2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition Review

Rennie Scaysbrook | October 11, 2023

The BMW M 1000 R M Package is about as close as you can get to a WorldSBK racer with high handlebars.

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition right side
The serenity of the beach hides the sheer madness the BMW exudes.

Photography by Ryan Nitzen

Before we dive in, let’s have a look at a few key specs for the 2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition.

You’ve got a S 1000 RR superbike 999cc ShiftCam inline four-cylinder motor pumping 205 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque. Marzocchi electronic suspension. M-spec four-piston radially mounted calipers. Carbon-fiber wheels and bodywork. And wings. Don’t forget the wings.

At no point do any of the aforementioned specs make for what I would describe as a “good street bike.” They do, however, make for a street bike that is damn close to anything I would describe as a full-on race bike—yes, race bikes can have a single-piece handlebar.

I’m lucky to have ridden pretty much all the super-nakeds around, including the immense Ducati Streetfighter V4 S in Spain earlier this year, but there’s something about the uber-technical BMW that tickles me just right.

Perhaps it’s because I can remember the first time I rode an S 1000 RR in 2010, the memory of which will never leave. Such was my astonishment at what BMW had just created. The S 1000 R a few years later was similarly spectacular but didn’t quite have the razor-edge performance I was hoping for. In the M 1000 R, jazzed up to M Competition spec, I have no such worries.

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition cornering
Aim the BMW at a corner and hold on. It carves lines with the agility of a 600.

The $26,945 M 1000 R M Competition—a $4995 premium over the base M 1000 R—is packed to the gills with every form of BMW electronics wizardry they can muster, which goes a way to controlling such an unruly beast. You get five modes Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race, plus Race Pro, which also gets three levels of throttle response and engine-braking parameters. It’s incredibly easy to get lost in the electronic maze that is the M’s dash, and I’ll admit even in the time I had it in my garage, I never got close to mastering it.

This is an inherent problem with so many options at your fingertips, but I suspect if you were to buy an M, they’d be the least of your concerns. After all, you’ve got 16-level traction control, cornering ABS, engine brake, wheelie control, launch and cruise control, Dynamic Brake Control, lap timer, hill-hold control, and a pit-lane speed limiter (why?) to play with.

But enough of the electronics. What’s it like to ride? I think you can guess, but I’ll tell you anyway.

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition carbon-fiber wheel
Carbon-fiber wheels, yes, please!

 

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition front wheel
The Marzocchi fork, matched to BMW’s Dynamic Damping Control algorithm, makes for a soft ride in Road mode and stiff as a race bike in Race Pro mode.

At low rpm around the Orange County streets, it’s a pussycat. If you so desired, you’d never need to venture north of 6000 rpm and still have plenty of fun on the M, especially when in Road mode. Each individual mode hardens or softens the suspension, and in Race Pro mode, the ride is stiff and unforgiving. After sampling it a few times, Road is where I spent most of my seat time.

This mode allows for a relatively plush ride that doesn’t let the chassis become too unruly when you want to give the bike a squeeze in the twisties. The softer power delivery in Road mode makes for a more enjoyable ride, allowing you to explore the motor’s prowess a little more without feeling like you’re going to ride off into the sky.

In Road mode, you’re left with whatever the TC setting is from the factory. Again, this is fine for most applications found on the street, but if you want to amp things up, head into Race Pro mode (an optional extra at purchase from your BMW dealer), and you can choose from +8 to -8 TC settings. You’ll also be met with the full force of the 205-horsepower motor.

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition rearsets
205 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque lurk within this motor. Check out those beautiful rearsets and footpegs.

 

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition rear wheel
As part of the M Competition package, you get a special chain that adds a bit more bling to go with all that carbon.

Just to give you an idea, BMW WorldSBK machines of a decade ago “only” had 10 horsepower more than what this M 1000 R produces. That’s the level of performance on offer. However, it’s not perfect.

BMW still hasn’t got to grips with the emissions police, who have seen to it the area between 6-8000 rpm is nothing more than a dead zone. The motor labors through these 2000 rpm, then screams to life, although not quite as bad as the S 1000 RR from a few years ago.

From here, things get really silly. The front end feels like an angry Doberman on a leash, constantly trying to rip itself away from the owner; the only thing holding the show together is the wheelie control working overtime in the background.

It’s a visceral experience, one in which sense and sensibility get spat out the Akrapovic exhaust and the intake and exhaust wail take center stage. A single-piece handlebar only adds to the occasion—this is street fighting at its best.

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition exhaust
The Akrapovic exhaust gives extra bark to match the bite.

Although pinning the M’s throttle is an assault on the senses, the motor is equally annoying in how much it vibrates at the handlebars. A 300-mile, seven-hour round trip had my hands feeling like they’d been gripping something that was hiding under the bed in a shoebox. The mirrors are absolutely useless on the freeway as they vibrate so much you can barely make out the shape of a car behind, let alone tell if it’s close or not. This has long been a BMW four-cylinder superbike engine problem, and it’s a shame to see it’s still not resolved.

Aim the M at your favorite twisty road, however, and this is where the motorcycle really shines. Carbon-fiber wheels take 3.5 pounds of unsprung weight out of the equation, and thus the M turns with the kind of speed normally reserved for Yamaha YZF-R6s. You’re perched in a near-perfect attack position thanks to the 33.1-inch seat and 3.1-inch handlebar risers, allowing you to push the M on corner entry harder than you’ve ever been able to on a BMW sports-naked bike before.

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition handlebar controls
Mission control is mainly on the left handlebar and will take you a long time to work out all the available options.

Under brakes, you’ve got everything from cornering ABS to brake slide control, which is probably completely unnecessary, but the performance at the lever cannot be questioned. BMW has invested in a good master cylinder to match the power of the four-piston brakes, and the modulation at the M Competition-special brake lever is superb. What you ask for at the lever, you get at the tire. If only more manufacturers stopped cheaping out on their master cylinders, I’d be able to stop complaining about them.

Part of the M Package with the M 1000 R is not just the carbon-fiber wheels but also the beautiful billet footpegs and rearsets that give the machine such a quality look and feel. These add-ons are, of course, part of the BMW Motorrad aftermarket catalog, but it’s nice not to have to go scrummaging through it after you’ve just spent the best part of $30K on your new ride.

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition leaned into corner
Beastly performance is on offer at any point in the M 1000 R ride, but especially in the corners.

Considering what’s out there at this ultra-high-end level of the naked-bike class, the 2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition represents, in my mind at least, the best value in the market, usurping the Ducati simply due to the nimbleness given to the chassis via the carbon-fiber wheels.

It’s an angry-looking thing, one I’ve never got tired of staring at in the few weeks I’ve had it. If they could fix the vibrations at highway speeds, it’d be the near-perfect high-performance naked bike. As it is now, it takes a hell of a lot of beating. CN

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition Specifications

2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition Specifications

MSRP: $26,945
Engine: Inline four-cylinder
Drivetrain: 4 valves per cylinder, BMW ShiftCam variable intake cam control
Cooling System: Liquid
Displacement: 999cc
Bore x stroke: 80 x 49.7mm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection system, 48mm elliptical throttle bodies, Ride-by-Wire throttle
Compression ratio: 13.3:1
Exhaust:  4-2-1
Transmission: 6-speed
Clutch: Multi-plate anti-hopping oil bath clutch, mechanically operated
Electronics: Five ECU modes Rain, Road, Dynamic, and Race, plus Race Pro, three level throttle response and engine braking, 16-level traction control, Cornering ABS, engine brake, wheelie control, launch and cruise control, Dynamic Brake Control, lap timer, hill hold control, full LED lighting, Daytime Running Light, backlit handlebar switches, TFT color display
Chassis: Twin-spar cast aluminum
Front suspension: 45mm inverted electronic Marzocchi fork, fully adjustable
Rear suspension: Marzocchi electronic monoshock, fully adjustable
Front brake: Dual 320mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted monobloc 4-piston calipers, Cornering ABS
Rear brake: 220mm disc, Brembo twin-piston, Cornering ABS
Front tire: 120/70 – ZR 17 M/C (58 W)
Rear tire: 200/55 – ZR 17 M/C (78 W)
Wheelbase: 57.1 in.
Seat height: 33.1 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.35 gal.
Weight (curb): 438 lbs.
Cycle News Magazine 2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition Review

 

Click here to read the 2023 BMW M 1000 R M Competition story in the Cycle News Digital Edition Magazine.

 

Click here for the latest Cycle News Sportbike motorcycle reviews and news.

 

Click here for more BMW motorcycle reviews and news.

 

Related posts