Few outsides of the biker community know that before BMW became a carmaker, it used to make motorcycles. Well, technically it started with aviation. At one stage the chief manufactures were “pots, pans, and bicycles” (during the Second World War) and even the licensed lsetta! Motorcycles have had a proud tradition, and are about to complete a century of manufacturing in a couple of years.
No wonder then that BMW is gearing up for such a significant landmark in its history, and with what better than the new BMW S 1000 RR. Marking a decade since the original S 1000 RR first made its appearance, commercial sales would only begin a year later in 2010 – it did mark a new era of superbikes that straddled the space between practicality and the wow factor.
Yes, even as the S 1000 RR continues the series that has carved its space at the acme of superbikes, there are significant changes too in this third generation of the bike.
For starters, there’s a new engine with BMW ShiftCam technology – simply put, the engine shifts levels as the torque rises. Below 9,000rpm, it functions more or less as an urban bike should, with all the attendant needs to observe the boundaries of traffic rules. Beyond that, out on the highway, or in the countryside or possibly a race track, it’s another creature – a true superbike with infinite potential of speed and power. The new 999cc engine employs BMW ShiftCam technology on the intake side, which varies intake valve timing and lift.
Another innovation is the addition of the M package, the first of any BMW motorcycle. The M insignia indicates a superior trim models, usually applicable to BMW cars. In this case, that includes a range of distinctive features. Once you get over the motorsport paint finish, notice the M carbon fibre wheels, an M lightweight battery, M Chassis Kit with rear ride height adjustment and swingarm pivot, the M Sport seat and a “Pro” riding mode, all of which also help reduce the weight to a mere 193.5 kilogrammes (as opposed to the regular model weight of 197 kilogrammes). The bike has a Flex Frame, the optimum interplay between the frame design and the engine as a load-bearing element. It improves the aerodynamics of the motorcycle and helps keep the weight low.
For those who bought the older S 1000 RR’s distinctive asymmetrical headlights, well, that’s gone in the new sleeker design. Apparently, the use of LED eradicates earlier compulsion for symmetry. The chassis too has been revamped, with the focus on weight reduction. The instrumentation in the 2019 models have a 6.5-inch TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity and four ride settings. Yes, you guessed it – the analogue dashboard clocks are a thing of the past too. The clip-on bars are slightly wider set (the comfort level for this will be individual though), while the heated grips now have three levels of heat, rather than the earlier two.
Dimitris Raptis, Head of Asia-Pacific, China, Russia, Africa, BMW Motorrad said, “No other bike can be a more authentic interpretation of the sport world than the BMW S 1000 RR. In 2009, we made a big entry into the market of high-performance sports bikes with the launch of the BMW S 1000 RR. It became the leader in its segment almost overnight. For the all-new 2019 ‘Double R’ our goal was simple – ‘Make it even better’, and we did just that! Moving into its third generation, the BMW S 1000 RR has been enhanced in all disciplines.”
The S 1000 RR is a completely built up unit (CBU) and comes in three variants – BMW S 1000 RR Standard (ex-showroom price ₹18,50,000), BMW S 1000 RR Pro (₹20,95,000) and the top of the range BMW S 1000 RR Pro M Sport (₹22,95,000). Yes, as the price gets higher, the bikes get lighter and more advanced.
As for variants, the new bike is available in two colour options: ‘Racing Red’, the flashy red finish portraying the superbike’s racing genes and ‘Light White / Lupin Blue Metallic/ Racing Red’ with Motorsport finish that is designed to send a clear signal of sportiness, agility and dynamics.
Riders will feel the new bikes to be lighter and quicker to steer than the older versions. The S 1000 RR sits in a comparatively crowded space that also has the Yamaha YZF, R1 Ducati Panigale V4, Aprilia RSV4, Kawasaki ZX-10R and Honda Fireblade among others. Priced about midway amongst these, just how much the BMW pedigree helps it edge competition with its new improved model will be tested soon.