Since its earliest stages of development, I’ve been all over the S1000RR. One of the most beautiful bikes I have ever laid eyes on, I’ve often pondered whether the S1000RR has the mechanical venom to match its aesthetic beauty. While I’ve yet to ride the new BMW, the numbers often tell a story. Put on your helmet before reading, this is one he!! of a story.
BMW has never been one to shy away from a technological challenge. What’s the challenge? To meet and defeat the reigning “Big 4” superbikes from Japan. Yes, the same 4 who have been perfecting their machines on the racetrack for 6 decades.
To be fair, BMW has its own rich heritage of motorcycle racing. Giving testimony to BMW’s prowess on the racetrack, among countless other race wins and championships, are six Dakar Rally Championships spanning from 1981 to 2000, winning the 1939 Isle of Man TT, and most significantly winning the inaugural 1976 AMA Superbike Championship with a BMW R90S piloted by Reginald Pridmore.
BMW has now come full circle. While they have diverted their attention away from a whole souled superbike racing effort since the 1970’s, we now see a re-focusing of energies and dedication to this world pinnacle of production based motorcycle racing. Leading up to their reappearance on the stage of superbike racing was a resurgence in endurance racing. Leading up to the 2007 LeMans 24 hour race we saw the BMW R1200S put in strong performances and grace varying podium steps. The hard development work at BMW Motorrad gave fruition to the “Boxer Sport,” a highly developed race spec R1200S featuring ample carbon fibre, fine tuning and upgraded components. This boxer-twin meant business, and delivered beyond all expectations, capturing the class win at the 29th running of the motorcycling class 24 Hours of LeMans!
BMW had realized its progressive goal in endurance racing, and the time was ripe to pour all efforts into preparation for a return to superbike. With all hands on deck BMW formed an alliance with Alpha-Racing of Munich and went to work on producing the world’s fastest production superbike. What were the results?
General Director BMW Motorrad, Mr Von Kuenheim states, “As you may expect of BMW Motorrad, the design of our BMW Supersports will be absolutely unique and very different. While it will of course reflect the usual design language in the segment, it will at the same time offer a strong and powerful message from the BMW brand.” I would sum it up with three words from Mr Von Kuenheim… strong and powerful.
Strength, power, and then some. When BMW Motorrad went about determining the fundamental layout of the bike, they concluded that to surpass the performance of its competitors they must first consider the finest designs available. To this end, BMW tore apart the best of its competition and analyzed what gave the Japanese and Italians such speed and consistency in their bikes. BMW are an engineering powerhouse, always pushing the limits of what is technologically possible through creative and often very unique, unorthodox design philosophies. Non-conforming design has always been evident within BMW Motorrad, and for this project BMW compared creative designs against the current conventional; ultimately choosing the best designs in the end, one at a time.
60 years of hardened racing has the ability to perfect over time, and BMW recognized that to race against such experienced and heavy hitting competition, they must “reflect the usual design language in the segment.” Some will conclude upon first glance at the motorcycle that BMW have mimicked the Japanese. Look deeper and you will see the masterful creation of BMW. Run your hand along its contours and your fingers will follow the path of air directed by radical aerodynamics. In numbers, BMW’s new superbike, the S1000RR will silence its enemies and evoke fear in its stable mates.
A state-of-the-art 999 cc inline 4 beats within. The engine produces a staggering 193 hp on its way to a stratospheric 14,200 rpm. 83 lb-ft of torque is produced at 9,750 rpm. The engine has a bore/stroke of 80/49.7, the largest bore of any production litre bike. All this in a highly compact engine that weighs only 59.8 Kg (131.8 lb).
Unique technology on the S1000RR engine includes the exhaust system featuring two interference pipe butterflies. These butterfly valves oscillate according to rpm, throttle setting and other variables to cancel exhaust gas counter pressure pulses, thus increasing cylinder charge and engine power. In choosing between the bike’s 4 different engine maps you can tailor the power delivery to the prevailing road or track conditions. Valvetrain technology taken directly from BMW’s Formula 1 engines features titanium valves actuated by single finger style cam followers, said to reduce reciprocating mass by 50%. Switching through “Rain,” “Sport,” “Race,” and “Slick” settings, the new S100RR thereby combines multiple personalities and riding characteristics – much like engaging the ///M button on your BMW ///M Sports car.
A world first, the S1000RR also features Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). Utilizing a gyroscope, the engine will harness power based on lean angles for each respective engine mapping, allowing you to dial in heavy throttle on corner exit. The DTC will engage based on lean angles from 38′ in “Rain” mode to 53′ in “Slick” mode. While your first experience will require confidence in the system and a wrist-full of faith, DTC is a breakthrough in safety for street riders as well as a valuable performance enhancement. Central to its performance, the S1000RR is also the lightest ABS equipped motorcycle produced with a wet curb weight of 206.5 Kg (455.3 lb) fully fuelled. Yes, the S1000RR sports the world’s best power to weight ratio of any production bike at 1.05 kg/hp. Clearly, the numbers are staggering. You don’t have to remind Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or Yamaha.
Brimming with Formula 1 technology, the S1000RR sets new standards in the evolution of sport bikes. As a demonstration of BMW’s design superiority, the S1000RR speaks volumes to BMW’s future, and the excellence they have attained.
We are very excited to refer you to the world’s first written ride review of BMW’s S1000RR, brought to you by MCN. Please enjoy… and tighten that helmet strap, would you?
In due time, we will bring you our own ride impressions of the S1000RR, but until then please hit the jump for MCN’s write-up. Download PDF