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Discussion Starter #1
As many of you know, and some who don’t, I recently parted with my N1k to person who became a forum member here. There were a lot of things I liked about the bike. I also spent a lot of time correcting what I didn’t like about the bike and/or trying to adapt it to how I planned on using it. In the end some I couldn’t rectify were irritating enough that I sold it. I’ll just leave it at that.

I started another thread where I detailed what I was looking for and the bikes I was considering. You can read that thread here if so inclined. It is about to about 30 pages when I posted this new one.

http://www.kawasakininja1000.com/forum/other-bike-discussions/8217-what-would-you-replace-your-n1k.html

At the end of the day, and coming very close to being either a KTM 1290 Super Duke R, Super Adventure, BMW S1000R, S1000XR or impatiently waiting for the KTM Super Duke GT to arrive, I pulled the trigger on the S1000XR. That is the topic of this review. I pretty much hate my local BMW dealer, based on how they treated me some time ago and I’ve never gone back. So I always start shopping out of my area. I’ve had great luck with Max BMW on the East Coast but when I went shopping this time I never heard back from my sales guy. Considering I am a repeat customer, I was surprised.

So I gave them some time, called & left a message, but zero, zip, nada. So as luck would have it, I found a great dealer in Omaha; BMW Motorcycles of Omaha. They didn’t know me from Adam and treated me GREAT! So great, I’ll be back to them first before I check anywhere else. They totally hooked me up and the GM there was absolutely amazing to work with. Made my purchase painless, didn’t rip me off and did what I asked them to check a few things and make some changes that I’ll elaborate more on later. So if you are anywhere near BMW of Omaha, stop by and see Jim Gaston. One of the absolute best dealer experiences I’ve ever had anywhere!

So back to the bike. I don’t mind spending money, which is likely obvious based on the number of bikes I have. Everyone has an addiction, mine is motorcycles. I don’t mind spending a fair amount of money on a particular bike if I really feel it is justified and I’ll keep it long enough to make it worth it. At the same time, why buy new if slightly used will do? Well this worked out incredibly well for me. Jim had their very low miles S1000XR demo bike for sale. Basically it was his personal bike that occasionally saw test rides. Given that it is restricted until broken in, and that he put almost all the miles on it, it seemed a pretty safe bet.

I had ridden several XRs and I shopped them last winter when they were just becoming available after preorder and I was put off by the vibes it had. The one I rode was about as bad as the Ninja I ended up buying but tingled/buzzed at more RPMs. For me that was deal breaker and I crossed it off my list. I was going to buy a FJ09 and when I went to buy it, the dealer had the Ninja that I ended up buying instead? How could I turn down a better bike for about the same money? It was used but with almost no miles on it. So I started with the XR the same way with very low miles.

Over the last few months, there has been a lot of people trying to find a solution for the vibes. One person had found that retorquing the handlebar clamp in a specific order helped. Of course you can always try heavier bar ends as well but why not go the cheap way first? So I asked Jim to kindly have his service department adjust the handlebar clamps as I’d discovered. I had already ordered bar ends but I knew they wouldn’t show up before I left.

I showed up bright and early this morning to pick my bike up. It was perfect, not a scratch on it. They plugged in the chip to unlock its full power. They had mounted the Navigator, gave me a full tank, setup and keyed my saddlebags and I was ready to hit the road within 10 minutes of being at the dealer. I stuck around to shoot the breeze with some really nice people there and finally headed out about 90 minutes later than I planned but good thing I snarfed down a donut from their open house! :D

I spent a few minutes punching in my route on the nav and off I went. I decided to take the scenic, non-interstate route back. I was going back to Minnesota. Well after the first 50 mile I said the heck with it and veered up into the Dakotas. It was a great day to ride other than the winds from ****. They were a steady 30 mph and gusting probably to 60 or 70 at times. I was stuck picking my way through some construction and its stop and go traffic before things started to loosen up.

Once I could let this little filly run a bit I really started to enjoy the ride. Well until I found the tingly spots. To her credit, it was definitely smoother than any other XR I’d ridden. It was appreciably smoother than my N1k with the ultra-heavy bar end weights. The problem was if I was stuck at about 60-65, it was more intense than I wanted to live with long-term. So easy solution, wick it up to about 75. Yeah baby! Some serious roll on and pretty smooth at this speed.

Once I found a nice place to run, I set the cruise control, kicked back and watch the miles disappear into the rearview mirrors. Well at least the one that didn’t seem to be affected by ANY vibes. The other one seemed to get its little resonance going at certain speeds and was a bit annoying. If the mirrors weren’t mounted to the handlebars, it likely wouldn’t be an issue.

I was in a hurry to get to the more interesting areas to ride and I soon started tapping the cruise to increase the speed. Pretty soon I was about 80 and the bike was running great. The tank makes a great fairing and wind protection was better than my stock Ninja even though the XR has a pretty tiny windscreen. It was still a bit chilly since early so I turned on the heated grips. After about 2.5 hours of riding I stopped for some gas.

If they filled the tank totally, and it seem like they did, I was getting 44 mpg. Not too shabby considering my heavy cruise control button. Wait, what’s that? No sore butt! Oh yeah! No Ninja butt. My legs felt good too. I punched in another course correction to take the REALLY long way home so to speak. While cruising for a while I started playing with the nav. This BMW branded Garmin flat rocks. The integration with the bike tells me all kinds of things on the screen. I can have the MPG readout, distance to empty, water temp, top speed, bearing, all kinds of stuff on the customizable screens mostly controlled from my little i-drive wheel on the left grip. I am SO glad I bought the nav. I would have ran out of gas if I didn’t. I was riding in an area using my phone and totally lost signal for the nav I was using (Waze). I had no idea where there was any gas and I was in the middle of nowhere.

The low fuel light flashed on the nav and I punched it and it listed all the gas stations near me automatically. Well, there weren’t any really NEAR me. Based on the DTE reading on the bike, I was going to be cutting it close no matter what way I went, back of forward. I dialed the speed back and went to economy cruise. I reset the avg mpg meter and it said I was getting about 55 mpg. I rolled up to the gas station with about 5 miles showing on the DTE range and it was pretty darn accurate but just enough pessimistic to give me a little buffer. Unlike the stupid Ninja gas gauge, this one has lots of little bars to give you more granularity for how much fuel is left in the 5.3 gallon tank. I do wish it had a bit bigger tank but I was getting an easy 180 miles every time. Best was over 200 mile so not too terrible.

So back on the road and time to wring it out a bit. I wanted to put the quick shifter to use and not that I had a better feel for the bike, I definitely wanted to uncork it a bit. So I rolled it on in 2nd. From just off idle, clearly weaker than the N1k. At about 2k, her eyes are definitely opening. From 4-6k, feels about dead even with the Ninja. At 7k she is getting with the program for sure. By 8k it feels like buh-bye Ninja. She just keeps pulling harder and harder. My shift light was set to come on at 7k so it was annoying but I ran her up to 10k on the blast and it felt really good. The quick shifter made these little blap sounds like a F1 car. The aural stimulation would be even better with a pipe. Hmmm…

I was pretty stoked with the performance so far. Rolling down a nice winding road and I got stuck behind some traffic. A pretty fast Mustang about 5 cars in front of me pulled out to pass 2 cars and a truck in front of him. The little devil on my should said “Hit it DT, you know you want to!” He LL yeah I wanted to hit it. I was at about 60, banged it down to 2nd, hit throttle and OPPPSSS! Instant wheelie. Thank god for the traction control. I was not expect it to come up THAT quick. It kept it just hovering all the way through 2nd and then I hit 10k. It felt like someone just turned on the 1000RR motor under the hood. If felt just like my RR but instead of pulling to about 14k, it pulled that hard to 12k.

So she had a nice little trick up her sleeve. I was used to the pull on the Ninja building but no real top end rush. This baby HAS that top end rush just not as long at the S1000RR but **** near the same intensity. Banged 3rd and the wheel came up again. Ran third out and I am going past these cars like they are standing still. I finally looked down at the speedo and I was at 140 and she was pulling really hard still. No weaving with the bags on, unlike the KTM SA when you get much over 100. At that moment it all came together for what this bike is all about.

Screw the ADV looks. It is a freakin’ super sport that is comfortable ride. Every mile also saw the vibes start to reduce as well. The brakes are phenomenal. The stock tires stick quite rail. It goes around turns like it is on rails. The suspension actually works quite well. I even had a chance to use the turning ABS. Good to know it actually does worked when leaned over quite a bit.

After 4 fillups, 748 mile, horrendous winds, all kinds of roads, small towns, cities & riding even double with one of my kids who is about my size, I came to realize this is likely one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever owned. The vibes were my only real issue of concern. Waiting for me when I got home where my heavier bar end weights. I couldn’t wait to slap those on and go ride even some more. I put on another 100 miles after dark. The vibes are almost totally gone now and FAR better than most bikes. I also learned that in the dark, the headlights don’t suck near as bad as the Ninja’s. They’ll still need some help but I can live with them for now.

So I spent about 30 minutes reading through the manual. So many things you can setup. For example, it has a race track lap timer. You can set up when the shift light goes on, when it stops, how fast it blinks (or no blinking, just steady) and a lot of other things. At this moment, the one thing I think they could do better is the panniers. They both will hold a full face modular helmet. The open from the side but have a nice little shelf to hold stuff up while open. All in all quite nice bags BUT their mounting system isn’t near as nice, or likely as robust, as other BMWs I’ve had and a far sight worse than the N1k’s bag system. The shape of these is more usable though.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to get one of the bags off. I got it down now but still. On the plus side though you can have locked on the bike but leave them unlocked to easily get into them. One last thing that does pi s s me off. They are NOT color matched. For the red bike yes, but they only options are red or silver. Mine is white. So they will get repainted but I am going to paint the bike anyway. I have some ideas of how to make it look pretty amazing.

Some final comments on the overall comfort of the bike. I rode close to 12 hours today. My butt didn’t hurt. My legs didn’t hurt. Nothing on me hurt other than my ears from the crappy helmet I had and not so great ear plugs combined with the insane crosswinds to make it pretty miserable at times. This is not the bikes fault. I might try a slightly taller windscreen though. There were a lot of kamikaze bugs making it to my helmet’s shield. I also need some hand guards. I had one hit me so hard on a knuckle I though it broke it.

So at this point I am thinking what would I change? Almost nothing. I’d like a slightly bigger tank. I am spoiled by my other BMW. The heated grips aren’t as hot as I’d hoped but better than the last 3 I rode. I’ll add auxiliary LEDs. Maybe swap out the factor bulbs at some point. I need a fender extender up front. The radiator and oil cooler look pretty vulnerable (just like my 1000RR) so I had already ordered a guard. Since Jim too such good care of me I ordered my Cobin through him. To be honest though, I might have jumped the gun a bit on this. I did it more for my wife but I did set it up look pretty cool on the bike.

So the wins for the Ninja, so far vs. the S1000XR are:
More bottom end up to about 3k. Definitely easier to take off with a load than the BMW but the BMW isn’t bad so much as the Ninja is terrific.
Bag mounting system is better, less obtrusive when off, actually color matched
Price

Wins for the S1000XR over the Ninja:
Pretty much every other area that I can think of

There is no doubt the XR is a better bike by almost every measure. It does of course cost more. Is it worth the price premium? Only you can decide that. For me, it definitely was. Depending on which model you get of the XRs, that premium is 5-7k before any discounts at retail. With the BMW though you also get a 3 year warranty. If you listen to RC often enough, he’ll tell you stories of how BMWs will all fall apart and are totally unreliable. My experience, is counter to that but not without the occasional hiccup. I have a K16GT that runs like a Swiss watch. I spoke with another guy today and he’s had the same luck. If you read the forums, the K16 has had more issues than most. Maybe the owners are just more vocal when things go wrong.

Anyway my K16 was pretty much on first place of my all-time favorite bikes owned list. I didn’t really believe a guy on another forum who also has a K16GT, KTM Super Duke and a 1000XR who said his favorite is the XR. I totally get it now. The XR has the playful ability and **** near the outright speed of the Super Duke combined with the ability to gobble up miles like the K16 in almost as much comfort. So I have 95% Super Duke, 90% K16GT and about 90-95% S1000RR. What’s not to like? By that measure this bike is a bargain. I have at least 90% of the capabilities of 3 bikes put together that would cost about 60-70k. It just feels so solid and compose no matter what you ask of it. At slower speeds it is more nible than the XR because of the wide bars.

I’ll wrap this up even more succinctly, out of the 10 bikes in the garage at the moment, if I could only keep one of them, it would be this one! It really is that much fun for me. I don’t anticipate any major reliability issues. The S1000RR motor on which this is based has been out for some time. This is the detuned version. Same goes with the dynamic ESA electronic adjustable suspension. They got this pretty much right on the money for me. They kept suspension travel reasonable, 1” more than the Ninja front & rear, but you can change it on the fly. It never is super soft like on the KTM SA can be but it just about perfect for the road. When hustling you put in dynamic mode and it transforms more into the SS type bike that is lurking inside. Same goes for the riding modes. If you want serious wheelies & stoppies, select the dynamic pro mode.

I was pretty sure by the end of my day today, that I’d know if I loved it, hated it or were ambivalent toward it. I think this is going to be a long-term relationship like my K bike. After that first pass past 10k, all thoughts of the Super Duke were gone. Yeah, get you some of that! Not the ultimate street going missile but far more fun than I ever thought it would be considering it isn’t a 1000RR. It sure does a nice version of Clark Kent to Superman. Much more fun than the Ducati Multistrada. Anyway if you get a chance to ride one, definitely try it. If you are in the Minnesota area, look me up. My bike will be here for about a week or so then heading back West for a while.

Just one finer point to put on this bike and how much I liked it. I starting riding it about 10am today. I never stopped for anything but just gas all day long while riding it. Not a single food stop, pit stop, break, nothing! I didn't realize I hadn't eaten until I picked up my son and he mentioned he was hungry. I don't think 1 donut carried me through the day but I was having so much fun on the bike I forgot to eat and drink. I wouldn't have stopped at all if I didn't need gas.

Pics to come when I get her cleaned up again.
 

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Very cool! Sounds like a great bike! I actually just rode the new Multistrada 1200 and was very impressed with it! Lost of power and it pretty much handled like a sport bike; didn't expect that at all!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Funny how that works, put a super bike motor in a comfortable chassis, and voila' a fun "adventure" tourer. I was pretty amazed how good the overall package was. The extra 5" of wheelbase over the RR & R really made the bike a lot more comfortable and less wheelie prone.

Even with my son who is 6'1"(and still growing), well over 200 lbs, yet it pulled us incredibly well. One good trip up through the gears, not even to redline, and I could hear him yelling in his helmet OMG! We had a surprising amount of room. If it doesn't rain tomorrow, we'll even go out for a ride together. Generally I hated taking him on anything but the K16GT as his size & weight, pretty much killed either the performance, comfort, ride or all 3. On the XR, I hardly no he is there unless he shifts around. He actually called the bike roomy. Considering he has the biggest butt in the family, that is saying something. :D

I now also get why so many people who bought these keep wanting to drop the RR motor in it. What a sleeper that would be. I could see trading off a bit more of the bottom, which is quite good anyway, and adding another 1k up top and an even harder pull.
 

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Congrats daytrippin on the new bike, anxiously waiting for pictures and seeing how long it takes you to throw the mods at it lol. Sounds like a great bike
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Mark. I can't say I'll do too many but I would like a top box. Anyway I realize this bike isn't for everyone and some people are purely Kawasaki fans.

I am pretty agnostic but I've owned more Kawis than any other bike and likely more than anyone on this forum. So I am not a big Kawasaki basher, I just call it as I see it. Thankfully different manufacturers take a variety of approaches and we all benefit through the competition. I am personally am thankfully that BMW introduced the S1000RR in 2009. It really made an impact in the supersport class of bikes. Although if I were to plunk my money down on a bike in that class, I'd likely go with the latest R1. Make mine in the Kenny Roberts replica paint scheme!

There are a lot of fun bikes out there. Unfortunately for me a lot of them are quite uncomfortable to ride for very long. So I greatly appreciate a bike that is fun AND comfortable to ride. I think that is why the big bore ADV bikes are so popular now. You have about all the performance you can use on the street but aren't stuck riding in a penalty box either.

So if you ever get tired of your N1k, definitely check out some of the ADV bikes. The Ducati Multistrada is a lot of fun too but past running costs for Ducatis have me shying away from them now.
 

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After having test ridden a whole bunch of bikes lately, I can definitely say there aren't very many "bad" ones out there. Some may need a little tweaking but it would be hard to make the "wrong" choice. Seems like the golden age of motorcycles!

While some bikes are a little more exciting, the N1K does remain an incredible value. Chances are high I'll keep it for many years.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sometimes you do get a lemon. Other times there are systemic issues like the old British bikes I had were Lucas rightfully earned the title of "King of Darkness". I don't even want to think the number of electrical issues I had with them. Not to mention the other joke. Why do the Brits drink warm beer? Because the have Lucas refrigerators of course.

Likely quite a few people on this board aren't old enough to remember those days. My Norton always like to mark its spot with oil wherever it parked just like a dog peeing to mark their territory.

Then again there is a false sense of value. When I look at the retail price, and then what i spent on my Ninja to correct some of the issues I had, it was still a good value but less than I originally thought. I dumped quite a bit of money in it and a lot more time than I planned any my time is worth something to me.

If just look at what I consider the mandatory things, it is about grand; flash, sprocket, seat, lights, windscreen, footpegs. Of course we all know who on this forum thinks both the lights and fueling are perfect. Maybe he loves the stock seat as well. :D

Anyway I still appreciate what the Ninja had to offer. For just a few bucks more, they could have made it so much better. If the XR holds up at least as well as my other Bimmer, I'll be a very happy rider. Went out for another ride today between the rain with my son and it was definitely the right choice over the 1000R or SDR. It is a surprisingly roomy bike even with us both on there. I just realized I never had any of the arm issues that I felt on the Ninja. The bars were sort of an awkward bend for me. It was worse when I had a passenger.

I learned an interesting stat about BMW. Almost 14% of their entire sales in the US is for the S1000RR. That is a pretty big chunk for just a supersport bike. I think the GSA was about 15% and their #1 seller. That one doesn't surprise me. It pretty much owns that market segment.

I still can't wait to ride the KTM SD GT when it comes out. Although I've really started to adapt to the quickshifter and it is awesome to smooth out the bike with a passenger on it and banging of shifts at redline is a joy. That is one are where I wished the Ninja had been a bit more fun, that last 2 or 3k to redline. Ivan's tune helped that but still...
 

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I'm a motorcycle fan. If China made a ninja 1000 sort-of bike, that was reliable and good, Id have no problem owning one.

What I learned from Owning an Italian bike is to never deal with something unreliable, or exotic when there were alternatives.
 

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Its cool to be a fan, but its important to recognize real issues. For me, something like this is an issue.

Ticking Sound has been fixed! - Maintenance, Servicing, and Mechanical - BMW S1000R

The problem here is, this wont be a one off issue, and theres really no explanation as to how and why.

For me, its out of consideration if luck plays a role in performance, or ability. For example:

My woes of BMW ownership. - Maintenance, Servicing, and Mechanical - BMW S1000R

Actually, you can look at any of their forums and wonder if the country or origin is China.

Even that is workable, if the price is low enough. You see this on the Chinese dual sport bikes Sure, they are not great, but the owners expected worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am pretty much done with almost all Italian vehicles. I was ticked off when Fiat bought Chrysler. I don't mind an occasional issue, just they can be a money and time pit. The one time I bought a Ferrari made sure I'll never buy another. The only Italian (or semi-Italian) vehicle I got along with for a reasonable length of time was the De Tomaso Pantera. It had a Ford 351C engine and not without its issues but...

Then I had a Fiat X/19 which was my track car. Well it became my track car when I pulled up to a light, 12k miles on it, and the timing belt broke. Instant valve to piston contact. Fiat wouldn't warranty it since it was like 300 miles over the warranty period. I went shopping at the Abarth catalog and built one helluva fun car that spent most of its time on the track.

I look at overall reliability, with respect to catastrophic and minor issues on a spectrum. On the far left are the Italian bikes (-10). On the far right the Japanese bikes (+10). Lets say some bikes can be off the chart bad though. Rarely is a bike an off the chart good. My only bike that has been off the chart good, with respect to reliability & factoring in how it was used, would be my CTX. Other than a YSR 50 I had, never have I owned a motorcycle that spent so much of its time running near the redline in its life. So kudos to Honda for that. It has been bulletproof and close to 20k miles now.

So somewhere on the spectrum mentioned above, I'd put Triumph at about a -2 to +2 depending on model. They have a lot of electrical issues and some of their bigger triples had some serious issues with the motor. KTM 1290 motors have been known to leak oil, have some issues with their electronic suspension and a few other things. I'd put them at -3 to +1 at this point. BMW can be all over the place in their range of -1 to +5. It really comes down to model with them. I had the old models that ran for 60k+ miles with no issues. Then I had my GSA dump its driveshaft at 37k but was super reliable in every other area.

If I were to guess, I'd put the XR around the +2 to +3. So far no major issues have been reported and some of the earlier ones have already seen 20k miles. Most of the tech on them is pretty well proven and taken from other bikes. I don't anticipate any motor issues. This one is detuned from the RR. No driveshaft issues to worry about either since it is chain. It could end up being a +5 bike for me like my K16 has been. Others experience has varied with that bike but the ones that have issues have obviously been more vocal. I haven't met another K16 rider in person that has had the issues that I've read about on the forum. OTOH almost every N1k rider I've met in person has complained about the fueling, shitting seat and terrible headlights (if they actually ride at night).

As for the XR, everyone I've met in person has complained about the vibes. At the same time they all said they actually reduced (for those with a few k miles) and anyone who swapped out to heavier bar ends were quite satisfied.

As for country of origin, I don't really care where it is made as long as it meets my needs. To be honest though, I would give preference to a US manufacturer to help keep jobs here. Unfortunately almost nothing made here for motorcycles does that. I am definitely not a snob about motorcycles. One of my favorite bikes for daily use is a Sym scooter. It has been another one of those off the chart reliable rides. Man it has been everywhere too. Up in the mountains of New Mexico, at 10k feet, riding two up with saddle bags. We couldn't go over 40 mph but it was fun in its own way. All the while we got 70mpg pretty much not matter what. Its headlights were far better than the Ninjas as well.

I am all about balancing the risk/reward aspects of riding. Sometimes the super low risks bikes can be incredibly boring. I have some of those for just basic transportation. One that comes to mind is the 1k Vstrom. That is another incredibly reliable bike other than a chain failure on my first one at 8k miles. At least it was more fun to ride than the Wee Strom with its even wimpier 650 motor. I won't say it is incredibly boring to be honest, just less exciting than I'd like. OTOH almost everyone who buys one spends a small fortune in add-ons to make it more livable long term. By far my Vstrom has the most farkles of any bike I've owned. Thank God I bought it cheap enough or I would have been better off buying another BMW GSA.

On my overall reliability spectrum, if I am at +1 or better, I can likely live with it. The other factor is how much time do I have spend & money, getting the bike as I need/want it. The closest bike I've owned to being almost perfect out of the box has been my K16. All I needed was a windscreen change for my height. I added the header and Akras for fun.

The XR is shaping up to be pretty good out of the box for me as well. My current to-do , or has been done, list is as follows:

Bags - done
Corbin - I ordered in advance but didn't need it after riding it. My wife will appreciate it though. Too late to cancel or I would.
Radiator/oil guards - Want to protect my investment
Fender extender - common issue on a lot of bikes, no different here
Windscreen - this is a TBD, stock isn't bad
Lights - likely a bulb replacement of the stock ones would be enough but I'll add aux LEDs for better visibility as I did on my N1k
Topcase - couldn't easily do this on the N1k w/factory bags. I have the Givi adapter plate and it is going on this week and I'l slap one of my Givi boxes on the back when I figure out what looks best
Cobrra Nemo 2 oiler - this rocked on my N1k, waiting for one to show up for this as well
Roadlok - a great locking system for the bike, check them out. ROADLOK | Motorcycle Locks for Ducati, KTM and Harley-Davidson

That is pretty much it. Not really any issues I need to "correct" for at this point. I am not a big BMW "fan". I don't worship at the altar of BMW as so many do. I've had some amazing BMWs over the years and one that really turned me off on the brand for about 7 years. So far I'm quite happy with the K16 and the XR is looking pretty good so far.

I also keep in mind how people ride their bikes. I see more issues with the high performance bikes as people are flogging the crap out of them. Most people that buy the N1k for example aren't the people looking for the fastest/bestest/coolest bike. They are buying the ZX10R, R1, S1000RR and so on. Then they go out and hammer the snot out of it. I may run my bikes hard from time to time but I never abuse them. I probably have over 100k invested/wasted in bikes so I tend to take care of that outlay. I can say that in general, whenever I've had an issue (except once) that my BMW dealers have been over backwards to try and make it right. More often than not, I've gotten a longer bike. Basically if it is in for more than 1 day, they give me a loaner if I need it. NEVER have I gotten a loaner from a Kawi dealer.

One downside to BMWs is so many of their owners are arrogant pricks. I don't count myself among that group and I'd venture to say the members here I've met would tend to agree. So when I go to some of the BMW gatherings, I get tired of their attitudes. Such as why didn't you buy the HP4 version or why not the GSA instead of the GS. I don't get sucked into the more expensive is always better mentality of a lot of people. Sometimes it is, sometimes you are just throwing your money away. That can go the other way, sometimes you need to spend enough to get something decent. Or I can spend another grand more and spend less time wrenching and more riding. Time is my most precious asset. Unlike my youth where I had more time than money, it is better to spend my time in my profession than to work on the bike unless I do it for enjoyment or have no other choice.
 

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Page1 BMW s100xr forum

1 check engine light (not solved)
2 vibration
3 engine not running smoothly
4 valve noise
5 is the xr flawed
6 anyone have a coolant leak
7 fork corrosion

8 dtc light on all the time (page 2)
9 anyone else suffer from brake disc burn/warp issue
10 malfunctioning gear shift pro
11 battery died/wont charge
12 cold start issues

I'm sure "significant' means different things to different people, but that list is worse than what an mv agusta forum has.

Also, the bikes been available for 6 months. Give it time to grow. This bike will get serious miles on it as opposed to the r.

Also, people are modifying it as much as they modify anything else. When not talking about "issues" theres still talk of ecu reflash, suspension mods and every other mod people do anyway.
11 I'm gutted

believe page 1 only holds 15 topics.
 

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It will be interesting to see how the N1K holds up over the years. Even adding another grand to make it great, is not bad if it's reliable.

My Triumph isn't terrible but I spent a couple of grand on repairs over the years :eek:. Hence why the N1K is now the primary bike :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
RC - I read through almost every forum, and all the top threads. There is clearly a very small vocal minority of people that have had issues. Most of them seem to be located in the UK. Some of them do have legitimate issues. At the same time, the other 97-99% keep saying it is the best bike they've ever owned. This one American rider pretty much sums it up.

"I'm with Tucson ( I'm a U of A alum by the way ). If ya'll acknowledge that no bike is perfect, why do you keep harping on the the 3% of things you can find "wrong" with the bike instead of the 97% of things that are great about it? I'm reading this thread just shaking my head. The bike is fast, agile, comfortable, chock full of electronic wizardry, has good range and is built to hold panniers for touring. Go find your perfect perfect bike and leave my XR alone. I'm lovin' it. :) "

Here is a Brit's reply:

"Is it fair to say American opinions of what's acceptable differ to British? Don't forget our roads aren't as luxurious and plentiful as yours. A vibration on a packed M6 is different to a vibration on an empty Route 66. Also a British man isn't really happy unless he's got something to moan about. Nothing wrong with the hunt for perfection."

I probably read over 250 pages of threads on the XR and over 400 on the KTM SA, another 200 on the SDR and about 50 on the S1000R. I dug deep into every issue I found. Just like the crappy fueling on the Ninja didn't keep me from buying it. I don't feel I got lucky with the K16 or so far lucky with the XR.

If I have any serious issues, I'll let everyone know in a fair and balanced way. About the only place I've seen riders comment about how much fun a bike is to ride, is on the KTM Super Duke r forums. Several guys have both the SDRs and the XR. Even more have the K16 & XR. I've got 3 years of warranty, I know my way around the Lemon laws, so if I have any issues, I can get out pretty easily. So assuming I have it 3 years from now, I'll make a decision whether I want to keep it or bail. So far it is looking a lot like a keeper.

Keeper to the point that I am pretty much clearing out everything else bike related other than my K16 & Gamma. Only bike I am debating on my is my race-prepped SV1000S. I wouldn't get much for it and it is nice to have v-twin around from time to time. I could drop the motor in the Vstrom and have a wicked fun sleeper but I don't really have time to do it.

This is a bike that can pretty much do it all and very few sacrifices in any area compared to the best in those areas. The one down side is I should likely sell it ASAP. Only 2 bikes I've owned in recent memory that encouraged me to twist the throttle as much as this bike and that was my 1000RR and my ZX12R.

There is something about the way this bike builds power that is intoxicating. It may not have as much as my modded ZX12R or 1000RR but when it starts pulling at the right side of the tack it feels **** close to it. The N1k was so anticlimactic about its power delivery it could almost be boring at times. The XR has a lot of that down low power but you just feel it gathering even more as the revs climb. Then it hits that last step and streaks to redline accompanied but a great induction sound and a pretty nice exhaust note. Then the shift light I have setup comes on at 11.5 and tap the quickshifter and you off in the next gear.

There isn't a single time on my Ninja that a trip up through the gears is as much fun as even running the XR up to about 8 or 9k. It will pull down about as low as the N1k in 6th and pull up from the basement pretty much the same way. Maybe just a touch weaker up to about 30mph but still quite impressive for a more highly tuned motor. I loved that flexibility about the Ninja. I get all that AND the top end rush if I want it. The 1000RR was all about the top end rush and not so much in the middle. The N1k has about a 4.5% bigger motor. If I added that extra % all across the rev band, it would be an even more impressive motorcycle.

I get it, you love the N1k. I liked, it but never loved it, nor do I hate it. I gave it a pretty fair shake and put enough miles on it to get a feel for it. I would look at one again in the future if Kawi made some significant changes to it. For now I get power pretty close to a 1300-1400, comfort of a touring bike, good backroad ability and very affordable insurance to boot. Much less than my Ninja. I definitely considered a ZX14R. Insurance was going to be a killer for me. Close to double what I was paying on the Ninja and almost 4 times my K16. That pretty much ruled it out for me and a bit to lumbering. It is a well sorted bike for sure.

Plus when you look at times of 60-80 mph, it clocks 2.73 seconds. That is pretty **** good. The 1200 Multi is 4.45 and the same as the 1299 Panigale S. An 08 ZX14 is 2.71 and the and C14 of the same year is 4.28. A 2012 14R is 2.55 and a 2014 N1k 2.92 with stock gearing. So the XR does pretty **** good in a rollon match up with some pretty stout bikes. We all know the N1k isn't a slouch in this area and the XR bests it at 60. That margin grows as the speeds climb. The KTM Super Duke R is about the 2.5 to 2.7 range for comparison. Depending on the year of the Busa you are in the 4's down to mid 2's. So when you look at the numbers, BMW got a lot of things right about this motor. All times were taken from Sport Rider for consistency.

So far the more I ride it, the more I like it. Too often the other happens. Stock tires feel good. I've got the suspension setup so it works well for me. The brakes are excellent. Nav integration is really useful. For what I bought the bike at, it was a no brainer for me. Same was true of the Ninja. My only real concern at this point is watching my speed. I find myself riding far faster in typical situations than I did with the Ninja. It isn't that new bike smell either. The XR is very willing and capable whereas the Ninja was more capable than willing. The XR is more along the lines of a riding a 675 Daytona or Speed or Street triple, but just a touch more serious.
 

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Okay time for a throw down, any body live close to daytrippin that can take there nk1 over there and put a beating on that xr, lol just kidding if your lucky maybe none of those dreaded diseases on that list rc put out want fall on your beloved xr. I hope every body dont decide to gang up on you since you bought a bmw lol
 

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DT... you do realize you are trying to convince us that your new bike is better than the N1k on the N1k forum right? You are like a salmon swimming upstream my friend! Most of us carefully chose the N1k over other brands for a reason. I know I did. BMW is the least reliable brand out there, tied with Can AM, according to Consumer Reports. BMW bikes have a 40 percent failure rate by the fourth year in fact. They are incredibly expensive, and are way more expensive to maintain even before problems start happening. Complaints are already rolling in on the XR and the bike is only 6 months old.

You say you gave the N1k a fair shake but I disagree. 5,000 miles is an oil change or two and a set of tires. I have more than 70,000 completely trouble free miles logged on the N1k. I haven't spent one second or one calorie of energy on mechanical problems. Maintenance costs have been reasonable. I have a complete BLAST riding this bike, and I love it now more than ever...

You say the XR is more fun... maybe... but you paid $4,000 more (comparing MSRPs) for a bike you will have to continue to pour money into, maybe even just to keep it running. You know what I think is NOT fun... getting raped by the dealership at every service interval or standing on the side of the road in the rain waiting for a tow truck.

That being said, good luck with your new bike... hope it works out for you... you have made some good contributions here... if you change your mind we'll be here.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Anyway the rain stopped long enough to snap a few pics. They will be at the end of this post.

While the rain letup, I chose to ride to the Triump dealer as I am still interested in a Rocket 3. They were selling every Triumph left at, or below, cost. Apparently they've had enough issues with them to drop Triumph and stop and stop selling them. Their Indian side of the house is doing great. Of all the Triumphs they had left, the Rocket 3's were the ones that flew out the door.

So not much to look at. The next closest Triumph dealer is quite some ways I way, I decided just to ride around for a bit. I realize the XR isn't for everyone. I decided to really put it through its paces. So tried out some really crappy roads. It was nice to have the extra travel. I will say that the KTM SA was more plush over this kind of broken up pavement when it was in the comfort of offroad mode. The XR is a bit more taught. Still it absorbed bumps far bet than most street bikes.

I am still enjoying the power. For the heck of, I looked at the dyno plots for the N1k done by the same people. It shows the 2 motors neck and neck up to about 5500. From then on the XR pulls away until it has about 25 to 30 HP at the wheel over the Ninja. What I also found interesting is the KTM SDR is rated for mid 170's at the crank but on almost every dyno, by the same mags, the S1000XR or S1000R motor is within about 1-2 HP yet BMW claims "only" 160 at the crank.

Now when you factor the XR is geared slightly lower than a stock N1k in 6th, it means it is even more likely to be in the meat of its powerband at any given road speed. Since it can rev higher, top speed isn't sacrificed either. It goes to a higher speed in every gear. Only when you go to a 16T up front do you get almost equivalent speed ranges in each gear. Basically they kept the gearing from the RR but with a lower redline. That explains why this thing is so ready to run in any gear. It has good low end torque AND the ability to rev to make good HP. Pretty impressive work on this motor.

I also slowly ran it up from idle all the way to redline to check vibes and any resonant harmonics. The correct torque of the handlebar clamps and proper procedure along with the bar ends have pretty much solved the vibe issue for me. I still have vibes but just enough to know the motor is running at most speeds. Also the bike has a lot less engine braking than a stock N1k. It is pretty close to an Ivan tuned Ninja as a point of reference.

Not trying to convince anyone to buy one. Just a point of reference. My other BMW isn't a money pit. I put gas and change the tires. Pretty much like my Ninja but with 30k miles on it. I always believe in keeping my options open with respect to bikes. I didn't buy the XR to be the worlds most reliable bike

I realize there is a price differential. I never said the XR is the best value. The Ninja is great bang for the buck. There were just some things that no matter how many miles I would have done on it would have made it better for me. The bike isn't going to grow a few inches and make more room for a passenger for example. The vibes likely wouldn't decrease much after 5k miles. Anyway at the end of the day, different strokes for different folks.

That is why I like taking advantage of any demo days I can. You might be really surprised by something you ride. I never went into this thinking the XR would ever be in my garage. That is what I find the most interesting.

One thing I learned about bikes/cars is that it is cheaper usually to start with the bike closest to your needs/wishes than starting with something cheaper and trying to mod the heck out of it to get there. At the end of the day I dumped a lot of money into some cars and bikes that I'd never get out of it. A super fast WRX, is still a WRX, and will say for what a typical WRX will, or not much more. Even if it is as fast as a Z06 Vette. At the end of the day, I am not a BMW fan boi anyway.

Here are the pics promised upstream. I find it better looking than the KTM SA. I think they could have done a better job integrating the luggage like the N1k and how they did on the K16.









 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay time for a throw down, any body live close to daytrippin that can take there nk1 over there and put a beating on that xr, lol just kidding if your lucky maybe none of those dreaded diseases on that list rc put out want fall on your beloved xr. I hope every body dont decide to gang up on you since you bought a bmw lol
Thanks Mark. I can take it. I get beat up on some BMW forums because I had a Ninja. I never bought into the Ford/Chevy or the Hatfield and McCoys rivalry/hatred. I just buy whatever I like and take the good with the bad. If the bad is too much, I can bail out.

At the end of the day, if the XR were a total wipeout of a bike, it isn't going to crush me financially. My wife wouldn't be happy but I am not going to lose sleep over it. The maintenance costs aren't terrible either from checking with the dealer. On the KTM they were definitely closer to the Duc side than this bike. No valve checks until 18k miles so that is a plus. I found a great dealer and got their quotes on the major services. I can live with the figures they gave me. Not much worse than a Honda or Kawi.

I do appreciate everyone trying to look out for me. I didn't go into this blind but you never know what you don't know. I could have gotten the biggest POS of all the XRs. Time will tell. Almost at 2k miles now and still running great. No noises, not pulling to the left or right, fuel mileage is at 44 mpg, it is humming along quite nicely. I'll take it one mile at a time and see where it goes.
 

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One sharp looking bike, love the way the gps fits on that roomey cockpit, id like to see it with the side bags on it, are you going to loose that muffler?
 
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