2012 BMWS1000 RR

Fast Bikes - - CORE TEST -

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!

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