7 Common BMW S1000RR Problems (Explained)

The BMW S1000RR is one of the most popular and powerful superbikes in the world.

It offers incredible performance, handling, and technology, making it a dream machine for many riders.

However, like any vehicle, the S1000RR has flaws and issues.

This article will explore some common problems that BMW S1000RR owners have reported and how to prevent or fix them.

1. Excessive Vibrations: Mirrors Rattle While Riding

One of the most annoying problems that BMW S1000RR owners have experienced is excessive vibrations, mainly through the tank and handlebars.

These vibrations can cause numbness, discomfort, and fatigue, especially on long rides.

They can also make the mirrors rattle and blur the rearview, making riders feel unsafe.

“I started noticing pretty heavy vibrations on my 2022 S1000RR M Package. I started noticing them right after the first service after the break-in period. I’m sure they were there before; I just never really pushed the bike to notice it until after the first service. They are in the footrests, tank, and hand grips. They start pretty excessively at around 6k RPS and above. Over 10k is so extreme that I feel like the brake cylinder will break off.”

“I don’t recall getting extreme vibration over 6K nor any in the pegs or tank. Above 10K, I get vibrations in the bars, but that is all I can remember. It’s been a while since I’ve been at the track, which is the only place I ride much above 10K.”

The cause of these vibrations may be related to the engine design, as the S1000RR doesn’t equip a counterbalancer, being a lightweight superbike.

“All you have to do is search the forum. This has been beaten to death. The K67 does not have a counterbalancer. It’s a race bike. If your dealer does not know how to explain this to you, you are working with the wrong dealer and wasting your riding time with your bike sitting at the dealer.”

Other riders have reported that their exhaust system, the chain tension, or the tires were maladjusted and responsible and that fixing them resulted in fewer vibrations. 

2. Engine Ticking at Start-Up

Another common problem that some BMW S1000RR owners note is a ticking noise from the engine, especially at start-up or when the engine is cold. This noise may be caused by the hydraulic lifters responsible for adjusting the valve clearance.

“So, I have been very worried lately as a new S1000RR owner if I made the right choice. I have been reading on a lot of forums about S1000RR engine reliability problems. My bike has a valve-ticking noise and another noise that’s a bit deeper of a clunk coming still from the top of the engine. The bike is a 2010 with 6k miles on it.

The S1K does have quite a bit of natural valve ticking that is heard normally. Not much in the way of blocking the noise coming from the top end. The valve cover itself is very thin. I would let the dealership check it out, just to ease your mind, and if there is a problem, then it will be documented (make sure they write up a repair order).”

While the engine ticking could be a harmless-yet-annoying effect of the valves or the cam chain activating, it could also indicate a problem.

Lifters can get clogged, worn, or damaged due to various factors, such as dirty or low-quality oil, low oil pressure, or infrequent oil changes.

“My 2012 blew an intake camshaft with 400 miles on the clock. Sounded like a [ticking] crankshaft bearing to me at first. Notify your dealer about this, then make a nice trip with the bike.”

While the noise could be standard, the ticking noise could also indicate that the lifters are not functioning correctly or that the valve clearance is out of spec.

Faulty valves or lifters can affect the engine’s performance and longevity.

Some possible solutions are to change the oil and filter regularly with a certified BMW brand, flush the engine with fresh oil, or replace the faulty lifters.

3. Faulty Rear Suspension Deflection Lever Bolt

A more severe problem affecting BME S1000RR 2016- and 2017-year models is a faulty rear suspension deflection lever bolt. This bolt connects the rear shock to the swingarm – crucial for the handling and stability of your S1000RR.

The bolt may loosen over time due to improper tightening or manufacturing defects.

If the bolt comes loose, it can cause the rear suspension to malfunction and compromise the control of the motorcycle.

This problem was severe enough to prompt BMW to issue a recall for 21 units in the U.S. in January 2017.

The recall involves replacing the bolted connection and ensuring the bolts are tightened to specification.

If you suspect your S1000RR’s handling or rear suspension is unstable, contact your local BMW dealership or customer service line for more information.

4. Front Brake Failure

A rather dangerous problem that some BMW S1000RR owners have reported is a front brake failure or loss of pressure without warning. This can happen while riding or braking, resulting in a crash or injury.

“I have a 2011 S1000RR with all the options. ABS DTC etc…
A couple of days ago, my front brakes failed on me, and I almost crashed into a car. The rear brake still worked fine. The bike has 800km on it. So, it is still almost brand new. I wasn’t even pushing the bike. I was stuck in heavy traffic for a while. As I was pulling up, at a speed of less than 10km/h, the traffic stopped again. I pull on the front brake lever, and nothing [no pressure in the lever]!! [The lever] goes all the way to the bar… I am baffled as to why the brakes failed on me. I am scared now to ride the bike.”

The cause of this problem may be related to air in the brake lines, faulty master cylinders, contaminated brake fluid, or warped brake discs.

Solutions include bleeding the brake lines, replacing the master cylinder, flushing the brake fluid, or replacing the brake discs.

That said, sources say a recall was issued by BMW for the 2019-2020 S1000RR models due to leaking front brake calipers.

BMW issued notice to their dealerships to replace the front brake calipers o these year models, free of charge. Contact your local dealership or BMW customer service for more information.

5. High Cost of Maintenance

While the high maintenance cost of owning a BME S1000RR is more of a drawback than an issue, it can lead to neglected maintenance due to cost restraints. If you’re unable to keep up with the maintenance cost of owning a Beamer bike, or if you’re buying your S1000RR used from a previous owner who couldn’t foot the bill, it can lead to a slew of engine problems.

“I have a 2022 S1000RR with an M package. Not ready for 1st service yet. The dealer I bought it from tells me 1st service is around $430. Sounds high to me. What has everyone been paying for this? And from what I read, this is just an oil change and an ECU update? Seems like robbery to me!? Maybe I’m missing something?”

The S1000RR is a sophisticated and advanced machine that requires regular and proper care to keep it in optimal condition.

However, this also means that the service intervals, parts, and labor can be quite expensive compared to other motorcycles.

Maintenance items, such as tires, brake pads, chains, sprockets, and valve adjustments, can also add up quickly.

The S1000RR is a costly bike to run or maintain, so owners should be prepared to budget accordingly.

6. Faulty Right-Side Control Switch

A less common but annoying problem that some BMW S1000RR owners have encountered is a faulty right-side control switch, which controls the ignition, starter, and kill switch. This problem can cause the bike not to start or run when you press the starter switch is, or to randomly cut out while riding.

“I have a 2010 S1000RR and have had this problem twice now. The first time was last summer when I left the bike in the sun for a few hours, and when I came back to start it, nothing happened. The dash lit up, but the starter button did nothing. I checked the fuses, and everything was fine. I waited for about 15 minutes in the shade, and then it started normally. The second time was yesterday when I rode to work and parked in the sun for about 4 hours. The same thing happened, no response from the starter button. I called BMW roadside assistance, and they towed it to the dealer. They said it was a faulty right-side combo switch, and they replaced it under warranty.”

The cause of this problem may be related to heat damage, faulty wiring, or manufacturing defects.

Some possible solutions are to cool off the switch, check and repair the wiring, or replace the switch.

Some riders claim that throwing cold water on the switch when it’s hot can help, but we suggest consulting with your mechanic before you resort to DIY fixes.

“[I own a] 2013 S1000rr. The other day, it started giving me a hard time starting, but it kicked on after a couple of clicks. Then today, no matter what I do, it just won’t turn over. It acts like I’m not even touching the start button. The bike is in Neutral w/ the side stand-up. With the bike in neutral, she should start regardless of what’s going on with the clutch or side stand unless I’ve lost my mind… Battery tested fine; hear the fuel pump starting up, no strange indicators on the cluster, only 8k miles on the bike…”

Control Switch Failure is most common on S1000RR year models from 2010-2012.

Dealerships are aware of the problem, as BMW has issued a service bulletin for this issue. 

7. Kickstand Switch Failure

A rare problem some BMW S1000RR owners have faced is a kickstand switch failure. The kickstand switch is a safety device that prevents the bike from starting or running when the kickstand is down. The switch may fail or malfunction due to dirt, corrosion, or faulty wiring, causing no-starts and stalls even with the kickstand up.

The cause of this problem may be related to the switch itself, the wiring harness, or the routing of the switch wire.

Some 2015-2016 models experienced this issue due to a defective side-stand bolt that can loosen and cause the stand to separate from the frame.

To fix the issue, inspect the switch’s wiring, clean the switch, and ensure your side stand bolts are intact according to spec.

What are the Pros and Cons of the BMW S1000RR?

Pros

  • Powerful and responsive performance
  • Very easy to adjust suspension, sag, and preload, allowing you to fine-tune your bike’s handling and comfort
  • Impressive built-in features on the electronic dash, such as speedometer, tachometer, gear indicator, fuel gauge, trip meter, lap timer, etc
  • Slipper clutch, which prevents rear wheel lock-up or hopping during aggressive downshifting
  • Great overall rideability with a smooth throttle response and a manageable clutch.
  • Multi-mode functions (Rain/Sport/Race/Slick) let you adjust the power delivery, traction control, and ABS according to the riding conditions.

Cons

  • Excessive Vibrations; Mirrors Rattle While Riding
  • Engine Ticking at Start-Up
  • High Out-the door-Cost
  • High Mianntence Cost
  • Right Side Control Switch May Fail
  • Legs get Hot In Traffic
  • Uncomfortable Race Seating Position

What Do the Reviews Say?

“…after an intense day of building confidence and speed on our slick-shod RR, of braking harder and later, of turning quicker, leaning further, and getting back on the gas a nanosecond sooner, I truly understood the capabilities of S 1000 RR and its incredible armory of electronic rider aids. The new S 1000 RR is now so easy to ride at a pace that once you trust the tech and commit to it, the world is different.” (motorcyclistonline.com)

“From its sultry looks and electronic gadgetry to its fresh new easy feel, the 2019 BMW S1000RR is a major departure from the previous model. Only the name remains the same. Agile, accurate, and refined, it handles like a lightweight 600cc supersport racer with the grunt of a V4 and the manic top-end power of a competition superbike. The 2019 BMW S1000RR was the best superbike around. Our testers rate the S1000RR so highly that it took the overall win in the Best Sportsbike category of the 2020 MCN Awards.” (motorcyclenews.com)

What’s The Resale Value of the BMW S1000RR?

Year Mileage Used Listing Price
2015 3,496 mi $15,800
2016 15,888 mi $15,990
2017 9,348 mi $15,999
2020 867 mi $16,995
2022 18,020 mi $19,900

What are Some Alternatives to the BMW S1000RR?

Make/Model MSRP MPG
BMW S1000RR $16,995 35
Ducati Panigale V4 $21,995 32
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R $16,399 41
Aprilia RSV4 $18,999 34
Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP $28,500 33

Related: Are Aprilia RSV4 Reliable? (12 Important Facts)

Sources:

2023 BMW S1000RR Review | MCN (motorcyclenews.com)

2023 BMW S 1000 RR First Ride Review | Motorcyclist (motorcyclistonline.com)

BMW S1000RR Motorcycles for Sale – Motorcycles on Autotrader

Bmw S 1000 Rr Motorcycles for Sale Near Me – Cycle Trader

BMW Motorcycle Recall | Motorcyclist (motorcyclistonline.com)

Recall Underway on 2019-2020 R1250GS, R1250GSA & Other Models – ADV Pulse