2023 BMW M1000R Review

Story by Alan Cathcart// Photos by Markus Jahn & Jörg Künstle
March 21 2023

Add another entry into the elite 200-plus horsepower club.

Nothing succeeds like excess – and by concocting the 2023 M1000R (or “MR” as they’d like us to call it), BMW is doing its best to confirm the truth of that axiom in a two-wheeled context.

How else to characterize a naked-as-nature straight-four hotrod with upright handlebar and no windscreen, which has a 14,600 rpm redline and produces 205 hp at 13,750rpm, with peak torque of 83.5 ft-lb at 11,100 rpm, that has a proven top speed of 280 km/h and weighs just 199 kg with all fluids?

Consider that just a decade ago the factory S1000RR Superbike racer, which BMW’s works riders Troy Corser and Leon Haslam raced in the 2011 WSBK series, produced 216 hp at 14,900 rpm, and it’s clear that the new MR super-roadster is a statement of intent that can’t be ignored.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

In what’s surely the most competitive model segment in real-world road riding right now in terms of performance and allure, with the debut of the power-up M-version of its existing S1000R roadster producing a “mere” 162 hp, BMW is throwing down a ‘beat-that’ gauntlet to its Ducati, Aprilia, MV Agusta and KTM rivals for the normally aspirated SuperNaked crow — as well as anyone else thinking of joining the party. Like Yamaha, maybe, did I hear you say?

BMW has achieved this by essentially transplanting the engine, lean-sensitive electronics, suspension and much of the transmission from the latest version of its S1000RR Superbike contender, to create the excessive excellence represented by this new aero-equipped uber-Roadster. And it’s done so without detuning that hardware or downgrading the software in any way, simply delivering what amounts to two bikes in one by the smoothness with which something that’s happy being ridden around towns and suburbs at lower revs and everyday speeds is transformed on the open road into a fire-spitting missile of a motorcycle at anywhere above its 8,000 rpm superpower threshold.

But as a 240 km ride along the superb but deserted roads of southeast Spain — followed by a disappointingly scant four laps of the Almeria circuit — confirmed, the result is a motorcycle which will surely out-perform any customer Superbike-with-lights anyplace you care to ride — except on a racetrack with sustained high speeds, where the virtues of a lower, more streamlined riding position and more focused racetrack handling, will assert themselves. But on a tight track…


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