BMW S 1000 RR
There is so, so much that could have gone wrong with the introduction of the BMW S1000RR.
The bike has been hyped, details leaked, caught in spy photos and generally talked about with huge anticipation for around five years, when the first barely credible rumours of BMW`s attempt at a real superbike surfaced.
It`s even been raced in World Superbikes by Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus during the 2009 season, and all the time BMW has been drip-feeding us with tantalising details, encouraging rather than trying to dampen down the hype.
Expectations have been enormous for these reasons, and on top of that, this is BMW`s first ever attempt at the most high tech, high performance, high profile class in motorcycling, an arena where the Japanese and Italians expose their very souls along with their most cutting edge technology, backed up by years of race-bred experience.
Customers for these kinds of bikes - the Yamaha R1, Honda Fireblade, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja, Aprilia RSV4 Factory, Ducati 1198S - look for two things in particular: performance as measured in lap times, plus race and sporting heritage.
BMW has no motorcycle race heritage that most modern riders will be aware of, and for those that do know it, the pre- and post-war grands prix successes and 1960s sidecar dominance are hardly relevant to modern superbikes. That leaves performance, which means this entirely new BMW in an entirely new class for the company has to hit the ground running and match not just any bike in the magisterial list above, it has to sit in the upper echelons, and be measured not merely in opinion but in cold, unforgiving performance figures too.
As if all this lot wasn`t enough, BMW`s own history of new model releases is not the best, especially with its four-cylinder bikes. Going back to the company`s first four, the K100 in 1984, this bike suffered two years of various problems and it looked almost as if BMW was using its customers to finish off the development. It was never a great engine anyway, compromised too much by its unique layout. The next new four was even worse: when I first wrote about the K1200S after riding it in July 2004 I made a recommendation to avoid it altogether, at least until it was working properly. The bike was clearly unfinished and quite dreadful to ride as a result, and BMW postponed the showroom launch for another six months. Again it took two years for the bike to reach its potential, and now the 1300cc versions are outstandingly good. But it shouldn`t have happened that way, and it helped set an uncomfortable precedent for the S1000RR.
My own expectation then was to be disappointed, even to worry how the huge cost of developing this bike, coming in these troublesome financial times, could affect BMW`s future, in addition to any damage to its reputation.
By the end of the first lap of the Portimao Circuit in the Algarve, all those concerns had evaporated. It really was that soon, as like a Fireblade or a GSX-R - and pointedly not like the other contenders - the S1000RR is a bike you feel immediately comfortable on. Not so much comfort in terms of ergonomics, though again it`s Fireblade-like in this respect which is also a good thing, but in the reassurance of a bike which simply feels right. There`s further support in the hugely impressive electronic options available, which I`ll come to, but crucially it`s the basics of the bike which BMW has managed to get right first time.
The engine, frankly, is staggering. It revs eagerly at a standstill, promising much with its quick-fire snarls, and once you`re rolling its thrust is immense. Comparing figures between bikes is a wasteful exercise as no one seems to measure things in quite the same way, but BMW says its bike has the best power to weight ratio of all the superbikes, and when you open the throttle at the start of a long straight like Portimao`s, the way the bike fires itself up the track like a missile suggests that`s probably true. It is noticeably and significantly quicker than a GSX-R1000, this is obvious even without a direct back-to-back comparison, and right up there with the quickest, the R1 and Aprilia. This is huge power, a claimed 190bhp, yet it`s as easy to control and modulate as on any rival machine, with perfect fuelling and superbly predictable throttle control.
The power is spread wide too, with the huge hit at the top end supported by a muscular mid range that flows smoothly up to the maximum as the revs build, and even low rev torque appears healthy, although that won`t really be apparent until we get the S1000RR on the road. There are four modes to get used to, called Rain, Sport, Race and Slick. In Rain the power is reduced to 148bhp and the power delivery is at its softest. In the dry it`s still reasonably exciting, until you try the faster modes that is, and in wet weather will be genuinely useful. Sport mode is the everyday good weather one, and this blends that almighty power kick with a gentler throttle response than the next two modes that was ideal for familiarising myself with the Portimao circuit, and then returning to at the end of the day when fatigue was setting in. It`ll be perfect for road use.
Race mode gives you a hard edged, direct feel between twist grip and tyre which could intimidate some riders in some circumstances, though still the connection between wrist and rubber is utterly faithful. Finally there`s Slick mode, designed as it suggests to be used with slick tyres on the track, and while the directness of the throttle response is full race bike, Slick mode also allows other aspects such as turning off the ABS, which again I`ll come to.
The brakes themselves are outstanding, even in this class. They`re a combination of Nissin master cylinder and Brembo radial calliper chosen it seems for the perfect combination of power and feel. And instead of interfering as it usually does on the track, the optional ABS simply adds confidence. You can eventually feel it working, but this is at the point where most riders would be thinking they really don`t want to brake any harder anyway. Like the engine response, the ABS changes with the mode selected, coming in soon in Rain mode, then intervening nearer the tyres` limits with each mode change towards Slick.
In the lower two modes the rear wheel lift detector also functions, releasing front brake pressure as the back wheel lifts clear of the ground to help keep the bike in control. In Race and Slick modes this is switched off, and the rear ABS is also switched off in Slick mode to allow rear wheel drifting into turns.
The chassis if anything impresses even more than that magnificent engine. It was this which gave me that instant at-home sensation, and it went on to convince me it`s quite probably the best superbike chassis out there. It is on the physical side when circumstances (like Portimao) demand lots of direction changing, in part no doubt due to the non-adjustable steering damper, but it`s worth bearing in mind the test bikes were set up with only two extra clicks on the rear rebound damping from stock road settings. In practice for track use you`d raise the rear ride height to sharpen the steering and make the bike easier to flick side to side. But don`t start thinking from this it`s a heavy feeling machine because it`s not. It`s very light, very agile and scalpel sharp in its accuracy, going exactly when you point it and not running wide as many bikes do when you wind on the power coming out of a turn.
And wind on the power you certainly can, as the traction control lets you crack open the throttle as wide as you dare then goes on to deal unobtrusively and effectively with rear wheel spin. There`s one climbing left hander at Portimao in particular where the bike goes light half way through the turn, and even here the rear just slides gently to one side, tightening the line, then regrips with no lurch from chassis or engine, just a smooth, liquid and utterly expert corner exit that even the best racers would struggle to better. As with the other electronics, the traction control (called DTC or Dynamic Traction Control by BMW but not to be confused with Ducati`s DTC traction control) changes with the mode selected in order to suit riding style and conditions.
In addition, a lean angle sensor prevents the rider applying power when the bike is leaning more than a predetermined amount, and this too changes with the modes. The only time most riders would notice will be if they select rain mode then lean the bike in the dry. The bike refuses to accelerate until you start to bring it back towards vertical, then the power cuts back in (smoothly...) and the bike carries on as normal.
It`s unusual to see the name Sachs on the suspension of a top quality sports bike, but both forks and rear shock bear the name, and as with the rest of the bike, Sachs has instantly matched the best available. The fat 46mm forks are ride height adjustable as well as with the usual damping settings, while the shock offers low and high speed damping adjustment as well as spring preload and ride height. The rider`s job is made much easier by a simple and obvious idea: the adjusters are marked with clear numbers from 1 to 10, so no more counting clicks, and are even colour coded for rebound and compression damping.
A full technical appraisal will be coming here shortly, but what matters most and first is what the S 1000 RR is like to ride and how it compares with its rivals. The answer should be very clear now: this bike is not only right on the pace, it`s at the high end of the class and I wouldn`t be surprised if it came out as class leader in terms of outright performance. But more than that, it`s the easiest of all to ride fast, very natural, enormously confidence inspiring and as well as everything else, perhaps the most important factor of all, it`s a huge amount of undiluted, unequivocal fun.
BMW has done it.
£10,950 on the road.
£12,235 Sport version with ABS/DTC
Contact: BMW (GB), 01344 426565
Cracking report Kev. Interesting how BMW have applied some good thinking to areas such as the suspension adjustment. It's about time someone made that easier to decipher!
I'm off to my dealer on 4 Dec for a sneak preview. I can't wait!
I've barely touched on the technical stuff either, I'm doing that today as a separate feature as there's so much to write. Already I was thinking this report is too long, yet there's loads more! Plenty of pictures here as well, and lots more technical ones to come. I'll also be posting the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 report on here today, that's a great bike too, in a completely different way of course...
I reckon that S 1000 RR is going to really shake up the established order, and with the RSV4 in the fray too, the Japanese are going to be finding it a very tough year, what with their economic problems too. In next Wednesday's MCN I'm writing about how the yen has been held artificially low for a decade or more, and how that's changing - Japanese bike prices are going to be climbing.
Thanks for a great review, which I have been eagerly waiting for, as I am interested to hear how BMW would do dipping their toe into this market. There are a couple of things that I would like to ask or comment on.
First is the price. Taking into consideration all that appears to be on this bike and the level that it has achieved then this does not seem to be maddly over expensive. Yes it is a lot of money but if it had been a couple of grand higher in price then I don't think I would have been surprised.
Second is the traction control. Kevin was incredibly impressed with the Sucati system when he tested it a few months back but how do the two systemes compare? Is there anything between them that stands out or are they both just bloody good?
Third point is the combination of brake components. I don't know if it is a common thing for manufacturers to mix and match the component items in the braking systems like that but thumbs up to BMW for supplying what is best rather than just negotiationg a good deal with say Brembo for the entire system, if incorproarting the Nissin master cylinder results in a better set up.
I would love to get a shot on one of these bikes at some point, so shall be hassling the dealer next spring.
i just can't get fired up about this bike. I don't see the point of yet another IL4 in a market that's crowded with them. The RSV4 has the WOW factor that the BM doesn't have.
There is also the quality issues that have plagued BM for the last few years. A guy coming from a blade to this won't be quite as tolerant about "european character" as someone who has had several euro bikes.
Time will tell i guess.
Paulvt - you make some interesting points. I have personally only owned one in line four in my life and that is a Honda 400-4 that is still in the garage awaiting restoration. I have never actually considered buying a new big 4 cylinder bike but always enjoy riding them.
I think however there will be quite an interest in this machine because it is a BMW and not just another Japanese IL4. They have done wonders for their image over the past few years and in my opinion are showing imagination that quite frankly the big four are not. The stand at last and this year's Milan show was testament to what they are publically willing to show us. I think that we can take Kevin's words at face value and thus it appears that they have delivered something quite special and in what is, as you eluded to, a sector heavily populated by inline fours. They however have something that none of the other players have and that is the fact that this is totally new and their first attempt in the genre.
It would appear that BMW do indeed have some quality issues but at the same time it is not as if every single one of them is falling apart and where they do remarkably well is how they deal with the issues when things do go wrong and that counts for a lot.
I am not sure why I will go for a test ride on this machine as I have more or less made up my mind what the next bike is going to be but it has caught my imagination, much more so than the constantly evolving R1 even with its new crank and the perennial devlopment and tweaking of the GSXR, Fireblade, ZX etc.
I think my apathy comes from disinterest in the pure sport class to be honest. Unless you are a track day fiend, then what this, or any of it's rivals have, is pointless.
If the inevitable naked appears next year, then that might be one for a test ride.
The price surprised me too, the base model has as much on it as any Japanese superbike and it's right in the pack in terms of price, cheaper than an R1 in fact. With all the extra electronics it's still in the right area.
The traction control is if anything better than Ducati's as it operates more smoothly and unobtrusively, but really they're both brilliant, I'd be happy with either.
It's actually not that uncommon to mix and match brake components, BMW's not pushing the boat out with this, although I've often wondered about how that works and why a Nissin master cylinder might be better with Brembo callipers. Bottom line is, it works...
The MCN guy came out armed with questions from readers to put to BMW staff, and 75 per cent were about reliability. There's no hiding in this class, buyers are less marque loyal than most and are happy to buy a Yamaha one year, a Honda the next etc, swayed only by outright performance. Anything that gets in the way of that, like inferiority in terms of feel even, let alone performance, or any perceived reliability issues would hammer sales. BMW says this bike's had more development than any previous ones to deal with that, but then they would... this is one thing that really only time will tell.
Interestingly this was the first BMW launch I've done in many years where there was not a single, tiny thing that went wrong with any of the bikes. The others have mostly been absolutely trivial, like a bulb going or a switch not quite working perfectly, but there was always something. Not this time though, everything was flawless.
If you're not into these bikes then of course the BMW won't be especially exciting. I can see why you think they're pointless but I've run a few for longish periods over the years and I'd have to disagree, I've got a huge amount of pleasure from them without ever going near a track. You can't use the full performance, I agree, but that applies to most other big bikes too so they're no different in that respect, and the handling, response and general feel are so good and so much better than other bikes they're enormously satisfying to ride even slowly.
The key with the S1000RR is that it's such a new thing for BMW to be doing, and it adds major interest to the class for those who are into these bikes as the general feeling has been that the Japanese are so good at superbikes no one else will really be able to challenge them. Then Aprilia came along and now BMW proving that's not true. This is also the first BMW motorcycle that really fits with the image people have of the company from the car world!
Fair points all. i suppose BM need to bring new blood to the marque.
I'm inclined to agree with Paulvt although I can see why BMW have decided to develop an inline four. I think they wanted to prove to the doubters that they can make orthodox bikes too and compete head-on with the Japanese. In this respect they seem to have succeeded spectacularly. BMW may have cornered the adventure bike market for the time being but why stop there? If they have the resources and the confidence to be able to grab a slice of the even bigger superbike sector, it would make good business sense to do so. Even Triumph haven't been that brave lately!
I wouldn't say I'm disinterested in pure sports bikes - I enjoy riding anything with two wheels. However, when it comes to ownership I prefer a bike on which I don't have to be completely anti-social in order to feel like I'm using more than a fraction of the machine's abilities and this is why sports bikes don't appeal for road riding. They're a bit like wearing running spikes around the house - uncomfortable and a bit OTT.
I think it is absolutely fabulous for all the guys running BMW franchises that, at last, a competitive class leading model range is there to support business across the wider demographic. In addition, dealers can win repeat business and build a loyal customer base. So the younger blade (pun intended) buys a S1000RR and after a few years his requirements change and he buys a K series before finally winding down with a GS. Build a scooter, Mr. BMW, with some class leading electronics and machine design and the range is complete. I'm in the middle, having just bought a K1300s and just can't stop eulogising the machine and the marque in general. In addition I have found, thus far, BMW dealerships to be professional and well informed. The K1300s Bike chose me, so the wider the range, the more selling opportunities.
Fantastic write up, thanks a lot!
I've had this bike on order for a few months, now I really can't wait to get it and take it to the track. :)
Well, at least they haven't called it the BMW R 1000 SS which would have been...unfortunate.
I'm with Paul. It just seems such a generic effort, give or take the odd bit of this and 2% extra of that. I can't imagine spending my hard-earned on one of these instead of a Blade with all of its heritage, proven quality, etc., - if I were in this market. Nice if you you've got to have a BMW, though.
That name was, apparently, under consideration briefly, until the obvious was pointed out...
I think you'll be surprised at how well the RR sells then, in this sector those odd 2 per cent gains are very hard to achieve and important to the buyers, and buyers are more willing than most to roam between brands in search of the very best one. The basic architecture is generic but the electronics are way ahead of the rest, as well as some of the detail engineering, making it much easier for average riders to be very quick, which has a lot of appeal.
Your 'proven quality' point is important, I think what might hold a lot of people back is BMW's recent history of reliability issues, many will want to wait a year and see how this bike fares in that respect.
I remain to be 100% convinced that the market in general is all that aware that BMW have real quality issues. Though I also suspect that is being a bit unkind to them as we are making it sound like they are all a bag of a bolts, which patently is not true.The marque in general, covering all its products, plus the nation of origin mean that to many it is a default position of being a quality and reliable machine. Just as some people will never accept Italian bikes can be and indeed are reliable, their are many who will never question that of a German machine. Mercedes being a perfect case in point, the general population perception is still that they are brilliant but for many, many years they were turning out basically unreliable and poor quality items by the shed load.
Once the word gets out that this is going to to be this month's hyper bike of the year then there will be a healthy stream of people booking test rides. As I have eluded to in previous posts, i think it is precisely because it is not just another Blade or R1 that it will also ganrner interest. I know that these two are very fine bikes and I am in no way detracting from them but they are kind of like Ford Mondeo's - excellent vehicles but every man and his dog has one. BMW, I am sure, do not expect to beat Honda and Yamaha in this class but if they can take a small share then it will all be worthwhile. I think there are enough people out there who want the performance etc as well as wishing to be that little bit different. If they were not V-Twin lovers then they now have a real alternative.
I wonder if the next bike to use this motor will be a streetfighter? A mate in the trade reckons it's the only sector that has shown an increase in sales recently.
Paul - that would be one hell of a beast to base a naked bike around. - well at least on the surface of it anyway - or maybe a BMW take on the Hypermotard/KTM SM-T style thing!
With that mad 6 cylinder engine getting into a variety of platforms i have to admit - BMW are one of the more exciting players out there.
I'll be posting a piece on the Concept6 shortly, been a bit busy here though! It's all a bit improbable isn't it, Ducati with cutting edge electrics, BMW being exciting and making a great superbike... Makes you wonder what's coming next.
1st post. Excellent site and it's great to see your responses to the posts.
I was really looking forward to seeing the S1000RR at the NEC but I have to say, when I saw it in the flesh, I was struck by how 'bitty' it was. The cover on the tank didn't seem to bed onto the tank properly. The plastic side panels (in black) running from tank down to fairing didn't seem to match the texture and lines of the bike but most unusual were the rear pillion footrests and footrest hangers. They looked like they'd been machined out of a bit of old tubing from a long-forgotten DIY project.
Overall, I went from someone who was almost certainly going to buy one to decidedly unsure. The whole look of the bike doesn't seem to flow as a whole.
Call me shallow, but these things matter when you're laying down 13 grand.
Read the DT article with much interest and followed the link here - echo the above re: excellent site - can't recall such a positive review of a bike for ages - if ever.
As the rider of a 30-year old (airhead) R100RT, and being constantly reminded of the poor finish on many 'moderns' (either by their riders or very visible deterioration) I've never felt much like forking out for for something that costs a fortune to buy or service.
That said, I'm beginning to feel that technical improvments on the safety front combined with the appalling state of (Kent) roads may warrent a trip to the dealers.
It would be nice to have a reason the raid the piggy bank, and the S 1000 RR might be it.
Chalk & cheese in the garage, then.
Yeah, it's good of the Telegraph to link here but they're top people there, on the Motoring desk anyway, though it's not as if my site is going to pose a major threat to the Telegraph's...
Well as an airhead man then you might like this feature: Garmisch on a Monkey in the Features Archive on here. It really won me over, that old bike... Same age as yours, near enough.
I've got an old ex-police K1100LT I'm doing up as a winter hack now which is proving more interesting than I was expecting, I'll write something about that on here soon. Bought it as a too-much-beer, late night blind ebay purchase, which was really daft, but I think I was lucky. I think... the biggest problem with it really is it's luminous yellow.
These days I definitely prefer to be riding a bike with ABS, I don't agree with this stuff you still hear about being able to otbrake it... yes you can when you're trying to, but not in a sudden emergency on a wet road. And I'm not sure I could outbrake the S 1000 RR's anyway, that'll be interesting to try.
That is a good point. After 30 years with one of the large accounting practices I was looking to do something a bit different and I've been taken on part time to help one of the new Motorrad franchises on the sales side, starting last Friday. Last weekend we had a good stream of people through the door - a fair number of existing BMW owners but also a fair number of owners of other marques who tended to be younger than the traditional BMW demographic. So this model has at least caused a number of them to sit up and think about BMW in a different light. The fact is that BMW has a long history of sporting success and technological innovation; but certainly as regards sporting heritage nothing that people under the age of 50 would probably remember. This bike will IMO sell to those who want something other than a Japanese sportsbike. I suspect that the level of WSB success will determine its success among the traditional Blade/R1/GSXR/ZX customers. The other point that Kevin makes is that BMW has deservedly been taken to task over quality control failures over the last few years. I have a K1200S where the ECU failed after 3.5 years- in my view a solid state ECU should never fail - and an HP2 Sport where the instrument cluster had a fault virtually from day 1 - this was replaced under warranty. In this respect I was pleased to see that BMW had 300 of its Berlin employees riding pre production models throughout this year - all of these bikes will now be scrapped - so hopefully this process will mean that the irritating shortcomings of the early K1200S will be avoided.
My first post here gents...
The S 1000 RR will be my first BMW, so I'm new to all this. My last bike was a '99 Hayabusa and I loved it. It was new and there was a ton of chatter about the Busa. Now BMW steps into the liter ring and there's a tremendous ammount of buzz surrounding this puppy! I've been looking at the S 1000 RR (and several other bikes...)for over a year now and was a bit reticent to commit to the BMW. After reading Kev's article and the other comments/opinions--I sprung for the bike and should have it by mid March. Only problem is, I'm serving in Afghanistan now and I won't take delivery till the last week of March when I get back home!
Has anybody ridden one yet other than Kev?
A shame you won't be around with your bike for the ride through Wootton Bassett, that'd be a hell of a way to christen it.
I think you're in for a shock after the Busa... Well, it worked the other way around for me, four years ago I ran a GSX-R1000 for a year so I was completely familiar with and used to the bike. When that went I had a Hayabusa, and I still remember walking out to the garage, grabbing the bike to roll it back out... and it wouldn't move! I'd simply put the same effort as I always had done into lifting it off the side stand, and the Hayabusa's so much heavier I had to have a second go.
So when you get your S1000RR, just be careful you don't accidentally fling it on its side when you're picking it up of the stand.
Thanks for joining in btw!
It'd be great to ride with you guys through Wooton Bassett. Only one problem: I'm a Yank and I live in Georgia. So...I'll have to christen her at the Tail of the Dragon (318 corners in 11 miles!) or Road Atlanta.
Thanks for the info Kev. I look forward to more of the same: great writing and good insight.
First, great blog and site. I always check here first when looking for motorcycle reviews. Love the mix of technical, writing, and pragmatic advice.
I have a S1000RR on order, have demoed one 2x, and I am very curious about the comment you made about the DTC on the S1KRR in your VFR1200 post.
You mentioned that BMW is using the onboard gyros to sense pitch in modulating wheelies and stoppies. We have had quite a debate going on over at this forum (http://s1000riders.org/forum/showthread.php?t=37031) about that same topic. How did you come by that information, as it does not seem available in any of the public literature/tech info I could find? I was truly hoping they are using a gyro to detect pitch versus just relative wheel speed fore and aft, would give me a greater degree of confidence in trusting the DTC for wheelie control.
I'd read this article in early December (posted Nov. 23)a few times and it mentions the gyro in passing:
It also mentions the bank-angle and wheel-speed sensors.
Hope this helps!
I was told about the gyro and its use in preventing wheelies and stoppies by a BMW technician on the press presentation, but the press pack is vague about it in regard to wheelies, the reference there is to how the gyro is used to prevent power being applied beyond certain lean angles (which vary according to the mode selected).
I'll get a definitive answer from BMW on how the anti-wheelie and stoppie systems work and get back to you.
@Kevin, Thanks, I don't know how many journalists would be that responsive, what a great web site! Do you plan on doing any more technical articles on the S1KRR, like you did on the valve train?
No prob, this is a good place to chat about bikes! I work from home so it's a good break from, er, writing about bikes, haha.
BMW just got back to me and the UK technical guy said the gyro is not involved in stoppie or wheelie control... but, the PR guy and myself are not completely convinced yet so we're checking it out further. All the press pack says is that the system is 'elaborate' (very helpful...) and it would make some sense that as the gyro is there anyway for it to play at least a contributory role in detecting lift at either end of the bike. It couldn't be used alone because it might release the brakes or reduce power when the bike's going down or up a steep hill, which could cause some interesting problems, but in conjunction with wheel speed and throttle position measurement it might play a role.
I'll do something on this in my Tech Watch column in MCN soon, it's a good subject for that... I've picked up a few ideas for that and the opinion column from here!
Yes, I will do some more technical features on the S1000RR, and others too, MCN is happy with me reproducing the old Tech Watch features on here too.
Well, you have definitely carved out a nice little niche for yourself, being invited to all the manufacturer test rides, and having a great site to publish your reviews, I love it.
One of the owners on the forum I linked to (who already has his bike) did a little digging, and it looks like the Bosch part number for the gyro indicates it is a 3-axis gyro. Although that does not mean that BMW is using all three axis. I have been hearing that in race and slick mode it will carry the front wheel at consistent (and higher in slick mode heights.) When demoing it, I did not have the courage to experiment with that on public roads.
What was your experience with it? Did it feel like the wheel was carrying a specific height regardless of throttle input? If that is the case I have to imagine that it goes beyond just using the ABS sensors and relative wheel spin/acceleration to make that possible. At this point I am just very curious how far BMW has taken the technology.
It's a very nice niche to be in... This site's not big enough (yet...) for the manufacturers to invite me for the sake of getting reports on here, the motive is still my other outlets such as the Telegraph, but it's heading that way, there are some 800 unique visitors a day now, with some big peaks when a major test like the VFR goes up.
As for the BMW gyro, I'll contact the factory direct and put the question to the design team. It won't be a chore, the PR girls are knockout...
Not sure if you got a chance to talk to factory PR girls yet, but a lot of us are starting to get concerned about the new software being shipped with the bike that puts a 9K rev limiter on it until you get your 600 miles service. Some customers were told the could not pick up their bikes, even though the dealer had them, until they patched the software. From what we understand under certain circumstances (racing/stunting) where the bikes require full power/rev from 0 miles some issues have occurred. Apparently this did not "effect" the first shipment of bikes (or I guess it was just too late.) Anyway, people are starting to get nervous that there might be some serious issues with the engine/tranny/etc that BMW is not being too transparent about.
I hope that BMW does not pull their usual "there is nothing wrong". The S1KRR program could be an opportunity for them to learn to be a bit more transparent in these types of issues - as I suspect their target market for these bikes will be a lot more fickle and less brand loyal than their other bikes.
Anyway, is there any chance you might be able to get the skinny on what is going on? Rumors have already started that BMW in already investigating engine warranty claims. I sure hope that is not true.
I hadn't heard anything about this, I'll make a phone call today and see if I can dig into it. I've not heard back from the factory about the gyro question, but the UK technician has since insisted he's definitely sure, the gyro is not used in the anti-wheel lift programs.
Kevin, that is just great that you can follow up so quickly. We are all very interested to learn what the real deal is!
Just spoke with my Service rep from the dealership (in America...). The 9K rev limiter is going into the bikes with an ECU software update. He stated it's to "insure proper break-in." The software will be removed at the first scheduled service.
Kind of odd...
Won't matter too much for me. I'll baby her during the first 500 miles anyway.
The official BMW line here is that in some bikes being used by race teams, excessive wear was being noted (though we don't know on what component/s yet) when engines were being run to full power and revs from new. The problem is not expected to occur on road bikes, but this is being done as a precaution. The 9K limit software should have been in all bikes sold after March 1 (a new registration date in the UK when lots of owners would have collected their machines) and there won't be any waits at all from now.
It all sounds okay, but then it would... It'd make me a little nervous as an owner, though nothing more than that just yet. Let's hope it doesn't turn into a Toyota moment. Or a K1200S one come to that...
Thanks Kevin! Well, I will be attending Keith Codes school here in just a few weeks, about the same time my S1KRR is supposed to arrive. I will poke my head around and ask some questions of their lead mechanic about how all of their bikes have been holding up. I can see how unleashing 200hp+ with no break in could cause some issues on internal drivetrain components - especially if little metal pieces start floating around in the oil.
Just in case you missed it here are two video's of a S1000RR ENGINE at 14000 rpm. Let the video stream and then scroll on about 35%.
It is punishing!
This video is a cut engine and the noise is loud.
My wife heard it and said ' if that's the bike your getting send it back' ha, ha
This is the link for cylinder view
This is the link for cam view
I've posted the rev ceiling software as a news item now, I think plenty of people will be interested...
BMW Imposes Software Rev Ceiling on S1000RR
Ok, I've heard from the BMW factory and shouldn't have doubted the UK guys, they confirm that the gyros (there are two, for back-up reasons) do not detect fore and after pitch angles, so they're not involved in the anti wheel lift systems.
The gyros are used only in conjunction with the traction control: when a bike leans the rotation speeds of the front and rear wheels increase, even when the bike is travelling at a constant speed itself, because the effective rolling diameter of the wheel is reduced as the lean angle increases - you're moving onto a smaller radius part of the tyre. The traction control could interpret this is wheel slippage, but the gyro info confirms instead that it's only due to the bike leaning.
I'll do this for my MCN Techwatch column in the next week or so!
Thats great (covering in a MCN Techwatch) thanks! Any details on how they implement "wheelie" control versus just detecting relative (fore/aft) wheel spin and acceleration would be interesting. I suppose the software they use could probably detect the difference between the rear wheel spinning up, versus the front wheel lifting off the ground.
Wheelspin and wheelie will have a fairly different electronic signature. When the wheel spins up there are acceleration spikes which you don't get in a wheelie, also the front wheel speed doesn't slow like it does in a wheelie. Stoppies will be different again.
I've used a few ideas from these forums for Techwatch and my opinion column, it's a good source, and I need ideas as it's not easy thinking of something every week!
Ordered a Cinzano Bianco s1000rr yesterday.
The burning question we're all asking, though, is did BMW look at the age of the customers buying the new model (30's to 50's) and decide that the late-70's early 80's Martini colours would evoke rosy-tinted memories of our youth? Worked for me.
Just going back to roundincircles post of the You Tube clips showing the valves and cams. Both the valves and valve springs look to be turning round as the revs increase. Is this just an illusion because the things are going up and down so fast, or does that happen in all engines. Fascinating shot to see how things actually work.
Kev, only just seen the picture. Honestly... dying laughing, absolutely brilliant.
The worrying thing is I think that looks quite cool!
If that's cool... sorry, there's no hope for you Markyboy. Ah, but was Martini cooler than Cinzano? The ads were I guess, though Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins were funnier in the Cinzano ones (now there's some dusty memories!).
njgt, that's not an illusion, that happens in many engines at high revs, though it doesn't matter or have any ill effects. It's an amazing vid though, and for me at least I reached a point where I couldn't really get my head around how quickly the parts were moving at what was probably about 3,000rpm! And it was barely off idle then.
Thanks for that, amazing! and just to say great site only came across it the other day, really informative. Cheers keep up the good work!
I thought I read somewhere once, that the rotation of the valves was on purpose, so they wear evenly.
I'm not sure how you'd engineer valve rotation deliberately to happen but the fact that it does is good for wear and also for evening out heat distribution, which is especially useful for exhaust valves.
I looked into it and apparantly in some engines the valve springs exert enough angular momentum on the valves to turn them, others use valve rotators, also called "rotocaps" that are put in on top or below the valve spring.
I even found a video that illustrates how those rotocaps work if anyone ´s interested.
Facinating though it would appear these are only used in diesel engines. It looks mightly complex and probably only viable in engines having to have a long life.
New member. Thank you for intelligent bike journalism. Typical older (60) biker - 45yrs constant biking and averaging 20k per year as I bike for extensive european work travel (hospital design). I get a company car allowance.
I must be one of the few who immediately ordered the 1000R and then cancelled before delivery. I have had the K1200s and then the K1300s. Why cancel? Cameras. I am an average quick rider and these machines are so easy to ride that we all find ourselves having to hold them back on our roads. As I don't do trackdays, this means I am realistically using a small fraction of the available power and still riding at speeds that are at the limit of what you can get away with.
Whilst waiting, I bought a very clean Ducati ST3 ABS which has around 100HP I think and a sweet manner. On real world roads and traffic I could cross Britain and Europe on it as fast and comfortably as the new BM rocket. However, I am using more of its power and it is somehow more satisfying?
abinwales - i can understand where you are coming from on this. Three years ago I found myself in the position of being able to realise a biking life long dream and that was to buy a pure sports machine. I never had the opportunity to do so before but bare in mind that this started out when I was an apprentice and I would lust after a JPS Norton or similar and has gone through the gambit of bikes ever since. So I took the plunge and bought a new Ducati 999 and I loved it, I still do. However it spends the vast majority of its life in the garage going nowhere as it simply is just too much for the road and not all that practical. I am determined to keep it though and I shall use it for track days when I can but I use my old Ducati ST2 which I bought in 1997 as the first big bike of choice but on a daily basis I am doing my 120km round trip commute on a Monkey bike with a 125 engine.
It may also have something to do with age ( I am 46) and changing mindsets. I am not a racer by any means but would also claissify myself as a reasonably quick rider, when the conditions and urge take me. The thing is that I don't find I have that need so much as I did even five or ten years ago and I use the monkey bike because it is just a huge laugh every time. In all honesty the 40km from home to the edge of Prague and then the further 20km through the city each morning is a huge blast on it and in reality not that much slower than on anything else.
As for the ST3 - well I think it is a great bike. I have never regretted a minute of my ST2 and I still enjoy that bike every time I use it. Your model, I know, is even better.
"Facinating though it would appear these are only used in diesel engines. It looks mightly complex and probably only viable in engines having to have a long life."
You maybe right njgt. Although some sources I found indicated that valve rotators are used in some petrol engined cars.
But I don ´t know about motorcycles.
abinwales - Did the same thing!! Had a K12 then K13 but only slight difference I still went ahead with the S1000RR, even though I agree with you and shuggiemac. I have a 56 plate Triumph Daytona 955i and I probably am a better rider on that than the BMW. When I got the K12 I thought I'd grown out of sports bikes (I'm 50 this year) but I just couldn't resist the temptation, basing it on the fact I might not have the opportunity again and being heavily seduced by the marketing and people like Kevin rating it so highly (I tend to rate his reviews very highly). Hay ho it probably will spend most of it's time in the garage and I will be riding the Daytona more as it's a more practical bike, but I just get pleasure out of owning it (OK and probably showing off that I have one!!). One final thing, I believe that bikes now are the most powerful we will ever get. You only have to read the news in MCN how governments both national and international don't really like motorcycles because of their dangers (SIC) so before they ban big bikes altogether I'm going to jolly well enjoy them whilst I can :-).
D'you know, that was exactly what I had in the back of my mind when I ordered mine... I honestly can't see bikes of this potency being around in 10 years time. I'm 38, and I think we could be close to biking's Concorde moment, soon, everything will be slower biking-wise.
I just can't see the rate of development in bikes being allowed to continue linearly (so I'll not be on a V4 240bhp Fireblade, then, when I'm 50) as legistation within EU governments will have banned all death before 90 (by any means)within 10 years.
And the reason I bought the S1000RR over, say, a ZX10R is that the DTC and ABS etc DO offer that slight insurance over my cack-handedness. So it's not just a pursuit of the 'pure mental'.
However, shuggie and abin make perfectly valid, logical points. We DON'T need bikes that powerful for the road. But my wife doesn't need that expensive handbag, she could just as practically use a Tescos bag. But the fancy handbag makes her happy so she has one. Same with me and the S1000RR. This may be my only true opportunity to tap into the ultimate in 2-wheeled potential for the road and I don't want to miss it. That's my excuse. God, it's amazing how easy it is to justify these things to yourself!
...n.b. I traded-in my wife's expensive bag to buy the S1000RR, by the way. These bikes don't pay for themselves, and anyway I think the Tesco bag looks good on her arm.
Love the handbag analogy!! Fortunately my wife likes her Sainsbury's bag as she says it's slightly more upmarket than Tesco ;-) . However when it comes to shoe's that's another story!!
Seriously, I took an S1000RR out on a demo before hand (though to be truthful I was going to buy one anyway) and I agree about the DTC ABS as I slipped on some diesel and it certainly stopped me coming off. Again as you say it's amazing how we can justify these purchases! Enjoy your bike btw.
"Had a K12 then K13 but only slight difference I still went ahead with the S1000RR - When I got the K12 I thought I'd grown out of sports bikes (I'm 50 this year) but I just couldn't resist the temptation"
... I'm 44, have a K13S, live in relatively congested Berkshire, but I simply couldn't resist it's charms either.
I've just done a deal on a S 1000 R Sport in Motorsport white/blue colours. Amazing machine - not just clinically efficient, but full of rorty character too.
Immense fun with brilliant stability and control. It all just won me over, despite being totally convinced for months that I was going to buy an new Multistrada 1200 LOL! :-D
Fast Bikes said it 'simply annialates the competition'. I've not ridden the other group test bikes, but I don't doubt that particular one of many similar verdicts.
I note that it won the Supersport 1000's race at the last WSB round, and it also won the Evo class bikes (basically privateers / no control electronics) in Sunday's BSB too.
There's a slight stock vs control ecu controversy over the later result (see today's MCN), but overall it shows how good the base package is - certainly these class bikes are far closer to the actual production models that you and I could buy, than those far removed factory WSB's that only the alien like riders get to abuse.
Anyway, I digress. I which I could own lots of bikes, like the new Ducati all-rounder and various other steeds as well. However, I've very happy with my new sufficiently powerful (...ahem) race-rep. It is at least, seemingly, the undisputed daddy... well, for a few minutes at least! :-D
Yeah I was attracted to the Multistrada too. Seems to have beaten the GS in the MCN test, though I tend to treat some reviews with a pinch of salt as I think a lot of Journalists always vote for the newest toy and last years best bike is suddenly bottom of the pile (R1 anyone?). Trouble is the Multi isn't a sports bike, it's all things to all men (and women) and like I said in an earlier post I just still can't get pure sports bikes out of my system just yet.
Anyway weekend looks good so hopefully a few more miles will go on the S1000RR :-)
Kevin, fantastic site. Thank you. On your earlier comment about the motoring desk boys at the Telegraph being good sorts, if you do get any grief, do point out that for this reader at least, your articles are the only reason I ever buy the DT.
Like @shuggiemac I've got a Ducati ST2 that I love, but I'm attracted by the idea of a bike with ABS and traction control. I've got a test ride morning booked with my local BMW dealer next week. I'm trying a couple of GSes, but my gaze keeps lingering on the S1000rr crouched menacingly but mesmerisingly by the window. I'll let you know if I dare take the plunge, but if I do, your review will be the reason!
Thanks for the comments, and I'll be forwarding this to BMW with my invoice for the commission...
Not before I sign the bill - otherwise they'll be passing the cost on to me!
People - seems like some orrible toe rag has infected this thread with spam. To make matters worse they appear to be links to bloody cars!
Sorted the spam...
The filter I have is pretty good but not infallible, although the only way they seem to be able to beat it is to sign up and send each mail individually, so it takes them a lot of time and effort.
Looks like Jenny07 is taking the piss here Kev
Spam duly deleted. The only stuff that gets through these days is what they have to write individually, so it takes them a lot of effort. The filter I use tells me there are sometimes hundreds of spam attempts every day, and it's very rare for anything to get through. It does mean genuine forum posters sometimes have to go through the Captcha first, which is a drag, but without that the forum would be almost unworkable it would be so overloaded with spam.
Odd thing is, this S1000RR review doesn't appear in Google searches, when the number of views it's had mean it ought to be on the front page. The tech feature on here about the S1000RR valve gear does appear though, even though it's not been looked at anywhere near as much! Any SEO experts got a clue why this one page is invisible? And if it doesn't appear, how come it suffered more from spam than most pages... I wonder if the two are linked!
I'm not an expert but my 2p is that you correct in your assessment. Google has a "spam filter" to avoid the searches to come up with only spam, so it may well block links where known spam can be found, thus avoiding search pollution.
What I don't know if the spam is gone the link can be brought back from the blacklist automatically or they can only do it manually.
That's looking like the most likely explanation, in fact I saw that Google specifically blacklists pages that link to known spam sites, and the S1000RR page was doing that via these comments. Seems like a good reason to keep the comments in the forum and not tagged on the bottom of reviews as they were on older tests and features.
The links have been removed now but I'm not sure how to do anything about getting it back in Google, and just too busy to go into it deeply!
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