This is the clearest photo of 2014 BMW S 1000 S yet. Captured testing in Germany ahead of its fall debut, the bike is based on the S 1000 RR superbike, appearing to sacrifice little performance in pursuit of more humane ergonomics.
In an encouraging sign that the S 1000 S's performance won't follow the typical naked bike dilution, it's virtually identical to the faired bike it's based on. Same aluminum beam frame, same 999cc inline-four, same swingarm, same fully-adjustable forks, same radial Brembo brake calipers, same exhaust and even the same tail section and batwing taillight.
The big remaining question is: How much has BMW detuned the motor? It's established practice for manufacturers to "tune for torque" when they adapt a bike from sport to naked. In the common tongue, that means "less power, but if you're lucky, maybe a little fuller torque curve down low." Meh.
The BMW S 1000 RR makes 193 bhp, 83 lb.-ft. of torque and 458 lbs (wet). When it debuted in 2009, it was the fastest motorcycle out there. Something aided by its revolutionary rider-aid electronics including traction control and ABS. In HP4 form, some would claim it retains that title.
What's clear in these photos is that BMW will retain the asymmetric styling in transition from RR to S. In an effort at differentiation, the reflector low beam and projector high beam swap sides; the RR's low beam (left) and high beam (right), the S is low beam (right) and high beam (left). Some fairing is retained around the frame and motor while a tiny "bellypan" draws visual weight downward.
Two distinct versions of the S 1000 S have been spotted. This bike, with its gold brake calipers and standard exhaust — identical equipment to the base S 1000 RR — and a version with the silver brake calipers and Akrapovic canister of the HP4.
At this point, the name remains speculation. BMW does tend to retain the same formula for its bike names though. "S" denotes an outright sport bike (in contrast to the more sport-touring oriented "K" models", the numbers are the rounded engine capacity and the final letter or letters denote the model. Take the R 1200 GS for example. "R" denotes the boxer twin, "1200" the engine size and "GS" the adventure touring model. The R 1200 S is the naked version of the same (OK, similar) platform. So, S 1000 S? We'll find out shortly, stay tuned.
Photo: Chris Doane Automotive LLC