2019 BMW S 1000 RR track ride review
When I rode the all-new, 2019 BMW S 1000 RR at the Estoril Circuit in Portugal a few months ago, I couldn't stop raving about how much better it is than its predecessor. The technology it packs in is nothing short of ridiculous and in fact given the overall packaging, it's obvious BMW has set its sights on reclaiming the litre-class superbike segment title with the new generation S 1000 RR. And the fact that Motorrad has launched the new S 1000 RR in the country just months after it went on sale internationally certainly clears the German manufacturer's intent of increasing its presence at the top of the ultra-wide two-wheeler spectrum in India as well and not just lower segments.
The 2019 BMW S 1000 RR looks completely new and is boasts a radical design, just like the original did back in 2009
That said, I cannot shake off the fact that for a motorcycle coming in via the (expensive!) CBU route, the S 1000 RR's starting price of Rs 18.5 lakh ex-showroom is excellent. The price is almost unbelievable when you factor in the fact that the bike is the newest litre-class superbike on the planet currently and is more tech-laden than almost all of its competitors right now. So when BMW Motorrad India invited us to ride the bike at the Buddh International Circuit, I had no second thoughts about wanting to ride the S 1000 RR, the second time, at yet another world-class race track! Saying hello to the bike in the BIC's pit garage was thus easy, given my familiarity with it, but what was not easy (the second time!) was taking my eyes off it.
Many haven't taken a liking to the new design and somewhere over the years I think the last generation S 1000 RR's asymmetrical design had grown on us. But in the flesh, I can confirm once again that the new S 1000 RR looks stunning. The fairing is narrower while the dual projector headlights look aggressive, particularly with the LED daytime running lamps underlining them. Overall the motorcycle is a lot smaller and is almost as small as a 600cc supersport machine! Irrespective of whether you look at the higher-specced M-Package version (comes in BMW's white-blue-red M Sport livery) or the standard version which comes in blood red, the new S 1000 RR will make you stop and gaze at it.
The new S 1000 RR is 11kg lighter than its predecessor (standard version). The engine alone is 4kg lighter than before which is a huge weight saving
I won't harp too much about the design this time, having spoken about it during our international test, but I cannot stop myself from waxing eloquent about the new S 1000 RR's mechanical updates and the technology under its skin. The new generation S 1000 RR uses an all-new chassis BMW Motorrad calls it the Flex Frame that is one of the reasons behind the bike's weight loss. The suspension units are semi-electronic like last year's bike but are sourced from Marzocchi now as opposed to Sachs earlier. The engine is a stressed member of the chassis like before, but being more compact itself it also contributes to the bike's lighter and leaner form.
Overall the S 1000 RR has lost 11kg, while the higher-specced M Package drops another 3.5kg, resulting in total weight savings of 14.5kg. This has resulted in a kerb weight of 197kg for the standard version and 193.5kg for the M Package, which is very impressive! How did BMW achieve this? The new chassis is lighter to begin with. Heck, even the brake discs weigh half a kilo lesser while the engine is 4kg lighter dropping 4kg on a 999cc, inline-four cylinder is huge! In fact, dropping the bike's kerb weight below the 200kg mark was one of the objectives, BMW Motorrad tells us. And in case you didn't realise, the new S 1000 RR's power to weight ratio is now higher than 1:1 at 1050PS/tonne!
The 2019 BMW S 1000 RR isn't just more powerful but also boasts a more linear power delivery thanks to BMW's new ShiftCam technology which basically is variable valve timing
When I got to the BIC for the ride, the sonorous exhaust note of the S 1000 RR's inline four cylinder engine at full chat across the circuit's 1.2km long back straight is what welcomed us first. There's something about the banshee-like wail of four bangers and in fact I've always felt they're the best sounding engines on motorcycles. And the track session on the new S 1000 RR reaffirmed that belief. Well, the session helped me reaffirm a lot of things about the bike for that matter. Performance is a surprisingly good mix of friendly and lethal. Like most other litre-class superbikes the BMW S 1000 RR has the ability to make your hair stand on end with its blindingly quick acceleration, but at the same time it does not really scare you. In fact, it only goads you into pushing your own limits further given how easily it lets you put its power down.
The 2019 BMW S 1000 RR's brand new inline four cylinder engine is easily the biggest highlight on the motorcycle - it is 4kg lighter, more powerful, quicker to rev and more entertaining than the older engine
The most important bit about the new engine though has to be BMW's ShiftCam technology, which you and I know as variable valve timing. BMW has employed two separate cam profile on the new S 1000 RR, one of partial load conditions and a second one for the full-load conditions. The partial load cam is the reason behind the bike's strong bottom-end and midrange grunt. The engine switches to the full-load cam lobes at 9,000rpm which makes sure there's a smooth changeover while also ensuring top end grunt is excellent, thus making for a far more linear power delivery overall as compared to the older S 1000 RR. The electronics suite one of the most advanced ones currently has a huge share in the friendly power delivery. Rain, Road, Dynamic and Pro modes are standard and there's a zillion customisation options for every possible parameter. Opting for the M Package brings additional modes in the form of Race Pro 1, 2 and 3 and these will allow seasoned riders to customise the motorcycle's performance and handling to suit their individual riding style precisely. Motorrad has done a fantastic job with the electronics suite and much like its predecessor, the new S 1000 RR sets fresh benchmarks in the department. I also liked the views offered by the new digital console, a 6.5 inch TFT screen. You can configure lots of things to see exactly what you want to on the go and of course this also changes according to the riding mode selected.
The 2019 BMW S 1000 RR boasts a claimed 0-100kmph time of 3.1 seconds and getting to seriously quick speeds, well above 250kmph is extremely easy thanks to the linear power delivery
Give it the stick and the S 1000 RR can scare you properly and switching to Race Pro mode had the front wheel come up at least up to fourth gear! On the same note, hitting over 280kmph down the back straight was utterly easy. Hauling the beast down from those speeds was easy as well. For 2019 BMW Motorrad has traded in the older S 1000 RR's Brembos for a new braking system from Hayes which offer a progressive feel along with ample feedback. Very hard braking from over 200kmph had the rear squirm a bit, but that to me was more a part of the bike's theatrics rather than a concern. A big reason for the ease with which I was able to slow down from crazy speeds was also the bike's stability.
The new chassis and semi-electronic suspension offer excellent stability, be it when hurtling down straights at a supersonic pace or chucking the bike into corners at triple digit speeds. The latter is an immensely rewarding experience in fact, as the S 1000 RR can allow some serious corner speeds by way of its confident handling. A lot credit also goes to the Metzeler tyres our test bikes in India were running. The bikes at the press ride in Portugal were identical to the ones in India in terms of spec, except for the tyres. The Bridgestones in Portugal felt good, but the Metzelers at the BIC felt way better in terms of grip levels and the resultant confidence afforded around the BIC's fast, flowing corners was impressive. The higher track temperatures in India would have contributed too, but the Metzelers were certainly grippier on their own and afforded some serious lean angles. The riding position is sure committed but despite that it felt comfortable enough for my wrists to not feel strained even after a near 20 minute session. This means the seating position should not be extremely taxing on the road either.
Priced Rs 18.50 lakh ex-showroom onwards the 2019 BMW S 1000 RR's is a fantastic deal given its pricing and the amount of technology it packs in
On the whole, the new generation S 1000 RR is a quantum leap over last year's bike and does feel like a full generation change in every sense, be it the design, technology, performance, handling and in fact everything about it. The bigger highlight, now that the bike has been launched in India though is its pricing here. I was expecting the new S 1000 RR to command a premium over the older bike, but BMW Motorrad has launched it at the same price as the older bike. Prices for the new S 1000 RR begin from Rs 18.50 lakh ex-showroom, which is excellent! More so when you consider that the bike comes in from Germany via the CBU route as a full import. At the price it isn't significantly more expensive than the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R which is assembled right here in India while also being more affordable than the hugely impressive Ducati Panigale V4. And that, is a serious advantage for a motorcycle that's already so impressive!
Images by: Anis Shaikh
Also see: Our first ride video review of the 2019 BMW S 1000 RR
Also see: Our 2019 BMW S 1000 RR Track Ride Video Review