In 2010 BMW entered the litre bike class for the first time. In doing so it not only re-wrote the rules, it also screwed Japanese manufacturers in the process
WORDS BY: JON URRY
PIC BY: FB ARCHIVE
Bob Dylan once sang, ‘the times they are a-changin”, and in 2010 the times certainly changed in the litre bike class. The ‘big four’ Japanese manufacturers had dominated the class for so long that it seemed as if everyone else had given up on high performance inline fours. True, MV gave it a shot with the fast-but-fickle F4, but Ducati, Aprilia and KTM all decided to swerve on going toe to toe with the Japanese, instead opting on a path that involved less cylinders and more capacity. BMW wasn’t so quick to avoid a scrap – and in doing so it revolutionised the class.
In typical German fashion BMW had bided its time, studied the opposition and formed a master plan so that when it eventually released its 1000cc sportsbike it decimated the competition. The S 1000 RR didn’t just catch them napping, it caught them with their pants round their ankles busy with Manga porn...
The beauty of the S 1000 RR is that it doesn’t just have one standout feature – it is the complete package. At its launch the engine was streets ahead of the Japanese inline fours thanks to technology and advanced design techniques borrowed from BMW’s car side, while the most advanced electronics package ever seen on a production bike, not to mention a stunning chassis, allowed this power to be exploited. Traction control, variable ABS, titanium engine components – BMW left nothing on the shelf gathering dust when it came to the S 1000 RR. And boy did it work...
We all know litre bikes are fast, but the BMW takes this to a new level. With a claimed 193bhp, which equated to a genuine 179bhp at the rear wheel, the S 1000 RR was nearly a massive 20bhp up on the likes of the ’Blade and GSX-R. And it felt it. The BMW’s motor builds power in one long stretch of hard-hitting clout that keeps on increasing in a frenzy of revs until the 14,000 redline. Not only is it blisteringly fast, it’s also packed full of usable torque. However, what separated it from the Japanese competition in 2010 was the fact you could, or at least felt like you could, use all of this power safely.
Ducati may have been the first to have a traction control system on its sportsbikes (other touring based systems don’t count!) but BMW took it to a whole new level. With the S 1000 RR you could blindly rely on the TC to get you out of the shit, something it did with ruthless German reliability. Hit the apex, crack the throttle and hold on tight as the TC light flickers away, that’s all cack-handed BMW riders needed to know. As long as you don’t run out of track then the remarkable S 1000 RR electronics package dealt with everything else for you, and it even assisted when it came to stopping.
ABS on a sportsbike? Honda had led the way by sticking it on its Fireblade and CBR600RR, however BMW made it acceptable to have ABS on a litre bike as it was so bloody good. Not only did you have four modes to play with (one of which allows you to slide the rear into corners), the BMW ABS is so precise that you often don’t even know it’s there working busily in the background. Well, not until it’s saved your bacon, that is...
However, aside from the monumental power and futuristic electronics it’s also the small things that the S 1000 RR does so well; the neat little touches that make you smile with appreciation. Take the suspension adjustors. Who else but the Germans would think of adding numbers on the fork tops to allow you to see at a glance what your settings are instead of winding in the screw and counting clicks? The mirrors offer a clear view of the road behind without elbow interference, the key doubles up as a suspension screwdriver, the finish is excellent and the riding position surprisingly comfortable. The BMW has it all and is a very hard bike to pick fault with. In fact, aside from a slightly fluffy throttle response very low down (due to emissions law pleasing alterations – a pipe and Power Commander sorts this out), there is little to criticise.
Game changing, iconic or revolutionary are terms that are often banded about without due reason, but in the case of the S 1000 RR they are truly deserving. The 2010 BMW S 1000 RR was so ahead of the competition it put the Japanese on the back foot for the first time in decades and forced them to up their game. In truth, the updated 2012 model has moved the goal posts even further away at a time when the Japanese are still floundering. This is a machine that will remain on top of its game for years to come – and could very easily turn into a classic. Not only could you have a blast, but you could make some money on this.
PRICE GUIDE: £8,795 - £9,999
Cheapest private: 8,795
4,144 miles, racing colours and full electronics package. Bargain.
Our choice private: £10,000
2011 model with 3,300 miles with stacks of bling and FSH. Worth the extra expense.
Cheapest dealer: £7,994
Lacking ABS and DTC and in the horrible lime colour. Best avoided.
Our choice dealer: £8,995
7,500 miles and with the electronics package but in black not racing colours. Nice.
2012 model with just 12 miles in motor sport colours. That’s pretty cheap.
Type | 999cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16v, inline four
Bore x Stroke | 80 x 49.7mm
Compression | 13.1:1
Fuelling | Electronic fuel injection
Tested Power | 179bhp @ 13,000rpm
Tested Torque | 106Nm @ 9,750rpm
Frame | Aluminium bridge
F Suspension | 46mm inverted Sachs fork, fully adjustable
R Suspension | Sachs monoshock, fully adjustable
Front Brakes | Four-piston radial calipers, 320mm discs
Rear Brakes | Singe piston caliper, 220mm disc
Wheelbase | 1,432mm
Seat Height | 820mm
Dry Weight | 183kg
Fuel Capacity | 17.5L
0-60 | 3.02 sec
0-100 | 5.69 sec
0-120 | 9.33 sec
Stg ¼ Mile | 10.32 sec @ 147.28mph
Standing Mile | 26.51 sec @ 176.80mph
Top Speed | 183mph
Where do you start? The standard bike comes with four fuel modes (Rain, Sport, Race and Slick) which alters the bike’s power delivery and throttle response. By adding the optional extra Race ABS you also get ABS that varies its performance alongside the fuel mode, while Dynamic Traction Control does all this while also throwing in one of the best traction control systems on the market. The ‘motorsport’ package includes ABS, DTC and a quickshifter.
VERSIONS AND PRICES
The standard bike (without ABS or DTC) came in grey, silver or hideous green. In 2010 fitting the ‘motorsport’ package of DTC, ABS and a quickshifter cost an extra £1,310 while ABS alone was £800. Very few ‘basic’ bikes were sold, nearly everyone went for the full monty. The BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team colours of red/white/blue cost an extra £400 – presumably to help subsidise the fairings 2010 factory Ruben Xaus was busy destroying...
BRAKES AND WHEELS
The aluminium ten-spoke wheels are pressure cast to keep the weight down while retaining the necessary strength and have the 320mm brake discs mounted directly to them without any disc carriers, again to save weight. Brembo four-piston radial brake calipers provide the stopping force with ABS an optional extra.
Developed using the very latest Computer Aided Design (CAD) techniques, the S 1000 RR’s aluminium bridge chassis is constructed from four separate castings. The steering head and two side sections are tip cast while the rear section is die cast before a computer welds it all together. The extra long swingarm is constructed from aluminium plates with a stiff cast dish section used at the bottom for extra strength as this area is subjected to the most forces.
BMW concentrated its development on making the S 1000 RR as light as possible. The exhaust system weighs just 10.7kg, the engine 59.8kg, the race ABS system 2.5kg, generator 1kg, frame 12kg, swingarm 6.22kg, the list goes on and on. The net result is a bike that weighs a genuine 206.5kg ready to go with a full tank of fuel and 179bhp!
With 80mm x 49.7mm dimensions the 999cc inline four engine has the largest bore and shortest stroke of any litre bike, making it the ‘squarest’ engine in the class. This allows the engine to rev higher and therefore produce more power. Instead of conventional bucket and shims the BMW runs rocker valve actuators with titanium valves (the largest in a litre bike), double titanium valve springs on the intake side and forged pistons. A slipper clutch is standard and so are variable intake manifolds and a stainless steel exhaust system.
Never traditionally a BMW strong point, the S 1000 RR retains the classic asymmetrical look (odd eyes!) that BMW claims gives the impression of an endurance racer. Er, right… The fairing is also asymmetrical in its style with the left-hand side having a large cut out and the right-hand side ‘gills’. Never one to shy away from a horrible paint scheme, BMW released the S 1000 RR in what can only be described as an ‘interesting’ green...
The huge 46mm Sachs forks are fully adjustable but the neatest part is the clever 1 to 10 marking system on the fork tops that allows you to see how your bouncy bits are set up. The BMW’s key also doubles up as a suspension adjusting tool (some call this a screwdriver…). The Sachs shock is fully adjustable with high and low speed damping and the ride height can be increased by 10mm using eccentric inserts.
RIDER 1 35, 5 yrs NCD, licence 5yrs, 0 points, garaged, BS31 code
RIDER 2 40, 7 yrs NCD, licence 18yrs, 3 points, garaged, BS31 code
Bike: 2010 – £9,000
Call us on 0800 0832299 or go to carolenash.com All policies inc: UK and Euro breakdown cover, inc Homestart, up to £100,000 motorcycle legal protection and Euro travel cover of up to 90days. Carole Nash Insurance Consultants Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Minor 6,000 miles
Major 12,000 miles
Valve clearances 18,000 miles
Service cost (main dealer):
Right fairing: £439.00
RH Engine casing: £126.00
Brake lever: £69.50
Thanks to Vines Motorrad: 01483 207000
And on the web: www.vinesbmwbikes.co.uk
Easily the best litre bike when launched and the first generation could probably still take it to any 2013 litre bike...
+ ENGINE, CHASSIS, ELECTRONICS!
- PRICE, BETTER THAN YOU WILL EVER BE...