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BMW S1000RR (2019-on) Review

Published: 14 January 2019

The 2019 BMW S1000RR takes the superbike game to the next level

BMW S1000RR  (2019-on)

The 2019 BMW S1000RR takes the superbike game to the next level

  • At a glance
  • 999cc  -  204 bhp
  • 44.1 mpg
  • Medium seat height (824mm)
  • New: £15,290

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

With a two-fingered salute to the superbike establishment, BMW launched the S1000RR in 2010. At a time when its rivals could barely muster a rear wheel 160bhp, the German wonder machine made 190bhp, had MotoGP-inspired electronics and race-ready handling - impressive for a company best know for sensible tourers and adventure bikes. 

Refined in 2012 and updated in 2015, it’s a multiple TT winner, loved by racers and is the circuit weapon of choice for discerning track heads. Its long-awaited successor has been four years in the making and new from the ground-up.

From its sultry looks and electronic gadgetry, to its fresh new easy feel, the 2019 BMW S1000RR is a major departure from previous model. Only the name remains the same. Agile, accurate and refined, it’s handles like a lightweight 600cc supersport racer with the grunt of a V4 and the manic top end power of a competition superbike.

A tricky to reach back brake and its late arrival in dealers are the only niggles we can find. The old RR was rapid to the end, but with a decade’s worth of lessons learned from it, the 2019 BMW S1000RR takes the superbike game to the next level.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

A new riding position is no less comfy than before, but the RR is more compact and airy-light, like a 600. It makes the old machine feel like a podgy tourer with a 20kg bag of spuds for an engine. Bars are splayed out further and you’re sat more in the RR, up against a taller, far slimmer tank.

All-up weight is reduced by 11kg (14.5kg for the M version) - the motor alone is 4kg lighter and the exhaust weighs less than the single cylinder BMW G310R’s. Steering is lighter, crisper and BMW claims improved rear tyre wear on track. 

Gone is the old girder-stiff chassis that could make the S1000RR tricky to set up on track A new ‘Flex Frame’ (with the engine as a stressed member), plush new Marzocchi semi-active suspension (replacing Sachs) and an underbraced swingarm, forcing the rear tyre harder into the tarmac on the gas, all give more feel and confidence.

Powerful new Hayes calipers have a friendlier initial bite than the old designer Brembos and show no sign of fade under hard use.

Engine 5 out of 5

BMW’s screaming 999cc inline four never lacked top end power, but the new slimmer, lighter-cranked motor revs harder and faster, head butting its redline with the savage alacrity of a pukka superbike engine.

The way it dispenses with straights, with a strange kind of violent calm, is a sign that few of its rivals, if any, will get close on the drag out of a corner. A lighter crank, hollowed-out intake valves and lary high rev inlet valve timing, helps it to a claimed 204bhp – stick a full race pipe on a you’re looking at over 215bhp. 

With all its power stuffed at the top of the revs, the previous RR was a peaky devil, like a big supersport 600, but not any more. BMW’s new variable valve timing system (Shift Cam) laces the power curve with the kind of mid-range grunt and broad spread of power that would make a V4 proud, especially between 4300rpm and 8000rpm.

Beneath the Shift Cam’s 9000rpm go-mental-threshold, BMW’s monster motor has a newfound level of smoothness and tractability, which can only be good news for S1000RR on the road.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Early S1000RRs suffered minor engine and electronics problems, but they have been addressed by BMW over the years and all of those lessons learned have gone into creating the 2019 model. Dealer service is excellent, so even if there is recall, or warranty work to be done, it shouldn’t cause any major headaches.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Superbikes have rocketed in price over the past few years, putting the base model out of reach for all but the lucky few, although PCP deals undoubtedly help. But the base S1000RR, Sport and M Package are comparable in price, or cheaper than their equivalent superbike counterparts from Italy (Ducati Panigale V4 S, Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory) and Japan (Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, Yamaha R1, Kawasaki ZX-10R).

Equipment 5 out of 5

Although the old S1000RR was first with the rider aids we know and (some of us) now love, its electronics have fallen behind its rivals in recent years. A new six-axis inertial measurement unit and electronic strategies are set to change all that.

Wheelie and traction control are separated for the first time and both offer refined control on track without being too intrusive and slowing you down. Dual throttle bodies are fitted to give WSB teams the chance to cut cylinders at full lean and over in the real world there’s heated grips, cruise control and now a hill hold system.

There’s so much going on with the RR’s new 6.5-inch colour dash it’s hard to get to know it properly in just a day. It’s easy enough to navigate, but there’s a lot of information, set-up menus and sub menus going on.

There are four displays to choose from and they’re large and clear to read on the move, showing revs/speed/lap time etc, but when you stop to fiddle you can fine tune everything from the traction/wheelie/launch/engine braking control, to customising riding modes (four standard and three optional ‘RACE Pro’ modes), setting the pitlane limiter parameters, engine power levels…the list goes on.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2019
Year discontinued -
New price £15,290
Used price -
Warranty term Three years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 204 bhp
Max torque 83 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 44.1 mpg
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 999cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v inline four
Frame type Aluminium twin spar, engine stressed member
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 824mm
Bike weight 197kg
Front suspension Marzocchi fully adjustable 45mm forks (DDC semi-active electronic damping, mechanically adjustable preload)
Rear suspension fully adjustable monoshock, 117mm travel
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with four-piston radial monobloc calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 220mm rear disc with single-piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2010: BMW broke free of their pipe and slippers touring bike mould and produced the fastest, most powerful, technology packed superbike the world had ever seen. 190bhp, razor-sharp handling, race grade Brembos, traction and wheelie control, rider modes and ABS. It took years for anyone to catch up.

2012: Lots of detail changes came in the shape of more refined electronics, a lighter throttle, revised steering geometry, a new rear shock, steering damper, extra midrange grunt and more power in Rain mode.

2013: A special HP4 version was produced alongside the S1000RR for just two years and was the first sportsbike to feature semi-active suspension (Sachs – similar to Ducati’s Skyhook set up). Weighing 9kg less than the S1000RR, it came with Brembo monoblocs, forged ali wheels, more sophisticated electronics, more midrange, full power in Rain mode and a 200-section rear Pirelli Super Corsa SP. HP4 Carbon version featured carbon fibre bodywork panels.

2015: First major update since the 2010 model, the S1000RR gets a host of engine mods to give more power and torque. It also had a lighter frame, updated chassis geometry, suspension and electronics. Came with HP4 style electronic suspension and lightweight wheels as options.

2017: Limited edition, uber expensive, track-only HP4 Race launched. 171kg and 215bhp with race engine and a frame, bodywork, sefl-supporting adjustable seat unit and wheels all from carbon fibre. Suter ali swingarm, 2D race dash, next generation electronic rider aids, WSB-spec Ohlins and Brembos.

2019: The first all-new S1000RR since its inception. Lighter, more powerful engine with Shift Cam variable inlet timing. Lighter chassis with engine as a stressed member, new geometry, suspension, wheels and electronics.

Other versions

All 2019 S1000RRs share the same engine, chassis and basic electronics, starting with the £15 standard model. The Sport has extra riding modes, rider aids, electronic suspension, heated grips, cruise control and the M Package test bike has carbon fibre wheels, slide control, a race seat, lithium battery, adjustable ride height and swing arm pivot, among a host of other goodies.

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