A Giant Leap: 2015 BMW S1000RR vs the 2014 model

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The Mission
It’s the S1000RR’s biggest revampsince it was introduced five years ago. BMW say their new weapon is lighter, more powerful, and more refined than ever. To find out just how much this third-generation RR has moved BMW’s superbike story on, we’re pitching it head-to-head with the out-going model, with a full performance test, weigh-in and a blast on the open road.



The bikes
2014 BMW S1000RR Sport: £11,695 (price when new £13,735)
Second generation model was quicker-steering, smoother and beefier than the original. This 3300-mile example is for sale at http://www.bahnstormer–alton.co.uk

2015 BMW S1000RR Sport: £14,760
Yet more power, full ride-by-wires ystem with WSB-spec rider aids, and a new exhaust. New frame has racier geometry and more flex.


They may look almost identical, but these two bikes are like chalk and cheese.The red machine is BMW’s latest, third generation S1000RR and it’s the biggest leap forward in the machine’s short but illustrious history.

Power delivery, ride quality, handling, refinement, ergonomics and steering are so far removed from the previous RR, it may as well be a different make and model. It was always hard to fathom how BMW could improve such a formidable,class-leading machine. Every incarnation of the S1000RR has made the competition look silly, and indeed the other S1000RR you see in the pictures – a 2014 model- is still an awe-inspiring machine.

This ‘old’, second-generation RR is packed with the kind of performance only a professional racer could ever exploit on the track, and on the road you’ll only ever use a fraction of what it’s capable of. It produces an eye-watering 192bhp on our dyno and a genuine 184.69mph, banging against the rev-limiter in top gear, but the key to its brilliance is how easy it is to ride.

The basic power delivery, chassis balance and grip makes life aboard the 2014 S1000RR easy, but throw its brilliant electronic rider aids into the mix and you end up with a bike that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy. But, unbelievably, the new S1000RR moves the game on again.We got a glimpse of its brilliance during its world launch at the Monteblanco circuit last November.

It’s fast and flattering when you ride it as quickly as your nerves will allow,but flat-out track riding will never be a good gauge of how a bike will feel and behave in the real world; we’ve had to wait until now to find out.

In pure performance terms the new BMW accelerates quicker than the old bike, has more real-world grunt in any given gear, and if you’re lucky enough to have an airfield at your disposal (or live next to an Autobahn) you’ll find it’s 3mph faster flat-out, too. Our dyno results show it’s more powerful at the top end, but more importantly it’s stronger in the midrange– right where you need it. You could ride it around in top gear all day and you’d always have enough grunt to play with. And tipping the scales at 204kg fully fuelled, it’s the lightest S1000RR or HP4 we’ve ever weighed, too.

The figures don’t tell the whole story, of course. It might have a few extra mph here and more bhp there, but with its new cylinder head, lighter valves, shorter air intakes and bigger airbox, the inline four-cylinder engine is smoother, revs faster and pulls likea maniac, almost before you’ve eventhought about moving your right hand. A full ride-by-wire system means there’s no throttle cables anymore, just springs, wires and electronics, so the new S1000RR’s throttle action is lighter and there’s no snatch in the delivery, even when picking up a closed throttle at low speed.

It might not be pretty, but the new exhaust accounts for 3kg of the weight loss. It doesn’t have such a raucous soundtrack on the throttle as the old RR, but it makes up for it with a delicious pop and bang on the overrun, like a superbike or MotoGP racer, as the electronic air-bleed systems do their thing. Gears slot home more accurately and with less effort thanks to a new quickshifter, and this £1000 more expensive ‘Sport’ model also comes with an auto-blipper so that once you’re on the move you never need to use the clutch to change down through the gears.

You may not have thought you need an auto-blipper in your life, but once you’re used to it, it’s hard to go back. Using the clutch for downshifts on the old bike already seems clumsy and old fashioned. So, the new bike’s engine is smoother, pulls harder, spins-up quicker and it sounds cool on the overrun. The throttleis lighter and the gearbox slicker, too. All this gives you an even wider smile as you rocket between the hedgerows, but BMW have gone to the same effor timproving the ride, too.

The standard 2015 RR has fully adjustable Sachs forks and rear shock, but this Sport model now comes withthe latest evolution of BMW’s clever Dynamic Damping Control (DDC). In a nutshell, DDC adjusts the damping as you ride – stiffening and softening, depending on conditions, speed, lean angle and riding mode. All this electronic trickery translates into a plush, supple ride. Like riding a tourer, you only ever notice the severest of bumps, but like a race bike the suspension supports itself under hard braking and acceleration for maximum stability. DDC gives you the perfect set-up along every inch ofyour ride and helps you find maximum grip.

Even with semi-slick Pirelli SuperCorsa SP trackday tyres fitted, the new S1000RR seems to turn wet roads into dry ones, filling you with confidence.With its new frame geometry (sharper rake and trail, tempered with a longer wheelbase) the 2015 RR sits flatter and less front-heavy. The steering is so light that when you jump back on the old bike you’d swear its tyres were flat.

As well as its ultra-light and more accurate steering, there’s less weight onyour wrists than before, too, meaning, long distance riding is far less of a pain.Our test bike is fitted with the optional HP4-style lightweight forged alloy wheels and lighter, racier Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa SP tyres, which would account for some of the new RR’s lighter steering.The cherry on top of all these engine and chassis refinements are the new generation electronic rider aids.

You now get the benefit of all the lessons learned from four years of S1000RR development and BMW’s experience with their WSB and IDM factory superbike and superstock teams. Like the old bike, the new RR has traction control, riding modes, racing ABS, anti-wheelie and a quickshifter, but they’ve all been refined and polished to enhance performance and giveyou an even thicker safety blanket.

Carrying on from where the old bike left off, the 2015 RR has a fifth ‘User’riding mode, where you can mix and match the levels of TC, ABS, engine braking control, anti-wheelie, throttle sharpness and torque from the Rain, Sport, Race and Slick modes. Rainmode now has a whopping 180bhp,combined with maximum TC, ABS and a soft throttle response. The S1000RR continues to be the only superbike with heated grips (a godsend in early January) and now it’s the first to come with cruise control, too. It’s brilliant for motorway cruising and for keeping your speed down where you need to, not to mention those moments when you just need to take your right hand off the bar.

The Brembo brakes are the same on both bikes and have more than enough power, feel, and ABS-assisted safety for road riding, but they fade on-track. It’s just a shame the new bike doesn’t have the HP4’s better-performing monobloc calipers.

Compared to the new bike the 2014RR suddenly feels old, which seems a ridiculous thing to say, but it’s true. Although when you think that it’s only a slight evolution of the original 2010 model, which started life on the drawing board a good five years before that, it’s not such a big surprise. Its throttle is stiffer and its steering heavier, the ride is harsher and there’s more weight thrown on to your wrists.

Fellow tester Bruce Dunn summed-up the bike that has murdered every superbike in the last five years as: ‘wooden’. And unbelievably, that just goes to show how far BMW has moved the game on with the new S1000RR.




‘It’s reset the bar’

Compared to the new bike, the 2014 S1000RR suddenly feels old

’It may be a year old, but the 2014 S1000RR was based on a machine that was first conceived back in 2005 BMW have done the seemingly impossible and produced an S1000RR that’s such a bigstep forward from the already sensational, old version they may as well be different bikes.

It’s just a shame the stylists haven’t been as busy!

In short, it might not look much different but BMW have reset the superbike bar, and the likes of the new R1, 1299 Panigale and RSV4RR are going to need to be pretty damn special to beat it.



2015 BMW S1000RR Sport, £14,760

  • Power:  196.26bhp 
  • Torque: 85.09ftlb
  • Engine: 999cc (80 x 49.7mm) 
  • Weight: 204kg
  • Suspension: 46mm Sachs forks and single rear-shock with adjustable preload and DCC electronically adjustable damping.
  • Front brakes: 2 x 320mm discs with four-piston Brembo, radial calipers. Racing ABS
  • Seat Height: 815mm

Insurance Guide  



25 years old from Hull



35 years old from London



45 years old from Edinburgh





2014 BMW S1000RR Sport, £13,735 - when new).

  • Power:  192.85bhp 
  • Torque: 83.78ftlb
  • Engine: 999cc (80 x 49.7mm) 
  • Weight: 209.5kg
  • Suspension: 46mm Sachs forks and single rear-shock - fully adjustable..
  • Front brakes: 2 x 320mm discs with four-piston caliper. ABS
  • Seat Height: 820mm

Insurance Guide  



25 years old from Hull



35 years old from London



45 years old from Edinburgh



* Quotes taken from MCNcompare.com on 27.1.2015. Comprehensive quotes based on zero points, 3 years NCD and 10,000 miles per annum. Guide price only and individual circumstances will affect final quote.

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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.