When BMW first introduced the S1000RR superbike in 2009, it quickly became one of the best selling superbikes on the market; and it was no slouch on the racetrack either, proving itself right out of the box in the Canadian Superbike championship, and taking the 2011 Championship title.
So how does a company take a top selling, near perfect sportbike and make it even better? We caught up with Markus Poshner, Head of Model Lines 2, BMW Motorrad at the EICMA trade show in Milan. Poshner oversees the development of all of the "S" and "K" series BMW motorcycles, and admits that the S1000RR is "his baby".
For 2012, BMW brought about some refinements to the S1000RR; small changes that would bring about a significantly improved and easier to handle ride. For starters, BMW addressed some concerns about a hyper-sensitive throttle in "race" and "slick" power modes. New maps were introduced for the different power modes, and a new throttle tube was installed with a shorter pull for better handling. The throttle also gets heated grips, the first superbike ever to do so, and something Canadian consumers may well appreciate!
A new exhaust pipe was also installed, giving the S1000RR more mid-range power and a more linear power curve, ultimately making the BMW's powerful superbike easier to handle.
The chassis was also modified with changes to the swingarm and pivot point, as well as the geometry of the front forks. The front end of the motorcycle was raised 5mm, while the shock length was decreased by 4mm. The engine and mainframe are turned slightly backwards and the wheelbase was shortened by 9mm as the rear sprocket was replaced with one-tooth smaller sprocket. The 2012 model also gets a 10-way adjustable steering damper for better control and smoother operation.
According to Poshner, the electronics package on the S1000RR has totally changed. The Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) system was updated significantly and the traction control is now much smoother than the first generation S1000RR. The instrumentation panel is much easier to read and more features are available. One new feature in particular is the "Best Lap in Progress" option that records a rider's best lap on given markers on the racetrack. A green light is displayed if you went faster than your previous lap. The brightness of the display is also adjustable in five settings.
Aesthetically, the BMW S1000RR got some re-shaped side panels and a smaller, more streamlined tail section to help with aerodynamics. The 2012 model is also available in 4 sharp colour options- Racing Red with Alpine White, Bluefire, Sapphire Black Metallic and BMW's traditional BMW Motorrad Motorport colours.
The overall refinements should lead to a much smoother, easier handling ride and will make the BMW S1000RR superbike more comfortable to handle for riders of all levels. Judging from the line-ups at EICMA to see the new S1000RR, we're certain that BMW is going to continue to top the charts with this best-selling superbike.