It’s fun to watch bikes grow up, isn’t it? Kind of like people, it’s usually a gradual growth over time. Small evolutions may not seem like big deals when they happen, but they do add up. Pretty soon, you can see a glimmer of what a bike once was, even if the current version looks a whole lot different.
The legend of the BMW S 1000 RR started way back in 1992, with the R1100RS. Straight from the factory, it featured a 1085cc air-cooled boxer engine that produced 90 horsepower and 95 newton-meters (or 70 lb.-ft) of torque. It also boasted a top speed of 218 kmh (or 135.46 mph), and weighed 239kg (or just under 527 pounds). It was also shaft-driven, like many of its fellow Bavarian siblings.
By 1998, the R1100S came along. It bumped the horsepower up to 98, and offered 97 Nm (or 71.4 lb.-ft) of torque. Top speed was 227kmh, or 141mph. Weight decreased as well, coming in at just 208kg, or just over 458.5 lbs. This is also where the design started to look a bit sportier, and show a few glimmers of the S 1000 RRs we know today.
Fast-forward eight years, and the R1200S of 2006 continued to bump those power and speed numbers higher still, while reducing weight yet again. This new 1170cc boxer made an astonishing 122hp and 112Nm (or 82.6 lb.-ft) of torque. It could reach a top speed of 241kmh, or just under 150mph. To cap it all off, it weighed 198kg, or 436.5 pounds! Total madness of the ‘you’ll shoot your eye out, kid’ variety, right?
Only two years passed before the 2008 HP2 Sport hit the road. With a horsepower of 130 and offering up 85 lb.-ft. of torque, this hotly anticipated HP2 could allegedly hit a top speed of 248 kmh, or just over 154 mph. It did all this while weighing just 178kg, or just over 392 pounds. A combination of constant power and performance gains and weight loss over iterations led BMW to make all the choices that eventually led up to the introduction of the first-generation S 1000 RR just one year later.
In 2009, the S 1000 RR made its world debut at last. Its 999cc inline-four engine produced 190 horsepower and 82.5 lb-ft. of torque. Claimed top speed was 305 kmh, or 189.5 mph. Weight was 183kg, or just over 403 pounds. Its electronic rider aids were linked, helping to usher in our current modern era of high-end superbikes.
Since its introduction, the S 1000 RR has only continued to evolve. Each generation has been a formidable track weapon, increasingly honing its sharpness to finer and finer points. If the past is anything to go by, the continued evolution will be fascinating to watch, and even better to ride.