BMW S 1000 RR first ride review
The fourth generation BMW S 1000 RR has been hogging the limelight for quite sometime now. BMW Motorrad India though took its own time to bring it to India but it's finally here, and takes on the likes of the Ducati Panigale V4, Kawasaki ZX10R, Honda CBR 1000 RR, Suzuki GSX-R 1000 and Yamaha YZF-R1! And thankfully, all the three variants of the BMW S 1000 RR have been launched in the country with prices starting at Rs 18.5 lakh. Never in the history has any premium bike maker launched a litre-class super sport amidst so much hype and hoopla, except the Suzuki Gixer a few years ago. And the hype has been worth it as we experienced the S 1000 RR without any shackles at India's only Formula 1 circuit, the Buddh International Circuit. BMW Motorrad lent us the fully-loaded M Sport variant for eight laps. Read on to find out what happened next.
What's new on the BMW S 1000 RR
With eight extra horses on tap and a wide spread of torque thanks to the Shiftcam tech, the S 1000 RR has not only gotten more firepower, but it's lost a lot of weight too. BMW started with a fresh slate for this one and went out to save every ounce of weight. As a result, the engine itself is lighter by 4kg and the frame has lost 1.3kg weight, the disc brake is lighter by 500gm reducing the overall weight by a massive 11kg. The M Sport variant gets a lighter battery, seat and carbon wheels taking the weight saving down by 14.5kg! The M Sport weighs just 193.5kg making it one of the lightest bikes in this segment. A lot of talk has been about the new symmetrical headlamps but they are there for a reason. The third generation had to do with asymmetrical ones to improve aero but the latest bike gets all-LEDs, allowing not only for weight reduction but even better aero package.
Being Stuttgart's flagship, the BMW S 1000 RR also gets truckloads of electronic trickery and a gorgeous 6.5in TFT dash that we have already seen on the BMW R 1250 GS. It obviously gets tonnes of additional display modes for track purpose. The Multicontroller though still takes time to get used to and isn't as friendly as the regular toggle switch cubes. Other than Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race, the M package also gets you a trio of Pro modes allowing you to configure everything from traction control to engine braking. You also get semi-active suspension on the Pro and M Sport variants.
How does it perform on track?
The 999cc, inline-four now churns out 204bhp and 113Nm which is astonishing for a bike that weighs just 193.5kg. Thankfully, to control the riot, the BMW S1000 RR is now friendlier than ever with a smaller tank and wider bars. You don't really sit 'on' the bike anymore but 'in' it, allowing you to be at ease the moment you get on the saddle.
The moment you let go off the clutch, there's instant feedback from the chassis and the brilliant Metzeler Racetec tyres. In fact, the Beemer is so chatty that you'll always know how the power is being sent to the rear wheel. On the back straight, we managed to hit around 280kmph in sixth gear before grabbing a handful of newly employed Hayes calipers and they felt brilliant, but more on that later. You don't really feel the Shiftcam go live but the transition is brilliant and the RR can effortlessly cruise at 6,000rpm and then go all-out, all the way to 13,500rpm. The Race mode gets minimal electronic intervention and the Beemer really shines when it comes to the whole tech package. There is minimal intrusion and you are never shown the stick even when going at full throttle.
Riding a litre-class is a heck of a task for mere mortals like us, who aren't skilled enough to ride such powerful machines but the RR was quite forgiving, when compared with the recently launched Ducati Panigale V4. The electronic suspension effortlessly calibrates the ride as per the surface, allowing for maximum grip at all times. The engine is now a stressed member of the chassis and it feels a lot less stiffer than other litre-class machines. The added flex allows for mind numbing feedback from both ends. And all this, without affecting the stability which makes the RR not only brilliant on track, but should make for an easygoing, forgiving bike on road too.
The Hayes calipers were simply astonishing when it came to braking performance and the brakes remained unaffected even at the end of the session, and there was absolutely no fade at all!
Worth the hype?
Yes! The extra oomph delivers on all fronts and should make not only make for a scorcher on track but in real world conditions too. The unchained torque in the lower revs is so addictive that you'll have loads of fun even when touring. And the best part is, there's so much electronic wizardry that you'll never be left feeling unsafe or uncomfortable in any given conditions. I had a tough time finding issues with the motorcycle. Usually, a litre-class super sport is ridiculed for being too 'focused' but the BMW S 1000 RR isn't. It's so friendly yet so fast that you'll never get tired of riding it. Forget growing out of it! Now that's exactly what we need for our conditions, don't we? It's time to make way for the new champion folks! Take a bow BMW Motorrad.