It was in the 90s and ‘00s, the litre-class superbikes reigned supremacy in motorsports. At that time, the segment was ruled by Hondas, Kawasakis and Yamahas of the world. Come 2009, and when the world was going through a rough phase, banks were shutting and the motorcycle industry was staring down the barrel of a global economic recession, BMW Motorrad had plans of their own. You see, BMW decided to enter the litre-class space with an all-new motorcycle, and consequently, the S 1000 RR was born.
In our first impressions, the silly asymmetrical face of the Beemer made it look like the Germans were really out of their depth. But as soon as we swung our leg over the litre-class BMW, the bike turned out to be an absolute masterpiece. In all fairness, the BMW beat the pants off its rivals and instantly became the top-dog of the litre-class segment. In addition, it was the first superbike to come laden with electronic aids like traction control and quick-shifter. A decade later, times have changed and the competition caught up with the BMW, in fact, some of the rivals even surpassed it. You see, the company updated the Beemer in 2015 with significant over-the-top changes to keep up with the rivals. But this time around, the third-gen model has landed in India. And BMW has allowed us to put it through its paces out on the BIC. So, what’s new? Read our 2020 BMW S 1000 RR review to find out.
What’s new on the Outside?
BMW claims that they have not used a single bolt from the previous model and the third-generation has been completely redesigned from grounds up. The new BMW S 1000 RR features a pair of sleek LED headlamps. Sure, it looks exceedingly beautiful now, but it lacks the aggression of the previous model. For us, the asymmetrical look was the signature-dish of the Beemer. Having said that, the conventional symmetrical face will definitely appeal to a wider audience.
Apart from that face, the new Beemer is certainly as compact as its predecessor. At 2,073mm of length, the BMW is as petite as say, an Apache RR310. Interestingly, the M moniker from the performance-oriented BMWs makes its way to the S 1000 RR. What that means is the new Beemer gets a special M paint scheme – a blend of white, red and blue. Also, the M package comes laden with lightweight carbon-fibre wheels which in turn makes it lighter by a strong 4.5 kilos than the standard RR. Speaking of weight, the standard S 1000 RR tips in the scale at 197kg, making it 11 kilos lighter than its predecessor.
What’s with the new engine?
With the third-generation makeover, BMW has shaved surplus weight from anywhere they could. The main contribution comes from the powertrain, which is now 4 kilos lighter. Speaking of the powertrain, the 999cc inline four-cylinder is all-new but retains the bore and stroke of the previous model. There are significant updates to the engine, and all of it adds up to an additional power bump of 8bhp, making it 204bhp. The torque, however, remains identical at 113Nm. In our first impression in time for the 2020 BMW S 1000 RR review, we loved how the new Shiftcam valve timing technology aids at least 100Nm of torque at just 5,500rpm.
What’s it like to ride?
On a power circuit like the BIC, estimating the low-end and the mid-range of a superbike is a bit difficult. In all honesty, the 999cc engine is mind-boggling! The engine is throttle happy and the surge of power is tremendous and every time you open up the throttle, the bike plunges for an all-out assault. Now, when you have 200+ ponies in between the legs, whacking the throttle open at straights or corners can be a serious death wish. In the case of the Beemer though, you always get the sense that everything is under control. Well, there are two reasons for this. First, the lightweight suspension and sticky Metzelers mould the BMW completely stable and agile on the track. And Secondly, the electronics ensure that the bike grips and darts through the tarmac without sipping any fun while gliding through those extensive corners. In our BMW S 1000 RR review, the electronics never felt overbearing, and that’s what made the S 1000 RR an extremely agile machine to push around the corners.
Even though the BMW S 1000 RR is not as agile as a litre-class Ducati, I would pick one in a heartbeat, if only I had that kind of money laying around. At the same time, you can never extract everything in terms of performance that these bikes have on offer – be it on tarmac or a power circuit. In the end, whichever litre-class mad-machine you’ll pick, you’ll end up liking it. As for the BMW, it’s certainly is a badass, tech-laden and the best that the German bike maker has on offer. To read our full verdict and the extensive 2020 BMW S 1000 RR review, be sure to make a visit at autoX.