Jumping on the XR immediately feels very similar to the cockpit of the R 1200 GS that has been dominating the ADV market for years. The bars, controls, optional hand guards, dash and adjustable windscreen are extremely reminiscent to GS units. Then, the engine fires up and you are instantly reminded that an S 1000 RR-derived motor is powering this “tourer.” Like the S1000RR, the XR requires a bit of extra revs and clutch slippage to get moving, but once it does, the RR motor doesn’t let you forget where it came from. Right at about 4,000 RPM’s the power curve ramps up steeply and so does the tendency of the front end. As the revs pass through the 10,000 territory, a light kick to the shifter pops the tranny into the next gear instantly with help from the butter-smooth quick shifter system. The front end floats gently across the pavement and never seems to get out of hand thanks to the stout steering stabilizer. Jumping onto the brakes coming up on a corner and hammering the transmission down through the gears is an awesome experience. The auto-blipping throttle, precise gear transition and seamless ABS operation allow focus to remain on the road ahead and entry angle of the bike.
Originally designed for the track-shredding 200 HP S1000RR superbike, the XR’s power plant has racing roots. The 999cc inline four cylinder motor is retuned for more street and adventure appropriate riding conditions. The meat of the powerband is shifted down much lower on the RPM curve and capable of 83 ft. lbs of torque with a peak power of 165 HP at 11,000 RPM, as opposed to the 13,500 redline of its gnarly RR brother.