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2014 BMW S 1000 R: MD First Ride

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When we tested the original BMW S 1000 RR superbike, we couldn’t help but be impressed by the engine. It remains, perhaps, the horsepower king of the production Superbike category. BMW has decided to take this ferocious beast and tame it. “Tame” might not be the correct word, but they have tried to massage this awesome track weapon into a more usable, but still fiercely powerful street machine.

The easier way would have been to take the S 1000 RR, remove the fairing and leave the standard 200 horsepower engine unchanged. This is what many enthusiast riders claim they want, after all, never really thinking that they can’t use the upper reaches of the tachometer on public roads (unless, of course, they have access to the autobahn). Instead, BMW has reduced the peak horsepower to 160, still a very healthy number, in order to move the powerband lower, where street riders can actually use it. BMW claims the naked S 1000 R has 7 more foot/pounds of torque than the superbike below 7,500 rpm.

Although the BMW is still ridiculously powerful for a naked, it looks like the KTM 1290 SuperDuke R, which claims 180 crank horsepower (as well as a higher torque peak) will rule the roost in the Naked category when it comes to brute force.  You can read about our first test of the nasty KTM here.

BMW began this project 2 years ago with the idea of creating a fun, fast and easy to ride naked, potentially having a much wider customer base than the intensely focused S 1000 RR superbike. The object was to change the engine, as well as the chassis geometry to make the bike more suitable for day-to-day road use. Despite the reduction in peak horsepower, torque increases to provide a stronger mid-range where the tachometer will undoubtedly reside most often on the road. All the electronic gadgets found on the S 1000 RR remain, including ride-by-wire, selectable power modes (including a Rain mode), and you can get the options as well, such as quick shifter, traction control, electronic suspension adjustment, and more sophisticated, selectable driving modes.

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To optimize street handling, the aluminum chassis had to be re-engineered with new geometry. Wheelbase was increased by 22 mm, and the steering rake is more relaxed. Despite this, with the new ergos, and the wide bars for leverage, BMW intended the naked to be nimble at lower speeds. The brakes are radial-mounted Brembo 4-piston calipers in front grabbing 320 mm discs. In back is a smaller disc and a single piston caliper. Defeatable ABS is standard.

Instrumentation is very thorough, as you might expect, including all of the now-expected features, as well as all the information about the current status of the electronic gadgetry, including drive mode selected, suspension settings (where electronically set) and a lap timer.

The more relaxed ergonomics are quickly appreciated. Knees, elbows and the rest of the body assume a balanced, comfortable position that is nevertheless ready for aggressive riding. I found the seat comfortable for highway cruising, with a relatively low height of 814 mm (32 inches).

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Our test included a variety of road conditions, including wind and rain. Although perhaps not the ideal for pushing the limits, it did help reveal the true nature of this machine. Despite the weather, I began by choosing the least intrusive electronic aids in order to fully judge the abilities, and balance, of the S 1000 R. With full power mode, and traction control turned off, I set the bike to permit wheelies.

The first part of ride included roughly 32 miles of twisty, ascending mountain roads. It took me a while to understand the bike, and I used the first open straight to fully explore the powerband. With strong drive from 6,000 rpm, at roughly 9,000 rpm the front wheel left the tarmac and it continued to pull hard through redline.

With my tires as warm as they would get, despite the cold weather and snowy peaks, as well as dark clouds approaching, I aggressively attacked the corners. I was rewarded with huge grip and confidence. The handling was sublime and corner exits offered all the forward thrust I could ask for. When I spun up the rear tire, I had no trouble controlling the spin, and I was able to continue steering the bike toward the desired corner exit. The stock Pirelli tires handled the acceleration, braking and corner forces well. I was having a blast!

As we started to descend on the same mountain road, the turns became tighter and traction was deteriorating, At this point I had great confidence in the S 1000 R, and the same dance continued. The flexible engine allowed me, at times, to stay in the same gear from corner to straightaway to corner, yet still enjoy adequate acceleration. It was then that the rain began and the road became extremely treacherous. I finally switched to “Rain” mode and leaned more on the electronic “saviors”, which allowed me to again relax. With the electronics on my side, I was able to increase the pace. I was having so much fun I was able to largely ignore my frozen fingers and the torture of the cold. Entertainment can do this. In fact, I had forgotten I had heated grips available, but it was too late as our ride came to an end.

The 2014 BMW S 1000 R naked will be available in the first quarter of 2014. I want one. For further details and specifications, visit BMW’s web site.

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82 Comments

  1. John says:

    I’d much prefer a ZRX. A ZRX800 would be very cool these days. Or even ZRX650 twin.

    • John says:

      Huh. I meant this for the Kawi article, but oh well, basically the same. 75HP is about all I really need in a bike.

    • Dave says:

      Yamaha is making your bike (FZ-09, MT-07). Suzuki used to (SV650).

      • John says:

        I know, I’m totally on that, but doesn’t arrive til May. Would be nicer as an ADV or sport tourer, but close enough if it’s comfortable. But it looks a little sharp edged.

  2. Gentleman Rook says:

    Reading the comments. Lord, some people would bitch if you hung them with a brand new rope.

  3. Jim says:

    They should put a CVT in this thing for you girls that don’t know when to shift.

  4. jose says:

    anyone remembers the Ducati streefighter 1098 S with 155HP and 87on the torque number and probably 40 lbs ligther than this one?Looks similar to this BMW but simpler.

  5. Don Cox says:

    This a very desirable MC. For me, it’s still too much for the street. Every bike has a it’s own unique character, and even though I personally do not possess the skills to explore the outer envelope of this bike, I know I would be going way too fast, way too often. It’s just too addictive and a total waste not to enjoy everything this bike has on tap.

    • jake says:

      Had 20K Exotic sports bikes, and this way back when 20K was worth something, but I have to admit, I had more fun on the street riding around on my old butt, air cooled thumpers.

      Now, I have never been much of a rider, and crashed more often when trying to go fast, than actually go fast, but that was my experience. If I bought one of these modern nakeds, it would be more for style, an attempt to impress the ladies with my bad assness, than anything else. Of course I wouldn’t say this in front of the ladies, but the power of these bikes actually scares me more than enthralls me.

  6. Artem says:

    Nice engine. Even if it’s huge

  7. Neil says:

    My ’06 919 is just fine
    Unlike this bike
    Which’d get me a ticket in no time
    It’d be so fast
    My throttle control would not last
    I’d apex over the double yellow line
    Like the 04 ZX10
    I’d lose all my inner Zen
    N see blue lights behind me once again.

  8. Vrooom says:

    The bike’s beautiful, and undoubtedly fast as anyone could possibly need, but is there really a market for a naked bike that will undoubtedly end up being $20K once all the various options are added? Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, but every time I go look at a BMW that is supposed to be $14K, all they ever have is $20K versions with electronic suspension options etc.

    • Gary says:

      I am pretty sure the S model will list for less than $20k. The fully-faired, full-race version lists for $15k.

      You are right about the K models and the R models. They tend to be pricey.

    • richard says:

      Bmw machines are always expensive…especially when you add the gadgets…you just never want to own one without warranty ….$$$…a BMW sales manager told me that !

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “every time I go look at a BMW that is supposed to be $14K, all they ever have is $20K versions with electronic suspension options etc.”

      combat… err… car side tactics Mr. Ryan. visit the lot of your friendly neighborhood bmw AUTOMOBILE dealer, peep some window stickers, and it’ll all become clear. heck, visit any car dealer.

  9. Bones says:

    What say BMW puts this motor into a S1000ST sport tourer with panniers and a small adjustable shield. It could be a big brother to the F800ST that’s not so luxurious as the R1200RT nor as techno-whiz-bang-feature-laden as the K1600GT. Just a nice, light, powerful bike with upright ergos, some wind protection and a place to store some stuff. How about headlight symmetry, too.

    • Gary says:

      Pretty sure the K1300S occupies that niche.

      • Bones says:

        Maybe not. Compared to a K1300S, an S1000ST would be lighter and more upright and less faired. It would have have chain drive and conventional forks and (as I envision it) an adjustable shield that’s a bit larger than the K1300S. I’d like all those things, and they’d make the (currently non-existent) S1000ST distinct from the K1300S.

        • richard says:

          geeze…so many comments about turning cool street fighters into sport tourers…buy a GSA or a GT…or add your own parts…a 1000R is definately not aimed at touring

          • Bones says:

            Why wouldn’t the lightness and comparative simplicity of a street fighter be desireable as the foundation of a tourer? Not everyone wants to tour on a luxury machine. A GT is too heavy and feature-laden. A GSA is too tall, not to mention fugly as they come, and the boxer twin is not everyone’s favorite mill. Is the 1000R aimed at touring? Not as shown here, but with a few tweaks it would make a great tourer. YMMV

        • Norm G. says:

          re: an S1000ST would be lighter and more upright and less faired. It would have have chain drive and conventional forks and (as I envision it) an adjustable shield that’s a bit larger than the K1300S. I’d like all those things, and they’d make the (currently non-existent) S1000ST distinct from the K1300S.

          ummmn, isn’t 98% of what you describe ALREADY shown in the pictures…? you can have a field day sorting the 2% screen and bags in the aftermarket. wait, belay my last. this is a BMW, so a genuine accessories catalog is prolly on its way to the printers as we speak.

          • Bones says:

            Yes, most of what I describe is already shown in the picture because I’m describing an ST bike I’d like to see, based on the S1000R. With a bit of tweaking there’s an ST in there.

    • Michael H says:

      What, no adventure tourer?

  10. motowarrior says:

    You gotta hand it to BMW for reinventing themselves in the last few years. They now make a aid range of motorcycles for a bunch of different types of riders. At one time I wondered if they were going to continue to be in the bike business. Now it looks like they will be one of the innovators.

  11. Jeremy in TX says:

    With catalytic converters now being a fact of life, I think it is time certain manufacturers start doing something to make them look better. I’ve never been one to run out and buy a full exhaust when I get a new bike, but the aftermarket will probably lighten my wallet following my next bike purchase.

    • Bud says:

      Yep, given that a) the cat is a big lump that nobody wants to look at, and b) they put plastic shrouds all over streetbikes anyway, why is the cat exposed on so many streetbikes?
      And this particular system has exposed, unplated/unpainted headers/collectors/cat and yet the muffler looks like a big clamped on cover. Makes no sense to me.

    • goose says:

      Actually, the catalysts are fairly small. What you are seeing is a physical manifestation of the fact that you need a large volume muffler to make a bike both quiet and powerful.

      The result of the big “boom boxes” is a more powerful bike but it sure is ugly.

      Goose

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        You are correct, I’m sure. In that case, it should be even easier to to make those eye sores look better.

  12. Tom says:

    Personally, I would substantially prefer the way this engine is tuned, with power band arriving sooner in the rpm range and greater power throughout the part of the range that you use 90% of the time. This would be an awesome bike to own, no question about that. I look forward to seeing dyno measurements. Has BMW released specs for where in the rpm range the torque and power peaks are located?

    • Jim says:

      lol, you need to ride an RR and then tell me where the power is lacking in the midrange.

      • Tom says:

        Jim, laugh all you want, but you evidently do not accept the fact that given a choice between having a given amount of power at a lower rpm vs. a higher rpm, it is better for it to be available at lower rpm. To me this is so obvious that it puzzles me that you would think otherwise. If the extreme amount of power that the RR offers at very high rpm is a useful amount of power to have, why isn’t an amount of power that isn’t even nearly that extreme useful at lower rpm? LOL, indeed.

        • other jim says:

          I really don’t get it. 7 more lbs of claimed torque? Cmon, that’s embarrassing. Manufacturers having been neutering their awesome superbike motors ever since I started riding, and it’s stupid IMO.

          Show me one owner of the RR that wishes they had more torque at the expense of HP – they don’t exist. And saying that’s because of track is also crap, as 90% of RRs (and sportbikes in general) never see a track.

      • proheli says:

        Hey Jim. I’ve got a Streetfighter S, and I can tell you that the midrange of the 1000RR is fairly anemic if you are used to a twin. It actually IS much nicer to have the power moved down the power band. In real world, most guys don’t have the 1000RR up in the revs where they find the big hp, so they have to rely on Torque to get the bike to move out, and the 1000RR is just so-so in the low and mid rpm torque. Its obviously an awesome bike, but its just good to have the power sooner.

        • Tom says:

          Proheli – I agree with mosf of what you say, and with the gist of it. It absolutely is better to have the power band arrive at lower rpm. I don’t like to equate low-rpm performance expressly with torque the way that most people do, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine. The important point is that the lower in the rpm range that the power band arrives, the better, all else being equal. But of course all else is not equal, because a price is paid in terms of peak power. The only real question to debate is at what point the price you pay is too stiff a price to justify moving the power band further down the rpm range. There is no absolute, objective answer to this; it is very subjective. But, the comment that Jim made simply asserts that there isn’t any reason for moving the power band lower in the rpm range, and that is just silly. There is always, always a reason to do that.

          One more point … Being used to a twin, or to any particular configuration, whether in terms of cylinder quantity or the way the are arranged, does not in and of itself imply that you would be used stronger midrange performance. Or less. Neither the cylinder quantity nor the particular arrangement of the cylinders has any direct affect on the location of the torque peak or the shape of the two performance curves. The only design elements that can possibly have that sort of effect are design elements that directly influence the quantity of air that the engine draws in with each complete rotation of the crank. The cylinder count will have that sort of effect if the displacement per cylinder is the same no matter the quantity of cylinders, but if the total displacement is the same regardless of the quantity of cylinders, then the quantity of cylinders in and of itself does not influence the quantity of air drawn in per each rotation of the crank. As such, there is no influence on actual engine torque, and if there is no influence on actual engine torque, there is no influence on the location of the torque peak or on the overall shape of the performance curves. The bore/stroke ratio is another matter. It influences the quantity of air the engine draws in per each intake stroke, in a manner that interacts with the duration of the intake stroke and therefore the rpm. Because it has this influence, it also influences the rpm at which the torque peak occurs, and thus has a strong, direct affect on the shape of the torque curve and the power curve.

          • Dirck Edge says:

            Good comment. I remember a stock R1 that was geared to hit the rev limiter at an indicated 104mph in first gear. Like any proper superbike, it made most of its power above 8,000rpm, at illegal speeds in first gear. It would pull out of slow corners sluggishly in first gear, at times, because it was well below its effective powerband. Great track bike.

          • Ross says:

            Exactly why I hated my Panigale as a street bike. When riding at an enjoyable yet sane Pace, the rev range would be just below where the real power is. Picked up an 821 Hypermotard SP… the 11 degree Testastretta is a gem. Much more fun to ride on the street. Torque is where you need it. The Pani is now Sharkskinned, and only for track use, where it works properly.

          • billy says:

            Really Dirk, I don’t remember that one. The RC45 must have have done 120 in first gear then.

          • Jim says:

            Bah! You are all old men! That right hand is meant ti be twisted boys! If you are coming out of a corner too low in the revs is that the bikes fault or yours? Bike probably does 100mph in 1st gear. Change gearing, save the horse power, you don’t need 190 mph top speed so gear it down.

  13. goose says:

    Wouldn’t own one if they were free but I continue to be amazed at the breadth of options for motorcyclists. Forgetting the really cheap stuff buyers today can pick from a 300 twin sport bike to a 2.3 liter cruiser to a 200 HP sport bike to a 900 pound touring bike to a naked bike that would take an NFL linebacker to hang onto at top speed.

    Also, living in a world where a 1000CC motorcycle engine is de-tuned to “only” 160 HP is mind boggling. I still have articles from the seventies showing how to hop up a superbike to 80 HP. What is it like to ride a bike that can’t be held over 1/4 throttle from more than two seconds without risking you license and maybe even jail time? I would think it would be more frustrating than fun.

    Still happy with two digit HP,

    Goose

    • Montana says:

      Not sure what’s in the yellow sample cup on the handlebars, but my “two digit HP” bike keeps it neatly out of sight in a discreet aluminum casting (for half the price.) Not only that, it routinely keeps most multies in the rear view mirror — on the kind of twisty mountain roads that separate the men from the boys.
      Any squid with a generous co-signer can do 180 MPH on the autobahn.

      • Tony says:

        Oh, you own an MZ Skorpion?

        • richard says:

          lol……seperating the men from the boys comes down to the rider not the bike…a 2 digit hp bike wouldnt have a chance against a 1000r if the rider skills were the same…agreed

          • tony says:

            Depends on the application. On certain courses, a moped will be faster than the 1000r. Power/Weight ratio + rider skill + maneuverability are the ingredients. A KTM 690 will run circles around the 1000r on a tight course.

          • Dave says:

            re:”a 2 digit hp bike wouldnt have a chance against a 1000r if the rider skills were the same… ”

            It would if the rider’s skills were of the level that the vast majority or rider’s skills really are. Most street riders would be scared to approach the performance potential of a 1000r and most roads wouldn’t accommodate it anyway.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      100hp at the rear wheel with a good torquey engine is perfect for me. Traction control and wheelie control aren’t necessary, and I never find myself thinking, “Gee, I wish I had more power.”

      That said, these new breeds of nakeds are amazing bikes, and I’d own one in a heartbeat.

  14. VLJ says:

    So, now we come to it: S1000R, Super Duke 1290, Tuono V4R, or that new liquid-cooled Monster?

    The 2014 Naked Superbikes Battle Royale: Godzilla vs King Kong vs Mothra vs…Donatella Versace?

    Admittedly, I’m a sucker for those BMW heated grips. That right there could almost sway me to this goggle-eyed Teutonic space shuttle. Nevertheless, the Tuono just seems so much cooler to me, and the KTM is even cooler still. Sure, 180 hp with a 410 wet weight on an upright naked seems like sheer lunacy, but give that KTM the half orange, half white wheels we saw with the prototype and that’d be the one I’d grab.

    How about you?

    (Dirck, you really need to find a way to make this comparo happen.)

    • sl says:

      Add a brutale for the heck of it, maybe a speedtriple. Dirck, vlj is right you need to coax some buddies to ride all these bikes in a shootout.

      • stinkywheels says:

        It’s just a great time to be a rider. Twins, triples, I4s, V4s, heck even a single! If I were just dropped off in the Ozarks (NW Ark). I’d probably go fastest on single or twin, out west, twinns or triple, I don’t know where I could use one of the Hyper 4s. Tried to ride a Brutale 910, I wasn’t a good enough rider.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I don’t know enough about any of these new models to say, but I am leaning towards the Monster despite my longtime affection for KTM’s. The Monster still has that classic “motorcycle” look that I love with a thrilling yet still somewhat sane amount of power.

    • jake says:

      S1000R looks like a Tuono with more up to date clothing. Clear rip off of the Tuono. In the comparo, I probably take the Kawi snake looking bike, just to be different and to stand out from the crowd.

      Or I’d take the Speed Triple which is still the most beautiful, natural looking naked sport bike in existence, still after all this time. The Speed Triple still reigns supreme in my book.

  15. VLJ says:

    It is simply amazing, how incredible bikes have gotten in the last few years. This thing here would destroy any pure superbike of only a decade ago, and it’s naked…and upright…with heated grips and cruise control!

    And it’s not even the fastest or most powerful naked.

    My god.

  16. Kent says:

    Nothing like a big powerful motorcycle to give a man unearned swagger.

  17. sean says:

    Great bike but My OCD would never allow me to by a bike with “asymetrical” (mismatching in size, shape, color) headlights. BMW says it saves a few grams of weight. Really??? Jeee thnx. This is one battle the design guys should have won over the engineers.

    • Gary says:

      The exhaust pipe only exits on one side, too. Here’s how I deal with it: I rationalize that at some point I may buy a bike with an exhaust on the other side. You could tell yourself that you will someday buy a bike with headlight asymmetry in the other direction. Works for me, anyway …

      • xlayn says:

        Nooo you just mixed the OCD with the urge to buy, he will have to buy another BMW to fix the unbalance… but probably will have to be a adventure one… as still no symmetrical he he will have to throw something in the middle of all in between…… ad infinitum…..

      • Sean says:

        You know I don’t have a problem with the one sides exhaust I guess bc my bikes were all like that. The first thing that started really bugging me was when only one front light would be on making it look like a headlight was out. If that wasn’t bad enough the “best” super sport has this ridiculous headlight design!!!

        As for buying 2 bikes it would have to be the same bike with reverse design and is have to find a way to connect them into one functioning machine lol.

        • richard says:

          if you run the low beam and high beam on a seperate headlight the beam of light is stronger or brighter.as a opposed to a dual fillament..so Honda says about the 600rr

    • richard says:

      think it looks cool…dare to be different…outside the box…a gram of wait …couldnt care less

    • Dave says:

      Re: “BMW says it saves a few grams of weight. Really??? Jeee thnx. This is one battle the design guys should have won over the engineers. ”

      This is a battle that the designers did win.
      Different sized headlights are becoming BMW trademark.

  18. Gary says:

    Fantastic bike. No knee kinks; no aching back. And all the performance you could ever want.

    Another review I read claimed that cruise control is also available, for people like me who like to ride long and hard but suffer from carpal tunnel. Can you confirm the CC?

  19. bad Chad says:

    Who wrote this review? Mark Miller? Anyone know the MSRP here in the states? Looks like a pretty mean street machine, but for me, I much rather have a 2014 Moto Guzzi GRISO SE. Yes, the BMW would eat it for lunch, but that is not my thing. For a guy like me, once you exceed a 100 hp on a sub 500lbs motorcycle it doesn’t really matter how much hp it has. Things like stopping power, looks, and cache start to overwhelm pure HP numbers.

  20. Jim says:

    So stripping a used RR is still the way to go. Good to know.

    • iliketoeat says:

      Why do you think that? If you want a naked bike, this sounds like a much better street bike than the S1000RR.

      • Jim says:

        Why does it sound like a better street bike? because they told you it was? Have you ridden an RR and thought it could use more torque at the expense of 40 hp?!

        • iliketoeat says:

          Pretty much EVERY sportbike will be better on the street with more torque at the expense of peak power. Those extra 40 hp are just inaccessible on the street. In 1st and 2nd gear you can’t use the full power because you’ll wheelie and flip. In higher gears you can’t use the full power because it’s only available at very high RPMs, which means crazy speeds that you can’t reach on the street. In 3rd gear you’d have to go more than 100 mph to actually get more power out of the S1000RR than from the detuned naked bike. At every speed below 100 mph, the detuned naked bike will be stronger and faster than the S1000RR. Peak power is useless if you can’t, you know, use it.

          Focusing on just peak power as the only thing that matters is pointless.

          • Jim says:

            Simple sprocket change could have done wonders and saved the hp. And those of us that do track days would like to keep all of them thank you very much.

  21. jim says:

    Motorcyles on the autobahn… mostly in the right lane staying out of trouble. Country roads? now that’s where they are dragging knees and scaring the shit out dogs and children.

  22. xlayn says:

    awesomeeeeeeeeee(ly ugly exaust).