Yes, you re­ally can make Germany’s wün­der-sports­bike even bet­ter. Here’s how...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words Jon Urry | Pho­tog­ra­phy BMW & Bauer Archive

How to im­prove a 2010-14 BMW S1000RR

HE 2010 BMW S1000RR changed the way we think about mo­tor­cy­cles and in the fu­ture we will look back at this in­cred­i­ble bike with the same rev­er­ence we re­serve for the likes of the 1992 Honda Fire­Blade and 1998 Yamaha YZF-R1. It re­ally was that much of a leap for­ward in terms of de­vel­op­ment of the sports­bike.

What made the RR so spe­cial was not its chas­sis, al­though this was pretty bloody good. Or its mo­tor, which made a mam­moth (claimed) 190bhp. What sep­a­rated the RR from all of its sports­bike ri­vals was BMW’s adop­tion of elec­tronic as­sists.

Lean an­gle-sen­si­tive trac­tion con­trol, race ABS, power modes, the S1000RR had them all and much, much more be­sides. In cre­at­ing the RR, BMW set the blue­print for the mod­ern sports­bike – and it in­volved lots of 0s and 1s as well as mas­sive power fig­ures.

With prices of early gen­er­a­tion S1000RR mod­els now reach­ing the £7000 re­gion, a used BMW is a very tempt­ing prospect, es­pe­cially when you con­sider a new RR is twice the price. And if you do buy used and have some spare cash in your pocket, you can make it even bet­ter by fol­low­ing our ex­perts’ ad­vice.

CHAS­SIS - Richard Adams

“If I was buy­ing an S1000RR I’d opt for one with­out the elec­tronic sus­pen­sion, so the early gen­er­a­tion mod­els are right up my street. How­ever, in my opin­ion, the OE sus­pen­sion is quite sim­ply ter­ri­ble.

“Hon­estly, we couldn’t be­lieve how bad the stan­dard sus­pen­sion was when we first tested it. We thought a new BMW model would be high qual­ity, but the set-up of the Sachs sus­pen­sion was aw­ful – like a set of pogo sticks be­tween a 190bhp mo­tor! They lack re­bound damp­ing and while you can see why this might have been done, to al­low the bike to fol­low the road bet­ter, on the BMW it was so ex­treme it ru­ined the ride. And it also lacked ad­just­ment.

“The Sachs sus­pen­sion has re­ally neat ad­justers with the set­tings marked on them, which is a great idea, but when we put them on our sus­pen­sion dyno the ad­juster did ba­si­cally noth­ing at all! As a re­sult we have sorted quite a few RRs.

“An­noy­ingly, Sachs used a unique 7mm hole shim. You can’t re-valve the forks so you need to fit a new car­tridge kit. We have two op­tions: a road one for £600 that re­tains the RR’s fork tops, or a full race one that re­placed the tops as well to add ex­tra ad­just­ment for £1300. Most road rid­ers opt for the cheaper sys­tem.

“There is no point even try­ing to re­build the Sachs shock, you can’t buy OE spare parts and the af­ter­mar­ket seals are gen­er­ally quite poor qual­ity. Swap it for a whole new af­ter­mar­ket unit and you will find the hor­ri­ble ‘pump­ing’ sen­sa­tion when the back squats and un­loads with­out any con­trol as you exit a cor­ner is re­moved.

“To be hon­est, as stan­dard the S1000RR’s sus­pen­sion is ba­si­cally ter­ri­ble as it has so much power and such poor damp­ing it’s fairly hor­ri­ble on track or a fast road ride, but hap­pily it’s straight­for­ward to fix.”

‘There is no point try­ing to re­build the Sachs shock; swap­ping it for a new af­ter­mar­ket unit elim­i­nates squat­ting’

EN­GINE - Dave Hew­son

“There is no point in open­ing up an S1000RR’s en­gine un­less you are ei­ther a BSB or WSB rider, and even then you are bet­ter off just call­ing BMW and buy­ing one of their ready-built higher spec race mo­tors. The road bike en­gines are so well man­u­fac­tured, there are ba­si­cally no gains to get from tun­ing them and most su­per­stock rac­ers don’t even open the mo­tor. In­stead you need to fo­cus on the ex­haust.

“The BMW ex­haust sys­tem has cat­alytic con­vert­ers and a flap­per valve in it, which not only weigh a ton, they re­duce the bike’s mid-range. At the top end the sys­tem is good, but low down it strug­gles. I’d fit a full sys­tem and an af­ter­mar­ket air fil­ter, not for im­proved flow as the OE unit is very good, just be­cause you can clean and re­use it and there­fore save money. Don’t worry about the air­box, there is no flap­per valve in it and it works very well.

“Once the pipe is fit­ted you have a few op­tions. The RR has knock sen­sors, so you don’t nec­es­sar­ily need to get a re-map, but to boost the midrange the RR ben­e­fits from a new fu­elling map. Some peo­ple can re-map the ECU on the first gen­er­a­tions of RR, but BMW have locked it down fairly well, and to gain full ac­cess to the sort of changes you’d want for rac­ing you re­ally need a BMW race ECU, which is around £2000. Once this is fit­ted you can make the bike’s throt­tle con­nec­tion and midrange much bet­ter, which is what you want on a litre bike to punch out of bends. There is no point in hav­ing 190bhp if you can’t open the tap... If you don’t want to buy the race ECU you can fit a fu­elling mod­ule in­stead, which will im­prove the bike slightly, but th­ese can’t map for in­di­vid­ual gears so are a more sim­plis­tic im­prove­ment than a com­plete fix.”

BOLT-ONS – TJ Skrobot

“Most BMW own­ers stick with of­fi­cial BMW ac­ces­sories as th­ese are what add value to a used bike, so it is un­usual to see any RRs that have been heav­ily ac­ces­sorised. That said, nearly ev­ery RR we get in has a tail tidy fit­ted as they clean up the rear end of the bike.

“It’s pretty com­mon to see BMW’s Akrapovic si­lencers on the RR, which do sound fan­tas­tic. How­ever, on older used bikes, own­ers are start­ing to fit other brands of pipe which are cheaper. Gen­er­ally an Akra will be bought when the bike is new and added to the PCP plan, es­pe­cially if it is a full sys­tem. You don’t need to re-map the bike if you only fit a can; the on­board di­ag­nos­tic sys­tem will sort it all out for you within 50 miles, which is a pretty handy fea­ture of the RR.

“Cos­metic mod­i­fi­ca­tions aren’t un­com­mon on the RR, mainly be­cause per­for­mance is al­ready high and big changes aren’t nec­es­sary. While the Mo­tor­sports colourscheme was an of­fi­cial BMW paint scheme, we do see the oc­ca­sional Tyco rep. BMW’s HP range of levers, rearsets and var­i­ous cov­ers are also pop­u­lar, as is a taller screen, which adds a bit more prac­ti­cal­ity.

“Per­sonal touches are more com­mon than se­ri­ous up­grades and tun­ing – it’s so good that mak­ing it your own is all it re­ally needs.” Next month: Du­cati’s Mon­ster 1100/1100S – the last air-cooled big-ca­pac­ity Mon­ster.

Ana­logue/digi dis­play has a lot of info to take in


You’re much bet­ter off leav­ing the mo­tor alone and con­cen­trat­ing on the ex­haust

Sachs fork tops have par­tic­u­larly help­ful mark­ings on the ad­justers

5 1 3 4

Cat and flap­per valves add bulk and rob the RR of midrange

There’s a rea­son so many Su­per­stock teams use RRs; the stock en­gine is a peach

...then you’’re more or less obliged to fit the HP Race ti­ta­nium ex­haust sys­tem

HP Race Power Kit al­lows ac­cess to elec­tron­ics...

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