BMW S 1000 RR – Road Test

What is it?

It’s a racing machine, but also a superb city and medium-distance bike. The BMW S 1000 RR is a superbike with attitude and a wide range of applications.


The four-cylinder 999 cc engine produces a lot of power and torque, 142 kW at 13 000r /min and 112 Nm at 9 750 r/min. And there’s nothing subtle about the delivery – it gives you everything with every handful you want to take, but don’t worry, there’s a lot of help from the Beemer so you won’t break your neck when pulling away (see style, instruments and equipment).  The bike is chain driven.

Style, instruments and equipment

The BMW S 1000RR has the most unique style of all the superbikes: it gives a big, fat finger to orthodox styling and symmetry. The left and right sides of the front fairings differ a lot, as do the two headlights. But it’s beautiful. A very bulky swingarm shows off the rear side.

There are more electronics on this bike than there were on the Apollo 7. The S 1000RR is fitted with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), which has four modes to choose from. This helps to keep the power under control and makes the bike easier to ride for riders of all skill levels. The four modes vary from Rain (steady power delivery and full-on traction control) to Slick (full power and almost no traction control). Rain, Sport and Race mode can be selected on the fly. But Slick mode, oh Slick mode is only for special events. You have to push a button beneath the rider’s seat to activate it.

The sensors activating the traction control and ABS not only monitor wheel turn and slip, but also the bike’s lean angle. The display is quite simplistic with analogue rev counter and digital speedo. There is a very cool and useful lap timer with all sorts of detail to keep track of, but there is no fuel gauge.


The 2012 BMW S 1000 RR genuinely feels like a true race bike. The performance is quite something, but BMW’s DTC will help you tame this wild thing. The ABS does a wonderful job and doesn’t annoy the rider, as is sometimes the case with ABS. The rear sprocket, engine software and exhaust were modified to give the bike more torque at lower revs. The torque on this bike is omnipresent and pulls strong from almost any gear or speed.

Ride and handling

The front and rear suspension are fully adjustable with clearly marked numbers. Despite this, the S 1000RR still felt a bit stiff on the bumpy stuff. Overall, the ride is just splendid and the bike handles very well on the open road as well as in town. With some minor changes to the steering, forks and rear suspension, BMW made the 2012 RR a more nimble bike for commuting, but also faster through the corners on the track.


Like: Power and looks.

Dislike: There’s nothing to dislike. Maybe only the stiff suspension.

Verdict and rating

It seems you just can’t escape BMW Motorrad’s onslaught on the biking world. They dominate the adventure segment and with the S 1000 RR they just might take over the tracks and open roads. 9/10.

Also consider

Yamaha R1, Suzuki GSXR1000, Honda Fireblade, Kawasaki Ninja, KTM Super Duke, Triumph Speed Triple R, Ducati 1098R, Aprilia RSV4.


Specifications of the BMW S 1000 RR (2012)

  • Engine  Water/oil-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, four titanium valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts
  • Gearbox  Constant-mesh six-speed gearbox, straight-toothed. Chain driven
  • Power  142 kW @ 13 000 r/min
  • Torque  112 Nm @ 9 750 r/min
  • Weight  202 kg (wet and fuelled)
  • Seat height  820 mm
  • Fuel capacity  17.5 litres
  • Fuel consumption  5.9 litres/100km at 120km/h
  • Tank range  296 km at 120km/h average
  • Warranty and servicing  Two-year, unlimited kilometres and three-year BMW on-call roadside assistance. 10 000km service intervals.
  • Price  R182 700, including DTC, ABS and heated grips.
  • Review and photos by  Willem van der Berg, July 2012



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