BMW S1000RR Breaks Cover in America

June 8, 2009
Steve Atlas
Steve Atlas
Contributing Editor |Articles |Articles RSS

Professional-grade speed and an attitude to match, Steve Atlas is the new blood at MotoUSA. Atlas has AMA racing creds that are even more extensive than his driving record.

The brake system on the new S 1000 RR lives up to the high standard of performance on the drivetrain and suspension in every respect. Here again  therefore  the development specialists at BMW Motorrad have given utmost attention to meeting all the demands and wishes of the most discerning supersports customers.
BMW finally allows us to take a look at the 2010 BMW S1000RR in person and reveals some details on the US price.

The recent Miller Motorsports Park round of World Superbike races marked the unveiling of BMW’s new 2010 S1000RR sportbike to the US market. And while the talk and buzz surrounding the actual machine and all it has to offer was high, no doubt piquing everyone’s interest was their loose pricing claims. But not in a typical BMW-high way. Quite the opposite.

“We will be within $1000 of the competition,” said Pieter de Waal, VP of BMW Motorrad USA. And by competition, he refers not to the exotic Ducati and Aprilia sportbikes you may think, but the run-of-the-mill Japanese 1000cc sportbikes; the affordable bikes of the bunch. Which, depending on where their prices fall for 2010, should have the base S1000RR coming into American for roughly $14,000. Which, for a BMW packed full of high-tech engineering (even in base from), this seems almost unbelievable. Though considering they are aiming for nearly 90% of sales to be conquest sales from the Japanese makers, this would make sense.

How they will do it and still make a profit? Now, that will be the tough part. And an important part at that. According to De Waal the success of the entire BMW Motorrad division rests in some part on the success of the S1000RR. Talk about pressure.

After four years in the making, we had a chance to get a close-up look at the new Beemer in the flesh at MMP to see what all one gets for supposedly “under $14,000.”

Technical Features

Titanium valves  both intake and exhaust  are actuated by equally small and light single cam followers. Valve play is compensated by means of adjustment platelets running on the spring plates.
Titanium valves, both intake and exhaust, are actuated by equally small and light single cam followers. Valve play is compensated by means of adjustment platelets running on the spring plates.

“For us the key is to come to market with a product that will out-perform the competition in your (magazine and website) shootouts, as this is what the consumer basis a lot of their buying decisions on,” continued De Waal. “Most people will not go to the track and may not be able to push a bike like this to 99% of its limits, so it is important to us to set the fastest lap times and make the most horsepower in your comparisons as this show the buyers which bike is most capable.”

Starting with the engine, BMW is claiming a strong 193 horsepower at the crank, putting it right in the mix, or even at the upper end of the liter-class competition. Not to mention they claim a whopping rev-ceiling of 14,200rpm, well over that of the competition. Bore and stroke comes in at a very oversquare 80mm x 49.7mm, making for a displacement of 999cc. In fact, at 80mm it’s the biggest bore in the literbike segment. But much of the BMW S1000RR engine’s capability is the result of their Formula-1 derived valvetrain system.

Exiting spent gasses is a uniquely-designed 4-2-1 exhaust system  featuring a host of race technology mixed in with the emissions requirements designed to meet government regulations while still providing as much usable power as possible.
Exiting spent gasses is a uniquely-designed exhaust system, featuring a host of race technology mixed in with the emissions requirements.

Titanium valves, both intake and exhaust, are actuated by equally small and light single cam followers. Valve play is compensated by means of adjustment platelets running on the spring plates. On the intake side the spring plates are made of light aluminum-fiber material. Combined with a small sprocket driving each cam via an intermediate gear and lightweight cam followers, it allows higher revving of the engine with equal reliability.

Another design highlight of the cylinder head is the arrangement of the cam follower axes, as both the intake and the exhaust followers are facing to the rear in the direction of travel. This keeps the cylinder head slimmer. All told this also means the engine weighs a feather light 132 lbs.

Exiting spent gasses is a uniquely-designed 4-2-1 exhaust system, featuring a host of race technology mixed in with the emissions requirements designed to meet government regulations while still providing as much usable power as possible. It uses a short rear end muffler, pre-silencer and electronically controlled interference pipe flaps, as well as a fully controlled exhaust gas manifold and two fully controlled three-way catalytic converters.

Active safety when braking is signifi cantly enhanced by Race ABS developed especially for the S 1000 RR as a genuine supersports and available as an option straight from the factory.
Active safety when braking is significantly enhanced by Race ABS developed especially for the S1000RR as a genuine supersports and available as an option straight from the factory.

Slowing things is an available race-capable ABS braking system. While still keeping the machine’s weight at a claimed 450 lbs, BMW claims it is the lightest supersport 1000 with ABS, and they developed the system almost entirely on the racetrack, to aid in track prowess instead of take away from it. Part of the optional add-ons is the DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) system, which features settings from Rain to Sport to Racetrack and Racetrack Slicks. Included in the system are wheel-speed sensors that provide the rider a host of TC (Traction Control) options at the flick of a switch. While unconventional as to how it’s displayed, we can’t wait to try the systems. BMW has it down to a science on the M-series high-performance sports cars, so it will be extremely interesting to see how it works on their first true supersport motorcycle.

As a stressed-member of the aluminum frame, the engine sits a 32% angle for claimed optimum weight distribution, while suspension up front is the latest in inverted fork fare, sitting 46mm in diameter. Out back a fully-adjustable race-bred shock controls a “very torsionally-stiff” box-type aluminum swingarm.

Supreme aerodynamics and sporting ergonomics ideal for both the tall and short rider.
Supreme aerodynamics and sporting ergonomics ideal for both the tall and short rider.

Further keeping weight down is an aluminum gas tank, something not regularly seen in this market due to cost. Gauges feature an almost overwhelming amount of information, traditional BMW-style, though we would venture to guess once used to the interface they would come in quite handy. Rounding out the new machine is revolutionary-styled bodywork. Showcasing an asymmetrical design with one side of the fairing slightly different than the other and two different headlights up front, the angular skins have been much talked about since the bike first broke cover.

“For us we needed to come up with something different,” De Waal said of the design. “If we make a Japanese lookalike then people would quickly criticize and with it being different people may not love it right away, but we are better off doing our own thing than making another Japanese bike. It’s already an Inline-Four, so it was important for us to separate ourselves from the competition with regards to styling.”

As for the pricing, considering current Japanese literbikes come in right around $12,999 on average, that would currently put the S1000RR at $13,999 in base from. Of course optional equipment like DTC will come at a cost, though according to BMW these will be very competitively priced. It’s reasonable to assume that a fully-loaded S1000 would hit dealerships around $16,000-$17,000, putting it well under the equally-equipped $21,795 Ducati 1198S. We’ll believe it when we see it. But if so, BMW could have a real winner on its hands in the 1000RR.

Ruben Xaus - Phillip Island Test
“For a brand-new team with a brand new motorcycle these guys are doing an amazing job.” – Ruben Xaus

Racing, Racing, Racing

In a smart move, BMW took advantage to World Superbike’s fairly loose homologation rules to use 2009 as a development year for the S1000RR by fielding a full-factory BMW Motorrad team with riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus.

In typical BMW fashion, instead of going the tradition route and outsourcing some of the tougher things to make, such as racing electronics, they have opted to do nearly it all in-house. But this is the BMW way. If you know anything about its racing history in other sports, when BMW wins, BMW wins. Not ones to like much help, BMW hasn’t made things easy by joining what could arguably be the most competitive form of road racing on the planet on an all-new motorcycle, one which they insist to develop as much in-house as possible.

All this considered, BMW results thus far have been impressive. Corser has been seen in the top-10 on a semi-regular basis, while Xaus pulled off an impressive fifth-place in Monza, Italy, a few weeks back. Miller was a weekend the BMW squad would rather forget, missing Superpole for the first time all season in qualifying, with Corser finishing a best of 15th in Race 1.

While BMW has been able to make impressive power from the new machine, getting it to the ground is the tougher task.

Troy Corser - Phillip Island Test
Troy Corser has been seen in the top-10 on a semi-regular basis aboard the S1000RR.

“We have plenty of power, but getting it to work in the right order is hard,” said Xaus. “But for a brand-new team with a brand new motorcycle these guys are doing an amazing job. Right now we just need to work with the electronics to get the power to the ground more smoothly and this will help in all areas (of the bike). I’m really happy to be here though and I know the bike can win once we get the time to develop it.”

In reality, though, this provides the ultimate proving grounds for the new machine and that’s what it is all about. By year’s end BMW will have raced against the best in the world at tracks all over the world with technology that will directly trickle down to the production machine.

In Our Eyes

In the process of developing the S 1000 RR  BMW Motorrad focused not only on a lightweight structure  but also on minimum dimensions as an absolutely essential requirement.
When first laying eyes on photos of the S1000RR we were a little skeptical. In the flesh our minds were quickly changed.

Having spent a great deal of time both riding and driving BMW machines, plus their extensive and impressive racing history on both two and four wheels, there’s little doubt in my mind the S1000RR will impress once in the saddle (we’ll be the first on the scene to ride it – expect a First Ride sometime in November). But the big question is: What about those looks? When first laying eyes on photos of the BMW we were a little skeptical. In the flesh our minds were quickly changed.

The asymmetrical bodywork looks sleek and fast, though very unconventional, while fit and finish is undoubtedly typical BMW first-class. And best of all, this unconventional styling has assured it is by no means a cookie-cutter Inline-Four. While still not totally sold on the green color, both the silver, black and BMW-racing inspired graphics work well and highlight the machine’s shape equally effectively – especially the BMW-racing colored edition (this will cost extra, though).

One to always impressive in terms of performance with its sports car lineup, it looks like BMW has finally followed suit in its two-wheeled department. And while it may take some time for the oddly-pointed taillight and one round headlight to grow on us, I can tell you that come shootout time next year if the bike is top of the time sheets as they say it will be, we’ll have no trouble getting to like those lights real quick. In this segment performance is the ultimate aphrodisiac, so the real answers will come in a couple months when we get a chance twist that right grip with the red mist. Stay tuned as this is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated new bikes of the upcoming season.

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