First Ride

First ride: 2017 BMW S1000R Sport review - page 2

For 2017 BMW’s super naked has lost weight and gained power, but there's more to it than that

THE S1000R'S up-and-down quick-shifter (which gets the catchy name ‘Gear Shift Assist Pro’) is the best I’ve ever used. It’s fantastically smooth and offers quick and precise changes regardless of which direction you left boot is going. It never faltered for me throughout the day. It’s as if it was engineered by Nasa. Or Germans.

There’s electronics to be found in the suspension too – the S1000R uses BMW’s Dynamic Damping Control system. The suspension will give you different damping, depending on what riding mode you’ve got selected. Select Rain mode, for example, and along with the softer throttle response, you’ll get softer damping control. My bike had the optional ‘Riding Modes Pro’ pack, which gives it a ‘Dynamic’ mode, for track riding and allows for a user customised mode.

Alongside the Rain and Dynamic riding modes sits Road. Dynamic delivers the most direct ride. Flicking between the three affects power delivery, traction control and ABS intrusion, along with damping settings. Switching to Rain delivers the most noticeable change – the suspension softens, as does the throttle response and the traction control is easily provoked, to the point where it can cut power quite harshly. Having said that, I was glad of it during the biblical rains that plagued much of the launch ride, but I should stress that regardless of the conditions or how fast I was going, the S1000R was always predicable and assured.

BMW can also supply you with a dongle that provides a Dynamic Pro mode, which will let you back off the traction control even more.

Switching between modes is easy using the controls on the right switchgear and damping settings can be adjusted using a button on the other side of the bar. It’s all intuitive and the layout of the information on the dash means that you don’t need to delve into and scroll though endless menus to adjust simple things.

Regardless of what mode I’d selected, the S1000R delivered a superb connection to the road. It’s not the comfiest bike I’ve ever ridden – the seat is firm and at one stage I got a stern jolt over a bumpy section of road but a naked version of the S1000RR is not meant to be an armchair. As such, this is a bike that turns with precision and a distinct lack of effort; a few inputs through the wide, easy-to-reach bars, a shift of body weight, and I was lightly into a corner.

The ride position is well set for attack. The handlebar might be higher than the S1000RR’s clip-ons, but I wasn’t sat straight backed, more a little leant forward – a comfy enough position and one that works really well when you want to go faster.

You won’t be surprised to learn that new BMW S1000R Sport picks up where the old one left off. It’s a fantastically fast, precise and cool-headed bike, with a price and spec sheet that shames a lot of its rivals. More power and less weight are a small piece of what makes the 2017 bike so good but its things like the addition of cornering ABS and a slick two-way quick-shifter that make it even sharper and cool under pressure. 

 

Model tested: BMW S1000R Sport

Price: £12,365

Engine: 999c liquid-cooled 16-valve inline-four cylinder

Power: 165hp at 11,000rpm

Torque: 84 lb/ft at 9,250rpm

Frame: Aluminium composite

Suspension: Front – 46mm USD fork / Rear – Monoshock

Brakes: Front – Twin four-piston Brembo monoblocs and twin 320mm floating discs / Rear: Single-piston floating caliper and 220mm disc

Seat height: 814mm

Fuel capacity: 17.5 litres

 

 

 

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