I was flipping through the manual on my 2017 BMW S 1000 R that I just bought (with sports package and quick-shifter), 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 S 1000 R, BMW S 1000 RR, or S 1000 XR and wants to know a bit more about how to get the most out of their motorcycle.

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Are you obsessed with motorcycles?

Well, I am. That’s why I created this site — as an outlet. I love learning and sharing what others might find useful. If you like what you read here, and you’re a fraction as obsessed as I am, you might like to know when I’ve published more. (Check the latest for an idea of what you’ll see.)

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)

bmw s1000R s1000RR manual - parking lights

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 BMW motorcycles with self-cancelling turn signals (my BMW R 1200 S 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.

BMW S1000R S1000RR manual - resume cruise speed
Cruise control set/reset button for BMW S 1000 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 S 1000 R and S 1000 XR (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 S1000RR manual - helmet holder under seat

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 S 1000-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.

BMW S1000R S1000RR manual abs pro indicator
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 “Dynamic 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 S 1000 R on 10% Ethanol fuel

Per the manual (page 88), the specs for petrol to use in the S 1000 R 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.

BMW S1000R S1000RR manual - launch control

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 S 1000 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 S 1000 RR, S 1000 R or S 1000 XR has “thrust acoustics”!

What the heck 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 S1000R S1000RR manual - thrust acoustics exhaust sound
BMW S 1000 R Manual — Thrust Acoustics

It’s not explained in the manual, but BMW S 1000 R “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 stops (p78 of S 1000 R 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 S1000R Manual - toolkit for S1000R S1000RR
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 Dynamic 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 km on it.

The simplified maintenance schedule for the BMW S 1000 motorcycles is:

  • Every 10,000 km: Replace the oil, oil filter, and air filter. You can do this yourself (unless you want a dealer stamp); keep receipts.
  • Every 30,000 km (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 km 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…

See here for the full maintenance schedule.

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 S 1000 R and S 1000 RR.

  • 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.

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  1. That’s a lot of cool shit. That sucks I didn’t know any of that while I had my bike. I got home with it and 2 days later it was stolen by the dirt bag people in medford oregon. Still haven’t got it back and its been 2 months. And I think it’s kind of stupid that bmw doesn’t do bmw assist with motorcycles because if they did I would have my bike right now and using all those cool features. Such an expensive belike to not be located

      1. Thanks for the information! I’m buying a 2013 s1000rr in the next few weeks so I’ll have to cross reference this to what is available and works on that year model. I intend on eventually upgrading to the 2018 so I’ve taken a few screenshots of this as a reminder! Thank you!

    1. So sorry to hear about your loss. I’m trying out using an Apple AirTag as a bike tracker. Since any iPhone can anonymously report the location, you can likely find where it’s stolen. Although it will work better I’m sure in a populated city like LA and not so much Oregon. The devices are not GPS trackers and rely on the iOS device within range to report the location. If the thief has an iPhone and doesn’t know to put it on Airplane mode – you’d be able to track it. They will eventually get a notification that there is an Airtag nearby and after 3 days away from home it’ll start making noises. Currently I just slipped mine under the strap below the pillion seat, but considering their 1 year battery life, I’m considering burying it deeper into the bike. Somewhere you would need to do disassembly to remove. I hope I never have to test it out in the real world, but I may do a simulation GTA with my friend and test how well it works. For $29 with no subscription plans or anything to me it’s a no brainer.

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