I was flipping through the manual on my 2017 BMW S1000R that I just bought (with sports package and quickshifter), and learned a bunch of things about it that I had NOT learned from forum stalking, reading reviews, or the dealer.

Some of these are banal — like how to switch on parking lights — but a lot of it is very interesting.

I thought I'd reproduce it here for anyone else who has a BMW S1000XX and wants to know a bit more about how to get the most out of their motorcycle.

How to switch on the parking lights

After turning the motorbike off, but before ten seconds have passed, push the indicator (turn signal) switch to the left and hold it there until the parking lights have turned on. (P43)

Switch for the parking lights on a BMW S1000RR, BMW S1000R, and BMW S1000XR

Don't leave the spare key on the key ring — Keep it separately

Apparently the spare key, when attached to the same ring as the key used to start the engine, could "irritate" the electronics, causing an EWS warning on the display and stopping your bike from starting. (P41)

The turn indicators are self-cancelling

They turn off after a "defined time and distance", which you can get customised by the dealer. (P44)

I have previously had other BMWs with self-cancelling turn signals (my BMW R1200S had it), but I either never used it, or forgot to use it and didn't notice when my motorcycle turned its turn signals off automatically.

You can "Resume" a former cruise control speed

This sounds really useful for those times when you're cruising and then something changes and you have to momentarily come off cruise.

Did you have to brake or shift gears? Well, you don't have to get back to your previous cruising speed to set cruise control again.

Cruise control set/reset button for BMW S1000 series from manual
Cruise control set/reset button for BMW S1000 series

If you've already used cruise control on a ride, you can push the set/res button back quickly to resume a previous cruise speed. (P58)

There's a Helmet Holder!

... Kind of.

If you remove the rear seat on your BMW S1000R and S1000XR (not sure about the RR), you can "use a plastic-sheathed cable (not included)" to secure your helmet to a little loop in the seat. (p 61)

BMW S1000R Helmet holder loop

So since they don't include that cable, is there actually a helmet holder on the bike? C'mon, BMW! Throw in a plastic-sheathed cable!

Your display should say ABS Pro if you have it

It has been a little difficult for me to figure out if a BMW S1000-series motorbike bought second hand has ABS Pro.

ABS Pro is what BMW calls IMU-assisted ABS or cornering ABS.

BMW describes ABS Pro as follows:

ABS Pro offers enhanced safety for braking in corners as well... ABS Pro reduces abrupt changes in steering force, particularly in panic-braking situations, counteracting the vehicle's otherwise natural but undesirable tendency to straighten up. (p118)
The advantages of ABS Pro for the rider are sensitive response and high braking and directional stability combined with best-case deceleration of the motorcycle, even when cornering. (p119)

The first hint is that when you start the motorcycle, it should say "ABS Pro" on the display.

ABS Pro indicator on startup of BMW S1000R
ABS Pro indicator on startup

A few other things I learned about ABS Pro while reading the manual:

  • ABS Pro is available in the "Rain", "Road", and "Dynamic" riding modes, but NOT in "Dyanmic Pro" (a.k.a. "slicks") mode.
  • ABS Pro is not designed for track use, but rather for public roads; but they say that if you have limited track experience, it's much safer to use Road or Dynamic modes and leave ABS Pro available.

You can run the S1000R on 10% Ethanol fuel

Per the manual (page 88), the specs for petrol to sue in the S1000R is

  • Super Plus, unleaded (max. 10 % ethanol, E10)
  • 98 RON (Research Octane Number)
  • 91 AKI (a.k.a. PON — Pump Octane Number). This is an average of RON and MON (Motor Octane Number)

These numbers are kind of hocus-pocus. What do they mean?

Well, most of the readers of this blog are in the UK, Europe, Australia, and the US. Here's how they translate, using information from Wikipedia on octane ratings and how they correspond to numbers you see at the pump.

  • Australia: Use fuel with a 98 RON rating, which is what is shown at the pump. E.g. BP Ultimate 98 has a 98 RON (and an 86 MON, which means a 92 AKI). Or Shell V-Power 98 (see their spec sheet)
  • USA: In the US, labels on pumps are AKI which is an average of MON and RON. In this case, go for a fuel labelled 91+ (a "premium"). It's OK to have up to 10% ethanol.
  • Europe: Again, 98 RON. You don't need 100 RON (which you can find, unbelievably)

Launch Control is separate to Traction Control

This is a n00bish thing to realise, but launch control is separate to traction control.

Here's how to use it — it's depicted on p 107.

  1. Set your ride mode to Dynamic or Dynamic Pro
  2. With the engine running and the vehicle stationary, hold down the starter (i.e. as if you're starting) until the display changes.

The display should say something like "3 L-Con". This means 3 launches remaining.

Launch control activated on BMW S1000R

BMW doesn't let you do more than 3 hard launches in a row, to protect the clutch from overheating.

If it's not possible to start using launch control, it'll say "0 L-CON!"

Then, to use launch control

  • Open throttle to 8,000 rpms
  • Engage the clutch, and open the throttle completely
  • Hold on!

You can disable warnings for bulb failures

Sometimes you have a blown bulb and it's a known thing, like if you've removed the number plate carrier for a track session.

To get rid of the warning, activate the "Equip warn lamp" function in the setup menu.

Your front brake engages the rear brake

BMW S1000 motorcycles have "partially integral brakes" which means that the front brake lever engages the back brake. This was part of Race ABS, which BMW motorcycles have had for a while.

The brake pedal engages the rear brake only.

This means you can't do a burn out unless you have turned ABS totally off! (p116)

Your BMW S1000RR, S1000R or S1000XR has "thrust acoustics"!

What the hell are "thrust acoustics"?? The manual only mentions that in Rain mode "The thrust acoustics are off", but in every other mode (Road, Dynamic, and Dynamic Pro), "The thrust acoustics are on".

BMW Thrust Acoustics — What does it mean??
BMW S1000R Manual — Thrust Acoustics

It's not explained in the manual, but "thrust acoustics" related to pops and crackles from the exhaust, mostly when downshifting.

The thrust acoustics are driven by an air injection system. I have only seen rumours about it, but according to the internet hearsay machine, BMW has an air injection system that introduces air into the exhaust at 5,000 rpm or above to burn excess fuel. When it's on, you get popping sounds on deceleration, and it's particularly audible with aftermarket exhausts.

You need two extra tools to adjust your suspension preload

BMW says you're "required" to adjust your suspension once every three refuelling stop (p78 of S1000R manual), and yet many second-hand motorbikes don't come with the required tools to do the adjustments. (I think it comes with them new, but people forget to supply them.)

  • To adjust front preload, you need a "plastic cap"
  • To adjust rear pre-load, you need a hook wrench
BMW hook wrench and plastic cap needed to adjust S1000RR S1000R S1000XR preload
Tools mentioned in the manual (p 130)

Where do you get these tools? You can get them directly from BMW. The wrench costs $20, and the cap doesn't cost much.

Luckily, you don't need a special tool to adjust damping.

To adjust front compression damping, you just need a flat-head screwdriver (included under the rear seat (included)

And to adjust rear compression damping, you need either a) a flat-head screwdriver (included under the rear seat), or b) if you have Dyanamic Damping Control (DDC) a.k.a. electronic suspension, use the damping adjustment button on the left handlebar (no tool needed)

The maintenance schedule is very easy to remember.

The one I'm buying has 8,000 kms on it.

I jus thave to remember

  • Every 10,000 kms: Replace the oil, oil filter, and air filter. You can do this yourself (unless you want a dealer stamp); keep receipts.
  • Every 30,000 kms (starting from 30,000): Check valves, check timing, replace spark plugs, and change fork oil. Probably get a dealer to do this.
  • Every year, change the oil (unless I hit 10,000 kms in the year already); keep receipts.
  • Every two years, change the brake fluid; keep receipts.

This is a nice change to the maintenance schedule for my Ducati motorcycles which got a little complicated with different things required at different time and distance intervals...

Tyre pressures

Man, a lot of random people recommend different things for tyre pressures. It's one of the worst questions

Here's an easy version — what it gives you in the shop manual. These are with the tyres cold. These are the recommended pressures for both an S1000R and S1000RR.

  • Front tyre: 2.5 Bar/36 psi
  • Rear tyre: 2.9 Bar/42 psi

The rear tyre always has more pressure than the front tyre on every motorcycle I've owned.

Never ask for an opinion on tyre pressures. Every rider, mechanic, and racer has their own opinion. It's exhausting! The only scientifically tested opinions are those owned by race teams or engineers.

You might have your own opinion from changing the pressures and experiencing how it works differently, but it takes a very experienced rider on good road conditions to be able to feel the difference without subjectivity creeping in.