BMW S1000XR design secrets!

Author: Bike Social Posted: 25 Dec 2014

The new S1000XR

When BMW Motorrad unveiled the new S 1000 XR at the Milan show last year, they revealed what could be the ultimate adventure sports bike. Based on the four-cylinder motor from the S1000R, the XR is an Adventure Sport bike that combines touring functionality with sport riding capability.

We caught up with the Product Manager (the guy in charge of the project), Josef ‘Sepp’ Maechler, to find out more.

As instigator and overseer of the acclaimed S 1000 R dynamic roadster and HP4 ultimate four-cylinder road superbike, Sepp Maechler’s credentials speak for themselves. So when the idea of a new breed of Adventure Sport motorcycle arose, Sepp and his team of engineers grabbed this exciting project with every available hand.

So what is the S 1000 XR? How would you define this long-suspended machine with a fearsomely endowed engine?

“The R of XR stems from the Double-R (S 1000 RR) and R (S 1000 R) family. The X stands for every kind of road except gravel, or off-road,” he says. “This is the link to why BMW Motorrad classes the XR as an Adventure Sport motorcycle. Everyone recognises an adventure bike, such as the popular R 1200 GS, but because the XR is made specifically for tarmac it successfully combines sporty riding with adventure styling.”

With an output of 118 kW (160 hp) at 11,000rpm and maximum torque of 112 Nm (83 lb-ft) at 9,250 rpm, the XR is not going to be a slouch or your typical ‘go-anywhere’ adventure machine, so who exactly is it aimed at?

“A lot of guys and ladies like the Double-R and the S 1000 R because the four-cylinder engine offers superior acceleration and the chassis delivers completely safe handling,” confirms Sepp. “But they would also like to travel and own a bike with certain types of comfort features like weather protection, cruise control or panniers to ride for long distances or short trips. The XR delivers all of these requirements. It is a new interpretation of sport-touring and will suit people who want to ride at speed with comfort and also have the ability to take pillions.”

Sepp Maechler, designer of the S1000XR

It is, therefore, easy to understand that the XR will cover 200, 300, 600 kilometres or more with ease and at a good pace. This is down to two main reasons: the high level of comfort and the addition of a 20-litre fuel tank. Ride the XR with a careful style then 300-plus kilometres are easily achievable on just one tank of unleaded petrol. Not forgetting there will, as an option, be a Gear Shift Assistant Pro quick-shifter that can also help increase the distance covered from the substantial fuel tank. You may be surprised to learn that XR pillions will also receive the same level of rider comfort, thanks to similar ergonomics from the big GS machines.

Development time for the XR project took approximately three-and-a-half years. It took this long because if you want to make a bike like this it is a little trickier to make a version from an existing machine, as Sepp reveals. “For example, you have to adapt the frame and swingarm to make it ride ok; to make it balanced with all the conditions placed upon it, such as with pillion, longer-travel suspension and much more. That is why the XR has a longer swingarm to ensure it is ok to ride with a pillion.”

“With the S 1000 R swingarm in place, the rider would always be pulling wheelies or stoppies!” adds Sepp. “This is also the reason for the longer fork spring movement; it ensures a good balance between adventure-style comfort and sport motorcycling. It is important to remember this bike is not designed for off-road but we took into account all types of roads found across the globe so we can allow riders and pillions to enjoy their trips.”

A design sketch of the S1000XR

According to Sepp, there wasn’t a great deal of work to be done with the engine and fuel/ignition management systems to ensure a smooth, yet exhilarating ride on the new XR: “It is all more or less straight off the S 1000 R,” he confirms. “But the XR was made to comply with the new Euro 4 steps of reducing exhaust emissions [carbon monoxide, hydro carbons and nitrogen oxides] and noise limits. In order to do this we had to reduce the acceleration level – not a bad thing if you do not want to wheelie everywhere!

“We did not use any other teams in the physical development process of the XR because we had our own team of inline-four chassis and engine engineers,” confirms Sepp. “But yes, there was some crossover with the GS development team in the ergonomics of the XR. It makes no sense to go in a different direction and not use the ergonomics of the ‘perfect adventure machine’. Also, without the correct seat height and style we would not have achieved a true Adventure Sport motorcycle in the XR. People would think it is fake because it doesn’t give you the comfort, style and function of an Adventure Sport: to ride fast, almost like a sports bike, but in comfort – with or without a pillion.”

Big thanks to Sepp for his time, we can't wait to ride the XR so keep your eyes on Bike Social for the full review in the new year.