Last year, the BMW S 1000 RR superbike enjoyed a major overhaul. The 2021 BMW S 1000 R upright naked sportbike gets much the same treatment this year. The result is a virtually all-new motorcycle from BMW Motorrad. Get comfortable, as we have lots to tell you.
The new motor is lighter, with the power packed in the midrange. The peak of 165 horsepower comes at 11,000 rpm, while the torque peak of 84 ft-lbs (more than the RR) makes itself known at 9250 rpm—both rev counts much lower than on the RR. The weight is reduced by 11 pounds.
From 5500 rpm to 12,000 rpm, the DOHC inline-4 puts out at least 66 ft-pounds of torque. Torque doesn’t drop below 59 ft-lbs unless you let the revs drop below 3k.
With the broad torque curve, BMW raised the gear ratios of the top three cogs. That means acceleration improves at lower speeds, with the motor running a lower rpm at higher speeds.
Three riding modes are standard. They are the expected Dynamic, Road, and Rain. The customizable Dynamic Pro mode is an option, and it allows adjustable wheelie control, and engine compression braking adjustability, including engine braking traction control. Upgraded Dynamic Traction Control is also part of the basic package. A six-axis IMU keeps track of it all.
With the lighter motor, the curb weight of the 2021 BMW S 1000 R drops under the magic 200-kilogram threshold. Here in the United States, that means the R tops the scales at 438 pounds with the 4.4-gallon gas tank filled with high test. A lighter exhaust also contributed to the weight loss, as does the new Flex Frame.
BMW’s new Flex Frame integrates the frame, motor, and suspension into a completely new chassis package. The engine is now load-bearing, allowing weight to be saved in the top frame spars. That results in a weight loss of nearly three pounds.
The 2021 BMW S 1000 R gets new suspension components to reflect the new balance of rigidity and flex in the frame. The fork tubes have a diameter increase of one millimeter to 46 mm, and they use a closed-cartridge system. The new shock is beefed up with a larger main piston, and the linkage ratio reduced. Further, the shock has a longer stroke for more precise action and adjustability. To keep the shock cooler, it has been moved farther from the motor. Semi-active electronic suspension—Dynamic Damping Control—is an option.
The ergonomics are also new on the 2021 BMW S 1000 R. The new frame is narrower, allowing the rider better knee-grip of the tank. The entire seating position has been moved forward 0.6 inches. This gives improved front-wheel feel, and reduces unwanted wheelstands. Additionally, the handlebar can be mounted in either of two positions, and there are three seat height positions.
Rake and trail are reduced for added agility, with the new swingarm lengthening the wheelbase to reclaim stability. The front end is tucked in 0.8 degrees to 24 degrees, with the trail incrementally reduced by nearly a tenth of an inch. The wheelbase is stretched by almost a half-inch to 57.1 inches.
ABS has been improved and is now corner-aware. Additionally, there’s a specific ABS setting when using the Rain mode.
There is an all-new instrument panel with a 6.5-inch TFT as its centerpiece. The new screen is highly customizable, with multiple display options.
The headlight is an LED. Corner-awareness is optional.
Styling of the 2021 BMW S 1000 R is superbike-inspired with a tail-up/nose-down design. Angularity is increased for a more aggressive look.
There are five optional Packages for the S 1000 R:
M Package: M forged wheels or M Carbon wheels (additional cost), titanium sports silencer, M endurance chain, M lightweight battery, M Motorsport paint finish, M lap trigger, M sport seat, and M fuel cap.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.