Can you believe it's been a decade since BMW transformed its image and stunned the superbike establishment by launching the original S1000RR? That bike surpassed all expectations. Yes, we knew it was coming – spy shots had been emerging for years prior to its introduction – but nobody expected BMW's first stab at a superbike to be such an accomplished job.
So accomplished, in fact, that the S1000RR has survived with relatively minor tweaks right to this day. There have been three generations – the 2009-2011 version, 2012-2014 bike and 2015-2018 model – but it’s been a case of steady evolution rather than revolution.
But the revolution starts here. The 2019 S1000RR, shown in detail in these patent images, is a completely new bike. Virtually nothing is carried over from its predecessor and every indication is that it’s set to be as big of a leap forward as the original S1000RR was back in 2009.
Let’s start with the engine. While a simple set of pictures can’t give us much insight into whatever technology BMW has incorporated into it, there’s no doubt that it’s an entirely new inline-four. Every visible case and casting is noticeably different, and major components like the water pump have been repositioned. In short, this is a new motor.
As such, it’s unthinkable that it’s going to be anything other than a significant step forward. Given the existing BMW S 1000 RR already knocks on the door of 200hp in standard form, the 2019 model is is poised to soar past that notional milestone. What’s more, it’s likely to be among the first new bikes to meet the upcoming Euro5 emissions regulations that are set to be introduced in Europe in stages, starting in 2020.
That makes it all the more impressive that BMW has managed to reduce the size of the exhaust end can, which looks about half the size of the one on the current S1000RR. There’s a large collector box ahead of it, of course, plus a pair of catalytic converters, each attached to two of the four downpipes.
The new engine has also allowed or prompted BMW to create a distinctive new chassis. It’s still an aluminum beam frame, but instead of the normal straight beams on either side there are Z-shaped rails that closely follow the contours of the engine and transmission. Presumably the unusual chassis design helps keep the bike compact; given that we know the wheels are conventional 17-inch rims, the overall size of the 2019 S1000RR appears to be far smaller than its predecessor.
Another unusual aspect is the swingarm, which is braced from below rather than above. That’s the method favored in MotoGP, but no rival road-going superbike currently uses under-slung swingarm bracing – not because it’s a bad idea but because it’s difficult to package a swingarm like this while leaving space for the bulky exhaust systems needed on road bikes. The competition will be taking a very close look at how BMW has managed to do it.
Higher up, the seat subframe adopts a tubular, trellis design rather than the square-section aluminium tubing used on the existing S1000RR; a measure that’s surely intended to save weight.
Given the new technical aspects of the bike, BMW has clearly opted to take a new styling direction. The Popeye-style headlight arrangement that’s been a feature of every S1000RR to date is gone, replaced by a more conventional and symmetrical arrangement. The side panels are also more symmetrical than before, although BMW is keeping a vestige of the ‘gills’ that have always been present on the right-hand side of S 1000 RRs.
BMW is expected to launch the S1000RR at October’s Intermot show in Cologne, Germany, part of a massive model range revamp that will also include the new R1250GS, R1250GS Adventure, R1250RT, and F850GS Adventure.