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.
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.
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.
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.
Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
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.