2024 BMW M 1000 XR Review – First Ride

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

An M bike for every road

Wet, cool, low visibility. What other conditions could I possibly ask for when getting to test BMW’s carbon fiber-laden, $30.5 grand 200+-horsepower M tourer? Our half day onboard the BMW M 1000 XR started out of Malaga, Spain, and wound up into hills fully socked in with the morning’s marine layer. Water began to bead up on my visor as I attempted to keep the lead rider’s taillight in view on the highway. Fantastic.

2024 BMW M 1000 XR

BMW’s third M bike brings cutting edge performance and components to the touring realm – and of course there’s carbon fiber a plenty.

  • 201 horsepower (claimed)
  • Comfortable upright ergos
  • Trick bits at every turn
  • Even if you pop for the M, you’ll still have to add the competition package to get the highest spec
  • A willing PIC on the road to losing your license
  • Yeah, I’ve got nothing

What’s in an M?

We’ve actually already covered the details of both the standard 2024 S 1000 XR and M 1000 XR here. So, what’s it like to ride?

2024 BMW S 1000 XR and M 1000 XR – First Look

BMW says at 136 mph, the wings generate approximately 26.5 lbs of downforce.

Pretty fucking great. What did you expect? We’re not finding cigarette butts in our Ducati crankcases or shattered parts in our engines due to poor metallurgy anymore (most of the time). Things are generally pretty great these days compared to what was happening not that long ago. We’ve taken a step, or maybe a giant leap for moto-kind.

Anyway, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’ve been to some places. I’ve seen some things. I’ve ridden motorcycles in incredibly exotic locales around the world thanks to my job, but I somehow keep finding my way back to the Iberian Peninsula. Let’s just disregard that it's a central locale for the rest of the world to travel to so it makes logistical sense for many manufacturers. The roads, oh, the roads. There is no shortage of serpentine tarmac in this part of the world, and what’s better is that people actually like motorcycles here, instead of just tolerating them. As I slipped the clutch a bit more than expected to get rolling, I was reminded I’m perched on a carbon-clad, hopped-up version of BMW’s Sport Tourer with the 999cc Inline-Four Shiftcam engine hiding under said carbon. Off we went for what would no doubt be a thrilling ride. We climbed the mountain and into the atmosphere much earlier than expected. A vague tail light was all I had to follow as the lead rider had mostly disappeared into the mist as we ascended. Like I said earlier, fantastic.

Adjustable levers and footpegs, lots of carbon fiber including wheels, an additional lap timer software, and this special livery make up the M competition package for the M 1000 XR.

As we made our way above the clouds, wet patches and cold tires left me hesitant of pushing the pace on this fire-breathing Bavarian dragon. On a rocket ship destined for disaster should your right wrist get too greedy, I had to tamper my enthusiasm for a bit. Fortunately, after a coffee stop or two, the roads mostly dried, and we were fully caffeinated for our own Spanish GP in the hills above the Costa del Sol.

The M 1000 XRs we rode were fitted with the M Competition Package, which gets you a handful of bling, and carbon fiber all around, but the two things that make the biggest difference are wrapped in rubber at each end. BMW says the “road ready” weight with the M Competition package is 485 pounds. That’s a 6.6-pound weight savings over the standard M 1000 XR (and 15.4-pounds less than the S 1000 XR). Purchasing that lightness will only cost you $5,495 which, if you only wanted the carbon wheels, isn’t actually a bad deal. As tested, the bikes we spent our time on retail for $30,500.

Many have complained about the S 1000 engine being buzzy, but it didn’t bother me at all on the highway or during our spirited mountain ride.

While the extra ponies over the base model are always appreciated, 170 hp versus 201 hp for a streetbike is already overkill. If you’re tracking your sport tourer, well, maybe that’s a different story. For our Andalusian rip, the chassis, brakes, and power were at the forefront of the experience – in that order. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle with carbon fiber wheels, it’s hard to imagine just how much of a difference shaving that much unsprung mass makes. Dare I say the steering is nearly telepathic. Choose a line, adjust mid-corner, whatever you need to do, it’s almost as if the bike has done it before you’ve fully comprehended the action. It’s truly an eye-opening experience. Of course, for a street bike that will potentially have to reckon with less than ideal roads during its lifespan, brittle wheels can be a tradeoff. The internet is full of stories about carbon wheels failing catastrophically. The forged hoops on the standard M might be the prudent choice for the practical of us.

The electronic Marzocchi fork handles all the damping electronically in the left leg while preload is adjusted in the right.

The M’s upgraded closed-cartridge electronic Marzocchi suspension works in conjunction, of course, with the lithe wheels to make the entire chassis a willing dance partner in the Spanish countryside. While cornering, the M 1000 XR is stable, whether it be through tight switchbacks or bumpy sweepers. On the highway, your first line of suspension is the cushy seat. It’s truly comfortable. I can’t remember the last time I was this happy with a stock seat. In addition to the luxe saddle, the suspenders do an equally good job of absorbing bumps on the highway or around town. The fact that you can dial the suspension in with a few button presses for your comfort or performance is nearly requisite these days on a bike of the M XR’s ilk, and I found the settings to work well when swapping from one end of the spectrum to the other.

The Nissin-made M brakes from BMW get the job done just fine on this hot rod.

Once you find yourself hard on the Nissin-made anodized blue M brake calipers, the suspension continues to deliver performance no matter what you ask from the dual 320mm rotors. The upgraded radial master cylinder builds confidence while delivering feedback from the Bridgestone Battlax RS11’s contact patch straight to the machined, break-away and adjustable brake lever (part of the M competition package).

BMW tells us the flatter wider handlebar give the M a 53.3% forward weight bias, that’s 1% over the S model.

Regardless how you feel about wings, on a schnitzel this spicy, I’ll take all the downforce I can get. The (claimed) 201-horsepower tourer is all too ready for lift off as you spool the power up toward its 14,600 rpm redline. A lot more time and perhaps a racetrack would give a better test than a half wet/half dry half day’s jaunt on board the M 1000 XR, but to say the engine delivered an exhilarating experience is at least the understatement of the day. The larger sprocket and shorter gears in 4 through 6 help the M to never feel long in the tooth. It doesn’t have the same pavement-crushing torque that a V-Twin may deliver off the bottom, but the mid-range is plenty healthy and will catapult you from corner to corner as the revs build. Maybe it was simply the g-forces from the acceleration, but I had a smile smattered across my face for the entire (dry) part of the ride as my fellow countrymen and I chased down our lead rider.

Fahrmodusvorauswahl, indeed. Zee Germans love smashing words together. How many Race Pro modes does one need?

The amount of electronic adjustment is, as many high performance machines are these days, mind melting and a half day’s ride was hardly enough time for me to get comfortable enough to see how well the Brake Slide Assist function worked, let alone configure Race Pro modes, or really dig into altering the bike’s setting much at all aside from switching ride modes from Road (in the wet) and Dynamic (in the dry).

I was envious of the Brits starting their day upon the R12 Nine T. I still am. I would have relished spending more time on the M 1000 XR. Instead, it was back to the hotel for lunch and then our turn on the classic. The morning’s ride had gone by in a flash and left me with just the lingering umami from my taste test on board BMW’s latest M. If given the chance, I’d happily continue my research back Stateside for a few weeks.




















Editors Score: 93.5%

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Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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Join the conversation
8 of 15 comments
  • IDont IDont on Jun 01, 2024

    A growing market for $25+k bikes just shows you how many people there are out there with more dollars than sense.

    With the world economies on a death spiral I wonder how long this segment stays alive?

    Sometimes less is more.

    • See 4 previous
    • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Jun 06, 2024

      @IDont riiiight. That's why you complained about price immediately.

  • John B John B on Jun 05, 2024

    Ryan, I don't read many articles on motorcycles these days. I have been converted to video, which works better for dyslexics like me. That said, I make it a point to check in at MO for your articles.

    I have an S1000R and do most of my mileage on long trips. I test-rode the standard XR. Its character is very similar to the S1kR with more comfort for long distances. I have ridden my S1kR between 600-700 miles in a day many times, but after 350 miles, riding becomes an exercise in pain management. Especially on windy 100+ F highway rides.

    My hunch is that for riders with middling skills like mine, the M's upgrades make no discernible difference when street riding. At this (late) stage of life, I wouldn't buy any motorcycle that doesn't excite me. Human nature being what it is, it takes more and more to excite us as motorcycles get more and more powerful.

    With my kids out of college and working, and many more years behind me than ahead, why not overindulge? To date, every M-XR that arrives at my local dealers in Dallas is pre-sold; i.e., demand currently exceeds supply.

    • Ryan Adams Ryan Adams on Jun 05, 2024

      Thanks for popping in now and again, John. I fully agree with your sentiment.