2012 BMW S1000RR: king of the hill, again?

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The 2012 BMW S1000RR is the same as the old BMW S1000RR, just with a tweaked engine and chassis, improving performance slightly. Peak power and torque numbers remain unchanged, but the curves grow fatter. Much more importantly, the steering angle gets steeper and the wheelbase shrinks, that should help cure the current model’s so-so handling. Oh, and heated grips are now optional, finally making this a real BMW.

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Here’s all the changes at a glance:

• Optimised torque curve for improved ridability.
• Expansion from two to three performance curves (one each for Rain and
Sport modes and an additional one for Race and Slick modes); Rain mode
now 120 kW (163 hp).
• Reconfigured throttle for enhanced response (particularly gentle and
sensitive acceleration in Rain mode, and immediately direct and
spontaneous response in Sport, Race, and Slick modes).
• Reduced twisting force and tighter twistgrip angle.
• Smaller secondary ratio for boosted thrust.
• Refined tuning between Race ABS and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC).
• Enlarged cross sectional area of the intake air guide through the steering
head for greater air flow efficiency.

Touring-style winglets smooth airflow around the rider’s arms.

• Better handling, steering accuracy, and feedback.
• Revised spring elements for an even wider range of damping forces.
• Suspension geometry modified with new values for the steering head
angle, offset, position of the swing arm pivot, fork projection, and spring
strut length.
• New mechanical steering damper adjustable over ten levels.
• Forged and milled fork bridge in a new design and with a smaller offset.

The tail retains the R6-like shape, batmobile taillight and Labia-unfriendly seat, gaining vents that pass all the way through top to bottom, decreasing the unit’s perceived visual mass.

•Revised design with a leaner tail section, redesigned side panels, centre
airbox cover with side aperture grilles, and winglets.

Colors now include the red/white/black up top, a nicely subtle all-black, an updated red/white/blue motorsports scheme and this surprisingly attractive baby blue.

• For new colour variants: plain Racing Red with Alpine white, Bluefire,
Sapphire black metallic, BMW Motorrad Motorsport colours.
• Revised RR logo.
• New heel plates and leaner stabilisers on the passenger footrests.
• Redesigned LCD engine speed display for better readability and with five
dimming levels.
• Instrument cluster with the new functions “Best lap in progress” and
“Speedwarning”; deactivation of “Lamp” fault message when headlamp
or number plate carrier removed.
• Catalytic converters relocated, so no heat shield necessary.
• Expansion to the optional extras and special equipment ex works.

The S1000RR still makes 193bhp, 83lb/ft and weighs 204kg (wet), leaving it behind the new Ducati 1199 Panigale (195bhp, 179kg wet) and 2012 Kawasaki ZX-10R (197bhp and 198kg wet).

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There’s 125 photos in this gallery, every single one of which is wallpaper-sized.

  • BATMAN

    King of the hill again? Easy answer.

    Yes.

  • The other Joe

    I would love to see them win WSBK. With Haslam and Melandri riding next year, I would say they stand their best chance ever.

    • John

      I am hoping Colin Edwards can do something with this engine in a Suter chassis.

      I still think it needs frame sliders that look valve covers.

      • The other Joe

        Definitely! I’m really interested to see how this whole CRT thing works out.

    • JTourismo

      Definitely appears they have mades some changes that will affect their WSBK chances. Don’t forget Badovini on the bmw italia bike who was already able to outpace haslam and corser this year.

      • The other Joe

        So true, I would never forget Badovini after this season.

    • Max Headroom

      +1 And if they choose to use Marelli electronics next season, they would definitely be championship contenders!

  • Charlie

    Long live the king in racing red.

    • Michael

      I like the racing wood.

  • AJ

    The Red is awesome …. Love it!

  • Mr.Paynter

    The Blue! The Blue!
    *I would put a ring on it.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      +1. That color really works with the wonky bodywork.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    That baby blue is awesome. It looks like a shark, and sharks are cool.

    • Myles

      I hated the blue, until I read your comment and looked at it again.

      It does look like a shark, a fucking fast shark.

  • Chris

    The blue looks great on that bike. That shade just seems to work.

  • http://www.kenta.ro Kentaro rides a NRS and a GSA

    I wish on the red one that the front fairing was black. And the exhaust can didn’t look like a stripped soup can.

    Regardless…..Want.

  • andy727

    Mmmm, nice touches. I wonder if you could retrofit the new steering angle / parts to a 2011 model.

    • Tony T.

      How hard could a frame swap be?

  • rndholesqpeg

    I think they should add more creature comforts like optional risers for their clipons.

    The more creature comforts they add, the less people will care that nobody can go fast on one in a race.

    • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

      It’s sounding like they might drop their in-house electronics package and go with the standard Magneti Marelli setup next year in WSBK. Hoping that makes them more competitive! Most people believe that’s really what is holding them back.

      • rndholesqpeg

        Isn’t that what BMW MOTORRAD ITALIA tried doing this year?

  • Bill

    Though million horsepower featherweights aren’t really my cup of Tabasco, there’s no denying that there is much to like about this bike.

    But the asymmetrical headlamps, the mismatched side vents, and the general ‘busyness’ of the whole styling package makes the bike lack the elegance I expect from a fine European motorcycle.

    I hate to say it, but this is a bike that a Ninja moniker complete with matching stickers straight out of the ’80′s would not look out of place on.

    Given that the performance capabilities of the top tier sport bikes so far exceeds just about anyone’s realistic (though certainly not imagined) riding acumen, things like overall pulchrituity (improper suffix alert) could, for many, easily become the deciding factor as to which one to put on layaway.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      You want pulchitrudity? I have two words for you.

      Heated. Grips.

      • Bill

        Given the school-of-asymmetry logic behind this bike, is it safe to assume that one grip heats while the other freezes?

        • The other Joe

          Cute. Personally, I like the asym look. definitely won’t get confused for another bike.

          • rohorn

            I always thought the whole symmetry issue was a contrived one from people trying too hard to find something to complain about. I’ve never seen both sides of a (intact) motorcycle at the same time anyway. Women aren’t more attractive with a pair of those on their backs, no matter how much symmetry they add.

            Probably the only person who does, but I like the acid green color from an earlier year.

            • John

              Symmetry exist, your just looking in the wrong perspective.

              • rohorn

                I agree – was exaggerating the symmetry issue for amusement’s sake. I also get the impression that it doesn’t hurt sales at all – and generates chatter, which probably helps.

            • Richard

              I like the acid green too.

        • Wereweazle

          Actually…. the left BMW handgrips have a tendency to heat less and eventually fail quicker than the right. Something to do with not being insulated from the metal bar by the throttle assembly. So you’re right!

      • wwalkersd

        Heated grips. Don’t knock ‘em if you haven’t tried ‘em.

        • Kevin

          Heated grips are proof that God loves motorcyclists and wants them to be happy.

  • Jose

    Baby blue or Gulf Blue?…

    • Mike

      French Racing Blue?

  • Hien

    Laguna Seca Blue?

    • Mike Jiang

      +1

  • dux

    Ducati weight specs are as trustworthy as Bernie Madoff’s portfolio.

    • Michael

      Why?

  • Adam

    I gentlemen, am GAY for this bike.

    Or I’m just Gay.

    • Bill

      Interesting choice of forum for which to come out. But congrats just the same.

      • Adam

        Of course you know, this was not me posting, but my “friend” Paul. Nevertheless, I am gay for this bike.

        On a personal note, never leave yourself logged in to this website when your “friends” are over.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    I was just thinking about this the other day… is the S1000RR still king of the hill? I thought the RSV4 trounced it with superior electronic aids and more nimble handling?

    Still, I’m very confused. If I was hypothetically looking to purchase a new litre sportsbike, I probably just wouldn’t because I can’t choose between this, the RSV4 and the KTM RC8. Hmmm…

  • Sam

    Damn.. if I had to own an I4 race replica bike… please give me one of these in that lovely blue.

  • Bill

    To save all the overly-burdened, underly recompensed moto-editors some time and effort, I’ve come up with a brief advance story of how the ’12 Superbike shoot-out will play out.

    The Honda is the most refined and easiest for the layperson to ride but lacks a certain edginess that’s needed to capture the hearts and minds of would-be buyers who need these organs captured, the 1199 Pag-whatever is the sexiest bike in the world but has the most extreme riding position making it totally impractical for the street, and the S1000RR, though imperfect (especially in matters of aesthetics) splits the difference between the other two front runners and takes the top podium spot. Again.

    I could make up some 1/4 mile, top speed, and weight figures that would be in the ballpark of most folk’s level of credulity and add it to the story, but I’m late for my real-life work so I’ll leave that to the pros.

    • Wereweazle

      I would’ve thought the s1000rr would be the easiest for the layperson to ride due to the traction control and other electronic helping bit. Hence the sarcastically named “Why the s1000rr should be your first bike” article. The Honda would be for the more advanced, technical rider who’s willing to squeeze out every last drop from the bike to really get its full potential in handling. And I know exactly what the Panigale will be used for. It’s so my grad school ducati fanatic friend can ride to class on sunny days.

  • Rick

    I wonder if the heated grips app was inspired by this year’s World Superbike event at Miller Motorsports Park?

    The weather was cold and very wet, with temps in the 40s, and riders were returning from practice sessions with numb hands and blue fingers- I felt bad for the guys as they blasted down the long front straight at speeds of 190mph…

    In conditions like that heated grips are an almost unfair advantage! On a sportbike this feature is pure genius and a safety enhancement for cold weather riders everywhere.