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Offline Welshman

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First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« on: August 02, 2015, 07:41:41 PM »
The dealer delivered the bike on Friday and as it was a nice late afternoon I just had to get out and knock off about 120 miles before heading for the pub and the usual Friday evening session.

First the bike in its pristine glory:





Today, I went out with my mate Chris for a run down to Llandovery, up to Llyn Brianne, over the mountain road to Tregaron, then Aberystwyth and back on the A44 to Rhayader, Crossgates, Knighton and home - a further 218 miles.

Some photos up at Llyn Brianne:





So now I've ridden the bike about 340 miles and what are my impressions. The bike is the SE version so essentially fully loaded.

First, BMW badge this as "Adventure Sports". I'd say it's a sports bike for grown ups, or maybe for those whose relative lack of flexibility means that an S1000 RR is not a practical proposition. Ot maybe those who recognise that 200 bhp is way more than you can ever safely use on the road. The XR has 160 bhp. It is more than enough. This bike is ballistically fast. A combination of 20 kg less weight, shorter gearing and relatively small power loss driving a chain rather than a shaft, means that this is quicker than a K1300S at the sort of speeds you can ride on public roads.

Handling - BMW have got this well sorted out of the box. This thing turns, holds it's line and changes direction really well. This bike likes twisties.

Engine - the fuelling is excellent. You can roll down to 1,000 rpm in 6th (about 14 mph) and it will pull smoothly away. This really isn't a surprise as BMW got the fuelling spot on with the first S1000 RR. There is plenty of torque for quick overtakes, even in 6th. The acceleration in lower gears is blistering. I had to recalibrate as to start with corners were approaching quicker than I was used to with the K13. With the SE you also have cruise control as standard which is great if you on a motorway.

Throttle - In "Road" mode I found the throttle response about right- this is a fly by wire system and so there's no slack to take up. So if you changing down and wanting to roll off you have to make sure that the throttle is fully closed or you will find that it will want to roll on even if only by a small amount into a corner. In "Dynamic" mode it is much sharper and you need to be on the ball with your inputs. In "Rain" mode you knock 40 bhp off and the throttle response is much softer. I used this mode on the mountain road which is single track with passing places. It was nice to have this option.

Suspension - good but firm even in "Road" mode. It isn't so good if the road surface is poor - you can get bounced around a bit - and a lighter rider than me - c.90 kg - might find it too firm. I think this comes back to the fact that in reality this is a sports bike albeit with an upright riding position. In "Dynamic" mode it's even firmer. It would be nice to have the equivalent of "Comfort" mode in ESA for those days when you just want to cruise a bit or maybe you're on the motorway/interstate/autobahn etc. However, plenty of feedback from the front end. I'll be interested to see how it feels on a proper wet road - I'll report further.

Gearbox with up and down quick shifter - this is outstanding, particularly the downshifter where you just roll off the throttle and push down on the gear lever - the system blips the throttle for you to match revs with gearbox speed. Great if you're braking hard for a tighter bend.

Brakes - outstanding with plenty of feel, but every Beemer I've had has had outstanding brakes.

Comfort - nice relaxed riding position. Good seat. It is however very tall. I'm 5' 11" with a 32" inside leg. At rest I'd have the balls of both feet on the ground but I couldn't get both feet flat on the ground. The seat height is 840mm and they do an 820mm low seat option and a 790 low suspension option.

Instruments - nice and clear as I've always found with Beemers. It's a pity that it doesn't have a tyre pressure reading available via the info button. If you have the BMW Nav V fitted it links to the bike ECU and you can get 16 fields of info including how many gear changes you made as well as lots of other good stuff.

Weather/wind protection - not as good as a K13S but good enough. The screen has two settings and is only manually adjustable, unlike say a R1200RT which is electrically adjustable anywhere  between two positions.

Downsides. This is a vibey bike and the vibes lick in between about 4,500 to 5,500 through the handlebars but they didn't really bother me. Frankly if you spend your time riding in this rev range rather than using the gears and the full rev capability of the bike then this is the wrong bike for you. Anyway if you think the vibes are bad then go ride a Ducati or a KTM V-twin. The other point is the firmness of the suspension. It would be nice to have a setting akin to "comfort" on the K13.

Apart from these minor issues this is a very, very good bike. Compared with the K13 this is a sports bike that will tour as opposed to a sports tourer - a role which I think the K13 does as well as if not better than any other bike out there. I didn't think that at 62 I had any hooligan element left in me, but on Friday and today I found out that the inner hooligan has just been lurking unnoticed by me. What a blast. There are those out there on internet forums saying the vibes are unacceptable and the bike is deeply flawed. I think this is complete nonsense. I haven't driven a car or ridden a bike that didn't have some degree of compromise built in. These people need to get used to the fact that there is no perfect car or bike that will do everything. As I said, IMHO this is a very, very good bike.

Offline clarryr

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 04:31:48 PM »
Nice write-up.  The one thing I would add is that the engine throws off a lot of heat.  For me, especially on the left side, my boots are very warm.  If I wear my shorter boots - just above the ankle - then the hot air onto my shins is very unpleasant.  Otherwise, it's a very, very good bike - the most fun bike I've ever owned.  I love mine and can live with its personality faults.
Larry

Offline grnmtvt

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 12:34:45 AM »
You're right.....this bike is a hooligan!!  Thanks for the write up.   :002:
Many people ride.....but for a select group of people it's more than a ride....it's one of life's great passions.

Offline fjrden

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 02:00:15 PM »
So I'm 5'8" with 30 inside leg will I have issues with the bike and with pillion?

Offline Gatsoburner

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 07:11:19 PM »
Good write up there and I know what you mean about giving it some lick. I was settled for 8 years on my CB1000R, pretty much accepted i'd keep it for ever until the XR arrived then everything went tits up..

The bike just loves being pushed and responds exceptionally, one cannot get out on it enough to quench ones thirst for more  :152:
Therapy...

You'll never see a motorbike parked outside a psychiatrists.

Offline mahseve33

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 09:58:05 PM »
Most xlnt report. You don't work for BMW Sales Dept do you.  :001:
But you are right it's a different beast.

Offline Troppo

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2016, 07:37:47 AM »
You should have gone to the pub for your Friday session, and then ridden the XR.

In Dynamic Pro mode...

Much hilarity...

 :008:

Very accurate review.  Thanks.

Offline Gatsoburner

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2016, 11:27:20 AM »


Really ?
*Originally Posted by Troppo [+]
You should have gone to the pub for your Friday session, and then ridden the XR.

In Dynamic Pro mode...

Much hilarity...

 :008:

Very accurate review.  Thanks.
Therapy...

You'll never see a motorbike parked outside a psychiatrists.

Offline Troppo

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2016, 08:55:00 AM »
It was a joke....

Sorry if it went over your head.

Offline PJP

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Re: First 2 rides, 340 miles and my first impressions
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2016, 07:44:49 PM »
*Originally Posted by fjrden [+]
So I'm 5'8" with 30 inside leg will I have issues with the bike and with pillion?
I am 6ft with 30" inside leg, standard seat and no problem. A couple of inches more would be useful as they say 😄 but seriously you adjust and it's fine