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Building the ultimate road-legal S1000RR

Published: 05 October 2015

Updated: 05 October 2015

Since its 2010 launch, Performance Bikes has never featured a highly-modified, road-legal S1000RR. So is it simply so good as a standard package that it isn’t worth trying to improve it? It’s already the best inline four litre bike but that didn’t stop Road and Race ramping it up... and up and up.

e see quite a few S1000RRs coming through the shop,” says Mark Hanna from Road and Racing Performance. “But most owners don’t go any further than a pipe and Power Commander. The RR is so powerful and fast as standard it’s more than enough for road use and very hard to make noticeably better. So owners tend not to bother. A few fit aftermarket steel braided brake lines, but that’s it in terms of performance. Instead it’s mainly cosmetic items such as rearsets and tail tidies.”

But there's always an exception to the rule, and that’s why we're down at Road and Racing Performance’s Verwood workshop. One of their customers has just finished spending more than £50,000 making the best even better.

“A few years ago a customer turned up with a knackered Tuono on the back of a flat-bed,” Mark explains. “The bike was hanging and the owner, a chap called Martin, said it was the result of a drunken eBay moment and he was taking it to Spain for some trackdays. We got the bike on a bench, looked at it, then called him to say not to bother going. Sure enough, it broke after two trackdays. But Martin, who was new to bikes, had been bitten by the trackday bug. Two days after he returned from Spain, a 2012 BMW S1000RR arrived at our workshop with a note from Martin asking if we could stick a pipe on it. Then he asked if we could uprate the suspension to Öhlins. At which point it all started to get out of control.”

The resulting special is the highest-spec BMW S1000RR outside of BSB. So, if you want to know what works, and what doesn’t, on BMW’s class-leading superbike, read on...

Who is Mark Hanna?

When it comes to race prep, Mark has seen and done it all. As well as working for Crescent Suzuki’s BSB team, he has worked with the Honda Legends squad and ran John McGuinness’s EMC2 Superstock bike at this year’s TT. He is a familiar face at BSB and looks after a number of riders and their machines through his business Road and Racing Performance.


“This engine has a set of kit cams that were supplied by Buildbase BMW and are the same as the ones in Ryuichi Kiyonari’s British Superbikes machine. They were around £800 but you need to add £500 to fit and dial them in and another £500 if it’s a roll-in/roll-out job. Personally I wouldn’t fit them to a road bike, but it’s easy power as you gain about 6-8bhp. At tickover the cams make the engine quite lumpy, but once it’s going they are lovely and not aggressive at all.”

Price: £800 plus fitment



“The Alpha Racing dash is an incredible bit of kit, but I actually advised Martin not to fit it as the BMW’s CAN-bus electrical system is so complicated and that has made it a complete nightmare to get working. It can link into a GPS datalogger and comes complete with a wiring loom and various sensors, but personally I’d stick with the stock BMW instrument and save yourself a load of aggravation.”

Price: £POA



“These are Öhlins FGR200 forks, WSB-spec units from the BMW World Endurance team. They have more feel than standard Öhlins Road and Track due to the fork tubes’ thickness. FGR tubes are incredibly thin, so a crash can mean a new set of tubes. But they are beautiful to use. These are 52mm, 2mm wider than the BMW’s forks, and why we fitted Harris yokes.”

Price: £2200 (for Road and Track)



“An Öhlins TTX36 is far more adjustable than the standard BMW shock. Each adjustment has an effect, that’s not always the case on OE shocks. It’s a quality unit, and you get what you pay for.”

Price: £1116


Brake discs

“You can keep standard BMW inners then add Brembo Superbike discs if you want to retain the BMW sensor rings to allow you to use the OE electronics. The Brembo discs are 0.5mm thicker than BMW’s. They’re more efficient and certainly stronger in their performance.”

Price: £316 (pair)


Slipper clutch

“The S1000RR has a slipper clutch as standard but upgrading to an STM unit makes a huge difference. Buildbase also use an STM unit; it is lighter than stock and really helps with corner entry. The BMW units tends to hop and judder when you bang down the gears. The basket is standard BMW but the pressure plate at the front and back are STM and the middle is on a ball bearing ramp rather than two metal ramps. It’s a very noticeable change, which isn’t the case with all bolt-ons.”

Price: £911



“I always find OE hoses fit perfectly and seldom split or fail. John McGuinness runs standard hoses on all of his TT bikes. But Martin wanted silicon hoses.”

Rear brake

“Removing the rear brake reservoir cleans up the look of the bike and riders love an HRC brake fluid tube.”

Price: £8



“There are more to rearsets than improving ground clearance. If you are comfortable on a bike you will ride better, and you can tailor a rearset’s position to suit your size. Martin is 6ft 6in tall. We have fitted LighTech rearsets to the BMW, which have loads of adjustment
and are very well built.” 

Price: £350



“This bike has Moto2-spec Brembo calipers, which are overkill on a road bike (billet HPK Brembos would be just as good). Aftermarket Brembo calipers use titanium pistons and take the heat build-up far better than the OE units, reducing the chances of brake fade on track.”

Price: £1169 a pair (£804 for M4 monoblock units)


Chain and sprockets

“The 520-pitch chain is a weight saving device. Pulling a big, chunky, chain around big sprockets saps power. Renthal sprockets are lighter and we have dropped one tooth off the front to make the bike’s acceleration livelier. The traction control doesn’t need recalibrating with the different sprocket sizes.”

Price: £120



“When it comes to track riding, I’m not a fan of ABS systems and we have removed it from this bike, saving around 6kg in weight. As we have also swapped the standard dash it isn’t throwing up any fault codes. I’d probably recommend road riders keep the ABS activated as it is a good system for the road, if not the track.”


“Although this bike has a full Akrapovic exhaust, you don’t need to go that far. Any good quality end can and link pipe to remove the cat delivers virtually the same power gain as a full system.”


“The carbon is so much lighter than the standard BMW plastics, easily 3 or 4kg. It’s not to everyone’s tastes, but it is certainly a talking point.”

Price: £1125



“Harris fitted extended blocks to the stock BMW swingarm. We run it at the furthest point back. When you have a lot of power, the longer they are the nicer they are. They gain traction and accelerate rather than wheelie. Stability is also improved.”

Price: £1500



“There is no real need to change the bars, but we fitted Renthal bars as the Öhlins forks are wider than the standard BMW units.”

Price: £127.15



“The RR’s standard wheels are good, but they aren’t the lightest in the world and carbon wheels do make a noticeable difference – especially at the front. A lighter front wheel really helps the bike change direction quicker, however I wouldn’t be that bothered about fitting a carbon rear. You can run an aluminium rear and carbon front if you are on a budget and that won’t be an issue. They may not match visually, but you will have saved over £1000 and gained all of the handling benefits.”

Price: £2287 (pair)



“The S1000RR comes with a 190/55 rear as standard but you can fit a 200/55 section to help speed up the handling a bit as it is a taller profile. It can mess up the traction control so you might need to recalibrate it.”


“We use an HM Racing quickshifter as we had a few issues with the standard BMW unit. It might just have been a duff one, though.”

Price: £459.58


Steering damper

“Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the electronically operated steering damper and so we removed it and fitted a conventional Öhlins item. Very few racers ride with electronic dampers as they can mask the feel from the bike’s front end.”

Price: £295


Master cylinder

“The main area for improvement in the BMW’s braking is the master cylinder. I would recommend fitting a Brembo 19 RCS master cylinder as it gives a lovely feel when braking, as well as improved power compared to the stock set-up.”

Price: £318


Air filter

“I use MWR air filters as I reckon they are the best you can buy. We have back-to-back tested a lot of filters and MWR always come out on top. The standard BMW unit is very good, but MWR put a lot of development into their filters and this shows up on the dyno. I reckon it is worth 1-2bhp on its own.”

Price: £196.99


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