Make Life a Ride with BMW


Words and Photos: John Gunnell


At the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, BMW was most likely the only automaker with its own motorcycle in its booth. “Make Life A Ride” was the slogan the German auto manufacturer used to promote its S 1000 RR motorcycles to crowds of people reviewing the latest and greatest cars.

The slick looking S 1000 RR is quite a bike for its base price of $15,500. It has a liquid/oil cooled double overhead cam four-inline engine with four valves per cylinder that produces a whopping 196 hp at 13,500 rpm. It’s also good for 83 lb.-ft. of torque at 9,750 rpm. The 999 cc engine has an 80.0 x 49.7 mm bore and stroke and a 13.0:1 compression ratio.  It is partially self-supporting.

Power flows through a multi-disc anti-hopping oil bath clutch and a six-speed constant mesh gearbox with straight cut gears. Drive to the rear wheels is via a chain running on 17/45 front and rear sprockets.

The S 1000 RR has a lightweight, but sturdy aluminum composite bridge frame. The front suspension features a 46mm upside-down telescopic fork with compression/rebound adjustable damping. At the rear is a two-sided aluminum swing arm, also with compression/rebound adjustable damping. Suspension travel is 4.7 inches both at the front and the rear. The wheelbase is 56.1 inches.

BMW engineers went to a 3.50 x 17-inch cast aluminum wheel up front and a 6.00 x 17-inch cast aluminum rear wheel. The front tire is size 120/70ZR-17, while 190/55 ZR 17-inch skins were used on the rear. For braking, the designers adopted radial 4-piston 320mm twin-disc front brakes and a 220mm single disc with a single-piston floating caliper at the rear.  The Standard Race ABS part-integral braking system provides various stability modes or can be switched off if desired. 

The BMW S 1000 RR has a 32.1-inch seat height and tips the scales at 440 lbs. with the 4.6-gallon gas tank filled.  The gas tank has a reserve of one gallon. Permitted total weight of the bike and riders would be 895 lbs.






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