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The S1000RR was a landmark model for BMW when it was first introduced in 2009, a new high-performance Inline-Four sportbike for a company that established its bona fides in Boxer-Twin adventure bikes. Since then, the S1000RR has been a perennial favorite for MO’s annual superbike shootouts, even against brand new contenders despite only receiving small updates in 2012 and 2015.

After spawning a standard and sport-touring follow-ups in the S1000R and S1000XR, not to mention some higher-spec limited production variants in the HP4 and carbon fiber HP4 RACE, it’s about time the S1000RR gets a full update. We may not have to wait much longer, as a heavily updated pre-production S1000RR was recently spotted undergoing tests by spy photographers.

Visually, the engine is different from the current S1000RR’s powerplant. It appears to be very narrow. almost like a Triple, but the four header pipes reveal that it’s another inline-Four, so it’ll again displace just under 1000cc. We expect it will, like the current iteration, do without a vibration-quelling counterbalance to extract maximum power. Expect a factory rating above 200 horsepower.

Header pipes merge into a collector presumably housing a catalytic converter before dumping into a sizable muffler pre-chamber that helps reduce the size of the actual muffler that sits alongside the new swingarm. The smaller-diameter pipe exiting under a larger one is curious. Also, note how the exhaust chambers aren’t surrounded by a bellypan fairing, which should help them shed heat.

The chassis also underwent extensive changes as well. The subframe is a new trellis design, and the swingarm’s shape now curves downward like on the HP4 RACE instead of the current S1000RR’s upward-curving swingarm. Very little of the frame is visible in the photos, but the part that is visible in the gap in the left fairings has a distinctly different shape from the current S1000RR’s frame.

Speaking of the fairing, the bodywork maintains the S1000RR’s asymmetrical openings, with revised gill-shaped cut-outs on the right side. From the front, however, BMW has finally ditched the asymmetric headlight design for a matching set of lights bookending a centralized ram-air duct. Turnsignals are integrated into the mirrors. A large exhaust chamber under the engine allows for a relatively small muffler placed along the right side.

Electronic controls and assists will play an integral role in a new RR, so expect it to be fitted with a six-axis IMU to enable top-level traction control and a form of cornering ABS. A semi-active suspension likely will again be offered, at least as an option like the current model. Instrumentation is sure to transition to a color TFT gauge panel.

So, just when we were thinking superbike development had reached its zenith, now we must prepare ourselves for re-racking the latest literbikes for yet another shootout! Keep it tuned to MO, as further details are expected in advance of the big moto shows this autumn.

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