For ten years the S1000RR has been the thinking-rider’s sportsbike. Searing speed, monster midrange, tolerable comfort and plenty of practical touches made it the perfect weapon for those wanting more than just a loopy track bike. No surprises it headed the UK sportsbike best-sellers list for years. And after a couple of hefty revamps that kept it near the top, along comes the third generation to do battle with the classleading GSX-R1000R, Yamaha R1M and Ducati V4S. The 2019 S1000RR is almost all-new – new engine, suspension, frame, and symmetrical styling. Power is up by 8bhp to 207bhp (how the old one got by with 199bhp is anyone’s guess) and wet weight is down by 11kg to 197kg (193.5kg for the M version with the trick light bits). The new engine gets BMW’S Shiftcam gizmo, which varies the cam timing and lift on the intake valves, allowing the engineers to tune high revs for power and midrange for torque. At 9000rpm an actuator shoves the camshaft along, allowing another set of cams to activate the valves. If the system is anything like that on the R1250GS we’ve ridden, the shift will be imperceptible from the saddle. No dyno curves are available yet so we can’t see exactly what difference Shiftcam makes, but BMW claim at least 75 lb ft (just shy of the peak torque of a GSX-R1000R) between 5500 and 14,000rpm. Peak torque is claimed at 83 lb ft. The S1000RR’S monster midrange looks to have survived the chase for higher peak power. The frame has had more modest changes. It’s a new design that uses the engine more as a stressed member but it looks largely the same as the old one. It is different though – the frame’s weight drops by 1.3kg, it flexes differently to the old model’s and it’s 13mm narrower at the knees, which should help make the RR feel less of a beast. Geometry has changed slightly too, with a fraction steeper head angle, less trail and 9mm more on the wheelbase.
NEW EXHAUST This weighs 1.3kg less than the old one and uses two silencers (one under the engine) rather than having a single massive munter sticking out the side (we’re looking at you GSXR1000R). NEW FRAME AND SWINGARM Most noticeable is the swingarm, which is now underslung rather than the old bike’s up-and-over style. The main advantage is to shift the rear shock away from the engine, to reduce heating.
NEW ELECTRONICS Current S1000RR riders will recognise the new bike’s rider aids and modes etc, but all the systems have been updated. The new-semi active suspension is a ground-up redesign.