I did more touring, however the teenager in me still needs something a bit sportier. Wildly reported vibration isn't an issue (all bikes vibrate!), comfort is great, wind protection is OK with the MRA Vario, speed is grin inducing, it has all the toys so very very happy overall.
Version: All the options
A comfortable missile.
Beats everything else.
More power than you will ever need. Above 7000 rpm it is stunning.
Mine was one of the first delivered and the electronics needed to be fixed.
Buying experience: I bought it new from a dealer. Dealer was great, BMW not so amazing.
high frequency vibration cheap components and plastic parts. No lock on Sat Nav. No protection for oil and water Rads. Non adjustable clutch lever. Sloping seating position All for a cheap price of. £14000 plus
Most amazing motorcycle I've ever owned.
I don't agree with the other reviews here that obsess over the bike's vibration. It was a bit distracting on mine at first but diminished significantly after the first 1000 miles. The 600 mile removal of the rev limiter helped with this as well. Yes there's still a bit there but I've never ridden a bike that wasn't a little vibe'e somewhere in its rev range and I don't even notice it on mine anymore. Much ado about nothing IMHO. Oh, and the brakes are fantastic. Takes the twists like a sport bike and can even handle modest off roading with grace. Out performs any liter bike I've ridden with the exception of the RR. The track is likely the only place you might want to push it harder. In the real world it rules.
Tame around town but will gladly rip your arms off when you want to misbehave. Great sound as well. Truly one of the best features of the bike.
Admittedly it's very early on but I've had no issues in the first 5000 miles.
Typical BMW pricing but a fully equipped bike that has every creature comfort I could want. I wish the panniers were color matched on the white bike as well, but size and functionality are great. Pretty much water tight through a couple of torrential storms.
A great A-road bike but not really a tourer - terrible vibration at cruising speed, undergeared, under-screened, with titchy panniers.
Brakes fantastic. Electronic suspension has been broken for most of my ownership so far (1000 miles)
Very powerful, good noise. Bit of a screamer at motorway speeds and feels like it needs another gear.
Electronic suspension not working with warning light permanently on. Have had 600 mile service and this was reported as fixed by BMW but has come straight back on.
I had the lowered seat option and the full touring SE spec. The seat is comfortable for long trips and at 5'9" I can plant my feet flat easily. Panniers are tiny, very expensive, and useless. Top box, ordered with bike from BMW, has still not arrived. Bad wind noise and buffeting at cruising speed, so go for an after market screen option. BMW Navigator V coslty but makes sense if you opt for the handlebar control.
How this bike could have been reviewed with no mention of the horrendous vibrations is beyond me. Potential buyers should look at the owners forums before buying. A fantastic bike ruined by horrible vibrations and hard suspension. Buyers beware. Poster by a frustrated and disappointed owner.
Buying experience: RRP