It was in 2009 that BMW Motorrad entered the one-litre superbike segment with the S1000RR and quickly, the bike went on to become one of the leading players in that segment. Now in 2019, we are with the brand-new S1000RR and this is the third generation bike and is completely new as not a single component on this one is shared with the older bike. Also, this one is a lot lighter and it has got a bucket load of electronics on it, it is faster and of course, it is good looking too! So what a better place to test it than a race track and that's why rode it recently at the Buddh International Circuit to let you know how is this to ride and what is it that could have been better.
The biggest change one would notice is the change in the headlamp design so now the famously known asymmetrical headlamp design is out and instead, the new S1000RR gets a pair of sleek looking headlamps with LED DRLs. This new design gives the bike a much more meaner and sharper look and this aggressive look complements the dynamic aggression that goes throughout the design. If you look at the rear, it's completely stepped up as the design is sharper and despite the fact that the wheelbase has increased from the previous model, the new model looks to be shorter and it also feels to be slimmer. In fact, when you sit on the motorcycle, it does not feels like a 1000cc superbike but more like an 800cc or 700cc bike and that is a good thing as it makes the motorcycle less intimidating.
The new 2019 BMW S1000RR continues to get power from the similar displacement 999cc, inline four-cylinder engine but this one is an entirely new unit. Transmission duties are taken care of by a six-speed gearbox with a bi-directional quick-shifter. The engine is good for developing a maximum power output of 207 hp while the peak torque is rated at 113 Nm. While the torque remains unchanged, the power figure sees an increment of 8 hp compared to the predecessing model. The engine now gets BMW’s ShiftCam Technology that offers better performance throughout the rev range.
The brand new engine which is 4kg lighter is now much more well integrated within a frame so it's a stressed part of the frame. The suspension again is brand new and much more advanced than the previous gen model. The bike gets a lot of electronics as well. The new riding modes can be customized as per your preference and the terrain you are riding on. The brakes are lighter and these are sharper in terms of overall stopping distance but the initial bite is not really sharp and I don't think that's a bad thing because for new riders or for riders who are progressing from a smaller motorcycle, it would make it a little more easier for them to handle the motorcycle.
One of the biggest achievements for the BMW engineers on the S1000RR is the fact that they have been able to reduce a phenomenal amount of weight, a whopping 11 kg on the standard model and if you opt for the M variant, it is 14.5 kg lighter. Now that's a lot for a motorcycle. In the M variant, you also get carbon fibre wheels along with a lighter lithium-ion battery that shaves off even more weight over the 11 kgs weight-reduction on the standard variant.
The electronics package of the new 2019 BMW S1000RR has also been updated. The bike features a six-axis IMU that powers the cornering ABS and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). While the standard model gets four riding modes namely Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race, the Sport and M Package come with additional Pro riding modes called RACE Pro 1, RACE Pro 2, RACE Pro 3. All these can be accessed through the new 6.5-inch coloured TFT display. The display also offers different display modes and one can not only view the regular riding info but also track things such as the lean angles achieve during the ride. The display clarity itself is impressive and even under direct sunlight visibility doesn't get compromised.
In terms of performance, the BMW S1000 RR is absolutely phenomenal as the bike is a lot more impressive than the earlier version. The engine gives you a strong acceleration from the mid-range and unlike many other 1000 cc motorcycles, you do not have to really rev to only about say like 9000-10,000rpm to get a surge in the power. In this motorcycle, once you get past about 6,000 rpm, you can still feel the acceleration coming in which also means that the motorcycle is much more rider friendly when you are riding it out on the streets. You can really feel the difference when you are going around a series of tight corners as that lightness and agility of the motorcycle can be instantly felt.
There's a lot of grips that the tyres offer and the mechanical grip to is great. The electronics do a damn fine job of making sure that even an average rider feels like a good rider. The only thing is that the front feels a bit light but the good thing about this motorcycle is that it is very forgiving and that means even if you are going through a wobble through a corner, you will not go into a panic mode.
So to conclude the experience of the new 2019 BMW S1000RR, let's start with the price first. The motorcycle is priced between Rs 18.50 lakh to Rs 22.95 lakh (Ex-showroom) which is a competitive price from a segment perspective. The good things about this motorcycle include a better and sharper design, impressive performance from the new engine, predictable and forgiving handling and a long list of new age electronics which work really well. Things that I believe could have been better include a slightly light front end. While this motorcycle is immensely forgiving, the light front end means one needs time to have confidence in the machine before being able to push it. Also, the handling which by the way is super impressive does require a lot of hard work from the rider and hence it can get tiring quite soon as we found out on a really hot day on the track. The other thing could have been better is the exhaust note which feels a bit restrained right now. That said, I do believe that most owners who will buy the motorcycle to ride and not just park for the show will swap the exhaust anyway.
All in all, the BMW S1000 RR has improved in every area and offers a thoroughly enjoyable experience. What's most important like many other new one-litre class superbikes is that this one is far more easier to ride and this means people graduating from smaller motorcycles will not get intimated by its performance. In short, if you are planning to buy a litre class superbike, the new 2019 BMW S1000RR is among the best and most technologically advanced options on sale today. Also, I won't hesitate to say that it certainly is the best litre-class superbike on sale in India right now.