We ride the new BMW S1000R Sport
Fast, frenetic, friendly and flexible, BMW’s new S1000R Sport is much like the old one – and that’s no bad thing. Now in its fourth year of production, BMW’s top-spec super naked has been treated to a host of tweaks to improve performance and meet the latest Euro4 emissions and noise laws.
- Related: full 2014 BMW S1000R review
One of the most obvious changes is the new chassis, which is derived from the current S1000RR. The cast ally beam frame is lighter than before and takes most of the credit for the bike’s claimed 2kg weight loss. Then there are new electronics. The S1000R now has a similar Bosch IMU as its RR big brother, meaning the bike now boasts cornering ABS and lean-angle sensitive traction control. It also has BMW’s Gearshift Assist Pro as standard, a bidirectional quickshifter that allows clutchless changing both up and down the box. It works well, even if it is a little more ponderous than some systems.
The other visual change is the new exhaust required to meet the Euro4 regs, which boasts a bigger cat and more silencing. It also has a neat titanium Akrapovic silencer. BMW have worked on the induction system, too, and say this combined with the new exhaust has resulted in a 5bhp gain in power, taking claimed power to 163bhp. It’s enough to make the R as fast as any super naked.
Charging around the twists, turns and sweeps of the Spanish coastline the R is captivating, drawing deeply through its airbox, pulling hard and giving strong power from 6000rpm right to the 11,000rpm redline. Drive is intense and gives you the option of snicking through the closely-spaced ratios or just using a single gear to eat the straights and drive out of hairpins. Make no mistake, this is a devastatingly fast road bike.
The new electronics are impressive, even if they’re not entirely obvious. The helping hand of the anti-wheelie system as it controls the front end over crests and in the early gears is seamless. This is a sophisticated motorcycle and thanks to a rubber damper in the headstock, fewer vibes reach the bars, too.
BMW now offer their HP forged ally wheels as an option. These save 2.4kg of rotational inertia, meaning the bike holds a line a little sweeter and is slightly more nimble. However, they do add £1250 onto the asking price. You can activate Dynamic Pro mode by plugging in a dongle under the seat and buying the mode map from your BMW dealer. This allows more aggressive suspension damping for the BMW’s DDC semi-active suspension and allows you to tune suspension, traction control and ABS settings too. It even allows you to activate launch control and pitlane speed limiter settings.
All in all, this makes the S1000R Sport a very impressive package and one, which for a four-cylinder bike that is based on a ruthlessly-efficient superbike has plenty of character. This character comes through the harder you ride it, but even in the torrential rain that we had to endure at the start of our test ride, the S1000R was fun, with perfect fuelling and neutral steering that gives confidence in the conditions.
So is all this enough to usurp the market-leading MT-10? It’s hard to say. The MT-10 may still have the edge when it comes to sheer naughtiness, but the R handles better than an MT on stock settings. Build quality and the amount of toys on offer are better than the Yamaha too. If I was the owner of a 2014 S1000R I wouldn’t be rushing to buy the new bike, but if I was in the market for a quality super naked with a broad breadth of abilities, it would be still very close to the top of the list.
The hypernaked class is arguably now the most competitive of them all, and BMW’s refreshed and electronically enhanced S1000R Sport is right back at the top.