The BMW S 1000 RR is predictably potent and surprisingly versatile


2023 BMW S 1000 RR
2023 BMW S 1000 RR

The BMW S 1000 RR offers both power and approachability. The 2023 model features upgrades like an improved frame, new geometry, advanced aerodynamics, and a suite of rider aids, yet maintains its ease of use. With a base price of $17,895, it stands as an affordable option in its class, even when compared to competitors like the Yamaha R1 and Kawasaki ZX-10. The optional M Competition and Premium Packages, although increasing the cost, add attractive features including semi-active damping, forged wheels, and additional riding modes, solidifying its place as TopSpeed’s Best Sportbike of 2024.

From a design standpoint, the S 1000 RR has evolved into a visually stunning machine, complete with M-style wings and an aggressive, shark-like appearance. The bike’s finishing details enhance its aesthetic appeal. Performance-wise, the S 1000 RR shines with its 999 cc, inline-four engine, which delivers smooth yet powerful performance, thanks to BMW’s Shift-Cam technology. This engine is versatile, offering exhilarating performance on the track while still being manageable on the street. The S 1000 RR also boasts comprehensive technology and equipment, making it a well-rounded option in the competitive supersport market.
 

Model
S 1000 RR

Engine
999cc 16V, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled Inline-4 w. VVT

Transmission
Straight Cut 6-Speed w. Quickshifter

Horsepower
205 HP

Torque
84 LB-FT

Driveline
525 Chain Drive

MSRP
17,895

MSRP (As Tested)
23,700

0-60 MPH
3.2 seconds

Quarter-Mile
10.3 seconds (150 MPH)

Released in 2009, the BMW S 1000 RR soon left its mark on the track, dominating the 2010 FIM Superstock 1000 championship and building an enviable reputation for offering approachable performance on the street. The recipient of significant updates in 2012 and 2015, BMW has tweaked the mix again for model year 2023. Among other things, the latest S 1000 RR gets an upgraded frame, new geometry, race-bred aero, and a host of standard rider aids. What hasn’t changed is its approachability. BMW’s confidence-inspiring S 1000 RR is still one of the easiest supersport bikes to ride fast. It is also one of the most affordable, undercutting the Yamaha R1, Suzuki’s “Gixxer” 1000, and the Kawasaki ZX-10.




The S 1000 RR has a base MSRP of $17,895, but our test bike included the $2,495 M Competition and $2,340 Premium packages. These include the M Motorsport Light White color scheme, forged wheels, an M-branded seat, and premium features, including a titanium can, heated grips, and supplementary modes and aids. While the additional options significantly inflate the cost, the 2023 S 1000 RR base model offers an impressive mix of ballistic performance, choice components, and extensive rider aids as standard. Endlessly forgiving, ferociously potent, and surprisingly versatile, it was TopSpeed’s Best Sportbike of 2024.

Note: In order to provide you with an honest and unbiased review, the vehicle reviewed in this article was ridden on a daily basis throughout the course of daily life for a period of one week. For detailed insight into testing procedures and data collection, please review our methodology policy.



2023 BMW S 1000 RR First Impressions

BMW is perhaps better known for its finishing than its styling, but the once boss-eyed S 1000 RR has evolved into a stunning machine. With the M-style winglets now fitted as standard, its shark-like facade has morphed into a hammerhead, with menacing recessed lights and the familiar gills incorporated into the engine fairing. It is an imposing, track-bred machine with an inverted swingarm and beautifully machined adjustable rearsets that look like they came straight off a MotoGP bike.


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The S 1000 RR’s finishing is excellent throughout, and our press bike’s M Competition paint and graphics package is eye-catching without being too elaborate. BMW has gone all-in on the details. The M Endurance gold chain fitted to our test model matches the gold finishing on the fork tubes, while the brake calipers and some of the components making up the rearsets are anodized in different shades of blue to match those of the graphics. Even the rear shock’s red spring matches the red accents adorning the bodywork.

Engine and Performance

2023 BMW S 1000 RR with M-Competition Package
Guy Pickrell

But aesthetics are only skin deep. The undisputed star of the RR show is its smooth yet ferocious 999cc inline-four engine. Equipped with BMW’s Shift-Cam variable intake valve timing, the engine offers increased torque in the low to medium rev range while maximizing power above 9,000 RPM. The RR is a track weapon. Peak output of 205 horsepower arrives at 13,000 RPM, and the newly designed variable intake funnels that help it reach such heady numbers only activate when you pass 11,900 RPM. For context, in third gear, you’ll be traveling at over 115 MPH before the funnels adapt to their shorter setting. Which begs the question, what’s it like to ride on the street?


Arguably, the most impressive aspect of the S 1000 RR’s inline-four is its versatility. Peak torque of 83 pound-feet comes at an equally sporty 11,000 RPM. But torque builds quickly, and the BMW pulls like a train above 4,500 revs, making it immensely fun to ride on open roads. Using just a fraction of the available performance is enough to blast the S 1000 RR out of the corners like a surface-to-air missile. And while the RR is unlikely to be anybody’s idea of a commuter bike, it will happily trundle around town in almost any gear at any speed without complaint. Try opening the throttle on your Panigale V4 at 30 MPH in sixth gear – it will share its displeasure.

2023 BMW S 1000 RR with M-Sport graphics
Guy Pickrell


The task of delivering all that power to the rear wheel falls to the RR’s race-bred, straight-cut transmission. For the uninitiated, straight-cut gear sprockets deliver engine torque more efficiently to the final drive. They also tend to make a lot of noise and elicit clunky gear changes. While there is a discernible whine from the S 1000 RR’s six-speed tranny, it doesn’t even get close to annoying. While a definitive clunk accompanies gears changes, especially in the lower rev ranges, the newly reconfigured quickshifter is one of the smoothest I’ve used, even when going from first to second. The 2023 model also gets a shorter secondary gear (an extra tooth on the rear sprocket), which sacrifices top speed for improved acceleration across the gear range.


Engine And Performance Specifications

Engine

Type:

16V, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled, Inine-4 w. Variable Valve Timing

Displacement:

999 cc

Bore x Stroke:

80 x 49.7 mm

Compression Ratio:

13.3 : 1

Transmission:

Straight Cut 6-Speed w. Quickshifter

Final Drive:

525 Chain Drive

Performance

Maximum Speed

188 MPH

0-60 mph

3.2 seconds

Peak Horsepower:

205 HP @ 13,000 RPM

Maximum Torque:

84 LB-FT @ 11,000 RPM

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Ride And Handling

2023 BMW S 1000 RR with optional M forged aluminum wheels
Guy Pickrell

Helping keep the RR light is an aluminum bridge frame, which uses the engine as a stressed member, and a bolt-on subframe. Extreme lean angles necessarily detract from the suspension’s efficacy, and the frame’s enhanced design offers more lateral flexibility to help cope with mid-corner bumps. Geometry has also received a tweaking, and the new RR has slightly more trail and a longer wheelbase for improved stability, and, according to BMW, the MotoGP-style winglets add up to 37 pounds of front-end downforce. Although you need to be traveling at serious speeds to benefit from their inclusion, they do, of course, look cool.


The suspension remains largely unchanged from the previous model. A 45 mm inverted fork and central spring monoshock are adjustable for rebound, compression, and spring preload. However, an optional DDC function adds semi-active damping to the 2023 RR, and the rear shock is now height-adjustable for enhanced tuning. For dedicated track enthusiasts, the underslung swingarm includes slide-out captive bushings and, coupled with the chamfered rear brake pads, makes changing the rear wheel a breeze. Updates to the wiring harness also allow for easy removal of the license plate frame.

2023 BMW S 1000 RR with racing-style winglets
BMW Motorrad


Another standout element of the S 1000 RR is its front brake. Powerful, dual, M-branded (Nissin) four-piston radial calipers clamp 320 mm floating discs, and a Nissin radial master cylinder offers exceptional feel and control. Together with a single twin-piston caliper and 265 mm disc at the rear, the RR’s light and responsive brakes add the confidence to test more of its formidable performance. The standard die-cast aluminum wheels are already light, but our test bike’s M Package includes forged wheels, and a carbon option is also available. The standard S 1000 RR weighs just 434 pounds (wet), making it one of the lightest in class. Aprilia’s RSV4 is one of the (very) few supersport motorcycles that can claim a better power-to-weight ratio.


Chassis Specifications

Frame:

Aluminum Bridge w. Bolt-On Subframe

Wheelbase:

57.4 inches

Rake/Trail:

23.6º / 4.0 inches

Seat Height:

32.4 inches

Suspension – Front/Rear:

45 mm Inverted Fork, Fully Adjustable Spring Preload, Rebound and Compression

Brakes – Front/Rear:

320mm, Floating Discs, Dual Nissin Radial 4-Piston Calipers w. Radial MC / Single 265mm Disc, Brembo 2-Piston Floating Caliper

Wheels – Front/Rear:

3.50 x 17 inches / 6.00 x 17 inches

Tires – Front/Rear:

120/70 ZR17 / 190/55 ZR17 (M-Package 200/55 ZR17)

Curb Weight:

434 pounds (M-Package 426 pounds)

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Technology And Equipment


BMW’s ubiquitous, lefthand-grip-mounted Multi-Controller wheel provides access to the S 1000 RR’s menus and settings, displayed on the excellent 6.5-inch color TFT instrument cluster. As before, ride-by-wire throttle management coupled with a six-axis IMU sensor underpins a full suite of active rider aids and modes, and the 2023 models receive some track-oriented optional updates. Two distinct rider mode categories provide settings optimized for street or track riding. For the street, Rain, Road, Dynamic, and Race modes, apply different throttle response maps, traction control settings, and ABS intervention thresholds. The optional Premium Package adds three Pro modes for the track, which offer customizable settings and a new Slide Control function.

Adding a steering angle sensor has allowed BMW to introduce a Slide Control setting, which works in conjunction with the lean-sensitive traction control system, and a Brake Slide setting that works with the intelligent ABS system. Slide Control allows the gifted and the brave to set the rear wheel’s slip angle to help power-slide the RR like a pro on the track, with options to accommodate slick tires. Similarly, the Brake Slide function allows the rear wheel to step out, to a preordained degree, under heavy braking, helping expert riders get the best out of the bike. The new setting also allows for adjustable wheelie control and three-way engine braking adjustment. Launch control and a pit-lane speed limiter round off the track-focused rider aids.


Applying sharp pressure to either the brake lever or pedal at a stop on an incline activates the RR’s hill-hold function. The rear brake stays locked until you pull away. With the optional Premium Package, riders can set the hill-hold function to automatically activate when coming to a stop on any gradient. The Premium Package also includes heated grips, cruise control, and the DDC, semi-active damping mentioned earlier. A new USB charging port hides under the tail section, and a lightweight lithium battery comes fitted as standard.

Standard Equipment

  • RBW Throttle Management
  • Adjustable Multi-Channel IMU-Based ABS
  • Adjustable IMU-Based Traction Control
  • Lithium Battery
  • USB charging Port
  • Hill-Hold Control

Premium Equipment

  • DDC Semi-Active Damping
  • Pro Rider Modes
  • Slide Control
  • ABS Pro with Brake Slide Assist
  • Launch Control
  • Pit Lane limiter,
  • Automated Hill-Hold Control
  • Heated Grips
  • Cruise Control


The BMW S 1000 RR Vs Its Competitors

2023 BMW S 1000 RR with M-Competition chain
Guy Pickrell

The research and development employed by factory teams to gain an edge in MotoGP, World Superbike, and MotoAmerica trickles down to the street-legal versions, making the liter-class supersport market extremely competitive. One of the least powerful and most affordable, the Honda CBR1000RR produces 183 horsepower and costs nearly $17,000. At the opposite end of the market, the Ducati Panigale V4 costs around $25,000 and produces 210 horsepower, while premium models such as the Fireblade version of the CBR and BMW’s M 1000 RR cost upwards of $30,000. They are among the most capable and pricey machines available.


Among the supersport motorcycles in the under $20,000 bracket, the S 1000 RR has some serious competition. The standard CBR may be the most tame, but it offers tremendous performance for its sticker price. The BMW also goes head to head with all those other Japanese legends: The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, the Yamaha YZF R1, and Suzuki’s GSX-R1000R. All three offer extreme performance, premium components, outstanding power-to-weight ratios, and MSRPs of between $18,400 and $18,900. If Italian flair is more your thing, but the Panigale’s price tag is beyond your budget, the Aprilia RSV4 1100, with a claimed 217 horsepower, can be yours for about $19,000. In short, it’s hard for any model to stand out in supersports.

How The BMW S 1000 RR Compares To The Aprilia RSV4 1100


The Aprilia’s V4 engine is a wondrous thing and, arguably, more characterful than BMW’s silky smooth inline-four, and its aluminum twin-spar chassis delivers exceptional handling characteristics. Although the RSV4 lays claim to slightly better performance than the S 1000 RR, only a very few are good enough to benefit, and its Brmebo Sylema brakes promise more than they deliver, especially relative to the precise feel and immense power offered by the RR’s Nissin arrangement. Although both bikes offer exquisite finishing, I would argue that this is a rare example of the Germans out-styling the Italians. The BMW also benefits from a more sophisticated electronics suite, even without the optional semi-active damping.


  • 2023 BMW S 1000 RR 2024 Aprilia RSV4
    Model S 1000 RR RSV4 1100
    Engine 999cc 16V, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled Inline-4 w. VVT 1099cc, 16V, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled, 65º V-4
    Transmission Straight Cut 6-Speed w. Quickshifter 6-Speed w. Quickshifter
    Horsepower 205 HP 217 HP @ 13,000 RPM
    Torque 84 LB-FT 92 LB-FT @ 10,500 RPM
    Driveline 525 Chain Drive Chain
    MSRP 17,895 $18,999

How The BMW S 1000 RR Compares To The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

Kawasaki’s legendary Ninja has been around for over three decades and had cemented its name in the annuls of motorcycle history long before the latest generation wracked up six consecutive WSBK championships. The 2024 ZX-10R produces 200 horsepower, and the base model’s $18,799 MSRP (ABS version) includes a full suite of customizable active rider aids, including IMU-derived traction control, ABS, engine braking, and a quickshifter. Showa suspension and Brembo brakes help the Kawasaki offer excellent handling and control. The one area where the Ninja falls short of the S 1000 RR is curb weight. The BMW weighs over 20 pounds less, which is not insignificant at this level.


  • 2023 BMW S 1000 RR 2024 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
    Model S 1000 RR Ninja ZX-10R
    Engine 999cc 16V, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled Inline-4 w. VVT 998cc, 16V, DOHC, Liquid-Cooled Inline-4
    Transmission Straight Cut 6-Speed w. Quickshifter 6-Speed w. Quickshifter
    Horsepower 205 HP 200 HP @ (13,200)
    Torque 84 LB-FT 85 (11,400)
    Driveline 525 Chain Drive Chain
    MSRP 17,895 $18,799

Should You Buy The BMW S 1000 RR?

2023 BMW S 1000 RR
Guy Pickrell


Critics often point out that BMW’s attractive base prices quickly escalate as you add more features, and the options applied to our test bike add nearly $5,000 to the sticker price. Nevertheless, the base model S 1000 RR includes all the power, the fantastic brakes, and a full suite of rider aids and is still more affordable than most of its rivals in the supersport class. The optional DDS semi-active damping makes the BMW easier to live with on the street. The ride is necessarily firm, but the DDS system does a great job of adapting to less-than-perfect road surfaces. However, it is still a nice-to-have option, and the base RR offers excellent value for money.

While the BMW S 1000 RR is an excellent track tool, the same can be said for virtually every other big-bore supersport motorcycle on the market. On the street, however, the RR may have an edge. Although its sporting ergonomics are aggressive, they are easier to live with than many of its competitors, and its inline-four is far more forgiving than its (slightly) more powerful rivals. Above all, it is an absolute pleasure to ride. The excellent torque band allows for effortless riding in town and traffic. Out on the open road, the BMW offers more power than any of us will ever need, and its sublime brakes and handling build plenty of confidence to test the tires. Of all the supersport giants, the S 1000 RR is still the most affable.




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