BMW has re-worked its class-leading S1000RR superbike in two directions – more performance and more rider-friendly usability. With a 6-horsepower increase to 199 peak ponies (148 kW), and a 4 kg (8.8 lb) weight reduction, performance seems taken care of. Likewise, the road rider has been looked after with speed limiters, lean angle readouts, and the first cruise control system ever fitted to a superbike. It appears we'll need to get another choir in to celebrate.
It's well and truly silly season at Intermot Cologne, with a huge range of new and upgraded models being announced in the last 24 hours.
BMW's S1000RR has more or less set the standard for the superbike class since its launch five years ago. It has managed to stay the quickest, the smartest and somehow still the easiest 1000cc road missile to get along with – and yet it's been completely overhauled for 2015.
BMW's design brief for next year's model is encouraging. It wanted "even sharper performance" while making the bike "even more rider friendly." So let's take a look at the key upgrades to see how they did.
The RR gains 6 horsepower, bringing its peak total to 199 horses (148 kW) for the limited percentage of riders that will ever hold the throttle to the stop and hit redline. Torque is also boosted above 5,000 rpm and there's a large torque plateau of around 83 ft-lbs (112 Nm) between 9,500 and 12,000 rpm.
The exhaust is some 3 kg (6.6 lb) lighter than the previous model, with a deeper tone to it, and the 2015 RR will now feature completely electronic throttle control.
The 2015 S1000RR will weigh some 4 kg (8.8 lb) less than its predecessor, at 204 kg (449.7 lb) wet and with Race ABS on board. Beyond that, BMW has re-evaluated everything from frame rigidity, to the steering head angle, to the wheel castor, wheelbase and swingarm pivot point. All in search of better feel at the front end, and more precise handling.
Suspension has been optimized to enable even greater ground clearance and turning agility, and the Dynamic Damping Control (electronically adjustable suspension) system has been overhauled.
Where the older model had four riding modes, the new will have five, with the addition of the "user" riding mode that's fully programmable. New for 2015 is a pit-lane speed limiter and one of the most terrifying features I've ever seen on a motorcycle: launch control. Launch control allows you to take off from a standstill with the throttle wide open and a rough dump of the clutch – on a 200-horsepower superbike. I've tried a similar system on the Aprilia RSV4 factory and have never in my life accelerated so fast.
Like the S1000R streetbike, the 2015 RR will have cruise control, making it the first bike in the superbike class to make this addition. If you've watched our review of the S1000R, you'll understand how happy that makes me. Cruise control and uncomfortable superbikes are a match made in heaven.
The pit lane speed limiter also has a road analogue, a limiting system designed to help you stay under today's ever more restrictive speed limits.
The dash has been totally overhauled for ease of use, but can also now display a range of fun extra information, such as the current and maximum lean angles you've reached. I can see photos of this figure being the hot new internet forum argument starter for 2015.
The S1000RR's trademark asymmetrical "face" remains, but to clearly distinguish new from old, it's been flipped so the open eye is on the left and the squinty one is on the right. The RR's trademark "gills" remain on the right hand side of the bike.
Everything looks a little sharper, the tail's a bit stubbier – all in line with current trends. The RR will be available in red, black and red/white/blue.
On paper, the 2015 upgrades seem like a significant step forward, both in usability and in the bike's already unbelievable performance peaks. The cruise control alone is reason enough to upgrade in my (highly biased) opinion!