May 11, 2009 BMW's S1000RR 1000cc superbike might not be making big waves in World Superbike competition just yet, but today's release of photos, specifications and a hugely detailed press pack leaves us in no doubt that the new Beemer flagship will be an absolute monster on the road. A massive 193 horsepower is just the beginning - the S1000RR packs a combined ABS that's lighter and smarter than Honda's, variable intake tracts and exhaust butterflies that outdo the Yamaha and MV Agusta systems, a 4-mode variable engine mapping system that seems a lot better thought-out than Suzuki's, and a very clever traction control system that's integrated into the mind-boggling fly-by-wire engine management system in a way that seems much more logical than Ducati's. Brand new in every way, this purpose-built German superbike is set to hit showroom floors well before the end of the year.
As Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus quietly go about the long and arduous task of developing the S1000RR into a World Superbike title contender, BMW are getting set to release the brand new superbike to showrooms worldwide.
The bike is packed with some of the most sophisticated and complex technology ever seen in the motorcycle world, all tightly integrated and kept out of the rider's way in the name of huge, controllable power, the cutting edge in safety and sweet handling on wet or dry roads.
To say that the S1000RR features traction control, fly-by-wire throttle management, variable engine mapping or linked ABS braking seems woefully inadequate - BMW have integrated all these systems in a clever and rider-focused way. "Rain" mode, for example, still gives the rider access to a 150 horsepower, but puts traction control and ABS on a hair-trigger.
At the other end of the scale, "slick" mode delivers the full complement of horsepower, with the most direct and aggressive throttle response, while tuning the traction control to allow controlled sliding and power wheelies for up to 5 seconds on a lean under 20 degrees before the computer starts retarding the spark and altering the fuelling to get things under control. Grabbing the front brake in "slick" mode sends a proportion of braking force to the rear wheel as well to maximise braking stability - but then, if the rider applies the rear brake lever, the rear wheel ABS circuit is switched off so an experienced rider can lock up the back wheel and back the bike in to a corner on the racetrack.
Both the Dynamic Traction Control and ABS systems can be switched on and off at will - so presumably you'll be able to do burnouts on the S1000RR - an activity which has caused much mirth and many burned-out clutches when attempted on a linked-brake Honda.
The new BMW's amazing electronics are just one part of an overall package that seems set to deliver big-time on rideability, power, safety and giggle factor when it hits the showrooms before the end of 2009. For a more thorough review of the available information, plus lots more full-resolution photos and the full (and incredibly detailed) BMW press release, pop over to TheBikerGene.