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2023 BMW M1000R – SHEER NAKED AGGRESSION

Images by Nick Edards

Yes, it’s painted for a party.

The rock I was sitting on was hot. Rocks get hot in summer. It is the nature of both the season and the rock. I was hot too, and a little dry-mouthed. But not from thirst. When your entire being has been jacked with adrenalin-powered endorphins, it tends to dry you out some. I wished I still smoked. It seemed appropriate.

I’m fogging the visor due to terror.

Two metres away, on the side of the road, sat BMW’s M1000R, its rear tyre spiked with gravel. It looked like a black donut studded with grey hundreds-and-thousands.

 

We were having what might be termed a brief operational pause. I was no longer 25. It takes a little longer for my thrill-jelly to reconstitute itself. In the past, I would have a cigarette or three while this happened. I’d tell myself smoking calmed me. Of course, it didn’t. Although I would tell myself it did. But I no longer smoked. So, I just sat there staring at the M with slack-jawed intensity, wishing I had a pack of Dunhill, while the hot rock unpleasantly grilled my arse.

That’s a sexy black donut, that.

Of the many bikes I have ridden, there have been very few that have branded themselves on my being. I can list them. It’s not a long list. But it was now longer by one more bike.

 

“What can I tell people about the M1000R?” I muttered as I sat there on that hot rock.

Yes, the road is damp. It’s damp every time Nick and I go there to shoot a bike.

Usually, thoughts about a bike, and what you might like to know about it, form in my head when I’m riding it. Then I get home, marshal those thoughts into some kind of coherence, and write the review.

 

This was different. It’s like the M1000R had rammed a spiked electrode into my brain and hosed it full of yesterday’s Snowy Mountains Scheme output.

 

The only things going through my head as I’d pushed the M1000R as hard as I dared, was a variety of blasphemies, grunts and moans, punctuated by six-languages worth of swearing. And that’s a power of swearing.

It tells you it’s special when you turn it on.

Nothing else seemed appropriate. And nothing else was possible, quite frankly. Sure, I could descend into banal mediocrity, jam some adjectives and adverbs between the objective facts on the spec sheet – 210hp, 113Nm, 199kg wet, etc – but then I’d just be doing what most of the motorcycle media will do. And they’re much better at that than I am.

And then it tells you how long you’re going to jail for.

How about I tell you other stuff instead?

 

How about I tell you my mate, Kane, who races bikes, is young, strong, and correctly fearless, is going to buy one? His mind was made up when him and his mate (who rides a Ducati Streetfighter) went for a squirt up the Putty the weekend before I picked up the bike he took on that ride.

The adaptive headlight chucks out some serious lumens.

“It just walks away from the Ducati,” he said. “I’ve never ridden anything like it.”

 

“You rode both?” I asked.

 

“Yeah, we swapped. Same thing. The M is better in every possible way.”

The heart of the matter. Fear not, all that gronky piping and cat-converter looks good in the bin.

How about I tell you how I chased Duncan, astride his new S1000RR, up and down the Putty Road, and sat close enough to his rear tyre to fill me with horror and exaltation? I normally can’t keep him in sight. On that day, I was wondering if I should have a crack at passing him, reasoning going to jail for 250 in an 80 zone would be much like going to jail for 180 in an 80 zone.

The M1000R is very comfortable. Even when you’re misbehaving.

How about I tell you the M1000R, aside from being as good a bike as I have ever ridden, and as good a bike as a bike needs to be, is also a bike that’s easy and rewarding to ride at hell-speeds even by muppets like me?

That’s the best quick-shifter in the business.

How about I tell you how omnipotent I felt riding it? I was on a bike that could slay all that challenged it. Of course, I could not, since there are lots of riders faster than me. But the bike could. It had “I can make you my bitch!” written all over it – from the crazy aero, to the speed-pimp race-paint BMW smeared it with. The bike’s sheer ability, it’s overwhelming competence and integrity, made my grins evil and my intent laser-focused.

 

When you are committed and deep into a long 75km/h sweeper at 190, hot on the heels of your unhinged mate (or he’s hot on yours), you’re not even breathing. You just…well, “are”, I guess, because there’s nothing else you can be or do at that point.

It’s the same blue as I’d like my eyes to be.

These are the moments that exalt you. You’re raised to a higher plane within yourself. And that is only possible when the bike you’re on is utterly unfussed by what you’re doing. And in fact, completely at ease and wondering (if it was sentient) why you’re not going faster and harder. It certainly can, even if you can’t.

It’s got that Big Biznis vibe to it.

And it does all of this without a hint of malice that something like the Panigale has. The Ducati is in every way as astonishing a bike as the M1000R. But the BMW is not frying your leg with nuclear heat. It’s not forcing you into a racer’s crouch you’ve no business being in, certainly at my age. The M1000R can commute and tour, whereas the Panigale will hurt you if you do that with it.

Now and again, I snag the Wheel of Fortune (the menu dial in-board of the grip) with my thumb. Yes, I am clumsy.

The Beemer is so good at what it does and how it does it, some people will declare it lacks “character”, as if it’s one of their badly-behaved kids. Let’s be honest for a sec. This “character” thing was created by people who rode Nortons, Ducatis, and Harleys as a way of explaining why the bastards were trying to kill them from time to time.  I was one of those people. I know this.

Yes, it’s now raining.

The M1000R is quite beyond any such infantile mewlings and anthropomorphisms. It’s a goddamn motorcycle. It has characteristics, not character.

 

It has the entire suite of BMW’s superb electronic rider-aids. Of course, it does. And you can look at all of them on the website, shrug – because you’d expect nothing less from BMW – and move on with your life.

Her yoga pants will have to be size Small.

If you wish to go up a level, there’s the Competition variant, which gives you a bunch of carbon goodies, like the rear-wheel cover and chain guard, front-wheel cover, tank trims, airbox cover, aero bits, an activation code for the M GPS-Laptrigger, and M Carbon wheels that cut the unsprung weight by 1.6kg.

One day, there will be a Highway Patrol car coming the other way. That will be a bad day.

I’m not sure I’d opt for carbon wheels for road use, which would mean a man would have to actually own two of these – one for the track and one for the road. I could never afford two of them. But I would sure as hell cover the single unit I’d buy in the other carbon goodies. I’m strange like that.

Quality everywhere.

This is pretty much what was going on in my head as I sat on that hot rock by the side of the road, and gaped at the M1000R.

It needs its guts removed. The song of our people is too muted.

It was more bike than I could ever ride. I did not care. The chunk of it that I could ride was simply amazing.  Utterly, unquestionably, and completely amazing.

Try one. See if I’m lying.

SEE MORE HERE

Loved it, big-time.

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Boris Mihailovic

Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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