It’s a little strange to hear Nate Kern call me, and everyone else in the rider’s meeting, one of his kids. “It’s true,” says the childless Kern as he can see the weird looks on our faces this chilly December morning at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. “I’m man enough to say I care about you guys and when you’re here, at one of my trackdays, all I want is the best experience possible for you.” This might sound like lip service since every trackday provider wants you to have a good time, but Nate Kern and his eponymous DoubleRFest trackdays have the weight of BMW behind it to come as close as possible to ensuring this sentiment rings true.
It scarcely seems possible that BMW Motorrad’s lineup-leading S1000RR sportbike actually made its official public debut a whole decade and a half ago in April 2008, with deliveries beginning the following year. Even though 15 years is a long time, especially in the Superbike arena, where serious players like BeeEm, as well as Ducati, Aprilia, and the Japanese, don’t stint on investing in fast-moving high-end technical R&D in pursuit of engineering excellence, the German brand’s first-ever customer motorcycle with a transverse-mounted four-cylinder has maintained its leading edge reputation for both mechanical and electronic innovation ever since then, and the newly introduced latest version is no exception.
Hot off the heels of the newly updated S 1000 RR, BMW today unveiled the 2023 M 1000 RR – the basis of its racing programs all over the world. With the new M model, focus wasn’t placed on increasing power, but rather on making the most of the aerodynamics to use the existing power as efficiently as possible. As you’ll see in the full press release below, countless hours were spent in the wind tunnel and on the track to take full advantage of the aero package – and improve upon it where necessary. BMW says top speed has gone up to “189+ mph” (the legal department surely stepped in and said the actual number couldn’t be published), and so has total downforce from the wings. This helps keep the bike from doing wheelies when it really should be accelerating, so the traction control doesn’t have to work as hard. It also helps mid-corner to keep weight on the front tire for better mechanical grip through the turn.
And so it came to pass, ten years ago, that Trizzle, Pete and Duke did verily pilgrimage to Buttonwillow. And so we give a shoutout to the shootout of the most exciting new 2011 ZX-10R against the most exciting superbike of the year before, the BMW S1000RR… you know the drill.
BMW officially announced its first two-wheeled M model with the new M1000RR. Based on the S1000RR, no slouch on its own, the M1000RR offers a higher level of performance, adding aerodynamic wings and bumping the power output up to a claimed 212 hp while reducing the claimed curb weight to 423 pounds.
An Italian and a German walk into a bar… wait, Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ten years ago, two serious new players from Europe appeared on our shores, intent on upsetting the 1000 cc Japanese applecart. “Inhaling slower bikes like the way an ’84 Seville’s radiator grill consumes flies,” these intoxicatingly fabulous sportbikes – especially the winner of this epic contest – reset the course to where we find ourselves today, which is to say, without a Literbike Shootout. So far anyway. But remember: Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth. Amen. Wait, what?
Something wicked aus Deutschland appeared ten years ago, a motorcycle we never thought the conservative Bavarians would build. More powerful than the Japanese, not much more expensive, and bristling with new electronics to save your speck, at least one publication called the new literbike the Final Solution. Father, forgive them. Herr Duke’s kudos cup ranneth over. BMW have been on the march ever since.
By now I’ll assume you’ve already read my First Ride Review of the 2020 BMW S1000RR. In it, I mention how this new version of BMW’s flagship sportbike is a decade in the making and comes totally revamped from the ground up compared to its predecessor, with more power, Shiftcam technology (aka variable valve timing) for more power earlier in the rev range, updated and revised electronics, and a host of weight-saving measures to drop total weight by 25 pounds over the outgoing model. And guess what – the asymmetrical headlights are gone! In this video supplement to my written review, you now get to see and hear me talk about the changes to the new RR and see how the bike works around the glorious Barber Motorsports Park – including a bit where it protests and almost bucks me off!
Has it really been 10 years since the BMW S1000RR first debuted? The S1000RR has been one of our favorite literbikes for a decade now, but for the 2019 model year, it’s getting a complete makeover, with a new look and a brand new engine with variable valve timing claiming 205 hp.
China’s intellectual property office has published a design registration revealing what appears to be a new 2019 BMW S1000RR. The design, filed Feb. 23, 2018 with China’s SIPO with a priority filing with Germany’s patent office dated Aug. 23, 2017, reveals a sportbike looking nearly identical to spy photos we published last July.
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.
For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…
It’s been two years since we summoned together the superpowers of the sportbike world. In that time the Aprilia RSV4 RR, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, and Suzuki GSX-R1000 have either been heavily revised or completely overhauled. These changes beg a reinspection into the pecking order of world’s premier street-legal superbikes. Can Japan wrest away the literbike crown from the European OEMs, Aprilia and BMW, that have dominated the class since 2010?
As expected, BMW introduced the production version of the carbon fiber HP4 RACE at the 2017 Auto Shanghai show. To be produced in a limited run of 750 units, the BMW HP4 RACE claims a fully-fueled weight of just 378 pounds while its S1000RR-based inline-Four claims a maximum output of 212 hp when rated at its crankshaft.
Ducati raised the bar when it comes to lightweight materials, introducing its carbon fiber 1299 Superleggera at EICMA. It didn’t take long for other manufacturers to follow, with BMW announcing plans for a HP4 RACE model featuring a carbon fiber frame and wheels.
BMW revealed an updated four-cylinder lineup at Intermot, announcing minor changes for the S1000RR sportbike and adventure-styled S1000XR and some more substantial changes to the S1000R streetfighter. For the most part, the changes were made to comply with Euro 4 regulations but we are glad to see a power increase to the S1000R and S1000XR and some formerly optional equipment become standard issue for 2017.
From the unchained environment of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where performance is the sole consideration for victory in our 2015 Six-Way Superbike Track Shootout, we move to the confines of public roadways to determine which superbike renders the best street-legal exhibition. As tight as our track test results were, the street shootout was just as close with a half-percent separating second from first place. If the MO offices were located in Florida, I’d demand a recount.
Rejoice, sportbike fans, as 2015 is bound to go down as the year of the liter-class superbike. After riding this latest crop of superbikes at their individual intros, your respective MO editors all came back gushing, proclaiming the bike they just finished riding is a viable contender for top honors in the class. Of course, with statements like that, pitting them all together and settling the score was the natural thing to do. And here for you now, we bring you the epic showdown you’ve long been waiting for, pitting five all-new or significantly revised superbikes on the racetrack against the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, winner of our 2012 Japanese Literbike Shootout. Stay tuned next week for our street impressions.
When MO’s Managing Editor and enthusiastic sparring partner, Tom Roderick, flew to Spain back in October for the intro of BMW’s heavily upgraded S1000RR, he discovered a motorcycle that’s been comprehensively honed to advance its tech cred and lower its lap times.
If you’re like us, then you must be salivating over the 2015 literbike prospects. With no less than eight new bleeding-edge sportbikes on the table from both European and Japanese marques, the bar is being raised in the quest for track domination or, in the case of the Kawasaki H2 and H2R, simply having the rider experience intense acceleration like they’ve never felt before. However, there’s an interesting trend in the method in which each manufacturer is going about upping the literbike ante. More and more, a greater emphasis is placed on technology and electronics rather than hardware. Sure, hardware isn’t being ignored, but with today’s bikes making so much power, being able to harness it effectively is of utmost importance.
Hyped up on residual adrenalin from the previous day’s track outing at the Circuito Monteblanco, and feeling a little light-headed after visiting the open bar in the captain’s lounge at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (one hour flight delay), I began typing my 2015 BMW S1000RR review. Oh, S1k double-R, how I love you, let me count the ways: Gear Shift Assist Pro, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Damping Control (DDC), Cruise Control …
The BMW S1000RR won our Bike of Year and Sportbike of the Year awards in 2010, and Sportbike Honorable Mention award in 2011. A revised S1000RR again won Sportbike of the year in 2012, and in 2013 the HP4 version of the RR, took Best Sportbike. Twenty fourteen is, in fact, the first year since the RR’s launch that it has not gone home with a MOBO award.
It has been done many times before, but I’m going to continue pouring the accolades for BMW’s HP4. This beastly, high performance version of BMW’s already impressive S1000RR takes that platform to another level with its sophisticated traction control, ABS, ride modes, forged wheels, striking graphics and, most notably, Dynamic Damping Control (DDC). It’s a system I can’t harp about enough because it truly represents a turning point when motorcycle suspension systems transition from analog to digital.
By now, we’ll assume you’ve thoroughly read, digested and formed your own conclusions about the street portion of our Exotic Superbike Shootout featuring the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC ABS SBK SE, BMW HP4 and Ducati 1199 Panigale R. If not, click on the link to get yourself caught up. Simply put, these street-legal superbikes are apex predators, residing at the top of the most exotic, cutting-edge and downright fastest sportbikes on Earth.
Built for the track, ridden on the street. The bikes here represent the bleeding edge of superbike technology and performance from their respective OEMs. No matter the circuit, each model is capable of setting a blazingly fast lap time. Gauging superiority among these three on the street is a much more difficult result to quantify.