by Fraser Addecott from https://www.mirror.co.uk
Fraser puts the German firm’s hugely popular thousand to the test – just before the lockdown kicked in – and finds he runs out of superbike superlatives
As someone who grew up riding Japanese sportsbikes, I still find it a little surprising that the definitive model for the past few years has not derived from the Land of the Rising Sun.
No, it’s German manufacturer BMW Motorrad which has, arguably, dominated the supersports market – in the form of its S1000RR.
The bike was first introduced in 2009, when just 1,000 were produced in order to meet homologation requirements for the firm’s new World Superbike Championship machine.
Since then, it has racked up successes in that series, the Superstock 100 competition and the Macau Grand Prix – not to mention multiple Isle of Man TT wins.
The S1000RR was given updates in 2012 and again in 2015.
This latest version I am testing here came out last year and represents a major overhaul.
Claudio De Martino, BMW’s vehicle technology team leader, told Mirror Motorcycling: “Our brief was to take the predecessor model – which has been a dominating force in all disciplines for 10 years – and significantly improve on its performance.
“This we translated into straightforward targets – one second faster on the track, more than 10kg lighter and easier to control.
“These targets were taken as the basis for every decision.”
Claudio and has team were true to their brief – the new engine produces a whopping 207bhp, an increase of 8bhp on its predecessor and the bike has dropped from 208kg to 197kg.
It is also more controllable with an enhanced ride due to a redesigned main frame, even better suspension and improved technology, such as traction and wheelie control.
The red model I tested looked superb – sleek, powerful and classy.
On board, the ride position is surprisingly comfortable.
Yes, its a sportsbike and the ergonomics leave you in no doubt of that, but it is less tucked-up and cramped than some others.
There are four ride modes – Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race.
For track fans, there’s also an optional Pro mode, which offers individual tweaking of the throttle, engine braking, traction control, wheelie control and ABS.
Everything is beautifully displayed on the 6.5in TFT screen, which has multiple view options, all adjusted via the intuitive switch gear.
Out on the road, the power on tap is simply awesome.
Whereas previously most of this tended to be up towards the redline, now it is much more broad and linear, with plenty available in the mid-range.
This is made possible by BMW’s variable valve timing system, plus hollo-bored titanium valves – a world first.
Handling is superb thanks to the new Flex Frame, improved suspension and dynamic damping control.
Braking, employing Hayes calipers and 320mm front discs and a 220mm rear is pleasingly subtle at first and reassuringly powerful when needed.
I’ll leave the overall verdict to Claudio himself, who said: “The result is a fascinating new motorcycle that exceeds the targets we set ourselves and will once again set the benchmark.”
The Facts: BMW S1000RR
Stylish: Available in three colours
Engine: 999cc in-line four
Power: 207bhp @ 13,500rpm
Torque: 83 ft lb @ 11,000rpm
Colours: White/blue/red; silver; red