BMW S 1000 RR

"Welcome to planet power" that's the BMW S 1000RR blurb, and whew, powerful it is! I'm impressed, the BMW S1000RR is one great bike.

The best BM superbike ever - the fastest, sharpest, most agile, best braking, best handling, 'safest' and most sophisticated production bike I've ridden to date.

BMW Motorrad South Africa invited the motorcycle press to feel and ride the new S 1000 RR at Zwartkops Raceway... and everything was perfect on the day, even the bike. The weather was another perfect day in paradise - not too hot, not too cold, a nice overcast, cool day. After a brief introduction by Rob Barnes and BM's technical guy we were led out onto the pit apron and given the keys to the bikes, after an explanation on how the four 'ride modes' ('Rain', 'Track', 'Race' and 'Slick') work, we were let loose to ride the bikes.

I selected the 'Track' mode, hooked First and hit the track. After two tyre-warm-up laps I slowly increased my speed until I was confident enough to change to 'Race' mode. Can remember thinking how confidence-inspirering the bike felt. Okay, I was nowhere as fast as some of the professional racers in our group, but reckon if I had this bike for a day at the track I might get within a second or three a lap of the fastest guys. The important thing for me was I felt comfortable, inspired, fast and... safe, as safe as can be on a bike - thanks to all the latest technology on the S1000RR. To give you an example; when in 'Rain' mode (the safest mode) the computer will limit power delivery when the bike is banked-over, but as you straighten the bike up the power will increase to almost normal, so that it's almost impossible to get into trouble with a twist-happy right wrist, with each upward mode offering less and less (safe) limits, until you fit the 'bomb' under the seat, which turns all limits off and into 'Slick' mode, then everything is entirely in your hands - no restrictions! I didn't try this mode, as I really don't trust myself or my ability to ride the machine to it's limits... yet (I usually reach my limits way before the bike's limits - and I'm happy with that - I still want to grow old and see my kids have kids).


Planet Power... yes yes yes

a style all of it's own

over R1,750,000 worth of machinery parked in Zwartkops Raceway pit lane


The BMW S 1000 RR is a highly innovative straight-four superbike from BMW Motorrad. A true milestone in the world of superbikes combines engine output of 142 kW (193 hp) with overall weight of just 204kg including fuel (183kg dry weight, 206.5 kg overall with Race ABS).
Specifications of this calibre make this supersports machine not only an absolute highlight in terms of its power-to-weight ratio and performance, but also, equipped with Race ABS and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), a new benchmark in terms of riding dynamics, safety and innovation.
Team BMW Motorrad has been playing an active role in the World Superbike Championship since the beginning of the 2009 racing season, the new S 1000 RR setting the foundation for the production-based racing machines ridden by BMW’s two works riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus.
The Challenge for BMW Motorrad was to successfully enter the World Championship with a competitive world-class Superbike. To do this a manufacturer needs a production model with the right kind of overall concept consistently applied in all areas. The essential factors, therefore, are supreme power, a wide range of engine speed, fast revving capacity also over a long period, optimum chassis stiffness, and perfect set-up of the engine. Other features absolutely essential more than ever particularly in the top league of supersports motorcycles are simple and straightforward rideability, lightfooted handling, absolutely outstanding all-round performance as well as safety features such as rider assistance systems like ABS and traction control giving the rider precisely what he needs.
Developing the RR, BMW has entered completely new, unchartered territory. This meant a huge range of new challenges for the entire development team, but also gave the team enormous motivation in seeking to set new standards.
The specific targets in developing the1000 RR were therefore clear: To achieve output and performance of the highest standard, make the suspension absolutely stable, with top handling and the best possible traction., to give the new machine an unmistakable, dynamic design, to reduce the weight of the motorcycle to an absolute minimum and to ensure top quality... typical of BMW.


1000 RR on the Zwartkops track with Dave Peterson screaming past

Over the years, the principle of combining a straight-four power unit with an aluminium bridge frame has been consistently developed and has become the dominating technical concept particularly in the superbike segment. The reason, quite simply, is that a motorcycle of this kind offers significant benefits in riding dynamics, long-distance endurance and straightforward production.
This is precisely why the S 1000 RR also applied this concept with its proven advantages. But while the S 1000 RR, in its concept of an in-line four-cylinder engine and an aluminium bridge frame, may appear at first to have similarities with some competitors, the Development Team at BMW has succeeded in enhancing the existing status of this concept in virtually every respect.
As a result, the S 1000 RR offers not only a wide range of USPs in terms of technology, performance and design, but also, through its particularly compact layout, demonstrates the high stardard of European engineering in the superbike segment.

striking a menacing pose on track

The consistent concept of the RR supersports is borne out in particular by the truly fascinating, innovative high-performance technology and great riding dynamics of this machine. The result is an exceptional combination of fantastic riding precision and agility, with unparalleled engine power and performance, providing a truly great overall package.
Never before has a BMW motorcycle been conceived and built more consistently for supersports riding in terms of its concept and overall construction. But at the same time the new S 1000 RR retains many of the virtues so typical of every BMW: Sportiness and riding dynamics combined with exceptional everyday riding qualities, great handling together with riding stability, outstanding performance combined with unparalleled active safety, as well as dynamic, unmistakable design in conjunction with optimum ergonomics and aerodynamics. Free choice of engine characteristics as well as Race ABS and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control).

The new S 1000 RR also excels through features and qualities typical of BMW such as durability, superior quality of production and optimum environmental compatibility thanks to the use of the most advanced exhaust management with two fully controlled three-way catalytic converters also able to fulfil standards and requirements.
Active safety when braking is significantly enhanced by Race ABS developed especially for the 1000 RR as a genuine supersports and available as an option straight from the factory. A further significant feature contributing to safety of the machine is DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) also available as an option for precision and practical value.
Facing various riding conditions such as wet roads (“Rain”), regular road conditions (“Sport”), a race track with supersport tyres (“Race”), or a race track with slicks (“Slick”), the rider also has the choice of various engine characteristics and set-ups available at the touch of a button. And last but not least, Race ABS and Dynamic Traction Control are combined with the respective riding modes
and coordinated with one another to ensure a supreme standard of performance and safety all in one.


The primary objective in developing the new S 1000 RR was to create a machine with supreme engine power combined with optimum rideability for the highest conceivable standard of all-round performance. The water-cooled four-cylinder inline power unit chosen to provide these qualities is brand-new from the ground up, developing maximum output of 142 kW (193 hp) at 13,000 rpm and revving up to a maximum speed of 14,200 rpm. Maximum torque of 112 Nm (82.5 lb-ft), in turn, comes at 9,750 rpm.
The two intake- and two exhaust valves per cylinder made of extra-light titanium are operated by very small and equally light single cam followers. In conjunction with the short sprocket driving the camshaft via an intermediate gear, this ensures supreme revving qualities at the highest speeds as well as exact maintenance of valve timing combined with very compact dimensions.
The use of extremely small and light cam followers furthermore gives the engineer greater freedom in choosing the ideal valve lift curves and, accordingly, in selecting optimum performance characteristics on both road and track.
All engine components are particularly compact and light, limiting weight of the overall engine without ancillaries to 59.8 kg (131.8 lb) and keeping the entire engine very slim.
Innovative exhaust system with interference pipe butterflies for optimum power and performance. Made completely of stainless steel, the exhaust system featured by the 1000 RR is designed for optimum power and performance. It works according to the 4-in-2-in-1 principle with four individual manifolds of equal length first merging into two pipes beneath the engine and then
extending into a large-volume pre-silencer. From there the exhaust emissions flow through a very short and dynamically designed rear-end can.


A homogeneous power and torque curve ensuring optimum rideability is acknowledged as the requirement for sporting performance on the road and fast lap times on the track. This is why the exhaust system featured on the 1000 comes with two fully controlled interference pipe butterflies housed in two connection pipes for the two outer and two inner manifolds, in the immediate vicinity of the exhaust ducts. As a function of various parameters such as engine speed and the position of the throttle butterfly, an adjuster opens or closes these flaps, allowing exhaust gas to flow freely between the
two manifolds or, respectively, interrupting the flow of gas. This coordinates the sequence of oscillations in the exhaust gas mass flow, reducing exhaust gas counter-pressure at the decisive point (like on a racing can) and increasing the cylinder charge accordingly.
The BMW RR offers the highest standard of technology on its suspension and running gear. Weighing just 206.5 kg in road trim and with a
full tank, BMW ’s RR is the lightest machine in the litre class, displacing 999 cc and featuring Race ABS brakes.
With its compression ratio of 13:1, the power unit of the S 1000 RR comes right at the top in terms of production engines, offering an ideal combustion process for optimum power yield and maximum efficiency. Proven and compact wet sump lubrication.
The lubricating system on the S 1000 RR is a proven wet sump system. Oil is cooled not by a heat exchanger, but rather by a separate oil cooler integrated beneath the radiator in the lower section of the fairing for superior flow conditions and aerodynamic qualities. Use of an oil cooler prevents any undesired, additional thermal exposure of the coolant and therefore allows the
use of a smaller and lighter radiator reducing the amount of coolant required.
The radiator is in bent trapezoidal design and is fitted upfront of the engine beneath the cylinder head to provide optimum balance and superior aerodynamic flow conditions. Thanks to its high standard of efficiency as well as elaborate tests in the wind tunnel to optimise the fairing and aerodynamic flow conditions, the cooling surface required is relatively small at just 955 sq cm, sufficient to ensure reliable dissipation of heat under all conditions.

To provide an optimum flow of air to the radiator, BMW Motorrad has developed a patented air guidance concept ensuring maximum efficiency in the removaland dissipation of heat. This concept is then perfectly supplemented by elaborately calculated aerodynamics developed in the wind tunnel for optimum removal of outgoing air from the fairing.
The engine spoiler helps to provide a sophisticated, highly aerodynamic flow of air effectively cooling both the oil sump and the manifolds.


Multi-disc anti-hopping oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox and HP gearshift assistant (optional).
Torque is transmitted from the crankshaft via a straight-toothed primary drive at to the anti-hopping wet clutch with a total of ten friction plates.
Applying the anti-hopping principle, BMW meets all the requirements of superbike riding, particularly on the race track. The braking power of the engine in overrun is transmitted to the rear wheel by the clutch only in part, that is only to a limited extent. When braking hard and shifting down at the same time, this prevents the rear wheel suddenly running under much less load due to the dynamic distribution of wheel loads from abruptly locking and juddering, keeping the motorcycle smooth, stable, and easy to handle also when applying the brakes. The clutch is disengaged in overrun mechanically by a ramp mechanism, with clutch operation via a hand lever and with maximum manual forces limited to 80 Newton. The operating forces generated are transmitted via a cable to the disengagement lever on the left side of the engine and from there through a thrust rod to the clutch pressure plate. This saves substantial weight compared with hydraulic operation of the clutch, just as the clutch cover made of extra-light magnesium serves to reduce weight to a minimum, again reflecting one of the most significant objectives in the design process.
To keep the gearbox and transmission system as compact and short as possible, the primary and secondary shafts are positioned on top of one another, saving space. Again, this reduces the overall length of
the engine and allows the use of a long rear-wheel swing arm in the interest of optimum traction.
Kept hollow in its structure again in the interest of minimum weight, the gearshift cylinder runs in anti-friction bearings. The shift forks are made of steel and are lubricated by compressed oil. The gears themselves come with straight teeth, the gear claws and pockets being cut back within to ensure optimum gear mesh. The transmission of power to the rear wheel, finally, is ensured by a 525 O-ring roller chain on the left side of the engine.
The S 1000 RR offers the customer the option to choose the HP Gearshift Assistant (quick-shifter) featured for the first time on the HP2 Sport, thus enabling him to shift up without operating the clutch and therefore with hardly the slightest interruption of power and pulling force. In the process the ignition and fuel supply are interrupted for fractions of a second in order to keep the gearshift absolutely
smooth and soft. The advantage, obviously, is even faster acceleration, with the rider gaining valuable fractions of a second.

cockpit is quick & easy to use

The 1000 RR comes with the most advanced and sophisticated digital motor electronics currently available on a motorcycle. The software incorporated in this sophisticated BMS-KP (short for BMW Engine Management with Anti-Knock Control) is an in-house development by BMW Motorrad specifically for motorcycle applications. Fully sequential, cylinder-specific fuel injection, integrated
anti-knock control, ultra-fast processing of a wide range of sensor signals by the most advanced microelectronics, a compact layout, low weight and self-diagnosis are the most important features of this sophisticated system. And to meet the requirements of a supersports machine, the engine management unit comes on the 1000 RR with an even faster central computer developed to an
even higher standard and fully adapted to this unique machine. Torque-based engine management takes a wide range of different parameters and criteria into account. The supply of torque and the sensitive adjustment of engine running conditions, for example, follow all kinds of requirements tailored to the rider’s needs.
The main parameter in controlling the engine is the amount of air drawn in determined indirectly through the throttle butterfly angle and the running speed of the engine. Taking additional engine and ambient parameters (including engine temperature, air temperature, ambient air pressure) into account, the engine control unit, together with control maps integrated in the system and appropriate correction functions, determines the ideal injection volume and ignition timing.
Fuel injection is fully sequential, meaning that fuel is injected individually in accordance with the intake stroke of the respective cylinder into the intake duct.
To improve the torque curve, the S 1000 RR comes with highly elaborate intake manifolds varying in length according to current requirements: Depending on engine speed an adjuster motor fitted on the airbox varies the length of the intake manifolds through map control in two stages. Serving to provide an optimum cylinder charge, the appropriate amount of fuel is fed into the engine at all times through four injection jets each on the throttle butterfly rail and above the intake manifold. Depending on engine speed and the power required, the injection jets are controlled either separately or together in one process.
Instead of a reflow pipe, the fuel supply system uses variable pressure control to deliver only as much fuel as the engine really requires at any given point in time. This sophisticated fuel supply management allows virtually any change or modification of fuel supply pressure for optimum fuel/air mixture formation ensured by operating the electrical and, for the first time, fully controlled fuel pump at a high pressure of 3–5 bar. Such adjustment of fuel pressure as a function of current operating conditions is quite unique in the litre class.
The fuel/air mixture is controlled for environmental purposes by means of two oxygen sensors fitted at the junction points on the exhaust manifolds to precisely monitor the composition of exhaust gas.

SA Champion Sheridan Morais with the 1000 RR in Slick mode

Air intake is at the central point with maximum ram pressure on the upper section of the fairing between the two headlights. From there intake air flows on an ideal straight path through an air duct to the steering head shaft right and left, past the steering head, directly into the airbox and from there to the vertically arranged plate air filter.
While other manufacturers in the supersports segment all use a lying or horizontal plate air filter, the disadvantage in that case is that the flow of air has to be diverted. The S 1000 RR avoids such unfavourable diversion of intake air, with the air duct leading from the air intake opening to the steering head shaft serving at the same time as the support for the instrument cluster, rear-view mirrors, headlights and horn. And made of extra-light pressure-cast magnesium, this component not only saves the need for separate supports, but also reduces weight to a minimum.
The air inlet in the upper section of the fairing uses the ram-air effect almost perfectly through its position, supporting the air supply process very efficiently at high speeds, with up to 30 mbar overpressure in the airbox, depending on the current speed of the machine. At a speed of 250 kph, for example, this means an extra 4 kW engine output. This is superior to all competitors in this segment and again clearly underlines the quality of airflow in and from the airbox and, quite generally, the supply of air to the engine in the RR.

trick S 1000 RR with Akrapović pipe, custom pegs and some Carbon-fibre

Choosing “Rain”, “Sport”, “Race” or “Slick” riding modes for optimum adjustment to road or track conditions.
At the touch of a button on the handlebar, the rider is able to choose various riding modes for different conditions and requirements such as riding on the road, on a wet surface, or the race track.
To make the choice, all the rider has to do is press the Mode Switch on the right handlebar control unit until the display in the instrument cluster reaches the mode desired. Then, pulling in the clutch lever, while the motor is idling. The mode last chosen is always retained when re-starting the motorcycle.
When riding on a wet surface with reduced grip, the "Rain" mode automatically reduces maximum output to 110 kW (150 hp). This mode also provides a particularly homogenous power and torque curve, with engine response and power build-up by the engine being extra-smooth and soft.
When riding on a dry surface the "Sport" mode provides full engine output of 142 kW (193 hp) in combination with even more spontaneous and direct response to the throttle. This mode is intended above all for use on country roads.
The "Race" mode has been developed specifically for racing the 1000 RR on race tracks using street-legal tyres. Here again the rider benefits from the full power of the engine, with an even more direct and significantly more dynamic response at all speeds.
The "Slick" mode is intended exclusively for racing on the track using slick tyres. Like the Race mode, this mode not only provides full engine power, but also ensures very direct engine response for racing or riding under race-like conditions.
Contrary to the Race mode, the Slick mode allows DTC to cut in permanently only from a side angle of 200. This, in turn, allows the rider to wheelie for up to five seconds when leaning over to an angle of less than 200, ensuring optimum acceleration and pulling force when accelerating out of a bend.
While the three modes Rain, Sport, and Race are activated by the rider directly from the end of the handlebar, the Slick Mode comes with an activation lock function provided by a code plug for the control unit beneath the rider’s seat of the bike. The rider is therefore required to first insert this plug before activating the Slick mode, since apart from allowing the even more dynamic engine set-up he also
in this way activates different Race ABS and Traction Control settings for riding to the absolute limit on slick tyres. In this setting DTC is no longer suitable for surfaces with an extremely low frictional coefficient.
Race ABS and DTC Dynamic Traction Control are combined individually with the various riding modes, thus harmonising perfectly with one another for maximum riding safety.
When required, the rider is able to deactivate the Race ABS and DTC functions separately from one another. DTC Dynamic Traction Control for even greater safety when accelerating.
As an option available straight from the factory, the S 1000 RR comes with DTC reflecting the truly outstanding performance, riding dynamics, and supersports character of this new machine.
In Rain mode for riding on a wet surface, traction control cuts in at very early, before reaching the friction limit on the tyres, thus offering the rider maximum riding safety combined with significant riding pleasure even under difficult conditions.
In the Sport mode, that is when riding on a dry road and, in particular, on country roads, traction control cuts in a lot later, since here the tyres have a much better grip on the surface. Under these conditions, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) therefore allows the rider to accelerate safely but dynamically out of a bend, enjoying maximum riding pleasure on public roads.
Race mode DTC goes much further to the extreme, allowing a very sporting style of riding on the race track with street-legal sports tyres.
While in Slick mode DTC is again set up perfectly for the race track, but now considers the much greater grip provided by slicks and enables the rider to choose all-out racing performance. Although the Traction Control offers the rider valuable support and therefore represents a very significant safety factor when accelerating, it is obviously not able – just like Race ABS – to re-define, let alone change, the limits and laws of riding physics. In other words, the rider may still exceed these limits on account of misjudgment or a riding error, which in an extreme case may
lead to an accident. Traction Control does however help the rider to capitalise on the dynamic performance of the S 1000 RR much more safely and much closer to the limits of riding physics. And last but not least, the rider may also switch off the DTC via a separate button if he wants to

As an option the S 1000 RR is available with a very light slip-on Akrapović exhaust made of titanium and with a carbon trim cover at the rear.


the powerful 999cc mill

Capacity: 999cc
Bore/Stroke: 80.0/49.7mm
Max output kW/hp 142/193 @ 13,000rpm
Max torque Nm/lb-ft 112/83 @ 9,750rpm
Configuration Straight-four
No of cylinders: 4
Compression ratio: 13:1
Camshaft: Double overhead camshaft
Valves per cylinder 4
Fuel supply (BMS-KP)
Clutch: Multi-disc anti-hopping oil bath clutch, operated mechanically
Gearbox: Six-speed
Frame: Bridge frame, aluminium

Suspension: Front USD fork 46 mm - Rear Double swing arm with central spring strut, adjustable inbound and rebound action
Spring travel: Front/Rear 120/130mm
Wheelbase: 1,432mm
Brakes: Front - Double disc, 320 mm, radial 4-piston fixed callipers - Rear Single disc, 220 mm, single-piston floating calliper
ABS Optional: BMW Motorrad Race ABS (partly integral, on-demand)
Wheels: Cast aluminium - Front 3.50 x 17“ - Rear 6.00 x 17“
Tyres: Front 120/70 ZR 17 - Rear 190/55 ZR 17
Dimensions: Length 2,056mm - Width (with mirrors) 826mm
Seat height: 820mm
Weight: Unladen, with full tank 204kg (206.5 with Race ABS)
Max permissible load: 390kg
Tank capacity:17.5 liters
Fuel consumption: 90 kph ltr/100 km 5.7 - 120 kph ltr/100 km 5.9
Acceleration: 0–100 kph 2.9 sec
Standing-start km: 17.9 sec
Top speed: Over 280 kph


Words and photos by Kenn Slater

Thanks to Rob Barnes and BMW South Africa for the ride.

All I can say is... AAARRRRR the RR is the best BM EVER!