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HomeZA BikersBike ReviewsBMW M 1000 R - German M Sport Brilliance!

BMW M 1000 R – German M Sport Brilliance!

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Superlatives; the cornerstone of any self-respecting journalist’s arsenal when it comes to describing a motorcycle, and they’re great when you’re running out of things to say about a particular model. Or, to put it another way, when you need to carry on saying amazing things about a motorcycle when you think you’ve said it all.

It would be my usual M.O. at this point to write a disclaimer; you know the sort of thing – jaded journalist, seen-it-all, ridden-it-all, nothing can surprise me any more, blah, blah, blah, and largely that is true. But, every now and again, a bike comes up for review that, while you might question its purpose, also sets the pulse racing in a way you thought wasn’t possible any more.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The BMW M 1000 R is one of the most ridiculously extravagant motorcycles it has ever been my pleasure to ride and I need one in my life so badly, it hurts. I’ll never dip even just below the surface of its seemingly bottomless performance and dynamics and it is far too fast for a long and healthy life if ridden with anything approaching its performance levels, which can only be approached safely on track. But that doesn’t stop it being a motorcycle that I would sell my soul for; I want one more than I can remember wanting any motorcycle in the past ten years.

The bare bones are these; the M 1000 R is the S 1000 R with a lot more of everything. The S 1000 R has 165 horsepower in basically the same chassis as the S 1000 RR and that is more than anyone really needs; if they are being truthful with themselves. It is stunningly fast and possesses a chassis that gives so much confidence and feedback. It is also, dare I say it, a little soulless and without much personality, for all its efficiency and performance.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The M 1000 R takes this to extremes. Power is upped by a huge 45 horsepower, to a total of 210, which is the same as the S 1000 RR, but the M 1000 R is still a naked sports bike. It gets its own specific paint scheme and lots of carbon fibre goodies, as well as those faintly superfluous wings on the front, offering 11kgs of downforce at 220km/h. Because we’re all going to need that….

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

If you add the M Competition package, then you get not only more power but also a lot more carbon fibre body panels, full carbon wheels, the M Sport brake callipers and fully adjustable foot pegs and gear/brake levers. In short, it’s overkill in every sense and you’d better budget for a new rear tyre every few thousand kilometres because all that power and torque has to go somewhere.

The M Competition package also adds the black base colour, with the M colours of red and blue splashed asymmetrically across it. It is, without doubt, one of the most aggressive but, at the same time, most stunning-looking bikes available today. It cannot help but grab your attention, forcing you to look back at it once you have climbed off and walked away. It garners attention more than any bike I have ridden for a long time. It’s not beautiful in the same way that the Triumph Speed Triple RR is, for example, but the statement it makes is unmistakable and largely irresistible.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The handlebars are unusually wide, or seem so, an impression enhanced by the bar-end mirrors, which makes it tricky to filter through traffic (and, no, I can’t believe I wrote that about such a machine! This is a bike that belongs upon the open road but I suppose one has to get there in the first place!) What it does mean, however, is that there is great leverage when hustling through corners and, if it is a much more relaxed riding position than the M 1000 RR, then the bars do pull you forward into a more aggressive riding position than you might find on other naked sports bikes.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The foot pegs are fully adjustable for height and fore-and-aft location, and both the lever tips are individually adjustable for height by loosening a single Allen key bolt and rotating the tip in its eccentric housing. Naturally, there is a quick shifter and it has to be one of the best set-ups on any BMW, with none of the sponginess that is often associated with quick shifter systems from that company, especially on the boxer-engined models.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The engine is the heart of any motorcycle and the BMW inline four-cylinder engine has rightly gained a reputation as one of the finest of its type built by any manufacturer. The engine in the M 1000 R has a linear spread of relentless power and torque, but it will nevertheless pull smoothly and cleanly from ridiculously slow speeds in top gear. But why would you subject it to this treatment, when it will spin easily up to its ceiling of 14,600rpm?

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Throttle response is instant; you merely have to glance at the twist grip or think about it and you have added 50km/h to your forward motion. Even at highly illegal speeds, it feels and sounds completely unstressed, making it easy to travel a lot faster than the law will appreciate. Being a BMW, there is cruise control as standard and, on the M 1000 R at least, this is essential for highway work if your licence and your bank balance are to remain intact.

The M 1000 R has a full Akrapovič exhaust system fitted and, if the silencer has a huge (and empty) three-inch aperture to look down, it is remarkably restrained – civilised even – when trundling around town; there is no indication of the sheer power that will be unleashed when on the open road and the exhaust note rises to a full-blooded howl when at speed. This spread of power and torque (surprisingly, there is one less Newton Metre on the M 1000 R than on the S 1000 R) is obviously aided by the ‘Shiftcam’ variable valve technology employed in the cylinder head, which works imperceptibly.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

As much as it is quiet when riding around town, it also manages to be comfortable, in that the suspension is remarkably compliant over the bad roads of Johannesburg, but show it an open and twisty road and it feels nothing but taut and beautifully controlled, helped no doubt by the super-light carbon rims. Of course, you’d expect nothing else at speed on such a machine but it’s the way that the bike has distinct Jekyll and Hyde characters, performing both roles perfectly, that is deeply impressive.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Talking of character, it was stated earlier that the S 1000 R, as good as it is, lacked a certain amount of character and personality. It is completely impossible to define why this is, of course, other than to fall back on the tired old trope of Teutonic efficiency. Of course, any impressions are purely subjective, but the M 1000 R has a surfeit of character, perhaps borne out of the looks and the sheer extravagance of the thing and almost certainly as a result of the explosive performance in such an accessible package. For those too old or broken to fold themselves into a superbike but still want the sheer dynamic excesses, the answer has the alpha-numerical designation M 1000 R.

All of this comes at a price, naturally. The base M 1000 R comes in at R367,000. Adding the M Competition pack adds another R110,000 and the titanium Akrapovič exhaust system adds a further R39,100, bringing the total, as tested, to a somewhat eye-watering R516,000.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

At that price, it is unlikely that any owner will be misguided enough to throw it around a race track, which is its natural habitat and this is a pity because it will be spectacular. However, the fact that it is tame enough to be ridden every day on the road is a real feather in its cap and an impressive feat by the BMW engineers. Whether it is any better in real-world terms than the basic S 1000 R is a debate that only those who can’t afford either will trouble themselves with, the rest of us can rely on our imagination.

If you do have a spare half a million Rand burning a hole in your pocket, it’s hard to think of a better way of spending it, if parking only the very best in your garage will do.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

In conclusion and to return to the theme of superlatives that opened this report, I could continue to write about the BMW M 1000 R until the cows come home, using ever more pithy and predictable superlatives to add to those already used. Any motorcycle inspires passion; it’s just that some bring out the thesaurus more than others. This is one of those bikes.

BMW M 1000 R M Competition

For more information on the bike featured in this article, click on the link below…

2024

BMW M 1000 R M Competition

Pricing From R502,050 (RRP)


Brand: BMW Motorrad
Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
From an early age, Harry was obsessed with anything that moved under its own steam, particularly cars and motorcycles. For reasons of a financial nature, his stable of fine automobiles failed to materialise, at which point he realised that motorcycles were far more affordable and so he started his two wheel career, owning, riding, building and fixing many classic bikes. Then came the day when he converted his love of bikes into a living, writing, filming and talking about them endlessly. The passion for four wheels never left him, however, and he has now converted his writing skills into singing the praises of cars in all their infinite variety. Bikes are still his favourite means of getting around but the car in its modern form is reaching a level of perfection that is hard to resist. And they're warmer in winter....
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