It’s a question I’ve been asked multiple times when people hear that I’ve been running the BMW M1000R on the long-term test fleet this year: Is the £19,401 missile worth the extra wedge over the £13,100 S1000R?
And the thing is, without even a moment’s thought I know the answer… No it isn’t. But however sure I am of this on paper, whenever I’m asked outright, I struggle to come up with an answer. Because bikes don’t exist on paper, they exist in the real world of emotion, ego, preference and drama.
When I jumped on the BMW S1000R for a run down an airfield earlier this summer, I half expected it to accelerate like a pushbike. I’d spent a few months acclimatising to 207bhp, after all, I won’t even get out of bed for a piffling 165bhp… Imagine my surprise, then, when the S1000R felt every bit as exciting.
On reflection, this makes perfect sense, I’m not unleashing 200 angry Bavarian horses onto the road every time I throw a leg over the M1000R. In fact, how much time do you really spend with the throttle pinned on a bike with anything over 100bhp?
Looking at the data, the S1000R lives with the M1000R quite happily until the speed climbs well into the prison range for road riding. So, in real-world performance stakes, there’s no point getting the M.
The M has better suspension, but you’ll not notice 95% of the time and if you opt for the £15,315 ‘Sport’ version of the S (still £4k cheaper than the M), you’ll even get electronic damping linked to the riding modes.
Arrive at a bike meet on it and people want to ask you questions. Older bikers roll their eyes when you tell them how much power it makes. It feels rebellious and, dare I say it, a bit dangerous – a quality you don’t find in many bikes these days.
But which would I buy with my own money? The S, of course.