Today’s super naked segment consists of two sub-categories: fairing-less superbikes and street-tuned standards. Some manufacturers are content with peeling back the bodywork on an existing liter bike and calling it a day. BMW, on the other hand, takes a more pragmatic path by outfitting the S 1000 R for life on the mean streets. Despite the naked bike’s road-going sensibilities, it still follows in the footsteps of its superbike sibling.
On the heels of the S 1000 RR’s 2019 refresh, BMW adopted similar improvements on the S 1000 R in 2021. The new Flex Frame, which integrates the 999cc inline-four as a load-bearing member, provides the skeleton for the two platforms. Both Beemers boast brilliant brains as well, with BMW’s industry-leading 6.5-inch TFT display putting a suite of rider aids at the user’s fingertips.
However, the S 1000 R foregoes the RR’s muscle, shelving the 205-horsepower ShiftCam engine in favor of road-friendly performance. As a result, the R-spec straight-four churns our 165 horsepower and 84 lb-ft of torque. The ergonomics and styling follow suit, relaxing the rider triangle and minimizing bodywork for daily street use. While the standard S 1000 R prioritizes practicality, the Bavarians still aren’t giving up the performance ghost.
BMW’s M Sport trim surrounds the base package with M-Series forged wheels, a lightweight battery, and an Akrapovic silencer. An M Endurance chain suits everyday riding with lube-free maintenance while the M seat and M GPS lap timer adapt the S 1000 R to the track. Paired with the brand’s Sport, Select, and Premium packages, the Beemer retails for $20,765 in M guise.
That’s a far cry from the base model’s $14,545 MSRP, but do those bells and whistles propel the S 1000 R into the upper echelon of the super naked ranks? Thankfully, we got our hands on a 2022 BMW S 1000 R for a few weeks to answer that very question.
A Cleaner Demeanor
The S 1000 R doesn’t aim for the torque-rich hooliganism of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and Yamaha MT-10; nor does it share the Ducati Streetfighter V4 and MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR’s screaming top end. Instead, BMW opts for an even-keeled power delivery. The S 1000 R still achieves license-revoking speeds, but it does so without the surging power pulses that characterize the category.
Horsepower maxes out at 11,000 rpm and peak torque arrives at 9,250 rpm, but power is available throughout the rev range. While the torque and power curves level out around 6,000 rpm, a second wind sends the S 1000 R streaking toward its 11,000-rpm redline. In addition to the S 1000 R’s even acceleration and linear power profile, the Synchromesh six-speed gearbox and Sport package’s Gearshift Assist Pro contribute to the drivetrain’s effortlessness.
Upshifts remain smooth regardless of throttle position or engine speed. Downshifts are equally polished, rivaling systems found in Ducati and Triumph’s top-tier nakeds. Despite all that approachability, the S 1000 R’s fueling isn’t completely faultless. Under acceleration or deceleration, the ride remains steady and stable. However, chopping or picking up the throttle produces an artificial, on/off sensation. That stutter step isn’t problematic at speed, but at lean, it can lead to uneven throttle application at mid-corner and corner exit.
Gallery: 2022 BMW S 1000 R
Even with that minor fueling hiccup, riders will find it easy to live with the S 1000 R. The standard Road, Rain, and Dynamic ride modes adjust to changing conditions while the add-on Dynamic Pro mode pulls out all the stops in the name of performance. Still, the S 1000 R remains manageable. While the multiple ride modes imbue the Beemer with different demeanors, the underlying character stays agreeable yet engaging.
The Sporty Side
The S 1000 R’s powerband may not amplify thrills, but the predictable power and lithe handling pair for a potent package. The lightweight M forged wheels assist with snappy side-to-side direction changes while the Marzocchi suspension with Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) automatically adjusts to the super naked’s speed, brake pressure, lean angle, available spring travel, and road conditions. That combination makes the steering sharp yet stable, but the up-spec upgrades aren’t for everyone.
The M forged wheelset certainly keeps the S 1000 R light on its toes, but that extra agility is most beneficial on the race circuit. If you plan to track the Beemer frequently, the reduced unsprung mass will certainly reduce lap times, but the standard cast hoops are more apt for dedicated street use. Blustery conditions hit the Southern California region for several days during my time with the S 1000 R. Those sudden, heavy winds challenged the naked bike’s sure-footed nature, offsetting the newfound agility with compromised stability.
On the other hand, the DDC-equipped fork and rear shock will perform well on the road and the raceway. A dedicated button at the left handgrip helps riders toggle between Road and Dynamic settings on the fly, and both modes provide substantial support on the street. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test the electronically-adjustable suspension’s track worthiness but multiple setting options cater to both veteran racers and track day noobs.
Similar to the DDC Marzocchi suspenders, the S 1000 R’s braking system mixes everyday road performance with a dash of circuit capability. On the street, the Brembo-branded binders and dual 320mm discs offer more than enough stopping power. Braided hoses maintain all that bite through extended hard-braking sections, but the axial master cylinder won’t match the S 1000 RR radial master cylinder’s feedback, finesse, and feel.
Like A Glove
From BMW’s entry-level G 310 R to the F 900 R middleweight, the Bavarian brand knows how to balance a sporty stance with a spacious cockpit. That’s no different with the S 1000 R. Compared to its sportbike relative, the R opts for riser-mounted flat bars, lower foot pegs, and a wider saddle. The slightly canted seat also relieves pressure on the rider’s wrists, permitting long-distance trips or all-day canyon hunting.
With plenty of room to shift fore and aft, the cockpit accommodates a broad range of riders. The sculpted, 4.4-gallon gas tank provides excellent support with ergonomically-sound knee cutouts. While the S 1000 R offers little in the wind protection department, riders can comfortably hug the tank for longer highway stints. At triple-digit speeds, however, the wind starts peeling the rider off the back of the bike. At reasonable speeds though, the cockpit remains welcoming in nearly all situations.
The S 1000 R’s rider triangle may be easy-going by super naked standards, but the electronic user interface requires a bit more involvement. BMW’s 6.5-inch TFT dash still ranks among the top displays in the game, but navigating through the numerous submenus with the brand’s Wonder Wheel comes with a learning curve. On the flip side, a dedicated ride mode, heated grips, and DDC suspension button allow users to adjust settings on the go.
Once the user acclimates to the interface, menu operation becomes second nature. With the tap of a button and the scroll of the wheel, riders can easily access information such as fuel consumption, tire pressure, and engine temperature. In addition to BMW’s standard dash layout, the M Sport features a Sport configuration that reports lean angle, braking pressure, and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) levels. Similar to the S 1000 R’s engine and ergos, the electronics toe the line between performance and practicality, but is that enough to battle with the segment’s best?
At $20,765, the S 1000 R in M Sport trim is primed for track duty while remaining ultra-capable on the street. For that reason, track frequenters will spring for BMW’s M and Sport packages, but those sticking to public roads will be better served by the Select package’s keyless ride, cruise control, heated grips, and USB charging socket. Likewise, the Premium package’s adaptive headlight, Headlight Pro, and tire pressure monitor suit commuters and night riders.
With a $14,545 base price, the S 1000 R is among the more budget-conscious options in the category. However, when you take BMW’s add-on packages into account, the MSRP quickly escalates. In M Sport trim, the S 1000 R’s price tag is knocking on the door of the Ducati Streetfighter V4 and KTM 1290 Duke R, two bikes known for outright performance.
Unfortunately, the M-series package doesn’t include the S 1000 RR’s 205-horsepower engine. Otherwise, the rivalry would be a dead heat. Instead, BMW prefers to preserve the S 1000 R’s approachability while adding on some practical track day upgrades. No, the BMW S 1000 R isn’t a fairing-less superbike, but for the vast majority of riders, the naked bike’s versatility and quality make it a legitimate competitor in the super naked segment.