BMW S1000XR Project Bike Post-Service Report

The human error factor.

S1000XR at Long Beach BMW
Zack giving the S1000XR a cursory inspection before paying the boss' tab at the dealer.©Motorcyclist

Wrist: Marc Cook
MSRP (2016): $19,790 (as tested)
Miles: 19,014
MPG: 37
Mods: None

In the life of the S1000XR, the 18,000-mile maintenance was supposed to be the big one, a general check-over of the bike plus the first time the valve clearances are checked. Owners get a little nervous about the valve check because of the possibility that one or more clearances will be out, and the design of modern engines means you'll have to extract the cams and move adjusting shims around to get the clearances right. It's a difficult job for the home mechanic and sometimes even for the guy who gets paid to do it.

Good news with my S1000XR long-term bike, whose valves were all within spec, so the service tallied up $423 in parts (including a headlight bulb) and 5.5 hours of labor for $594. That also includes four quarts of oil, four new spark plugs (at $20 each), as well as new oil- and air-filter elements. Some of that labor includes a full flush of the brake system. The XR rolled out feeling not at all different, though the headlight now worked. Apparently, the Osram I installed previously succumbed to vibration or boredom, not old age.

That would be the happy end of the story had the bike not failed me within 5 miles of my house (see Cook's Corner for the deets on this). Apparently, the XR had been reassembled in such a way that the throttle-body harness got pinched into the number-three throttle spigot. Eventually, the wires wore through, putting the bike into limp-home mode. On a Friday afternoon, Long Beach BMW got the XR on the back of a flatbed truck and by Monday had diagnosed the problem. Unfortunately, the bike would be in the shop for more than two weeks waiting for parts. Disassembly, repair of the harness, and a replacement rubber intake manifold (between the engine and the throttle-body rack) consumed $66 in parts and almost $400 in labor. Lesson? Be really damn careful buttoning up your S1000-whatever. These are densely packaged machines.

BMW S1000XR wheelies
Zack says the Beemer felt strong as ever. Translation: wheelies!©Motorcyclist

While I'm temporarily grounded, the Young Zack Courts rode the XR away from the dealership and reported that the big Beemer felt just fine, strong as ever. The Michelin Pilot Road 4s are holding up well at 4,600 miles, with the rear beginning to square off, and Zack noted you could feel some of that in the steering. Over the spring, I rode the bike a fair bit in the rain and can say the Michelins are very good in the wet: predictable, lots of grip, quick to warm up. Soon I'll be back on a bike and more than eager to burn the last few miles off the Michelins.