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!
I said it in my review, but it’s worth saying again. I think the new S-thou looks great and has loads of potential, but it’s let down by ECU programming, effectively mandated by the EPA, that utterly ruins its performance. Neutered power down low kills anything resembling drive, and once the engine is allowed to sing again at roughly 8,000 rpm, the Shiftcam tech is in full swing, delivering a wallop of power that can be unsettling if you’re not ready for it. You can see instances of just what I’m talking about roughly mid-way through the video. It’s a pretty big sore spot for something so performance oriented, but I’m confident once the aftermarket develops a re-flash for the ECU (if it hasn’t already), this will be a machine that will benefit in a huge way. When that happens, expect us to throw a leg over it again.