- Fighter jet-like acceleration force
- High level of rear grip off turns
- Functional and easy to adjust electronics
- Auto-blip functionality needs fine-tuning
- Wheelie control could be improved
- Access to ‘Slick’ and ‘Custom’ mode costs extra
BMW preemptively answers its Superbike competition with its updated-for-2015 S1000RR (starting at $15,500). Employing new hardware highlighted by an all-new frame, more powerful version of its class-leading 1000cc Inline Four and up-spec HP4-derived electronics, the Bavarian machine dodges punches from its recently updated rivals.
Over the years the S1000RR has developed a reputation for the visceral, time-bending performance of its 999cc Inline Four and the updated version continues to leave us in awe. Although engineers have done an admirable job of easing the punch of its 14,000 rpm powerband, the S1000RR continues to feel like it employs the ‘fastest’ engine in the class.
Yet power remains useable, even in its most aggressive setting (Slick mode). Engine power can further be tweaked based on road conditions, or rider preference via four different engine/throttle maps (Rain, Sport, Race, and Slick). Furthermore a newly introduced ‘User’ setting allows the rider to build a custom map by selecting independent DDC (Dynamic Damping Control [suspension]), DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), ABS, and the aforementioned power mode settings. However, there is a caveat: the User setting is only offered only with the Standard ($1295) or Premium ($3195) option packages. On a side note, it also enables launch control – a feature we had a positive experience with during the HP4 First Ride, as well as a programmable pit lane limiter.
(Top) The S1000RR uses all-new bodywork and a larger air intake to feed the engine’s redesigned intake hardware. (Center) The ’15 S1000RR now employs auto-blip downshift functionality. However the system needs a bit of refinement as it had a propensity to mis-shift occasionally. (Bottom) In addition to new intake hardware, the exhaust system was redesigned slashing 6.6 pounds off the S1000RR’s curb weight. It also features a robust, ear-pleasing roar for a stock muffler.
BMW claims a six horsepower increase, and even more importantly, a broader, flatter spread of torque from 9000 to 12,000 revs. This should give the ’15 S1000RR around 180 horsepower at the Pirelli Diablo SP V2 tire, based on our most recent dyno readings (175.2 hp). This was accomplished via revised intake hardware (including a bigger ram-air intake at the front of the bike) and a new exhaust system that is nearly seven pounds lighter than the previous underbelly design. Speaking of the exhaust, the sound that the BMW emits is racier and more ear-pleasing than you’d expect from a stock muffler. And for those looking for even more performance, BMW offers an accessorial California, and full street-legal exhaust that chops almost eight more pounds off curb weight with identical torque curve and slight top-end power boost.
(Top) The S1000RR has switch gear on the handlebar allowing for push-button adjustment of engine power modes and traction control while riding. (Bottom) While we couldn’t tell if the ’15 S1000RR handled better than the previous version the increased grip off turns was readily apparent.
An early pioneer in the sportbike electronics realm, the ’15 double-R continues to lead the charge. It now borrows many of the rider aids previously only available on the HP4 (DDC, Launch Control, 14-way adjustable traction control). Its systems are intuitive, easy-to-use, and allow for adjustment while riding (power modes and traction control). We also appreciate the ever evolving function of the traction control, which allows the rider to experience the hellacious muscle of the Bavarian bike in a safer, more manageable way.
We remember being pleasing with the improved performance of the HP4’s wheelie control during our First Ride at Jerez. But at Circuit of the Americas aboard the RR, the wheelie control didn’t perform as well. Maybe it was the chassis’ extra grip (more on that below), but off turns the bike had, at times, a vicious propensity to wheelie (Slick mode). The front wheel came up so swiftly, and for a long enough duration that it proved difficult to trust the computer and continue to apply full throttle for fear of looping out. Conversely, in ‘Race mode’ the electronics kept the front wheel near the ground but excessively curtailed acceleration, compromising straight-line drive.
- Preload: 6 rings showing
- DDC: Slick (0)
- Preload: 0, open
- DDC: Slick (0)
- Power Mode: Slick
- DTC: +3
- ABS: On (slick)
BMW continues to fine-tune the handling and mechanical grip capabilities of the motorcycle – this time by modifying the chassis geometry and the rigidity balance of the frame, subframe (also 1.3 pounds lighter) and swingarm. Specifically, the frame sees a 0.5-degree reduction in rake and a 1.5mm decrease in trail. The swingarm pivot angle has also been lowered by 3mm. Furthermore, material was removed behind the frame’s pivot point for more favorable flex characteristics.
The fork tubes were lowered inside the triple clamp by 6mm (increasing ride height) and now house a pair of stiffer springs (DDC model only). A heavier-duty shock spring was also fitted, extending the length of the shock by 42mm and repositioning the frame’s upper shock mount so that suspension travel was reduced slightly. Lastly, the wheelbase was extended by nearly 18mm via one added chain link. Overall these chassis changes equate to a taller, steeper chassis designed to increase maneuverability, lean angle and grip, without compromising stability.
(Top)It proved difficult to get an accurate read on the improvements engineers made to the BMW’s chassis. As always it’s agile, fairly stable, and easy to get a feel for on the road. (Center) The S1000RR’s chassis sees big changes for ’15. The frame, subframe, and swingarm were all redesigned with enhanced geometry numbers and more favorable flex characteristics. (Bottom) The DDC semi-active suspension system performs as advertised and offers 14-way push button adjustment for fine tuning.
Despite the big changes to the chassis it was difficult to get an accurate read on the improvements made. As always, the S1000RR is a very nimble motorcycle and changes direction easily, with a fair amount of stability. Steering and overall handling feel natural, making it easier to get up to speed on it. It also offered a high degree of rear grip despite slightly cool track conditions. Though we wish we could have explored the more aggressive positive adjustment range of the DDC settings in hopes of slowing down the action of the suspension. We look forward to logging more track time on the BMW during the upcoming Superbike Smackdown X for a more accurate read.
STILL THE KING?
As always the BMW S1000RR continues to leave us mesmerized with its wicked engine performance that is easily in a class of its own. Its chassis continues to be adept at cutting fast laps and we appreciate the extra grip the revised chassis serves up off corners. Although its newly introduced auto-blip feature has a couple bugs to work out, as a whole its electronics function well and do an admirable job of taming the beast.
2015 BMW S1000RR Tech Specs
- Engine: 999cc liquid-cooled Inline Four
- Bore and Stroke: 80.0 x 49.7mm
- Compression Ratio: 13.1:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC, 16-valves
- Fuel Delivery: Dual Stage Fuel Injection
- Clutch: Wet multi-plate slipper clutch; Cable actuation
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Final Drive: Chain 17/45
- Frame: Twin spar aluminum
- Front Suspension: 46mm Sachs inverted fork; three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound; 4.7 in. travel
- Rear Suspension: Gas-charged Sachs shock absorber; three-way adjustable for spring preload, low-speed compression and rebound; 4.7 in. travel
- Front Brakes: 320mm discs with radial-mount Brembo two-piece four-piston calipers
- Rear Brake: 220mm disc with single-piston caliper
- Tires: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V2; 120/70R17, 190/55R17
- Curb Weight: 449 pounds
- Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
- Rake: 23.5 deg. Trail: 3.8 in.
- Seat Height: 32.3 in.
- Fuel Capacity: 4.6 gal.
- MSRP: Starting at $15,500
- Colors: Racing Red / Light White; Black Storm Metallic; Light White/ Lupin Blue Metallic / Racing Red
- Warranty: Three year