First time in superbikes? Yeah. First time in motorbikes? Nah.
Do you ever have times where you question whether you took a serious blow to the head and somehow don’t know it? Friends, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing in digging up more information about German suspension wizards Bilstein moving into the performance motorcycle market. While it’s true that the long-running manufacturer is best known for its automotive work, I could swear that this wasn’t the first time it had been associated with motorcycles. So, I grabbed my handy metaphorical shovel and started digging.
Sure enough, back in May 2017, an entry on Bilstein UK’s blog mentions that “For almost 50 years, BILSTEIN has produced gas-pressure shock absorbers for motorbikes, motorcycle combinations as well as vintage and new motorbikes.” It goes on to say that Bilstein motorbike dampers have been sold online for over ten years (which would be 13 years now since it’s 2020) via the very sensibly named bilstein-motorrad.de.
While it’s indeed exciting that Bilstein is utilizing its considerable years of experience and knowledge to develop high-performance suspensions for British Superbikes, and starting to make kits for the BMW S 1000 RR from 2009 forward, it’s hardly the brand’s first foray into motorcycling. Into high-performance sportbikes, perhaps, but motorbikes overall? Sorry, but no.
Gallery: Bilstein BMW S 1000 RR
Given how technology keeps changing and improving over the years, and also given that Öhlins, Showa, WP, and K-Tech all have the advantage of time and experience in this arena, it will no doubt be interesting to see how things develop. Healthy competition can drive innovation, and seeing what results from the past five years of Bilstein’s work developing S 1000 RR suspension is something we await with interest.
The company plans to make other suspension kits available in the as-yet-to-be-determined future, but for now, the S 1000 RR is where everything will start. If all goes to plan, that should roll out by the end of 2020, although it’s difficult to say with any certainty how close to schedule anything will be at this point. Pricing has not yet been announced.