2015 BMW S1000RR - First Ride

With less weight, more power, and improved electronics, the new BMW S1000RR is more super than ever.

2015 BMW S1000RR track action shot

With an unabashed display of Bavarian bravado, BMW entered the liter-class supersports category with a bang in 2010. The S1000RR raised the performance bar with all the subtlety of a V2 rocket, blowing away the establishment with awesome power and advanced technology previously unheard of in a mass-produced superbike. And now, for 2015, the onslaught continues, with the latest S1000RR losing 9 lb. while gaining a host of refinements and other features directly derived from BMW's race development.

The 999cc liquid-cooled inline-four, reworked in several areas, has gained 6 hp and peak output is now a claimed 199 hp. On the intake side are reshaped ports, revised cam profile, lighter valves and shorter velocity stacks drawing from a larger air box. An all-new exhaust has eliminated the previous model’s under-engine canister, pairing some 6.6 lb. while the new muffler placement has shifted the CG slightly higher and rearward, closer to the swingarm pivot.

The shift of CG, along with new steering geometry that has 0.5 degrees less rake (23.5 degrees), 1.5 mm less trail (96.5mm), and a 3mm lower swingarm pivot, is aimed at improved front end feel, overall handling, and rear grip. The revised frame now allows more flex in the swingarm pivot area for further improved feedback and rear grip.

2015 BMW S1000RR static group shot from Monteblanco

The most notable chassis update is Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) electronic suspension, a refinement of the system that made its debut on the HP4. This optional upgrade is included in the Dynamic Package along with LED turn signals, HP Gear Shift Assist Pro and heated grips. DDC is only available if you already have the optional Race Package, which consists of Pro Riding Mode, Dynamic Traction Control and cruise control. Pro mode introduces additional race-derived features in Launch control and an adjustable pit lane speed limiter.

The 2015 S1000RR I rode at the world press launch held at the Circuito de Monteblanco in southern Spain was equipped with all the bells and whistles. My first of five 20-minute sessions lapping the billiard-table-smooth 2.44-mile, 14-turn track was in wet conditions, offering an opportunity to experience the safety benefits of Rain ride mode. I encountered not so much as a slip on corner exits despite feeding in a great deal of throttle. A flashing yellow light in the upper left of the dash provided a visual cue that DTC had my back.

With a dry track for the remaining sessions, I could better test the various ride modes and new features. BMW has refined the software controlling each RR ride mode, resulting in much more seamless and subtler DTC and wheelie control intervention. Also, the ABS/anti-rear-wheel lift has been recalibrated to deliver greater braking stability. As before Rain, Sport, and Race modes come standard, while the Pro mode upgrade unlocks Slick and a new mode labeled User that allows selection of defined parameters (throttle response, peak power output, engine braking, traction control sensitivity, Race ABS, and linked rear brake/anti-rear lift strategy) that are fixed in the preset modes. For example, you can pair the soft engine response of Rain with all other parameters set to Slick. This feature allows you to more easily dial in a custom setup by toggling between a preset mode and a slightly altered User setting without needing to stop in the pits.

2015 BMW S1000RR left grip controls

As with the HP4, Slick and User also allow DTC sensitivity to be altered on the fly, with 7 +/- steps of adjustment controlled by a rocker switch on the left bar. There’s an easy-to-read status displayed on the LCD dash, which has been revamped with a wealth of new information that even includes a gimmicky bank-angle readout.

While the DDC suspension adjusts dynamically to changing conditions, it’s calibrated differently in each ride mode—it’s softest in rain, firmest in Slick. It also employs an adjustment interface with 7 +/- steps for fork damping (both compression and rebound) along with discrete compression and rebound shock adjustability for further fine tuning.

After briefly sampling Road and Sport modes, I spent much of my time in Slick and User, primarily playing with different DTC levels. The afternoon also saw a change from the standard fitment Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP to Pirelli race slicks. The sticky tires delivered an even greater confidence in front-end feel and grip, with only an occasional flash from the DTC light on the dash once I ventured into a negative sensitivity setting. Subtle controlled rear drifts on corner exits and floating power wheelies onto the track’s main straight were now the norm.

2015 BMW S1000RR exit corner action shot

Of all the S1000RR’s improvements and new features, I’ve saved my favorite for last: HP Gear Shift Assist Pro, which provides silky smooth clutchless upshifts and also performs perfectly executed clutchless auto-blip downshifts. Charging a corner entry has never been simpler! As you keep the throttle closed and focus your attention on maintaining steady front brake pressure, a simple dab of the shifter results in a sweet downshift with the precision of a Bavarian clock.

A winner of superbike shootouts the world over and Cycle World's Best Superbike of 2010, the BMW S1000RR, now more than ever, has a way of making mere mortals feel super in its saddle.


2015 BMW S1000RR
ENGINE TYPE Water-cooled in-line four-cylinder
BORE & STROKE 80.0 x 49.7mm
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 199 hp at 13,500 rpm
TORQUE 83 lb.-ft. at 10,500 rpm
COMPRESSION RATIO 13.0: 1/at least premium unleaded (95 RON)
ALTERNATOR 350 watts
CLUTCH oil-bath, multi-disc slipper clutch
FRAME aluminum bridge, engine self-supporting
FRONT SUSPENSION inverted 46mm fork, adjustable preload, bump and rebound damping
REAR SUSPENSION aluminum double-strut swingarm with central spring strut, adjustable preload, bump and rebound damping
SUSPENSION TRAVEL 4.7 in. front and rear
CASTER 3.80 in.
WHEELBASE 56.1 in.
FRONT BRAKES twin floating 320mm discs, four-piston fixed calipers
REAR BRAKE single 220mm disc, single-piston floating caliper, BMW Race ABS
WHEELS aluminum, 17 x 3.5 in. front, 17 x 6.00 in. rear
TIRES 120/70ZR-17 front, 190/55ZR-17 rear
LENGTH 80.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 32.1 in.

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Front wheel.

Instrument panel.

Left grip controls.

Triple clamp.

Engine close-up.


Studio left-side view.

Studio rear 3/4 right-side view.

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