2020 BMW S 1000 RR Review: M and Select Package EquippedTen long years ago, BMW Motorrad launched its maiden superbike, dubbed the S 1000 RR. In that time, the Bavarian beast saw a soft update in 2012, and a more comprehensive revision three years later. The S 1000 RR is managing to stay competitive in an ever-changing liter-bike market without a full rebuild.The 2020 BMW S 1000 RR is a ground-up redesign of the Beemer superbike, replete with even greater power, finer-tuned electronics, and completely reworked chassis dynamics that redefines the S 1000 RR.
We packed our bags and headed off to one of America’s meccas of motorcycling—Barber Motorsports Park. There, we spent a full day in the saddle of the 2020 BMW S 1000 RR fitted with the illustrious M Package, and now, without further ado, here are the Fast Facts.
1. There are three distinct optional packages available: the M Package—$3700, Select Package—$1400, and Race Package—$1600.There is some crossover between the packages, but as tested, our models featured the M Package and Select Package totaling $22,095.M Package:
- M Motorsport paint
- M Carbon wheels
- Ride Modes Pro
- M Sport seat
- M lightweight battery
- M Chassis Kit (Rear ride height and swingarm pivot point adjustments)
- 7.7-pound weight savings
- Tire pressure monitor
- Next-Generation DDC (Dynamic Damping Control)
- Heated grips
- Cruise control
- Ride Modes Pro
- Forged wheels
- M lightweight battery
- M Chassis Kit (Rear ride height and swingarm pivot point adjustments)
2. The 2020 BMW S 1000 RR’s all-new 999cc inline-four engine has more usable power than ever, in part thanks BMW ShiftCam Technology.Twisting the grip of this new BMW motorcycle is an eye-opening experience. You’ll have Zeus-like abilities at your beck and call, spooling up rapidly virtually anywhere in the rpm band. There is a palpable amount of low-end grunt coming in around 4k, quickly followed by loads of new-found mid-range strength. The new ShiftCam technology improves power delivery in the low and mid-section of the rpm band. All of that low-end and midrange seamlessly transitions into the unending top-end rush that is akin to a fighter jet hitting the afterburner at 10k—the motor doesn’t stop pulling until the 400-rpm higher redline of 14,600 rpm.
3. Spec-sheet pugilists fret not—the ’20 RR will outdo your friend’s previous gen model.For 2020, the S 1000 RR has a claimed 205 horsepower at 13,500 rpm, and 83 ft/lbs of torque at 11,000 rpm—that’s +6 horsepower and a whopping +15 ft/lbs! Although dyno figures don’t tell the whole story, they do aid in the all-important roadside bragging rights. Engineers put the powerplant on a diet, shedding nine pounds overall, with 3.5 pounds attributed to the new lightweight crankshaft alone. Hollow-bore titanium valves further the cause to reduce the mass of drivetrain components, helping the new engine produce much more get-up-and-go than ever before. The one downside is to all those featherweight internal bits is that you feel quite a bit of vibration through the grips when deep into the revs—something that’s forgotten quickly once your eyes are focused on the track.
4. There is a caveat in the form of a flat-spot.Now, I realize that I’ve given quite a bit of praise to this engine, and it’s deserving of every ounce. However, there is a noticeable flat spot from about 5500 to 8000 rpm, specifically when in second gear. This flat spot isn’t a problem that our European colleagues observed, and we were told that the issue is related to DOT emissions testing. It is something that BMW Motorrad USA is working on fixing before these motorcycles make it to the US market.
5. Four standard ride modes dramatically alter the personality of the 2020 S 1000 RR.Rain, Road, Dynamic, and Race alter every parameter of the new RR, ranging from six-axis IMU-supported ABS, traction control, wheelie control, rear-wheel lift mitigation, throttle response, and electronic suspension adjustment, if you’ve included the Select Package in the purchase. BMW has done a great job of making each of these modes incrementally stepped. Road mode is suited for the street, having a soft throttle response, plush damping rates, and conservative intervention; the TC and WC lights flashed frantically while learning Barber’s layout. Dynamic is slightly firmer in terms of damping, and a hair more relaxed intrusion, while Race has a sporty response, firmed up damping, and intervention closer to where I’d like – it’s suitable for track riding.
6. Race Pro Modes 1-3 will set you back $250 and allows adjustability of your motorcycle.Although Race Pro Modes is included in other tiered packages, if you want the ability to adjust or disable +/- 7 levels of TC, three levels of wheelie control and engine braking, five-level ABS, you will need to spring for it. Also, you will be receiving hill start assistance, launch control, Dynamic Braking Control (disabled in Race Pro Modes) and a pit limiter.
7. The 2020 BMW S 1000 RR’s electronics can be leaned on and trusted.In the preset riding modes, intervention is a little too eager for my taste. Race mode gave me some wiggle room to play with. It allowed me to drive hard over the crest of turn four while lifting the wheel a bit, but it is still mindful. Once I dabbled with the fully adjustable Race Pro modes, I explored the leniency of the electronics and slowly began dialing down the TC and WC. I settled with WC and ABS in level 1. TC was bumped down to -3, allowing me to get on the gas as early as I would dare while exiting turns such as 5b— a long, off-camber left-hand corner. Going lower, the slides were a bit extreme for my skill and risk levels. If anything, it illustrates how precise the levels of adjustment are.
8. A stunning 6.5-inch full-color TFT display is standard.BMW is certainly showing off the kind of luxury displays that are commonplace on the four-wheeled side. Everything is crystal clear and completely visible at all times. My sole complaint is with the interface is that the only on-the-fly adjustment one can make to the electronics is with the TC button on the left side. It would be great to use the “wonder wheel” to be able to access WC, ABS, and riding modes with the same ease that some of the Beemer’s competitors offer.
9. The all-new chassis is 11 pounds lighter than its previous model.BMW has revised and lightened the whole chassis, making it more maneuverable and less stiff, all while providing even more confidence inspiring feedback. The geometry has been subtly revised, by extending the rake 0.4-degree to 23.5 degrees, which tightened the trail by 0.2 inches to 3.7 inches. The wheelbase grew slightly, too.
10. The S 1000 RR’s front-end weight bias is increased to 53.8 percent, jumping up 1.5 percentage points.With the M Chassis Kit, you’ll also be able to raise or lower the pivot point of the brand new underslung WSBK-inspired swingarm +/- 2mm, giving you more fine tuning ability. Also, the shock has been placed farther away from the engine, reducing the chance of residual heat impacting its performance.
11. The standard S 1000 RR has a wet weight of 434 pounds, checking in as one of the lightest superbikes on the market.You might think that BMW can’t do much better, but with the carbon fiber wheels and other carbon bits of the M Package installed, the curb weight drops to 427 pounds. There is an improvement in handling, as well as braking, thanks to lower unsprung weight. How much does it improve handling? That is a tough call, as we didn’t get to ride bikes without M Package. Still, it’s safe to say that a back-to-back comparison would readily reveal a difference.
12. Between the weight savings and geometry changes, the 2020 BMW S 1000 RR is nearly clairvoyant.Even in the face of staggering power, the new S 1000 RR has managed to capture the maneuverability and absolutely planted feeling of a 600cc Supersport—easily the highest compliment I can bestow on any 1000cc motorcycle. The undulating Barber circuit will put any machine through its paces, thanks to its clever mix of blinding speed, quick transitions, and a few turns that require you depositing all of your faith in the rock-steady S 1000 RR chassis; it didn’t waver a bit. The RR is light, flickable, and ready to brake as deep as you like on entry, and then pour on the gas, loading the rear wheel, egging the rider on during the exit with an expression of, “Oh, I thought we were going to go fast today?”
13. The all-new steed gets fully adjustable suspenders by Marzocchi, ditching the Öhlins on this go around.A 45mm inverted fork with 4.7 inches of travel, plus a fully adjustable shock with an equal amount of travel, handle suspension duties. However, if you spring for the Marzocchi-developed Dynamic Damping Control, you’ll be able to have damping rates electronically adjusted as you’re riding down the road or circuit—all of which can be changed from the dash.
14. BMW’s Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) is enticing.Our test unit featured the $1400 Select Package, which gives you access to DDC, otherwise known as electronic damping control. Interestingly, when in the four standard ride modes of Rain, Road, Dynamic or Race, damping is controlled 90 percent electronically and 10 percent mechanically. When in the customizable Race Pro modes, it’s reversed—90 percent mechanically and 10 percent electronically. Spring-preload reload is set manually.
15. Rain, Road, and Dynamic are all optimized for the street, providing plush damping and soaking everything up with ease.Race stiffened the chassis up into a far more pointed RR, teasing out the track inclinations, removing most of the dive, and improving stability. Quickly diving the Race Pro settings, I was able to stiffen or soften the damping as I’d like— no tools and no fuss meant I engaged in far more exploration. It was simple enough to change it back if I didn’t like it. I preferred the DDC’s behavior in Race Pro, as it feels like analog suspension with automatic adjustments that are essentially imperceptible. The result was a remarkably poised chassis.
16. We used Pirelli Supercorsa SC1 and SC2 DOT race tires on the track.As we only hit the circuit for this test, BMW opted for uber-sticky Pirelli DOT race rubber for this outing. Sizing is the same as the previous model, with 120/70 up front and 190/55 in the rear.
17. Hayes and Brembo bring the stopping power.Up front, owners will find BMW branded four-piston Hayes calipers clamping onto 320mm floating rotors. In the rear, a single-piston Brembo caliper works with a 220mm rotor. The Hayes calipers are progressive and have immense stopping power, along with a soft initial bite. There’s plenty of feel at the lever, which is great when trailing into the corners. The rear brake has good feel, and can be used to correct lines well.
18. The 2020 BMW S 1000 RR’s ergonomics are revisited.The S 1000 RR is a good fit for my 5’ 10″ self, which was quite welcome given the reputation regarding comfort that this segment has. To complement the narrower engine, the fuel tank has been slimmed down, giving the feeling of being ‘in’ the chassis, as opposed to atop it. The 32.4-inch seat height is taller this year, while the clip-ons are wider and lower. Despite those changes, there is little weight on the wrists. Although my legs were fried by the end of a quality day of riding, it wasn’t due to discomfort—just many laps at Barber.
19. The 2020 BMW S 1000 RR is a threat to the Superbike class, and we can’t wait to compare it.BMW hasn’t been resting on their laurels—the S 1000 RR means business. What stands out above the laughably powerful inline-four motor and relatively comfortable ergonomics is the rideability of it. It’s rare that I can get on a bike and immediately begin to feel at home, instantly coming to terms with its nimble nature and stout stature in the corners. Current Beemer owners will revel in it, while other superbike enthusiasts certainly need to give this a test ride. At the end of a single track day, all these words can just as easily be summed up with a simple, “Wow, now that’s a bike.”Photography by Kevin WingRiding Style:
- Helmet: Shoei X-Fourteen Brink TC-5
- Suit: Alpinestars Custom
- Gloves: Alpiunestars GP Plus R3
- Boots: Alpinestars Supertech R
2020 BMW S 1000 RR Specs (standard model)MOTOR
- Type: Inline-4
- Displacement: 999cc
- Bore x stroke: 80 x 49.7mm
- Maximum power: 205 horsepower @ 13,000 rpm
- Maximum torque: 83 ft/lbs @ 11,000 rpm
- Compression ratio: 13.3:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC; 4vpc
- Transmission: 6-speed w/ straight-cut gears
- Final drive: 525 chain
- Type: Aluminum composite bridge w/ partially self-supporting motor
- Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable Marzocchi 45mm inverted fork; 4.7 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted fully adjustable Marzocchi shock; 4.6 inches
- Wheels: Aluminum cast
- Front wheel: 3.50 x 17
- Rear wheel: 6.00 x 17
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 195/55 x 17
- Front brakes: 320mm floating discs w/ 4-piston fixed Hayes calipers
- Rear brake: 220mm disc w/ single-piston floating Brembo caliper
- ABS: Standard w/ multiple setting, including off
- Wheelbase: 56.7 inches
- Rake: 23.5 degrees
- Trail: 3.7 inches
- Seat height: 32.4 inches
- Fuel capacity: 4.4 gallons
- Curb weight: 434 pounds (M Package: 427 pounds)
2020 BMW S 1000 RR Price:
- Starting at $16,995 MSRP ($22,095 as tested w/ M and Select Package)