Contemplating I solely had a few hours of seat time on the S1000RR, calling this “A Nearer Look” is being beneficiant. However I already blew my “First Experience” title on a high-level overview for Maxim, and this story consists of the small print I need to share with you about BMW’s latest superbike. Contemplate this a warning – it’s lengthy, and there are approach too many mentions of electronics. Hope you possibly can nonetheless take pleasure in!
Pictures by Kevin Wing
Nate Kern has been BMW Motorrad’s US Model Ambassador for the S1000RR since properly earlier than the bike was launched right here a decade in the past. He’s additionally gained a number of championships on the R nineT, which you will keep in mind from my suggestion final yr to donate in the direction of his try and compete in BoxerCup 2.zero.
However for a quick second in time at Barber Motorsports Park, not one of the titles imply something to me – I’m simply in awe. I’m ready in pit lane to have photographs taken with the 2020 BMW S1000RR on monitor, and I’m passing the time by watching Nate rip off laps on the brand new mannequin. Each time he hits the primary straightaway, Nate lofts the entrance wheel and provides us all a present. He’s half motorcyclist, half entertainer, and proper now I’m appreciating each side.
Prior to now, Mr. Kern has stated that the S1000RR is sort of a baby to him, noting that he’s “witnessed the entire evolution of this motorbike.” So, let’s return to the beginning.
An Abbreviated Historical past
When BMW first introduced the S1000RR in 2008, the motorbike media wasn’t positive what to anticipate – Motorbike.com referred to as it “a daring new path for the previously staid German model.” The spec record was spectacular, however BMW’s “sporty” choices so far have been machines just like the K1, R1100S, and Okay1200S so clients have been proper to be cautious. Then the bike got here out, and it was a revelation. Again to Motorbike.com: “For basically altering the liter-size sportbike class, BMW’s ferocious but refined S1000RR deserves our Motorbike of the Yr award.”
Briefly, it was extra highly effective than anything within the class, however it was additionally a lot simpler to experience on the restrict because of digital aids that common riders had by no means seen earlier than. The most effective instance I may give is an anecdote from Dylan Code at California Superbike Faculty, who talked about what occurred when the varsity switched from the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R to the BMW S1000RR for his or her scholar fleet. One would assume that the elevated energy and weight would pose further challenges for college kids, however within the first yr of the change, the crash fee dropped by 40%.
Through the years, the RR has amassed a buyer profile that parallels different BMW bikes – the house owners have extra expertise they usually journey extra in a given yr than the typical sportbike rider. Particularly, the typical S1000RR proprietor has 23 years of driving expertise (in comparison with 10 years) they usually experience 2,600 miles/yr (in comparison with 1,700 miles/yr). The inherent attraction of sportbikes for youthful clients signifies that the the typical RR proprietor is 9 years youthful than the typical BMW proprietor, however the latter quantity is roughly 55.
The S1000RR was even BMW’s greatest promoting mannequin within the US in 2015 after the second era was launched (14% of BMW’s US gross sales), however one thing else occurred that very same yr which had a huge impact: Yamaha launched the R1 and R1M. Nate Kern merely says, “no one complained concerning the dealing with [of the S1000RR] till 2015 when the R1M got here out.” The 2017 updates to the Aprilia RSV4 didn’t assist, both.
So, how is BMW preventing again?
The 2020 BMW S1000RR – On Paper
In line with Nate, BMW had two objectives throughout improvement:
1. At any racetrack on the planet, the brand new bike was to be 1 second quicker. However this needed to be finished with a “buyer first” strategy, which means that BMW needed to make one thing that was usable for all kinds of talent ranges, not only a hardcore machine that was solely approachable for membership racers and the like. As I’ll expound on later, I don’t have the monitor expertise to confirm this.
2. A minimal weight discount of 25 kilos.
I do have the maths expertise to confirm this: 11.2 of these kilos have been saved from the body and suspension. The brand new aluminum most important body is three kilos lighter, and it’s been dubbed “Flexframe” because it has particular ranges of flexibility engineered in that supposedly result in extra suggestions and higher traction. It additionally does a greater job of using the engine as a careworn member, which contributes to a discount in width of as much as 1.18″. BMW has discovered numerous locations to shave weight – the handlebar is zero.53 kilos lighter, the gearshift lever is zero.20 kilos lighter, the swingarm is zero.66 kilos lighter, even the inventory Michelin tires are zero.18 kilos lighter than the rubber they substitute!
It must be famous that for this occasion, BMW ditched the Michelins and outfitted our check bikes with Pirellis, particularly the Diablo Supercorsa SC1 up entrance and the Diablo Supercorsa SC2 Rear within the rear. These are Pirelli’s best-performing road authorized tires – apparently you’ll be able to solely purchase them via “Pirelli-official trackside distributors.”
However probably the most spectacular a part of the food regimen is the brand new engine, which by some means misplaced Eight.Eight kilos and acquired zero.5″ narrower whereas getting stronger. The motor makes a claimed 205 horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 83 pound-feet of torque at 11,000rpm. If I used to be to instigate, I might observe that 44Tooth simply dyno’d the bike in a way-too-long video and obtained 196 on the rear wheel on the identical dyno the place they received 189 out of a Ducati Panigale V4S (Ducati claims 214 on the crank). What’s fascinating is how the S1000 makes stated energy. Sometimes, a high-output inline-Four is underwhelming down low and terrifying up prime. Should you learn my evaluate of the BMW R1250GS, you hopefully keep in mind ShiftCam, BMW’s variable timing system that gives up two lobe profiles on the consumption cam based mostly on engine load. Whereas it debuted on the “R” boxer twin, it’s now in play with the “S” inline 4. With the boxer, the change between profiles occurred at 5k rpm. Now the magic quantity is 9k.
Beneath 9k, the cam profile places a precedence on low-end torque so that you get extra drive out of the corners. It even helps with fuel mileage – BMW says the brand new bike will get 37 mpg, up 2 from final yr. Above 9k, the cam profile as an alternative emphasizes the top-end energy hit that you understand and love from this fashion of motor. What this will get you is the most effective of each worlds, and an impressively extensive usable vary of energy: the S1KRR makes greater than 74 pound-feet of torque from 5,500 rpm – 14,500 rpm.
BMW didn’t provide dyno charts on the US launch, however on the worldwide launch again in March they did share a comparability between the 2010, 2018, and this yr’s mannequin. Michael Mann included it as a part of his assessment on Bennetts BikeSocial. Click on this hyperlink to take a look at the dyno – take a look at the bump in torque in comparison with final yr’s bike (the brand new bike is a 2019 in Europe). In case you’re geeking out like me and need extra particulars, my favourite rationalization on how ShiftCam works within the S1000RR motor is that this video by Racing Faculty Europe. I want BMW had certainly one of these engine cutouts for us to play with it on the US launch, I feel it does an ideal job displaying the way it all features:
Additionally borrowed from the GS is the 6.5″ TFT display, which is implausible and slightly bit overwhelming. When you get acquainted with the show, it may be as easy or as difficult as you would like. The only type is what BMW calls the “Pure” display, which focuses on the velocity, tach, and kit place.
There are further “Core” modes that may embrace knowledge reminiscent of lean angle and lap timers, and you may modify the tachometer to be bar type or the extra conventional spherical type. The show can also be the way you’ll management a lot of the settings for the totally different journey modes.
There are 4 commonplace modes: Rain, Street, Dynamic, and Race. Then there are three elective modes (Race Professional half/three) which are configurable as proven above. The 4 normal modes have presets that you might in all probability guess as I’ve listed them so as of aggression. When you get into the Race Professional fashions, you’ll be able to tailor settings together with the engine output, engine braking, and the intervention ranges of ABS, Traction Management, and Wheelie Management. It’s also possible to play with the damping, compression, and rebound of the Dynamic Damping Management (DDC) suspension.
The 45mm USD forks and “Full Floater Professional” (BMW makes use of the time period “Professional” approach an excessive amount of) suspension are constructed by Marzocchi. Based mostly on throttle/brake inputs, lean angle, and the way a lot of the journey has already been used up, the valving might be adjusted in 10 milliseconds. The DDC suspension is included as a part of the $1,400 Choose Package deal, which additionally provides you tire strain screens, heated grips, and cruise management.
There are two different packages so that you can contemplate, however first let’s take a look at the bottom bike. New normal options in comparison with final yr embrace full LED lighting, the 6.5″ TFT display, dual-direction quickshifter, on-board pc with the jog dial multi-controller, Hill Begin Management (retains the bike in place when beginning up or downhill), the Dynamic experience mode, an adjustable clutch lever, and ABS Professional. BMW values all of this at over $2,000, they usually’ve bumped up MSRP by $1,000 to $16,995. With that stated, BMW isn’t planning on importing any base bikes – you’ll need to particular order that out of your dealership. Virtually each bike bought within the US will include the Choose Package deal and/or the packages detailed under.
In case you’re a automotive fanatic, you already know that the letter “M” is sort of particular for BMW. For causes I’ve by no means found out, the bikes by no means received any M love, we simply had “HP” branded on every little thing from equipment to fashions just like the HP2 or HP4. Nicely, that lastly modifications because the S1000RR is the primary BMW motorbike with a M Package deal, and it’s fairly spectacular. For $three,700, you get plenty of “M”s:
M Carbon Wheels – aftermarket carbon fiber wheels are often over $three,000 for a pair by themselves, plus these include a manufacturing unit guarantee.
M Sport Seat
M Light-weight Battery
M Chassis Package – adjustable rear journey peak and swingarm pivot level (+2mm| zero |-2mm).
Journey Modes Professional – an umbrella time period for all the Race Professional half/three modes, Launch Management, Wheelie Management, Pit Lane Limiter, Hill Begin Management Professional (automated engagement when hill is +/- 5 levels), and extra.
The M Package deal cuts a further 7 kilos of weight, right down to a complete of 427.
You additionally get the nifty BMW Motorsport-inspired white/purple/blue livery. Presently, non-M bikes are solely out there in Racing Purple, although a brand new shade might be introduced subsequent month at BMW Motorrad Days.
If all that wasn’t complicated sufficient, there’s a separate Race Package deal for the only a few individuals who need a devoted monitor bike. For $1,600, you’ll get Journey Modes Professional, Cast Wheels, the M Light-weight Battery, and the M Chassis Package.
My meant utilization can be virtually solely commuting/sport driving on weekends with a uncommon monitor day. For that, I might pony up for the Choose Package deal and the M Package deal (however I’d attempt to maintain the inventory seat), which totals out to $22,zero95.
These are the options that I feel are value sharing, however Nate Kern shared his three private highlights with me over dinner and I feel they’re value ending with. So as of significance to him:
1.) Chassis Geometry. Because of the narrower engine, the ergonomics of the brand new bike are higher so you will get your knees in and your elbows out.
2.) ShiftCam. As he places it, “life begins a lot earlier on the brand new bike.”
three.) Swingarm Design. The brand new “WSBK Swingarm” design permits BMW to mount the rear shock vertically, which suggests they have been capable of considerably drop the spring price from 95 N⋅m to 65 N⋅m. That interprets to a plusher experience and fewer work for the rear tire to do.
How did all of the modifications work out?
The 2020 BMW S1000RR – On Monitor
Rain mode is dishonest. In the event you fall off in rain mode, it is best to rethink driving.Nate Kern
I’m not an enormous monitor man. I’m not even slightly monitor man – that is solely my third time on a monitor with a motorbike, and certainly one of them was an endurance race with a minuscule Honda XR100R. This implies a.) I don’t have a lot expertise with the competitors and b.) I can’t push the bounds of what the S1000RR is able to. However I’ve to start out someplace, proper? So in case you’re a top-class racer, you’ll be higher served with the driving opinions of somebody like Rennie Scaysbrook, Jensen Beeler, or Troy Siahaan once they get their tales up. However when you’re a weekend warrior or somebody who’s flirting with the thought of taking your bike on the monitor, right here’s what I feel:
For our first session, the bikes have been arrange in Street mode. The primary couple of laps, I adopted a bit of recommendation that Spurgeon Dunbar of RevZilla’s Widespread Tread (right here’s his evaluation) handed on to me from his visits to California Superbike Faculty (story 1, story 2) – particularly to remain in third gear and by no means contact the brakes as the easiest way to give attention to strains and study the monitor. I might solely keep this for a few laps earlier than my lack of self-discipline made me go quicker, however it did exhibit how versatile the brand new motor is, particularly when it comes to low-end torque because of ShiftCam. To be frank, my first session was extra about getting acquainted with the monitor than it was about studying the bike. My solely actual statement was that the suspension was too mushy for monitor work, however I wasn’t apprehensive about that seeing as we have been in Street mode.
Within the second session, the bikes have been put in “Dynamic” mode. As one of many experience leaders switched the mode for me, he stated, “Heads up, it’s in Dynamic mode. Now it’s an actual motorbike.” The suspension felt higher because it had firmed up, and I lastly knew the monitor nicely sufficient to select up the tempo. My major takeaway was how straightforward the bike was to flick back and forth. There have been a number of parts of the monitor the place the S1000RR felt like a 600 – the lighter crankshaft, carbon wheels, and general eating regimen actually repay.
The opposite shock was much less nice. Jensen Beeler of Asphalt & Rubber initially clued me into this, however there’s a flat spot within the energy from roughly 7,000-Eight,000 rpm. I solely encountered it when exiting the Flip 5/6 combo, however I encountered it each single time I used to be accelerating out of that part. I had flashbacks to my private Okay1200R, which had an identical lifeless spot at 6,000 as a result of BMW tuned it lean the place emission testing occurred. I (principally) fastened with a BoosterPlug, however this can require a extra refined answer. Should you’re accelerating from very low revs, it begins to really feel robust round 4k, pauses round 7.5k, after which ShiftCam switches at 9k and also you’re screaming. It’s mildly harking back to the sensation you get from turbo lag, although not almost as extreme.
I requested a BMW consultant about it after the monitor day was over they usually principally stated that the US bike has been barely hampered by the EPA. It wouldn’t be the one approach that US laws interfered with the brand new S1000RR: oddly sufficient, the unique brake mild/flip sign mixture was deemed too vibrant by the DOT, so BMW needed to redesign it! Close to the fueling, there might have been a suggestion to speak to Alpha Racing in Germany (the official associate of BMW Motorrad’s WorldSBK staff, to not be confused with Alpha SBK in New York), however I’m fairly assured that the standard exhaust + tune that many riders purchase anyway might be adequate.
Subsequent day trip, I used to be in Race mode – sharper energy supply and stiffer suspension. No surprises right here, this was my favourite of the usual experience modes on monitor. As I obtained quicker, I began to understand a number of the smaller particulars. Nate Kern talked about that he fought arduous to get machined footpegs as inventory fitment, as a result of if in case you have good traction on the pegs you’ll chill out your higher physique. I’d say it paid off. I don’t have any seat time on the earlier gen S1KRR so I can’t examine the brand new ergonomics, however contemplating it’s a superbike I used to be comparatively snug – far more so than I used to be on the Yamaha R1. Usually you wouldn’t care about mirrors on a race monitor, nevertheless it gave me an excuse to see how the vibration was at 100+ mph they usually have been nonetheless usable. The efficiency of Race mode made me really feel like Dynamic mode may be pointless, however that opinion might change if I used to be on the road.
In our remaining periods, we obtained to mess around with the configurable Race Professional modes. The most important distinction is within the suspension. In the usual modes (Rain/Street/Dynamic/Race), 10% of the calculated suspension damping drive is preset and the remaining 90% is lively, responding to imperfections within the street. In Race Professional 1/2/three, the odds change. Now, 90% of the pressure is predetermined (and it’s fairly stiff as you’re presumed to be on a monitor) and solely 10% is dynamic. This yields far more constant response from the suspension because the monitor floor is sort of clean. It’s an enormous enchancment that additionally provides me hope about how snug the journey might be on the road. Are you able to inform that I want we received some road time with these bikes? I’m hoping to rectify that quickly.
In Race Professional 1/2/three, you can even regulate traction management (settings between -7 and +7) on the fly with a devoted change within the left hand controls. A BMW rep advisable that I begin at Degree 1, and I discovered no cause to deviate from that barely conservative setting. I discovered the TC intervention to be fairly seamless, although I used to be stunned by how typically it kicked in. The TC mild flashes when the system is working, and it sparkles quicker when it’s working more durable. I noticed the yellow indicator all through corners throughout monitor, and even in a straight line when already touring at an honest clip. Right here’s an instance of the TC system claiming it was aiding whereas I used to be leaving Flip 6 in second gear:
It’s moments like this that result in one in every of my only a few complaints concerning the S1000RR: in hindsight, it typically felt like a bunch of software program engineers in Germany constructed a online game on two wheels and I used to be simply hanging on for the experience. Driving is so visceral that I by no means felt that approach once I was truly on the bike. However once I assume again on my journey (and see that traction management was on even once I was going over 100 mph in a straight line on good high quality pavement), it virtually looks like dishonest and takes away a bit little bit of the sense of accomplishment.
And you already know what? I’m completely superb with that as a result of it’s a really minor worth to pay for the security internet that BMW’s electronics present. At the beginning of the day, I used to be a monitor day beginner who appeared like I used to be out on a road journey. By the point lunch rolled round I used to be nonetheless a monitor day beginner, however now I used to be coming into Flip 1 at 130+ mph, braking arduous sufficient that the rear wheel would get mild and begin dancing round. The DDC suspension firmed up the entrance forks to attenuate dive whereas ABS Professional stored the wheels in line and the bike upright. Earlier than my time on the S1KRR, the most important bike I had gotten a knee down on was a Yamaha R3. I don’t assume dragging knee is a objective in itself, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly an indication that I’m feeling snug and going fast. After lunch, I used to be following Nate Kern round Barber and scratching up knee pucks by means of a 3rd of the corners on monitor – I’ve helmet cam video from my lap following Nate however I gained’t share it as a result of I’m embarrassed about how a lot I’m guffawing.
Traditionalists can complain about all of the digital assists, however on the S1000RR they allowed me to entry extra velocity and thrills than I might have been capable of take pleasure in in any other case – that’s why I continually had a smile inside my helmet. I don’t care if a motorcycle makes 205 horsepower versus 201 – I’m not going to have the ability to benefit from the distinction and I feel the supply is extra essential than the height quantity. However I undoubtedly profit from traction management that briefly makes me really feel like a hero, exiting a nook because the rear tire slides sideways a few inches earlier than politely falling again in line. The most recent era of electronics are a tremendous option to get your self to the subsequent degree of pleasure. Nate says that he used to name the digital helps “intrusions“. He doesn’t really feel that means any extra.
The 2020 BMW S1000RR – Let’s Wrap This Up
Once I evaluation a motorcycle, I’ve often additionally had seat time on a couple of rivals. That’s not the case this time round, sorry. All I can say is that I used to be extra snug and competent on the S1000RR than I used to be on the R1. I feel the BMW is a greater match for taller riders and it must be far more streetable than the competitors because of options like cruise management, heated grips, and to a lesser extent, telephone integration and hill maintain management.
Talking of the competitors: BMW is usually related to being a premium model with the costs to match, however they’re surprisingly aggressive in the event you take a look at superbikes outfitted with digital suspension. Don’t overlook, at these costs the BMW is the one one with costly carbon fiber wheels:
Honda CBR1000RR SP: $19,999
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE: $21,899
BMW S1000RR: $22,zero95
Yamaha R1M: $22,999
Ducati Panigale V4S: $27,895
Final time I introduced up pricing, commenter MarylandMoto appropriately famous the significance of upkeep schedules in terms of working prices. Right here’s some fundamentals:
6,000 miles or yearly
first yr, then each two years
I assume by now you’ve found out that I actually just like the BMW S1000RR, primarily as a result of it makes me higher and meaning I’ve extra enjoyable. At this level I’ve three considerations: the lifeless spot at 7k nonetheless bothers me, and I don’t know the way it’ll translate to the general public roads the place most individuals will log miles on this bike. I’m not sure if the fueling concern can be much less noticeable on the road since you’re not accelerating at full throttle fairly often or extra noticeable since you’ll be spending extra time round 7k rpms, however I’m very positive that I’ll be requesting a loaner again in Los Angeles to seek out out.
Secondly, I don’t assume the S1000RR seems like a BMW anymore and that bums me out. The unique design had asymmetrical headlights, a styling factor that the corporate has used since 1999 with the R1100S. Chances are you’ll not prefer it, however you’ll be able to determine it shortly, and to me it was a part of BMW’s design. There was additionally a declare that the squinty-eyed look saved weight, however that’s not essential as a result of the brand new LED models are so mild. With out the BMW Motorsport livery or logos, you may inform me this was from any producer and I’d in all probability consider you.
Lastly – there’s a restaurant named Abhi in Birmingham simply 20 minutes away from the monitor, and I didn’t get to go! There was such potential for jokes about evaluations like “Got here again tonight and as soon as once more, Abhi didn’t disappoint.” That evaluation was clearly not written by VyVy.
I assume that’s solely two actual points with the bike, then.
The S1000RR was really a game-changer when it was first launched, and it took fairly some time for different producers to catch up. This new bike gained’t make as giant of a splash as a result of the digital race has tightened, however it’s nonetheless massively spectacular and BMW goes to promote a ton of them. It doesn’t matter what your talent degree is – you’re going to take pleasure in the brand new BMW S1000RR.
Take a look at the 2020 BMW S1000RR!