Why The BMW S1000RR is the Ultimate Superbike - SUV VEHICLE

Why The BMW S1000RR is the Ultimate Superbike

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While most motorcycle manufacturers in the early 20th century were only dreaming of their high-performance machines, BMW was busy winning races. So it’s no surprise that the German motorcycle maker had aspirations of podium glory going way back to the 30s when they were winning titles all over the world. And even though their machines were plenty fast, it wasn’t until 1997 that you could say they’d finally released their first, prototypical superbike, in the form of the K 1200 RS. It was a machine that did away with the self-imposed 100 horsepower limit, producing 130 horsepower and 87 pound-feet of torque with a top whack of 152 MPH. That marked a turning point in the company’s life, paving the way for something bigger, badder, and iconic: the S 1000 RR.




When the RR was released in 2009, it was so out of character for the staid German company that it took everyone by surprise. But if people thought that because it was BMW’s first real attempt at a superbike it wouldn’t be very good, they were very much mistaken. Now, after a decade-plus of evolution, the reasons why it’s still one of the top-tier track weapons today just keep on piling up. Here are 10 of them.

UPDATE: 2024/03/29 11:26 EST BY UTKARSH SOOD

BMW continues to evolve and fine-tune their flagship sports bike. There are new and exciting reasons why the S 1000 RR is the bike to beat on the track and twisty roads. To keep our readers up to speed on all the latest BMW developments, we have updated this article with detailed specs along with special features for the sports bike.

In order to give you the most up-to-date information possible, the data used to complete this article was sourced directly from the manufacturer’s website alongside authoritative sites.


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1 BMW Surprises The World With A True Superbike

The S 1000 RR Was Launched In 2009

BMW S 1000 RR front action shot
BMW

Prior to the RR, BMW was building large, heavy touring bikes, adventure bikes, and some less-than-convincing sporty bikes. At the time, the kings of the superbikes were the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, the Yamaha YZF-R1, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, and the Suzuki GSX-R1000R (all Japanese manufacturers) with an occasional cameo by Ducati. Then, when the BMW S 1000 RR arrived in 2009, it instantly re-wrote the rule book, setting new benchmarks for power, handling, and electronics.

2 Designed To Kill

With Functional Touches

2023 BMW S 1000 RR static front shot
BMW Motorrad


Every body panel on the BMW S 1000 RR has a precise aerodynamic purpose without adding needless weight in the process because, let’s face it, form follows function. Starting at the front, the ventilated front fender directs airflow over the front forks and into the radiator grill, where it is further directed into laminar flow by the remaining bodywork. The biplane winglets provide 37.7 pounds of down thrust (at 186 MPH) to keep the front wheel attached to the asphalt when traveling at near peak speed. The dead-short, clip-on handlebars that force you into the jockey position are also quite helpful for a proper tucked position.

Notable Design Cues

  • Dynamic wedge shape
  • Asymmetrical side panels
  • Biplane winglets
  • Light and sporty rear end

3 Dominating The Isle Of Man TT Races

Ushering Unparalleled Track Dominance For BMW S 1000 RR

2023 Isle Of Man Peter Hickman
Isle Of Man


World Superbike and MotoGP aren’t the only top-notch motorcycle races. In fact, BMW and the world’s oldest motorcycle race go hand in hand, as it was one of their supercharged bikes that was victorious at the 1939 Isle of Man TT race. And it’s a racing environment that proved to be fertile for the German bikemaker recently too.

In the modern era of racing, the BMW S 1000 RR has proven itself to be the bike to have at the Isle of Man TT, scoring wins in the hands of Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, and most recently, Peter Hickman. In 2014, Michael Dunlop took a hat-trick of victories in the Superstock, Superbike, and Senior TT races, and up to the 2019 running of the event, the won 11 of the 15 1000cc races on the Island. After the Covid pandemic caused the 2020 and 2021 TT Races to be canceled, Peter Hickman then repeated Michael Dunlop’s 2014 victory hat-trick in 2022.


4 Introducing New Technology To The Superbike Class

Class-Leading Features On Offer

BMW S 1000 RR on the centerstand
BMW

It’s no secret that BMW is well-known for its technological prowess. Their current models are loaded with a heavy dose of features like rider modes, cornering ABS, traction control and creature comforts like heated grips. Such was also the case when the S 1000 RR went into full-scale production in 2010. BMW fitted it with ABS and traction control–the latter being one of the firsts for a road-going superbike.

As for 2024, the bike has received upgraded electronics, making it one of the most specked-up bikes in its class. You can further enhance it with the pre-built packages that include the amazing “M” package with carbon goodies and the “Race” package for track aficionados. If you really want to go crazy, there are “Carbon” and “M Billet” packages completing the racing improvements with some excellent bodywork elements.


2024 S 1000 RR Highlights

  • Class-leading engine
  • Robust electronics suite for both racing and public road riding
  • Biplane winglets
  • Easily race-ready via pre-made equipment packages
  • 188 MPH top speed

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5 It Is The Most Powerful S 1000 RR Till Date

With A 200 Horsepower+ Inline Four

2023 BMW S 1000 RR body panel close-up detail
BMW Motorrad

The S 1000 RR has undergone steady development throughout its life and the latest version is the most powerful yet. The engine comes ripe with BMW’s now-common variable valve timing system, called ShiftCam. Simply, the inlet camshaft has two different profile cam lobes for each intake valve which alter both the valve timing and the lift duration of the valves. A servo motor moves the camshaft back and forward on its rotational axis, bringing one or the other of the lobes into action. The benefit of this is you get the best of both worlds: good low-down torque and equally good top-end power. In addition, the engine, including the exhaust system, is 24 pounds lighter and the chassis has lost 2.8 pounds of weight over the predecessor.


Engine Specifications

Engine

4-cylinder, 4-stroke in-line engine (BMW ShiftCam)

Displacement

999 cc

Bore x Stroke

3.15 inches x 1.96 inches

Compression

13.3:1

Power

205 horsepower at 13,000 RPM

Torque

83 pound-feet at 11,000 RPM

Fuel System

Electronic injection

Final Drive

Chain 525 17/46

Clutch

Multiplate clutch in oil bath, anti-hopping clutch, with self-reinforcement

Gearbox

Claw-shifted 6-speed gearbox with straight cut gears


6 Among The Best Handling Sports Bikes

Thanks To Solid Underpinnings

2024 BMW S 1000 RR on the track
BMW Motorrad

BMW spent a lot of development time on the aluminum frame, calculating the amount of flex when the bike is leaned over in the corners. This is necessary to allow the tires to maintain good contact with the road surface and is something normally only associated with pure racing bikes. Its top-of-the-line suspension offers 4.7 inches and 4.6 inches of travel at the front and rear respectively, and features semi-active damping adjustment. This enables the system to make changes to the suspension every 11 milliseconds, based on information from sensors and the throttle position. Don’t worry, you can also have full mechanical control, too.


Chassis And Suspension Specifications

Frame

Bridge-type aluminum laminate frame with load-bearing engine

Front Suspension/ Travel

Upside-down telescopic fork, diameter 45 mm, spring preload, rebound and compression stages adjustable/ 4.7 inches

Rear Suspension/ Travel

Aluminum swing arm, full-floater pro, central spring strut, adjustable rebound and compression-stage damping, adjustable preload/ 4.6 inches

Rake

23.6°

Trail

3.93 inches

Front Tire

120/70 ZR17

Rear Tire

190/55 ZR17 (with M wheels: 200/55 ZR17)

7 Sophisticated Electronics Package

It’s A “Superbike” For A Reason

BMW S 1000 RR cockpit close-up detail
BMW Motorrad


You can’t talk about superbikes without mentioning the technology that goes into them. And though not every manufacturer participates in road racing, those that do tend to develop bleeding-edge technologies for their teams and racers. Some of that technology then finds its way into mass-produced street versions of those sports bikes, which in turn lets us pretend we’re the next Marc Marquez while going to meet a friend at the nearest café.

When it was launched in 2009, the electronics package on the S 1000 RR was one of the most comprehensive in the class, featuring ABS, traction control, three riding modes (and a fourth that could be unlocked by plugging in a ‘dongle’), and a quickshifter. The current models now feature all the above as well as ride-by-wire throttle, hill-start control, semi-active suspension, full-color TFT dash, up-and-down quickshifter, adjustable engine braking, wheelie control, and launch control. The S 1000 RR is a technical tour-de-force.

Notable Features

  • BMW Motorrad ABS
  • ABS PRO
  • DTC (Dynamic Traction Control)
  • HSC (Hill Start Control)
  • 4 riding modes (Rain, Road, Dynamic, Race)
  • Shift Assistant Pro
  • 6.5-inch TFT-Display
  • M Chassis Kit
  • M GPS Laptrigger


8 Remarkably Comfortable And User-Friendly

All For A 434-Pound Curb Weight

2024 BMW S 1000 RR on the track
BMW Motorrad

Let’s not kid ourselves, while BMW has plenty of sports touring options, this isn’t one of them. This machine was created for one simple reason and that was to go fast at a racetrack. But BMW being who they are, couldn’t just leave it at that. They made no concessions to comfort and everyday usability, going so far as adding heated grips, cruise control, and even a passenger package.

Additionally, it is also remarkably more comfortable than its rivals, thanks in part to a well-padded seat and the amount of work BMW has done on the overall ergonomics. Whilst it is one of the most powerful superbikes available today, the level of electronic sophistication means that it is also very easy to ride. Skilled riders can also turn all that off to go bonkers, of course.


BMW S 1000 RR Dimensions

Length

81.6 inches

Width

7.4 inches

Height

47.4 inches

Seat Height

32.4 inches

Inner Leg Curve

72.6 inches

Wheelbase

57.4 inches

Fuel Capacity

4.35 gal w/ 1-gal reserve

Curb Weight

434.3 lbs

Dry Weight

385.8 lbs

9 A BMW That Offers Value For Money

Remarkably Cheaper Than Yamaha And Ducati Cometitors

BMW-S-1000-RR-4
BMW


Much like Triumph, Harley-Davidson, and Ducati, BMW is a premium brand, with premium bikes at matching costs. Unless you’re looking to get yourself a G 310 R or G 310 GS (great small-capacity beginner bikes), you’re not likely to find anything in their stable under $8,000. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get great value for your hard-earned cash. The S 1000 RR might cost a tad bit more than the Honda CBR1000RR – a few dollars over $18,000 – but the aforementioned specification puts it in line with much more expensive superbikes, such as the Yamaha R1M ($27,399) and the Ducati Panigale V4S ($32,195).

BMW S 1000 RR Pricing

Warranty

Three years or 36,000 miles

Colors

Black Storm Metallic, Light White, Racing Red

Price

$18,295 (Base model)

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10 BMW Evolves The S 1000 RR With The ‘M’ Badge

For Those Who Want More

BMW M 1000 RR
BMW Motorrad

In 2020, BMW unveiled a higher-spec and lighter M 1000 RR model for its premium customer base. It was the first BMW motorcycle to carry the ‘M’ prefix, previously only seen on BMW cars. As for changes, the M 1000 RR has a modified engine, chassis, exhaust, and brakes, along with bigger aerodynamic winglets than the S.

It makes extensive use of carbon fiber, was practically born in a wind tunnel, and was further developed on a racetrack. However, the base model has a price tag of $33,345, which is a considerable extra amount over the standard bike. So unless you’re a rider that craves an absolute peak of performance with loads of money, the M 1000 RR is the one for you. For everyone else, the S is every bit enough!


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