2012 BMWS1000 RR
Okay, quick confession before we begin – this bike and others similar to it are currently quite a bit more than our £7,500 target – sorry! When we began to put this test together, there were several examples of the firstgeneration S 1000 RRs going privately for in and around £7,000, and some 2012 versions for just over £8,000. At the time of writing that’s changed; all the bargains have gone and those left are, sadly, commanding a larger premium. But, if you can stretch that bit further, what you get in return is more than worth it.
For not too many hundreds of pounds more than a used original version, you can have one of these, the 2012 BMW S 1000 RR. This is the second-generation where BMW got everything absolutely bang on, and it was only the remarkable Aprilia RSV4 APRC that kept it off top spot in our big SBOTY tests. The first S was a revelation, and we were blown away by BMW’s first proper superbike, partly by the ground-breaking electronics package but mostly by that outrageous engine – that blew away all its peers to the tune of twenty-ponies, and often more.
Yet, the chassis (while extremely useful) often had a bit of an agricultural feel at the boingy parts, and the traction- control could likewise curb things too much once you’d acclimatised to the crazy power. This iteration ironed out the irks and quirks and delivered the absolute best experience an inline-four could offer in 2012 by some margin.
Yes, the Fireblade’s torque curve embarrasses the mighty BMW, but the German picks up revs that much quicker that it’s not long before the Honda is overhauled and fast becoming a dwindling spec in the mirrors. At that exact same point, you’re howling into your lid with sheer disbelief at the insane levels of stomp that are propelling you towards the horizon faster than you’ve ever experienced before. Even five years on, and with 2017 bikes making even more power, it simply blows your brain to smithereens.
I was hooting to myself as the Beemer really got its stride, completely comfortable with riding hard as the rain bucketed down, knowing the bike’s electronics had my back should I be too much of a tit. You never quite forget what the engine feels like after yanking the ultra responsive RBW gasser, but the clarity of its supreme potency rapidly comes sharply back into focus as the needle buries itself in the multiple zeroes zone.
Eve en now, years later, I still stru uggle to describe it any other wayy than ‘fuck me, wow…’
BombasticB power is silly fun, but faintly pointless with little con ntrol. The ’12 Beemer’s entire cha ssis had a refresh, and now you u could really use its svelte Sup persport sized form to its best adv vantage. It does something rem markable, in that it feels small, skin nny and lithe, but somehow with hout diluting the big bike feel. Andd it’s comfortable, enough so that t you could out-tour a sibling BMW W GS rider on long mileage jaun nts. It’s true, don’t argue, we’T Thisve done bike it had ourselves!been slightly stiff fened up (by a previous own ner we’re guessing), which did curb feel a bit in the wet, but didn n’t diminish its effectiveness. Compared to the other two, it handles like it has a spring in its step and a song in its heart. It offers a far greater level of responsiveness and for a superbike can steer on a dime. It displays nearly as much mid-turn poise as the Ninja, but while feeling as though you could change your line on merely a whim whenever you needed to. The suspension doesn’t quite match the same levels of plush damping, but it’s good enough when you take its cat-like agility into consideration to outshine the others with ease.
The three rider modes are very effective, and handy for anyone scared by 180bhp in the rain, but honestly leaving it in ‘Sport’ the TC will only intrude if it really needs to. In the dry, and more so on track, it helps rather than hinders. It’s not adjustable, like the later models, but unobtrusive enough for all but seasoned racers.
The ABS is brilliant on the road but better switched off for circuit use, and the Brembo brakes are as good, strong and progressive as you’d expect from the Italians. To cap it all off, it also looks the sharpest of the three. It’s not as futuristic looking as the Ninja, but in a traditional superbike sense ticks more boxes in the eye-candy department. From front to back, it’s simply the best here and, yes, it’s a bit more expensive than the other two, but who says money can’t buy you love?
Like butter wouldn’t melt... Power & control...
Hold on tight when this needle spins high!
Literally the time of your life!
Which mode would sir like?
Numbered adjusters = genius!