BMW M1000RR (2021 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Heaven sent for race teams
  • Wings reduce wheelies on track
  • Insanely quick

At a glance

Power: 209 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.8 in / 832 mm)
Weight: Medium (423 lbs / 192 kg)

Prices

New £30,935
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

BMW’s M1000RR isn’t a machine for the discerning collector. It isn’t made in limited numbers and there are no fancy levers, swathes of carbon fibre, or billet aluminium and it sits on mechanically adjustable Marzocchi suspension, just like the base-spec S1000RR. It even comes on road-based Dunlop SportSmart TT rubber and not the trackday Metzeler Racetec RR K3 tyres fitted to the 10-grand cheaper S1000RR M Package.

It has a sole purpose in life: to be the starting point for a better race bike. After two years running the latest generation S1000RR in everything from WSB to superstock, BMW decided it needed changing around a bit. So, the M1000RR’s engine is stronger and more tuneable, the steering geometry is tweaked and it’s sprouted wings, Nissin brakes and lots of M badges.

It's insanely quick and one of the easiest superbikes for mortals to ride fast on track, but so is the S1000RR, which you can have for nearly half the price in base trim or 10-grand less in all-singing M Package spec. Its wings pin the front wheel down along the straights, but elsewhere the M feels so similar to the S1000RR it isn’t worth paying the premium, especially when you’re not getting the chassis designer labels you’d expect for a bike costing this much. But for race teams the extra cost is a drop in ocean if it means finishing first.

Find out more about the technical details of this new bike, and how it slots into BMW's line-up between the S1000RR and race bikes, in our video: 

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Its aluminium chassis is unchanged, but with longer forks and new billet ali yokes. The rake and trail has been kicked out to 23.6°/99.8mm (from 23.1°/93.9mm), too. The offset is reduced by 3mm, the wheelbase is longer (from 1441mm to 1457mm), the swingarm pivot is adjustable and the rear suspension has new linkages and ride height adjuster.

The new geometry for designed to reduce wheelies on the throttle and stoppies on the brakes for the racers, but it’s subtle and doesn’t give the M1000RR a radical new feel. It’s still the same solid-handling S1000RR we’ve come to love and one of the easiest and most flattering superbikes to ride extremely quickly.

Neevesy gets his knee down on the 2021 BMW M1000RR

It’s light (1kg less than the S1000RR M Pack) sure-footed and the Dunlops are very capable on track, but it isn’t crisp-turning, lithe and doesn’t immediately seduce, as you’d expect from something wearing that iconic M badge. Instead, it has a stodgy and slightly lazy feel, which could be dialled out with racier tyres and a day tinkering with suspension, but that’s not something you’d have a problem with on the S1000RR M Package with its electronic damping and sportier rubber.

New blue-anodised Nissin calipers have racier pads and grip thicker 320mm discs. They’re designed to give more consistent performance during a race, are hugely powerful, but no different in feel to the S1000RR’s Hayes set-up. BMW have moved the rear caliper from the top the underside of the swingarm, to make wheel changes easier without disturbing or knocking out the pads.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Most of the M’s newfound magic happens inside its 999cc inline four-cylinder engine. Power is up from 204bhp@13,500rpm to 209bhp @14,500rpm, torque remains the same 83lb-ftt@11,000rpm (up from 10,500rpm) and the redline is 500rpm higher (15,100rpm).  

A stronger, higher compression cylinder head has new intake ports, all-titanium valves (intakes are hollow), exhaust valve spring assembly and narrower rocker arms. There are new forged pistons, longer and lighter titanium conrods (the S1000RR’s are steel), shorter variable intake trumpets and a lighter titanium Euro5 exhaust system. It has a new anti-hop clutch to help with race starts, overall gearing is shorter (up from a 45 to 46-tooth sprocket at the rear) and it keeps its variable valve ShiftCam system.

With 209bhp, the engine in the BMW M1000RR packs a lot of punch

BMW claims less torque than the S1000RR below 6000rpm, but better acceleration and roll-ons above. It’s hard to feel the subtleties of the M’s new power curve, or its extra 5bhp. All you feel is the face-meltingly speed of a high-revving race engine and brutal acceleration, all tempered by its superb slide and wheelie control. It may be fractionally faster out of corners, but its wings make a tangible difference to the way the BMW behaves along the straights.

Despite the motor’s monstrous power, wheelies are almost non-existent, letting you open the throttle wider for longer. BMW claims its carbon wings produce 16.3.kg of downforce at 186mph and in testing improves lap times by 0.5-0.7 second at some tracks. Expect to see them grafted on to an S1000RR near you, soon.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Based on the fourth generation S1000RR, its mechanicals and electronics have largely been reliable, according to our owners reviews, but it has suffered its fair share of recalls since 2019 as well as nearly a year’s delay for full production after initial production quality problems. MCN ran an M Package S1000RR for over 9000 miles during the summer ’19 on the road and track with no issues.

BMW M1000RR foot peg

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Although you get a lot of high performance and tech for the money it doesn’t feel like it’s worth 10 grand more than the S1000RR M Package and its suspension and brakes don’t have the pub-bragging kudos of those fitted to the cheaper Ducati Panigale V4 S or Aprilia RSV4 Factory.

The BMW M1000RR is pretty expensive for what it is

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

Based on the S1000RR M Package, it has the same carbon wheels, all-singing rider aids and even a sat nav-enabled colour display, heated grips, cruise control and three-year warranty (it’s still a BMW, after all), but does without its electronic suspension. That’s not a problem because most Ms will be bought by race teams who’ll strip them down to their bare bones, before building them back up into track weapons with aftermarket or BMW kit electronics and dash.

The wings on the BMW M1000RR try to stop the bike from doing too many wheelies

Apart from its wings the M1000RR looks just like an S1000RR and not as exceptional as it could for the money, but it’s transformed with the optional Competition Package. It includes tasty carbon goodies, racing levers, an unpainted swingarm (saving 220g), a low friction chain and a GPS trigger to allow lap times to be shown on the dash. That little lot will cost you another £4100, but really for a 30-grand bike they should be included in the first place.

Specs

Engine size 999cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 832mm
Bike weight 192kg
Front suspension 45mm Marzocchi USD forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single Marzocchi shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with four-piston radial Nissin calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 220mm disc with twin piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 200/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost -
New price £30,935
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Three years

Top speed & performance

Max power 209 bhp
Max torque 83 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 156 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2021: BMW launch their first M-badged motorcycle. Based heavily on the M Package S1000RR (and is 1kg lighter) it has a stronger, more powerful engine, wings, revised chassis geometry and mechanically adjustable Marzocchi suspension Nissin brake calipers, shorter gearing, an underslung rear brake caliper.

Other versions

None.

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