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xBhp was born more than 16 years ago and since then we've had a chance to ride or drive hundreds of machines running on two wheels or four wheels, and sometimes even three wheels. We are not done yet, and this list is still growing. In these pages, we take a deep dive in the treasure trove of our ride experiences and bring you all that we have ridden or driven.

Bavarian Track Tools: Our Race-Spec S1000RR vs the 2019 S1000RR

999 / 999CC 209 / 207BHP 114 / 113NM

We all know what the Indian summer is like. But how about a track day in the peak of summer and that too on a full-blown litre-class race-prepped motorcycle? The heat from the sun, the heat from the sweltering tarmac, the heat from the 1000cc 4-cylinder racebike (like our BMW S1000RR)… full leathers and a full-face helmet. Not the most comfortable state a man can be in, to say the least. But what about the engine that we just mentioned? Let’s talk about it.

All of you may already know that our BMW S1000RR is a race-prepped motorcycle. Race-fairings, lighter weight, and performance mods to churn out more power out of that engine. The result is better acceleration, better top speed, better handling and better braking. Talking about the performance, it takes more than just mods to get the best out of an engine. It needs the engine to be running in optimum condition. And finally, that needs one to take care of two of the biggest enemies of an engine; friction and heat.

While building an engine may be rocket-science, understanding why friction and heat are not good for an engine is not. Countless moving parts, from the tiny ones like valves and cam-lobes to big ones like pistons, all work in tandem to make the engine work. This movement, or should we say rapid movement, causes wear and tear because of the friction. This friction, in addition to the wear and tear, produces heat. In layman terms, heat causes expansion. And since most of the parts sit flush against each other for maximum efficiency, expansion, even of the slightest degree, can cause a whole lot of damage.

While these engineering marvels are designed considering all the above factors and have safeguards in place, conditions, like we mentioned in the beginning, are enough to penetrate those. Engine oil, or more appropriately good engine oil, can neutralise that and alleviate the harm caused by friction and heat. We have been using Castrol POWER1 RACING for as long as we can remember. It helped take care of our Ninja H2 during the PowerTrip360, one of our most arduous trips, so it was a no-brainer that we employed its services for keeping our race-prepped BMW S1000RR cool and safe.

Accelerating out of a corner is almost always the deciding factor in who gains the upper hand in the race. Castrol claims the NEW Castrol POWER1 RACING is proven to stay strong and deliver acceleration in race track conditions thereby providing ultimate acceleration – 2.2 seconds quicker* than key competition. Therefore, Castrol POWER1 RACING is our engine oil of choice for our race track exploits. Disclaimer: *New Castrol POWER1 RACING 4T 10W-50 completed a 5.2 km test cycle 2.2 seconds quicker than a competitor 10W-40, in a 3-stage acceleration test conducted by Castrol, using a 4-cylinder supersport engine.

After topping up our steed with Castrol POWER1 RACING 10W-50, we went out on the track. After a warm-up lap, we really let it loose. Accelerating hard from the start line, braking hard (coupled with engine braking) for a turn, and accelerating hard out of a corner, the stress on the engine is more than palpable. But the effects of the engine oil are also palpable. No degradation in performance, no drop in acceleration, and no excess stress on the engine. And therefore, we can safely say that Castrol POWER1 RACING delivers on its promise of ultimate acceleration!

A fortunate happenstance as it may be, but not long after the performance test of our race-prepped BMW S1000RR, BMW Motorrad India announced the launch of the new BMW S1000RR. And where? The Buddh International Circuit; the place where we were testing our own previous-gen Race-prepped S1000RR. We are not ones to draw comparisons but this… this was just too opportune to miss out on that. Knowing that right from the first-gen, the BMW S1000RR has been a formidable machine, we wanted to know if the Bavarians actually made it significantly better and so, here it goes- the first ride-review of the 2019 BMW S1000RR.

We’ll talk about the design first because right from the unveiling to this day, the design has been the biggest talking point of the 2019 BMW S1000RR. The reason is that the asymmetrical headlights are gone and are replaced by slimmer and sharper LED headlamps. But even in this new avatar, it is a looker. It is slimmer, sharper and looks pretty darn good, especially in the M-Sport livery.

While the looks of the motorcycle are debatable (like they are in case of every motorcycle), one thing that’s undisputed is the performance of the motorcycle. Starting with the engine, it makes more power than before and weighs less. The sorcery involved in achieving this feat is beyond the grasp of us mere mortals. But an example can be that the titanium intake valves are hollow-bored!

The exhaust has lost more than a kilogram of weight. Overall, the engine alone has lost around 4 kg of weight! It now makes 207 bhp of power and 113 Nm of torque. 8 Bhp is a significant increase but the star of the show is the BMW ShiftCam technology. Because of this, the motorcycle now boasts of a solid midrange and without losing out on the screaming top-end that it had before.

The result of all this is that the motorcycle accelerates harder and you are almost always in the powerband around the track. Charge out of the corners with the throttle wide open and the power delivery leaves you spellbound. The gearbox is slick and with the quickshifter, you can just skim through the gears as you race to chase the redline in every gear and see everything around you morph into nothing but a blur.

The weight-loss journey continues as we move to the chassis as the perimeter frame has also lost more than a kilogram! The engine now has more load as the stressed member of the frame and that has enabled the engineers to make the frame thinner and thus exhibit better flex characteristics. The geometry has been revised as well and the motorcycle has a sharper rake and a longer wheelbase which make the motorcycle more receptive to inputs. In the ergonomics department as well, the bars are wider and a bit higher to make for a relatively comfortable riding position considering that it is a full-blown superbike.

All that has contributed to making the 2019 BMW S1000RR more agile and poised when compared to the older model. The motorcycle changes direction quickly and sticks to the desired line like it is on rails. Even mid-corner corrections do not unsettle the bike as there’s loads of feedback from the chassis. The suspension is very well sorted and the brakes, though slightly devoid of initial bite, possess enough power to bring the motorcycle to a halt once to grab a handful of brake.

With electronic aids like ABS Pro (cornering ABS), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Hill Start Control (HSC), Launch Control and Pit Lane Limiter, the 2019 BMW S1000RR’s ferocious power, is easily accessible and safely exploitable. Add to that a super-nifty and connected 6.5-inch TFT display serving as your command centre and it makes the motorcycle into a complete package on the electronics front.

The 2019 BMW S1000RR is a very capable motorcycle and it is evident from the fact that this is its first year in WSBK (with Shaun Muir Racing Team, and riders Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger) and it already has a podium. The time we got aboard the 2019 BMW S1000RR was not nearly enough to test it out fully and considering what a lasting first impression it had on us, we can’t wait to get more of it.

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2019 BMW S1000RR
2019 S1000RR