Author Topic: Test ride XR 2020: BMW must have hired some Japanese engineers....  (Read 1386 times)

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Offline Remo83

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as my Triple Black was due for its 6.000 miles maintenance, my dealer gave me the new XR as a replacement for an entire day. It was a full option primer grey one, with about 1500 miles on the odo. Here are my impressions after about a 200 mile drive:

- engine idle is very unstable, but that's not really a biggy.
- induction sound and exhaust sound are different, more silent and just not as exhilarating as the gen1 to me.
- vibrations are still present around 4K RPM, in the handlebars as well as the pegs, but not intrusive enough to be a nuisance.
- the handlebars are less wide, I never felt that was a problem on the old one, but opinions differ.
- the quickshifter is butter smooth, but I still managed a few failed shifts from 1st to 2nd gear, so no real change there.
- the by default adjustable clutch lever is really easy to pull, a five year old girl could manage it.
- below 3K rpm, the gen 1 feels a bit stronger. the 2020 pulls very well from 3K RPM on, very progressive and it feels faster than the gen 1 XR, don't know if that's true objectively.
- mid range rpm's are definitely stronger than gen1, makes leisure/city/slow driving a lot more fun than gen1.  I could drive 2nd gear in the city without stuttering, which was nice. Normally I upshift to 3rd or 4th and keep the revs low, that just works better with the gen1.
- My feet got very hot on the bike, probably has to do with the fact that the faring is more enveloping, combined with the high ambient temps and the Euro 5 cat.
- The electronic suspension in road mode is very good for UK/Belgian roads with all their faults. Definitely better than the gen1 in this area.
- with my 6'3" the standard screen is definitely not high enough to deflect the wind blast. It got very loud because of that, but there was no turbulence. BMW do seem to offer a higher screen though, but I didn't get the chance to test that.
- above 100 mph, the somewhat flimsy screen starts to flutter quite a lot. I did have a navigator installed in the oem nav interface, which might have increased this behaviour.
- the standard seat, as mentioned by a lot of people, presses your precious parts into the tank everytime you use the brakes. Couldn't really complain about the comfort.
- I managed to scratch the installed paniers. They had a shiny black insert, that looked really vulnerable and just touching it with a boot caused a scratch. I got off easy, just needed to pay the cost for the paint job...
- The gen2 seems a bit more nimble, turn in is easier also. I did however not like how it behaved at very high speeds, felt pretty unstable, but other people have the opposite feeling, so your mileage may vary.
- The TFT is nice, but I rarely look at that when driving, the only thing I perceive is the white rev light. My eyes are on the road 99 % of the time. For me, it's a nice to have, but not a must have.
- in general, the new one feels a lot more plasticky and fragile. I do like the front of the bike though, looks like a huge battle ant.

Summarized, I feel this new version is quite a different beast. It feels like the new one was made by Japanese engineers, smoother, more civilised, more silent, but extremely fast and efficient.
Personally, I was happy to go back to my Triple black. It feels rawer, almost Italian, compared to the new version. It's got its problems, but it is a lot more involving than the new one.
My dealer also told me they have a hard time selling the new ones, because BMW is offering very low prices on the remaining triple black '19 ones (around 16K GBP). This also means that if you have a pretty recent one, you will get very low part ex prices, so his advice was to wait at least a year, till it has all calmed down.

All the best,


Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 11:56:08 AM by Remo83


Offline otrp

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Thanks for the review.  :460:


Offline cymarcbikeparts

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Very interesting. Thank you :028:
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Mike - Senior administrator, Cymarc Bike Parts
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Offline runnerhiker

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Good review, thanks.

I have a 2016 R1200 RS with the BMW gray panniers - almost identical to the BMW XR gen 1 panniers.  If I look at them too hard, it scratches the paint :151:  I guess that a "feature" that has carried over to the 2020 panniers.


Offline PaulS1000XR

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Good and useful review, pretty much concurs with my views from my ride on a demo bike. I would buy one but not until the deals are more realistic  :305:


Offline tor

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Thanks for the review. I'll be riding my 2018 until it falls apart. I just don't care for the way the new XR looks. But, thats just me.