The S1000RR superbike’s emergence in 2009 filled a longstanding gap in BMW’s lineup. The weapons-grade literbike catapulted BMW into World Superbike competition with an inline-four that followed the proven Japanese model. Quirky BMW traditions such as uncommon engine configurations, unconventional suspension arrangements and shaft final drive all vaporized.
The S1000RR’s oversquare (80.0 x 49.7mm), 16-valve powerplant produced a claimed 180 bhp at 14,200 rpm. Suspension consisted of an inverted Sachs fork and single shock. Front brakes were radial-mount Brembos. Final drive was via a #530 chain. Wet weight was a competitive 460 lbs. ABS, traction control and electronic shift-assist were options.
The best part: MSRP for the base model was just $13,800—on par with its Japanese rivals, even if precious few base-models actually made it stateside. Only 1000 S1000RRs were produced for racing homologation requirements in 2009. Full-scale production followed in 2010. So good was this first effort that Motorcyclist crowned the S1000RR its 2010 Motorcycle of the Year.
Jeremy Toye, owner of Lee’s Cycles in San Diego, California, has ridden an S1000RR to club roadrace wins as well as a podium finish in the Macau Grand Prix. According to him, the Beemer’s motor is extremely reliable. “You might see some crud on the magnetic drainplug during oil changes, but it’s nothing to worry about. Under racing conditions, the cam-chain can wear and kink from bending over the small-radius sprocket. Rod main bearings can wear after extended high-rpm use. Most well-kept street engines won’t have these problems, though.”
Toye advises that the suspension can be improved for racetrack use with less progressive springs coupled with fork internals from Ohlins or Traxxion and his shop’s updated shock linkage. Because the bike uses a CAN bus electronics system, haphazard subsystems mods such as removal of the ABS sensors can activate “limp mode.”
Early S1000RRs have held their value well, as recent sale prices have been close to the original MSRP. The recent recall of the revised 2012 model for connecting rod issues perhaps makes purchasing an earlier version especially appealing.
|Japanese superbike speed and price with European flair.
|Wasted time waiting for other BMW riders to catch up.
|Speed traps, crash damage.
|Bahnstorming Bavarian Bratwurst-Burner.
|2010 | $11,800
|2011 | $12,500
2010 | $12,020
If an Aprilia V-twin is fun, an Aprilia V4 must be twice as much fun, right? Closest thing yet to a street-legal MotoGP racer, early versions got by without traction control.
2010 | $12,865
Sex on wheels: The 1198 makes rumbly noises that correspond to the natural frequencies of the male sex organ, but can be more costly to maintain than a mistress.
MV Agusta F4 1000R
2010 | $13,820
BMWs too mundane for you? Aprilias and Ducatis too common? Try this two-wheeled Ferrari. Just make sure there’s a dealer less than two states away before purchase.