BMW has an all-new superbike in the wings for 2018, and we finally have some images to give us a hint at what's to come. The 2018 BMW S1000RR is almost here, and it could be well worth the wait.
We just published our 2017 Superbike Shootout, and the most common response so far has been "but whhhhhhy no S1Krr u dummies?!?!?!" The reason why, as you'll know if you paid any attention to words in the first part of that comparison, is that we traditionally don't bring back bikes that haven't been updated and didn't win the previous shootout to come and lose again. And while that stance is up for debate (but please, God, not here), this increasingly infuriating comment illustrates something else much more valuable than people's poor reading comprehension: people love the BMW S1000RR.
BMW first launched the S1KRR in 2008 to compete in WSBK, and then released as a production model to the public in 2010. That year, it demolished the competition, easily winning our Ten Best Superbike of the year. Since then, it's seen only minor updates, this last year seeing changes to the emissions for Euro4 standards and electronics added as standard. But besides that, things like the motor and chassis have remained unchanged.
Despite being a little long in the tooth (though not as long as the Honda and Suzuki were until this year), the BMW has remained a favorite amongst riders everywhere. California Superbike School uses them for their schools with great success, they still do well every year at the Isle of Man TT, and we still get hounded every time we leave them out of a story by people who've experienced them and love them.
The fact of the matter is, we think there are other and better superbikes on the market. At least for now...
These spy shots show a pretty radical jump for the Bavarian brand. The whole package looks even more svelte than before, something that the original S1000RR was praised for when first unveiled. The engine is all new, down to the clutch covers, cases, and cylinder heads, and the cylinders appear slightly more vertical which could allow the motor to be moved forward slightly in the frame.
If we had to guess, the chassis appears to be made of aluminum, and the swingarm is new and now braced from below instead of above—something usually saved for race bikes thanks to the extra emissions stuff we get to lug around.
Most noticeably new is the bodywork which, at least in this prototype, ditches the asymmetrical headlights in favor of two LED projector beam lights that surround an air intake. To me, it looks as if the previous generation Yamaha R1 had a rowdy night with the new Kawasaki ZX-10R.
The fairing-mounted turn signals are also gone, moved now into the mirrors.
The other big rumor is that the new S1000RR will feature a big, beautiful, and hi-def TFT dash. BMW has always favored heavy electronics, and we expect you'll be able to control everything from fuel mapping to electronic suspension settings from the screen. There is even talk of BMW supplied GPS.
Finally, one of the biggest questions surrounding the bike is if we'll see it for 2018 or 2019. This prototype looks fairly buttoned up, but many of the rumblings from Germany point to a delayed launch.
So, besides thinking we should have compared the current S1000RR in our Superbike Shootout, what do you think of the new BMW superbike? What would you like to see from the German brand to keep it competitive?