The new BMW S1000RR is here! And it finally has looks you can love
BMW's finally pulled the covers off the fourth generation of its litre sportsbike, and it looks… well, quite pretty actually.
The Bavarian funsters have ditched the old bike's asymmetrical headlights and replaced them with smaller ones that look a cross between those on the new R1 and the old Daytona 675. The giant central nostril remains to siphon in huge amounts of air, but otherwise it's all change. Even the trademark fork-tail S1000RR rear-end seems to have been softened off.
I don't care about the looks, I'm here for the speed
That giant nostril gulps air into a newly developed 999cc four-cylinder engine with 207bhp. Can't wait to hear the induction noise
Good news then – the S1000RR has a 'newly developed' four-cylinder engine which is 4kg lighter than the old bike's.
Considering this new lump has BMW's funky shiftcam technology (essentially two intake-cam profiles that change at 9,000rpm to give you low-down grunt and top-end power), reducing engine weight is quite an impressive feat. BMW says that the ShiftCam tech gives the S1000RR the same low-end and mid-range shunt as the naked S1000R, which was previously quicker than the RR to 100mph. This tech also allows a smoother increase in power throughout the revs, resulting in fewer power wheelies nearer the top of the rev range.
Power now sits at 207bhp (or 205bhp if you live in the USA… sorry), and increased torque throughout the rev range, peaking at 113Nm at 11,000rpm.
The whole bike's rider ergonomics have been improved – so this should still be the go-to litre bike for roadtrips
Helping you put that power to use is a new iteration of BMW's traction control system and an anti-wheelie function that – if you pay for an optional extra – will let you adjust the height of the wheelie it allows. Cool.
Other vital features for road riding include a pit-lane limiter (perfect for taking 30 limits seriously); user-configurable rider modes in addition to the usual rain, road, dynamic and race; and a safety system that electronically shuts the throttle under hard braking, because apparently some people have a tendency to open the throttle when panic braking which isn't ideal.
The handling has gone full flex – with optional carbon wheels
BMW's also raving about how they've transformed the handling – not that the old bike was any slouch on track. The engine is used more as a stressed member now, and there's a new aluminium frame that the Germans are calling a 'flex frame', which is stiffer where it needs to be, and less rigid elsewhere for more feel and feedback when you're leant over. It's also designed to spread your thighs less than before.
You still get electronic suspension as standard (the previous model's springy bits gave an already wonderful ride over bumps so this should be comfy), and the new bike weighs 11kg less than the old one at 197kg.
That's the same as taking a current S1000RR and removing an adult honey badger from under the fairings. It should be noticeable.
Go for the optional M Package and you'll get carbon fibre wheels, a lightweight battery, an adjustable ride height and swingarm pivot – taking the weight down 14.5kg to 193.5kg.
Public display of affection
There's a race package too, which gives you forged wheels, Pro electronic mode, a lighter battery and more chassis adjustment
There's more good news! BMW has ditched the S1000RR's slightly dated analogue tacho and casio-esque digital screen for one new 6.5-inch colour TFT. As you'd expect these days, you can flick it through four different-looking setups depending on your preference from a switch on the left-hand handlebar.
As well as showing the usual speed and rev bits, you get a current and high-score lean angle-ometer, number of gearshifts per lap and even your average throttle grip position per lap. Want to see who can brake hardest out of your mates? You can find that out too – as well as seeing your minimum, maximum and average speeds per lap. Foof.
Do you want one?
The S1000RR's always been the litre bike you buy if you love trackdays but also spend a lot of time on the road – its mix of wrist-friendly cruise control, relaxed-ish riding position and heated grips was nearly unbeatable. Now it seems it has the power and lightweight to take the fight to the likes of the Panigale V4 in 2019.
What do you think?