Ad closing in seconds....

Long term report: Just how loud is a BMW S1000RR?

Published: 28 August 2015

Updated: 12 October 2015

Sometimes frustration is a good thing – it inspires action. I’ve been getting quietly frustrated by the noisy claims of all and sundry that my S1000RR longtermer is battering their earholes, so I thought it was high time I got some evidence in my armoury.

My family claim to be able to hear my progress at up to 5.2 miles away from home across open countryside (4.4 as the crow flies), and a foray to Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire saw me kicked off for blowing their drive-by noise meter’s socks off at 98.somethingdB (their limit is 89), and there’s no doubt that it seems loud from the rider’s seat. Yes; there’s plenty to suggest that it’s fruity.

So Saturday morning saw me frequenting the local branch of Maplin – can’t often say that – to buy a decibel meter. “That sounds nice mate,” says the builder exiting the Wickes next door as I park up, but the morbidly obese crone who nearly mows me down with her mobility scooter appears less awe-struck by the RR’s charms.

Black box of detection equipment secure in my rucksack I head home to annoy the family. It turns out that a hedge-trimmer weighs in at 81.7dB from 20 meters away, that my son can shout at just over 101dB, and that the dishwasher is silent (broken again).

After a quick wash and lube of the RR it’s time to see just how much it bothers the noise meter. With it ticking over on the sidestand, the meter reads a peak of 81dB from 50cm behind the exhaust (and off to the side). Move round next to the engine though and the mechanical clatter starts to mingle with the exhaust noise, and the readout hops up to 82.5dB. A couple of blips to 6500rpm see a static peak of 107.3dB, at which point I was curtly reminded of our neighbours’ happiness, and hit the kill switch.

Away from the peace of home, a constant 5500rpm revealed a reading of 92.1dB, while a drive-by at 6500rpm in 6th gear saw 84.3dB on the readout. Respectable, I’d say. But wind it on with a bit of aggression through the gears, and the top of 3rd saw it hit 99.4dB on a drive by. Loud? Yes, it’s not quiet, but it’s not as rude as I thought it might be. Which is odd, because it sounds bloody loud. Ask anyone.

These sounds aren’t silence

This is how the S1000RR stacks up against my other toys, and a cross section of the MCN longterm test fleet. At a standstill, using ACU noise testing methods, the S1000RR is the quietest!

Bike year, Make Model (mods)

Static noise reading

2015 BMW S1000RR Sport (standard exhaust system)


2015 Ducati Scrambler Icon (stock Termignoni cans)


2015 KTM 1050 Adventure (Remus end can, baffle in)


2015 Honda VFR800X Crossrunner (with Remus can, no baffle)


2015 Triumph Street Triple Rx (Arrow end can, no baffle)


1998 Ducati 996 (SilMoto carbon end cans)


1996 Kawasaki ZX-6R (Micron full race system)


1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 (full titanium Yoshimura system)



BMW S1000RR Sport, £14,760

Miles to date: 4307
MPG 41mpg
Servicing £140 (first service)
Mods to date £2599.10

More updates at: Richard's BMW S1000RR 

All related reviews
All related bikes for sale
Bauer Media

Bauer Media Group consists of: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, Company number: 01176085, Bauer Radio Ltd, Company Number: 1394141
Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing,
Company Number: LP003328 Registered Office: Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London, NW1 7DT.
All registered in England and Wales. VAT no 918 5617 01
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd are authorised and regulated by the FCA(Ref No. 710067)