Launch Report: BMW S 1000 RR: S 1000 R, S 1000 XR and K 1600 GT - Elite Fleet

27 November 2017
The XR looks subtle yet dominant in the new Ocean Blue colour scheme. 
Story: Amy Harburg Photos: iKapture

How do you test four different bikes at once? Easy. Deploy them all to Tasmania. In Australian terms Tasmania is motorcycling heaven. Endless good-quality roads, enough twisties to keep you amused for days, and amazing scenery. It seems BMW agrees, recently holding a press launch of four new models there.

In the platoon of bikes to test were the 1000cc triplets of the S 1000 XR, S 1000 R, and the insane S 1000 RR. Added into that mix was the sergeant major of touring bikes, the K 1600 GT. BMW provided the option to ride the old model as a direct comparison to the new model. All the new models included the addition of a Euro 4 Emission-class engine, a few more horsepower and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). In the case of the S 1000 XR, this is all that differed from the old model — well that and a new colour scheme.

Now while these upgrades are actually significant changes, they might be easily overlooked — that is unless you put the old model and the new model side by side. So that is exactly what they did. This was going to require a planned strategy. First ride the old, then hop straight over to the new. Well, that was the plan anyway.

It’s no secret that I’m not a knee down sports bike rider, so when I found myself first up on the S 1000 RR, I have to admit my heart skipped a beat. I had been hoping to ease myself into the two days of testing on the S 1000 XR, but hey, when you’re presented with the opportunity to ride a “double R” you take it, right?

Now while this wasn’t my first rodeo on an S 1000 RR, I still approached the bike with respect. After all, this is not your normal sports bike. Thankfully the S 1000 RR comes loaded with all BMW’s advanced technology, so it allows your average everyday rider to feel kinda quick. In fact, the bike is so well engineered that at first you could almost be mistaken for thinking you could simply walk up, hop on and ride fast. The S 1000 RR is not difficult to ride thanks to all the electronic aids, but don’t be fooled because by changing a few settings, it quickly sheds its “well-mannered” cloak to become an absolute ballistic missile!

The 2017 S 1000 RR has three variants: the RR, RR Sport and the RR Race. As standard, the RR comes with the latest must-haves such as Race ABS, DTC, Gear Shift Pro, Rider Modes (Rain, Sport and Race) and some very cool telemetry in the on-board computer, such as lean angle etc. Then the RR Sport and RR Race take the game to a new level. These two bikes only differ largely in the carbon-fibre fairings, single-seat option and lightweight forged wheels.

The new RR Race is seriously loaded with every bit of telemetry and optional track settings a rider could want, including the Race and Dynamic packages and lightweight forged wheels. You get two more rider modes (Slick and User). For most people using the bike for track days, rider mode “Slick” will be enough fun, however the “User” mode allows for a heck of a lot more fine-tuning to the DTC. The knowledge needed for this option is so extensive that BMW will send a technician out from the High Performance centre to help you understand it. Needless to say, I’m not about to start explaining it here.

What I can tell you is that the S 1000 RR Race is a remarkable machine that can be enjoyed by most people. The bike is planted and provides a lot of front-end security thanks to the Dynamic Traction Control and the Dynamic Damping Control. The incredible 199hp is delivered in a controllable manner and cornering is confidence-inspiring. Obviously, you wouldn’t expect this bike to be a long-distance option, because it just isn’t (after a couple of hours it gets plain uncomfortable). But if you have aspirations for track day glory, it would be hard to go past.

SPECS: 2017 BMW S 1000 XR

ENGINE

Type: Liquid and oil cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, 12-valve, inline four-cylinder

Capacity: 999cc

Bore x stroke: 49.7mm x 80.0mm

Compression ratio: 12.0:1

Engine management: Electronic fuel injection

PERFORMANCE

Claimed maximum power: 121kW (165hp) at 11,000rpm

Claimed maximum torque: 114Nm at 9250rpm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed

Final drive: Chain

Clutch: Wet, multi-disc, anti-hopping, mechanical

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR

Frame: Bridge; aluminium

Front suspension: 46mm upside down telescopic fork, adjustable for compression and rebound

Rear suspension: Monoshock, adjustable for compression and rebound

Front brakes: Twin discs; BMW Motorrad Race ABS, part integral, disengageable

Rear brake: Single disc, floating caliper, ABS (disengageable)

Wheels: Multi-spoked, cast aluminium; front 3.50 x 17, rear 6.0 x 17

Tyres: Front 120/70-18, rear 190/55-17

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Claimed wet weight: 228kg

Seat height: 840mm

Wheelbase: 1548mm

Fuel capacity: 20 litres

ETCETERA

Price: $22,190 plus ORC

Colour: Racing Red, Light White/Granite Grey Metallic/Racing Red, Ocean Blue Metallic Matt

Test bike supplied by: BMW Motorrad Australia, www.bmwmotorrad.com.au

Warranty: 24 months, unlimited kilometres

The S 1000 RR is not what you'd call pretty, but it sure is handsome.

Next up for me was the S 1000 R. Now this is where the fun is at! Man oh man, did it put a smile on my face through the seemingly endless Tasmanian corners. On paper, the new updates may not seem much, but on the road it’s a different story. The S 1000 R has the same engine as the S 1000 RR but is re-tuned to provide more torque and more midrange, but less peak power. On the road the S 1000 R actually feels as powerful as the S 1000 RR because the S 1000 RR needs more revs before it really gets crazy.

I was able to get back to my initial plan to test the old model and the new model back-to-back. It worked too. It’s here I got a good feel for the improved handling the redesigned frame and DTC offers. The bike just feels more grounded and smoother, but yet more responsive through corners. The bike has shed 2kg of weight. The main frame has been redesigned and given a new, lighter rear section. Overall this means the main frame, subframe and swingarm have improved rigidity and flex that allow better traction.

Left: Amy reckons the S 1000 RR is not at all intimidating, but
it's a rocket just the same. Right: The new model feels much more responsive in the
corners.

Adding to the excitement is the Akrapovic titanium exhaust that comes standard on the Sport model. Really, a bike like this doesn’t need the Akrapovic pipe, but why wouldn’t you have it if you could? It’s a little piece of art that adds to the look and sound of the bike. Importantly because the Akrapovic pipe is added at the factory, it is homologated and therefore legal.

SPECS: 2017 BMW S 1000 RR

ENGINE

Type: Liquid and oil cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, 12-valve, inline four-cylinder

Capacity: 999cc

Bore x stroke: 49.7mm x 80.0mm

Compression ratio: 13.0:1

Engine management: Electronic fuel injection

PERFORMANCE

Claimed maximum power: 146kW (199hp) at 13,500rpm

Claimed maximum torque: 113Nm at 10,500rpm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed

Final drive: Chain

Clutch: Multi-disc, oil bath, anti-hopping, mechanical

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR

Frame: Bridge; aluminium composite

Front suspension: 46mm upside down fork, adjustable for compression and rebound

Rear suspension: Monoshock adjustable for compression and rebound damping

Front brakes: Twin floating discs, fixed calipers, hydraulic, BMW Motorrad ABS, part integral, selectable

Rear brake: Single disc, floating caliper, hydraulic, part integral race ABS (disengageable)

Wheels: Die-cast aluminium, front 3.50 x 17, rear 6.0 x 17

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Claimed dry weight: 175.5kg

Seat height: 815mm

Wheelbase: 1438mm

Fuel capacity: 17.5 litres

ETCETERA

Price: S 1000 RR $21,990 plus ORC; S 1000 RR Sport $23,990 plus ORC; S 1000 RR Race $25,690 plus ORC

Colour: Granit Grey metallic/Black Storm metallic, Racing Red/Light White including Pinstripe wheels, Light White/Lupin Blue/Racing Red including Pinstripe wheels

Test bike supplied by: BMW Motorrad Australia, www.bmwmotorrad.com.au

Warranty: 24 months, unlimited kilometres

The S 1000 R has the Same engine as the S 1000 RR but is re-tuned to provide more torque and more midrange.

When it came to the S 1000 XR, understanding the changes was easy after having previously ridden one through Europe several months ago. This bike can be summed up by calling it a weapon for taller riders. It has a similar riding position to that of the S 1000 R, but with more suspension travel than the sports bike platform and therefore taller seat height.

The 2017 S 1000 XR base model has the fewest changes to the four models tested. Aside from the new Ocean Blue colour scheme, the bike looks the same on the outside and still comes with the standard features of ABS, ACS, heated grips, centrestand and hand guards. Engine wise it has been upgraded to meet the requirements of the EU4 pollution class and has an additional 5hp (4kW).

It is available in the Touring package (Dynamic ESA, Navigation preparation, and luggage rails) or the Dynamic package. The Dynamic package offers new additions such as DTC, quick shift pro, cornering ABS and more riding modes (Rain, Road, Dynamic and Dynamic Pro). With these additions, the S 1000 XR quickly turns from a comfortable sports tourer for taller riders to an out-and-out sports bike, ready to eat up the Tasmanian conditions.

SPECS: 2017 BMW S 1000 R

ENGINE

Type: Liquid and oil cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, 12-valve, inline four-cylinder

Capacity: 999cc

Bore x stroke: 49.7mm x 80.0mm

Compression ratio: 12.0:1

Engine management: Electronic fuel injection

PERFORMANCE

Claimed maximum power: 121kW (165hp) at 11,000rpm

Claimed maximum torque: 114Nm at 9250rpm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed

Final drive: Chain

Clutch: Wet, multi-disc, anti-hopping, mechanical

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR

Frame: Aluminium composite

Front suspension: 46mm upside down telescopic fork, adjustable for compression and rebound

Rear suspension: Monoshock, adjustable for rebound damping

Front brakes: Twin discs, BMW Motorrad Race ABS and ABS Pro (cornering ABS), part integral, disengageable

Rear brake: Single disc, floating caliper, ABS

Wheels: Multi-spoked, cast aluminium, front 3.50 x 17, rear 6.0 x 17

Tyres: Front 120/70-17, rear 190/55-17

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Claimed wet weight: 205kg

Seat height: 812mm

Wheelbase: 1548mm

Fuel capacity: 20 litres

ETCETERA

Price: S 1000 R $19,390 plus ORC; S 1000 R Sport $21,690 plus ORC

Colour: Catalano Grey, Racing Red/Black Storm metallic including Pinstripe wheels, Light White/Lupin Blue/Racing Red including Pinstripe wheels

Test bike supplied by: BMW Motorrad Australia, www.bmwmotorrad.com.au

Warranty: 24 months, unlimited kilometres

The K 1600 GT may be built for comfort, but the strong power and precise handling makes for a dynamic ride on Tassie's twisting blacktop.

With the three sports bikes out of the way, it was time to get my head around BMW’s mighty tourer. My first impression of the K 1600 GT was, “OMG, this thing is huge. How am I going to punt it around the twisties?”

Perhaps it’s not exactly a “throw into the corners”-type sports bike, but don’t be fooled, the K 1600 GT is seriously quick and handles well in all conditions. It really is a package of effortless power, precision handling and sublime comfort. I mean, if you were considering a family-sized touring bike with all the bells and whistles, but at the same time wanted a bike that provides dynamic riding, then the K 1600 GT would have to be at the top of your list. It even handled a 5km muddy rutted dirt track we put it through without becoming a beached whale.

The massive six-cylinder 1649cc engine proved 160hp (119kW) is just the start. The K 1600 GT comes with Dynamic ESA as standard, meaning the gyroscopic sensors incorporate lean angle, and throttle and braking position into the electronic suspension adjustments. It’s like having your own little suspension tech working all the time while riding. Factor in that the bike as standard also comes with ABS Pro (cornering ABS), DTC and Quick Shift Pro and you have one of the most technically advanced bikes on the road.

Next, we get into rider comfort and the vast array of on-board gadgetry. Believe me, this bike is absolutely built for long-distance touring, with comfort taken to the next level. The on-board audio system allows you to listen to the radio or your own personal music by way of either Bluetooth or accessories cable to your phone, all the while charging your phone. Using the Multi Controller you can flick between the myriad settings and options such as suspension adjustment, rider modes, on-board computer information and GPS.

caption text

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention the hill start assist and the reversing option. When you’re managing a bike that weighs over 300kg, these two things alone can make your day a lot easier.

The bike has had a cosmetic update, with all the front panels being more streamlined. Compared side by side to the old model, it is a noticeable change. The air-conditioning foils have been improved to get more air into the rider and the fuel capacity has been increased to 26.5 litres. Rider safety has been taken to a new level, with the inclusion of the adaptive headlight. No more blank spots in the apex of a tight corner while riding at night. The lights turn their beams around the corner, giving you a better view of what is ahead.

For me the K 1600 GT was the surprise package of the four test bikes. I expected it to lumber around like an elephant. How wrong I was! The other three test bikes don’t hide; they shout loud and proud what they are and they deliver on their promises. The S 1000 RR Race is an “in your face” race bike, the S 1000 R is a street weapon that could be well aimed at the track, and the S 1000 XR is a perfect street sports bike.

BMW has long been a leader when it comes to electronic wizardry that improves safety and performance. These four bikes continue that trend. Even for the S 1000 XR, the 2017 model updates are significant enough to say they count. The S 1000 RR Race, S 1000 R and the K 1600 GT take it all to a new normal.

SPECS: 2017 BMW K 1600 GT

ENGINE

Type: Liquid and oil cooled, DOHC, four-stroke, 24-valve, inline six-cylinder

Capacity: 1649cc

Bore x stroke: 67.5mm x 72.0mm

Compression ratio: 12.2:1

Engine management: Electronic fuel injection

PERFORMANCE

Claimed maximum power: 118kW at 7750rpm

Claimed maximum torque: 175Nm at 5250rpm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Helical

Final drive: Shaft

Clutch: Oil bath, multi-disc, hydraulic

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR

Frame: Bridge type, aluminium

Front suspension: BMW Motorrad Duolever, central spring strut, Dynamic ESA

Rear suspension: BMW Motorrad Paralever

Front brakes: Twin discs, fixed calipers, hydraulic, ABS Pro (cornering ABS)

Rear brake: Single disc, hydraulic, ABS

Wheels: Multi-spoked, cast aluminium, front 3.50 x 17, rear 6.0 x 17

Tyres: Front 120/70-17, rear 190/55-17

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Claimed dry weight: 334kg

Seat height: 810mm

Wheelbase: 1618mm

Fuel capacity: 26.5 litres

ETCETERA

Price: $36,490 plus ORC; Sport $36,990 plus ORC

Colour: Lupin Blue Metallic/Black Storm Metallic

Test bike supplied by: BMW Motorrad Australia, www.bmwmotorrad.com.au

Warranty: 24 months, unlimited kilometres

 

Comments