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BMW S1000XR (2024) – Review

By Martin Fitz-Gibbons

Riding for over 20 years and a journalist for most of them, MFG's two-wheeled experience is as long and as broad as his forehead. Owns an MV Agusta Turismo Veloce and a Suzuki SV650S, and is one half of biking podcast Front End Chatter.




from £16,790





Overall BikeSocial rating


It’s a tough time to be an updated S1000XR. Launched in the same year as BMW’s headline-dominating R1300GS and mad-tastic M1000XR, it’s all too easy to overlook the latest and greatest version of the original four-cylinder adventure-sportsbike.

The S1000XR first landed back in 2015, and in all the years since it’s only received one significant update, in 2020. Now BMW say they’ve added even more power, more comfort, a higher standard tech-spec and still found time to sharpen up the styling. The XR’s front end looks noticeably cleaner, a single colour-matched stubby beak replacing the old bike’s twin ant mandibles, while the slotted side panels surrounding the rider’s seat give off a sportier vibe too. Overall, it’s a significant enough overhaul that this revamped XR definitely deserves some attention.

So rather than just give it a quick spin round the block, we decided to take the new S1000XR on holiday an in-depth, gruelling and challenging test ride: a 2000-mile, 10-day tour through England, France and Spain. From Peterborough to Portsmouth to the Pyrenees to the Picos, here’s everything you could possibly want to know about the 2024 BMW S1000XR.

  • Engine snarls and growls like a superbike

  • Peak power increased to almost 170bhp

  • Semi-active suspension is superb solo or loaded

  • Tingly engine vibration irritates at higher revs

  • Power delivery slightly lacking in low-rpm grunt

  • Gets pretty pricey once you start adding options

2024 BMW S1000XR -Price

The 2024 BMW S1000XR starts at £16,790 on the road. That’s as cheap as the new bike gets: base model, black paint, no options or accessories. However, the entry-level spec list is higher than ever, now including both keyless ignition and an adaptive headlight. Nonetheless most buyers will skip straight to the TE model, which adds both Dynamic and Touring packages (see the Equipment section below for all the details), and costs £18,340.

But we’re far from done. Our test bike also features the optional M Package – not to be confused with the M in the new M1000XR – worth £3060. This adds the white Motorsports paint, plus different wheels, seat, screen, battery, silencer and more, and brings the running total to £21,400.

Three-piece hard luggage is more on top: £502.45 for the topbox; £889.03 for the pannier set. Last but not least, our test bike also comes with BMW’s official ConnectedRide Navigator 6 sat-nav, which slots into a powered cradle above the dash, can be controlled from the bars, and costs £670.01. If you’ve run out of fingers and toes to count on, that’s grand total of £23,461.49 for the bike we’re testing. Yikes…

Naturally, PCP finance is an option. Putting down a £4000 deposit on an S1000XR TE (£18,340) leaves 36 monthly payments of £201.74. At the end there’s an optional final payment of £10,346.22 to buy the bike outright, bringing the total to £21,608.86. That’s an APR of 8.9%, and assumes you’ll ride 4000 miles per year.

2024 BMW S1000XR - Engine & Performance

The XR sticks with its 999cc inline four, originally derived from the S1000RR superbike. It hasn’t been radically transformed for 2024 – still no ShiftCam variable valve timing, for example – but BMW have found an extra 5bhp by playing with intakes and mapping. That brings claimed peak power to a stonking 168bhp, while maximum torque is unchanged at 84lb·ft. The motor also now meets the latest Euro5+ emissions standard – hardly exciting news, but in a world where other manufacturers see emissions regulations as reason to give up on powerful 1000cc fours, it’s refreshing to see BMW making theirs both cleaner and more powerful at the same time.

Don’t worry that making it Euro5+ has compromised its character either. The instant you press the starter, the XR shouts and screams about its superbike heart, the exhaust note growling eagerly and aggressively with a hummingbird-heartbeat fast idle. This is not one of those soft, juicy, creamy, well-rounded, docile and detuned inline-fours; this is a hard, sharp-edged, purposeful powerplant. If you’re after masses of bottom-end, turbine-smooth manners and a lush, lazy, any-gear power delivery, you’ve come to the wrong place.

At low revs the XR fuels impeccably in all four of its riding modes (Rain, Road, Dynamic, Dynamic Pro), but it pulls relatively modestly. As revs rise the sense of urgency increases, but it’s only north of 7000rpm that the XR truly gets into its stride. Peak torque is eventually delivered way up at 9250rpm while that headline 168bhp needs 11,000rpm; just 1000rpm shy of the rev limiter. In short: the faster you go, the more ferocious it feels. Lug around in a high gear like a GS and you may well leave disappointed. But keep it singing in a low gear instead and you’ll be rewarded with an astonishing torrent of speed, an addictively raw exhaust note – especially in Dynamic Pro mode, where the exhaust deliberately crackles and pops on the overrun. The relentless acceleration is magnified by a ridiculously refined two-way quickshifter, which works supremely well at all engine speeds and loads. The trouble is simply finding roads empty and open enough to unleash the XR in any meaningful way – it is a stupendously fast motorcycle. The empty plains of norther Spain, thankfully, prove just about big enough…

Unfortunately, the S1000XR continues to be haunted by tingly engine vibration, especially at higher revs. It’s much less intrusive and infuriating than it was on the original 2015 XR, thanks to BMW fitting rubberised handlebar mounts a few years back, but these vibes are still very noticeable in top-gear cruising. Stick to a strict 70mph (around 4750rpm) and it’s not too bad, but on French autoroutes at 80mph/130kmh (5500rpm) the mirrors start to blur, and touching the bar ends feels receiving a gentle electric shock through your fingertips.

2024 BMW S1000XR - Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight)

The S1000XR’s chassis, geometry and suspension haven’t been changed significantly, but they’re all still deceptively impressive. The steering is beautifully precise, regardless of how fast or slow you’re beetling along, but most impressively it doesn’t flinch one iota when you pile a fortnight’s worth of pants, camera kit and touring miscellanea on the back. Adding a trio of loaded-to-the-gunwales hard luggage boxes would typically wreck the balance of lesser rivals, but the XR continues to turn as tightly, hold a line as sharply, and suspend as crisply. The suspension never once feels overwhelmed – not even remotely close to it.

That’s surely in no small part thanks to the XR’s genius electronic suspension, which combines semi-active damping at both ends, with automatic preload compensation on the shock. You don’t need to tell the bike whether you’re riding solo, with luggage or adding a pillion – instead, the XR detects the load it’s carrying and alters the shock’s preload to keep the bike sitting at the correct attitude.

Generally, the suspension feels set quite stiff, though you can alter damping between Road and Dynamic modes – and there’s a pronounced difference between them. Road offers noticeably looser damping and more movement, giving a slightly kinder ride particularly over speed bumps and sleeping policemen. However, as soon as the going gets even slightly twisty, the XR benefits from being switched to Dynamic mode, which makes everything feel tauter, tighter, more poised and more precise.

One other note regarding the handling: some credit is surely owed to the standard tyres, which are Bridgestone’s excellent S22. That’s a surprisingly sporty choice, which is fantastic news as far as grip and agility go. However, they’re probably not the longest-lasting tyres in the world, and if you choose to replace them with a more sports-touring minded choice (as we imagine most owners would), bear in mind that a heavier tyre with a more rounded profile could just take a whisker of an edge off the handling.

Weight-wise, BMW claim a fully fuelled figure of 227kg, though it’s wise to take that with a healthy pinch of salt. It’s almost certainly a number claimed for a base-model XR with none of the TE version’s optional extras. What our test bike weighed is anyone’s guess – BMW may shout from the rooftops how the M Package’s forged aluminium wheels and lightweight lithium battery save multiple kilos but aren’t as vocal about how much the myriad other options add. Numbers aside, the XR gives off a solid, substantial feel, its mass perhaps slightly exaggerated at low speed by the towering seat height, but once on the move there’s no way you can accuse it of feeling overweight. It’s muscular but lean, rather than chunky or lardy. It definitely owns a gym membership and one of those daft protein-shake bottles.

Brakes offer an incredible mix of feel, power and feedback, combining big 320mm front discs with Brembo four-pot radial calipers. As you’d probably expect, the XR comes as standard with BMW’s ABS Pro, which is the firm’s term for a lean-sensitive cornering anti-lock system. The rear brake is relatively modest – just a single-piston caliper and a 220mm disc, but it’s plenty effective with good feel through the pedal.

2024 BMW S1000XR - Comfort & Economy

The S1000XR’s ergonomics are pretty spacious, with plenty of room both from seat to handlebars, as well as seat to footpegs. You certainly don’t feel scrunched up on the bike. Even after ten back-to-back 200-mile days I never once wanted to roll the handlebars around, move the peg position, or alter the riding position in any way. However, the XR is not a faultless friend when it comes to all-day, long-distance riding.

The biggest issue is that the XR’s seat is not particularly comfy. It’s quite small, fairly thin, and seems to ‘encourage’ you into sitting in a certain, specific position. BMW say they have “completely redesigned” the S1000XR’s seat this year, making it longer, wider and taller (seat height is up 10mm to 850mm). They even go so far as to explicitly state that it “provides more space for the buttocks”, in case you’re struggling to understand how a larger seat might work.

However, that all applies to the standard seat. Our test bike came equipped with the optional M Package, part of which is an accessory M Seat. This is described as “optimised for sporty riding”, and features a different shape and upper material to the standard item. So, unfortunately, we can’t tell you what the XR’s new seat is like. We can, however, say after 2000 miles that the M Seat isn’t the best for trans-continental touring.

The M Package also includes a blacked-out Sport Windscreen, which unhelpfully is both shorter and narrower than the standard part. Wind protection is pretty modest in both of the two adjustable heights, which you can quickly flick between using a small lever. Like the seat, we didn’t get a chance to test the standard screen, but it’d surely offer more protection.

The third comfort-related gripe has already been covered in the “Engine & Performance” section above, but the high-frequency vibration that rears its head at speed is worth mentioning again. As stated earlier, it’s far less of a problem than on those first-generation 2015 XRs, but it’s still annoying to see the mirrors blur and feels the bars tingle at autoroute cruising speeds. By the end of our trip, we noticed the right handguard was loose and starting to flap about – perhaps a result of vibration undoing the bolt.

We’ve focused in on the negatives here, but in the grand scheme of things the XR’s long-distance abilities are still pretty decent – let’s call it ‘good’, rather than ‘excellent’. At times it left us shuffling in the seat, and occasionally shaking hands to regain feeling in numb fingers, but it also completed 10 consecutive all-day rides with precisely zero neck, back or knee pain.

Long days on the XR don’t require multiple fuel stops either. BMW claim it’s good for just over 45mpg, and over 2113 miles of forensically measured fuel stops, our average consumption was exactly that. At its worst, sporty riding saw it dip down to 39.7mpg; the smoothest, steadiest cruising returned 52.6mpg.

The XR’s tank holds 20 litres of fuel, the last 4 of which are reserve. On average the dash flashes up an unmissable warning to refuel around 160 miles, but there’s also a clear, accurate and trustworthy remaining range countdown, which gives the confidence to push into that reserve. The most we saw between fuel stops was just over 190 miles – and there were still a couple of litres left in tank.

2024 BMW S1000XR - Equipment

Even the most bare-bones base-model S1000XR comes with list of pretty impressive technical touches, which for 2024 now includes keyless ignition, plus adaptive headlights which shine additional light into a turn as you lean. All versions come with BMW’s now-familiar TFT dash, which includes Bluetooth connectivity, while standard riding aids include cornering ABS and traction control, all four modes, and automatic hill-hold control. Not a bad start…

The TE version (which adds £1550 over the base XR’s price) adds two significant bundles of extras. The first is the Dynamic Package, which comprises the two-way quickshifter, electronic suspension and cruise control. The second is the Touring Package, which adds handguards, centrestand, a topbox mounting rack, tyre pressure monitors, heated grips and GPS mount. Looking at those lists, it’s easy to see why most customers skip straight past the base model and buy the TE.

As we covered under the ‘Price’ section at the top of the page, you can go far further still, including an M Package (£3060) which adds the snazzier paintscheme, forged wheels, changes the seat and screen, adds a lower-maintenance chain and a lighter lithium battery, a legal Akrapovic silencer and more. And even then you’ve far from exhausted the list of optional extras, with three-piece hard luggage, additional carbon or machined billet components, a variety of seats and screens, LED foglights, alarms and plenty more. In short, if there’s a feature you can dream up, you can probably have it on your S1000XR.

Oh, alright, there’s no adaptive cruise control.

2024 BMW S1000XR - Rivals

If you like the idea of a BMW S1000XR but your bank manager disagrees, then take a look at the new-for-2024 Suzuki GSX-S1000GX. It follows a similar recipe as the XR: four-cylinder ex-superbike engine, high-rise chassis, electronic suspension, dreams of doing distance. Not nearly as quick, as technically sophisticated, as complete or as refined as the BMW, but it is an enormous amount cheaper. In fact, you can pick up the GX+ model, complete with panniers, and still save more than a grand over even the cheapest entry-level S1000XR.

At the other extreme, if money is no object and you want something more on the XR’s level of prestige and European flair, but still versatile with it, then cast a glance at Ducati’s Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak. Same 17in wheels and tyres, same brain-curdling 170bhp top-end performance (but with more torque and a more fulsome midrange), every electronic gadget imaginable – and you can still add a full set of hard luggage.

And finally, back on planet Earth, you might simply want a big, comfy, mile-munching tall-rounder while also being a fan of traditional four-cylinder engines. In which case, you probably want a test ride on Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 – or, more specifically, its flagship SE version which includes electronic suspension, cornering lights and more. What it lacks in sporting ability next to the S1000XR – ie, a lot – it makes up for with its pair of luxuriously wide, deep, plush saddles.

Suzuki GSX-S1000GX | Price: £14,799

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232kg (claimed kerb)

Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak | Price: £26,767

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227kg (claimed without fuel)

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE | Price: £15,741

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257kg (claimed, kerb)

2024 BMW S1000XR - Verdict

Approach the S1000XR expecting a four-cylinder GS and you’ll likely leave vexed and perplexed. Climb on instead imagining a more practical S1000R and you’ll get on splendidly.

To put it another way, if you’re looking for a sports-tourer with the emphasis on ‘tourer’, there are plenty of comfier, plusher, calmer, smoother, more relaxed and more affordable alternatives out there. But if you want your slider set firmly to the ‘sports’ end of the spectrum, then definitely head the XR’s way.

The S1000XR is fruity, it’s fiery, and it’s effing fast – so long as you use the engine properly. There’s no gargantuan glut of lazy, low-rev, any-gear passing punch here; this is no soporific sofa on stilts. But treat it like a sportsbike and it tears through scenery with mind-blowing pace, precision and purpose, while carrying enough cargo and comfort to let you cross countries with ease. Calling the XR a ‘tall-rounder’ does its sporty side a tragic disservice – the riding experience is far closer to a long-haul supernaked. It’s made for riders who enjoy thrashing along with intent, but who like to do so a decent ride from home.

So the question isn’t whether the XR is a good bike or not – it most definitely is. As a tourer there are a couple of shortcomings, sure, but as an upright superbike it’s a phenomenal creation. It makes way more sense than the silly-money M1000XR (which you can’t even add hard luggage to), while still having enough speed, chassis and sophisticated savagery to make Kawasaki’s Ninja 1000SX feel soft, simple and sensible. The question, then, is whether that sounds like the description of your dream bike. If it does, get a test ride on the 2024 BMW S1000XR immediately.

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2024 BMW S1000XR - Technical Specification

New priceFrom £16,790 (£23,461.49 as tested)
Bore x Stroke80mm x 49.7mm
Engine layoutInline four
Engine details16-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled
Power168bhp (125kW) @ 11,000rpm
Torque84lb·ft (114Nm) @ 9250rpm
Transmission6-speed, chain final drive
Average fuel consumption45.6mpg (claimed) / 46mpg (tested)
Tank size20 litres
Max range to empty200 miles
Rider aidsCornering ABS & traction control, cruise control, anti-wheelie, four riding modes, hill-hold control, two-way quickshifter
FrameAluminium bridge
Front suspension45mm Marzocchi upside-down forks
Front suspension adjustmentSemi-active damping (with optional Dynamic ESA)
Rear suspensionMonoshock
Rear suspension adjustmentAutomatic electronic preload adjustment and semi-active damping (with optional Dynamic ESA)
Front brake2 x 320mm discs, four-piston Brembo radial calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake220mm disc, single-piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front wheel / tyre120/70 ZR17 Bridgestone S22
Rear wheel / tyre190/55 ZR17 Bridgestone S22
Seat height850mm
Weight227kg (claimed, kerb)
Warranty3 years
Servicing6000 miles, valve clearances at 18,000
MCIA Secured Rating3 or 4 stars, depending on model & spec

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard

  • An ignition immobiliser system

  • A vehicle marking system

  • An alarm system

  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.