2012 BMW S1000RR: tweaked chassis, ‘more’ low rev grunt, improved electronics

It is a cliché, but it’s worth bearing in mind. ‘If it ain’t kaput, don’t fix it’. There wasn’t much wrong with the current 2010-spec BMW S1000RR. It’s been popular in showrooms and as a superstock race bike (surely the best test of a sportsbike’s basic credentials). It’s been a winner many times over. Including Richard Cooper’s Buildbase BMW British superstock win this season (following Jon Kirkham’s BMW win in 2010). True, it was done in the European superstock championship in 2011 by a brace of cheating Italians, but hey…).


So for 2012 what have we got that’s new on the BMW? We’ve got ‘more’ torque lower in the rev range (which is to say we have the same amount of peak torque and power) but the torque curve hits you in the face around 5,000rpm rather than at 7,500rpm. This happy result has been achieved via new bellmouths, a new fuel map, a tweaked exhaust and a change in the final drive which has lost a tooth off the rear sprocket. Add all those changes together and you get the distinct impression you’re getting a move on. The 2012 BMW S1000RR – now with more urgency than before!

Oh yes and the throttle action, which was a tad hefty on the previous model (wrist ache on those long motorway schleps anyone?) has been reduced. In addition – just to make sure you get the point – something akin to a quick-action throttle has been fitted too. It’s not as scary as it sounds, honest.

Essentially, the bike’s engine has been given a thorough re-map (OK, more than that, but you get the drift), while the chassis has been given a proper makeover too. There’s a new steering head angle, a shorter wheelbase, different offset and the rear shock pivot point has changed too.

In addition, the Sachs fork internals feature a bigger piston, new valving and spring rates and there’s now a manually adjustable steering damper.

Man and machine in, er, perfect harmony. De beste oder nichts, etc, etc.
BMW S 1000 RR

In terms of electronics, BMW claims to have refined the various strategies and options using and modifying feedback from the superstock teams, particularly the Motorrad Italia squad. We’re fairly sure though that the new optionalheated grips (with two levels!) were nothing to do with Ayrton Badovini.

And did we mention the new colours? The red? The blue? Yeah. Those too. You’ve got to love the red, no? “Racing Red and Alpine white” actually. And “Bluefire.”

If this sounds a bit underwhelming, then it’s not meant to be. As we said, it wasn’t like the S1000RR needed a major overhaul and it hasn’t had one. It’s one of those ‘evolution’ not revolution deals. Small chassis changes (designed with one eye on the racetrack, no doubt), allied to addressing the complaint about the old bike was “flat at the bottom, ballistic at the top” so that now its “punchier at the bottom, still ballistic at the top”.

So, all in all, you’d have to say it’s a case of as you were,mein herr.

For a more detailed launch report and technical pics and details about the 2012 bike, you can read them in the January 2012 edition of the mag. Buy it here. (And it also contains a launch report on the 2012 Yamaha R1 for good measure)