BMW has finally given the S 1000 R a long-overdue update; it’s 5.1kg lighter, it’s got a new chassis and yes, before you ask, it does... 2021 BMW S 1000 R

BMW has finally given the S 1000 R a long-overdue update; it’s 5.1kg lighter, it’s got a new chassis and yes, before you ask, it does include the newer spec S 1000 RR based engine… sort of. Ok, it’s not in the same 200bhp+ state of tune and you don’t get shifting cams, but essentially, it’s an all-new engine compared to the one in the outgoing S 1000 R. 

That said, the power and torque figures remain at 165bhp @ 11,000rpm and 114Nm @ 9,250rpm. They say that the new, and particularly linear, torque curve helps to make the new model even more rideable than the last – not that rideability was an issue in the last model – if anything, it was almost too rideable and lacked a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. I had been living in hope that BMW would somehow zhoosh the package up a little bit, but unfortunately it seems that, as far as the engine goes, they’ve done the opposite. They haven’t bothered giving the new model BMW’s famed Shift-Cam technology, so as previously mentioned, you don’t get any more torque or power. They’ve also stretched out the ratios in fourth, fifth and sixth gears (one, two and three are the same as before) – they are telling us that it will mean lower engine revs when cruising along at any given speed, so more comfort and better fuel economy (an 8% reduction in fuel consumption, apparently), but surely it’ll just make the bike feel that bit more lethargic when you open the taps. 

The chassis’ all-new as well, and is ‘significantly’ lighter than the last one. The ‘flex frame’ uses the engine as a load bearing part, to a much greater extent than before, and has a considerably narrower design (particularly between the knees), allowing a much more relaxed riding position and with more freedom of movement. The ‘R’ get gets the same underslung swingarm as the Double R, the same shock and Full Floater Pro linkage which is now further away from the engine to help keep it cool. The S 1000 R Sport comes with the new generation Dynamic Damping Control (DDC), or electronic suspension to you and me, which is linked to the various riding modes.  

And those riding modes are Rain, Road, and Dynamic, and if you’ve got the Sport model, you get Riding Modes Pro, too. The standard S 1000 R is pretty techy, though, with the big 6.5 inch TFT dash (that you can connect your phone to), LED lights (including turning lights and DRLs on the Sport), ABS Pro, TC with anti-wheelie, engine braking with drag torque control and hill-start control. 

If you did decide to spend the extra cash on the S 1000 R Sport, you’d get the aforementioned headlights, the comfort package (which includes keyless ignition, USB charging socket, heated grips and cruise control) and the Dynamic Package (which includes a quickshifter, electronic suspension, Riding Modes Pro, launch control, pitlane limiter and an ‘engine spoiler’ whatever that last one is). 

The latest Double R really is thing to behold, and it smashed the opposition to smithereens in our 2020 megatest, on the road and on the track; it’s the closest thing to a perfect sportsbike that we’ve ever come across (and we definitely came across it at Portimao – all over it in fact). So the RR based R should be a weapon, shouldn’t it? Well I’m really hoping so but it’s no more powerful than the last one (where’s the shift-cam, come on Beemer) so I’m not sure how it will cope against the likes of Ducati’s Streetfighter and Aprilia’s Tuono. Let’s just hope that the chassis improvements are worth as much as BMW say they are. 

If the new S 1000 R floats your boat you should be able to pick one up from spring (2021) for £12,055, or if you fancy the Sport, £14,000 (so, to be fair, considerably less than the aforementioned Streetfighter and Tuono). Tell us what you think. 

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Stuart Flitton
Stuart Flitton
2 months ago

I have ordered one. I’m glad it’s not too leary. I want something for the road, I like the looks and I think 165 bhp is plenty.

Ricky
Ricky
1 month ago
Reply to  Stuart Flitton

I totally agree. Who needs over 200bhp on a naked bike when you only get that sort of power when you do silly speeds! Acceleration is where it’s at !

Mr. David Snelson
Mr. David Snelson
2 months ago

A bit gutted to see shift-cam not being on the new bike. I had thought that this would be the perfect second bike as I already have a GS1250 but am unconvinced now. I will test ride one but am starting to sway towards a KTM 890 instead I think….

Richard Isgar
Richard Isgar
3 months ago

Massively disappointing tbh. Was hoping for more power, and def better looks. Think beemer are missing the boat with this one. I’ve an old S1KR and it ain’t slow by any means, but was hoping for shiftcam and maybe 180bhp at least.