Beemerthat’s top of the class
BMW has made a machine that trumps the Japanese, writes Craig Duff
BMW may not be on top of the World Superbike Championship standings, but on the street nothing comes close to the S1000 RR.
This machine will sweep every bike of the year accolade and deservedly so. The base model comes in at $21,000 and has the best power-to-weight ratio in the superbike class, the best outright grunt, arm-bending brakes and a chassis that will be torn apart in a lot of Japanese R&D centres.
At that price, the BMW is a good thing, but a decent rider on a Suzuki or Honda won’t be far off.
Spend the extra $4000 to get an S1000-with-the-lot and you rule the road— if your ability is up to it.
The electronics on the BMW are astounding for their ability to improve your riding.
There are four engine modes, each of which adjusts the traction and anti-skid braking thresholds.
Most riders who have been to a track day should be able to hit the 38-degree lean angles Rain mode allows before the traction control activates, which then encourages chasing the 42-degree thresholds in Sports mode.
Take it to the track and there’s Track and Slick mode, which give progressively more latitude — including rear-wheel power slides in Slick — before the computer cramps your style, or saves your hide, depending on the situation.
What surprises in a weapon made this scalpel-sharp is just how rideable it is in traffic. The BMW will happily dawdle along in a 20km/h freeway crawl, with only the rising temperature gauge indicating it isn’t in its element.
It won’t overheat, cook your legs or load up your wrists.
Two-up duties also aren’t out of the question. The pillion pad looks as though it will struggle to seat a 10-year-old, but the V-shaped front and seat angle means passengers aren’t at risk of flipping backwards under acceleration.
If you have the coin, the BMW is the superbike to buy. It has reset the market as the clear class leader, at least until the Japanese makers have a chance to react. That could be years away.
Performer: the BMW S1000 RR is at home on both street and track.