S1000RR road-friendly but still track-ready
BMW’S NEW SUPERBIKE OFFERS THRILLING TWISTS AND TURNS
When you think of BMW-Motorrad the first bike that comes to mind is likely to be the mile-munching R1200GS Adventure, but there’s a new kid in town and it has taken a completely different route from the BMW norm. It’s the S1000RR superbike.
BMW-Motorrad introduced the S1000RR in 2009, and in 2015 we’re in the third iteration of the first BMW superbike.
Powered by a 999cc inline 4-cylinder engine, the S1000RR is more than a near-200hp (146kW/113Nm) powerhouse.
It happens to be one of the most technologically advanced bikes in the segment.
With four riding modes including rain, sport, and track, you’ve got all you need for any road bike. BMW has added an extra party piece with the slick button to loosen off the riding aids if you feel the need on, say, your local circuit.
BMW-Motorrad NZ thought ahead and disabled this to keep me out of trouble. With the ability to reach a stated top speed of “over 200km/h” I didn’t need to fully unleash this monster’s full potential.
Those insanity-limiting riding aids include ABS, turned off with the push of a button, as well as traction control.
But it doesn’t end there.
Instead of just the usual screwdriver or hand-cranked adjustable suspension, the S1000RR also uses BMW’s trick electronically controlled suspension Dynamic Damping Control (DDC).
That constantly adjusts the settings depending on which mode the bike is in, and the road conditions.
DDC makes it possible to maximise traction from the rear wheel, allowing engine power to be converted into forward propulsion as effectively as possible.
With asymmetrical headlights — one round, one very much not — the BMW is a thing of strange beauty.
From various angles you can see other legendary bikes from which BMW-Motorrad surely took inspiration.
The signature trio of shark gill-inspired vents remain, and do a great job of funneling hot air off the 999cc engine.
The downside is that it’s directed directly on to your legs, so sitting in traffic gets very warm, very quickly.
Being able to ride in town is one thing, but the S1000RR is a sportsbike and loves the open road (or better yet, the racetrack).
Jumping aboard and starting it up you’re under no illusions you’re sitting astride a track-bred superbike. The seat height is actually rather tall, at 815 mm, so your toes (if you’re my height of 176cm) are all that’s keeping you in touch with terra firma at a standstill.
On the bars there are a host of buttons to control various electronics, ergonomically positioned for easy reach so you don’t have to take your hands off the bars.
The S1000RR isn’t a large bike. With an overall length of just over 2m and a slim width of 826mm it feels closer in size to a 600cc bike — until you feel the 204kg heft of the big engine nestled in the aluminium frame.
This year’s bike is 4kg lighter than its predecessor.
Being a full-blown sports bike, you are hunched over into the usual cannonball position, which created a bit of neck pain after a while on the motorway. That’s part of the package of any superbike with the exception of Suzuki’s new, hard-to-classify GSX-S1000s.
There’s also some vibration around 3800rpm in sixth gear at motorway speeds, the bike being in too low a gear for the speed, considering it revs out to over 14,000 rpm before it hits the redline. Peel away by easing out the clutch and that’s pretty much the last time you need to use it until you come to a stop.
The S1000RR comes with a very tricky bit of kit: a quickshifter (above) that can shift up and down without rider meeting clutch.
That might sound very high-tech but there are some very simple innovations hidden on this bike.
While a normal, six-speed motorcycle shifts 1-down, 5-up, racers tend to prefer the opposite — a push down to shift up makes shifting easier on left-hand corners. Owners can swap between either method easily by undoing one bolt and moving the pivot point on the shifter back and forth.
A simple but typically ingenious German solution.
All this doesn’t come cheap, with the S1000RR usually priced from $32,990.
Just in time for Christmas, BMW-Motorrad NZ has a $2000 rebate on the S1000RR.
If you like the idea of giving yourself the gift of speed this Christmas take a look at this road-friendly, track-ready, superbike.
PROS & CONS BMW S1000RR
|ENGINE:||999cc inline 4-cylinder DOHC with titanium valves|
|POWER:||146kW (198 hp) at 13,500rpm / 113Nm at 10,500rpm|
|PRICE:||Summer cash back price $30,990, usually $32,990|
|PROS:||Good looks, actually useable around town, heaps of technology, heated grips|
|CONS:||It’s still a superbike so ergonomics are a bit tiring, can let off a lot of heat on to the rider|