This bike is for all the hard­core rid­ers.

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents -

Ifirst got the chance to ride the BMW S1000RR in 2016 when I took the Level 4 course of the Cal­i­for­nia Su­per­bike School (CSS). The lessons for that day fo­cused on high-speed cor­ner­ing and squeez­ing the throt­tle on straights. Mas­ter­ing these se­ri­ous rac­ing skills en­tails full con­cen­tra­tion and, more im­por­tant, a sense of one­ness with your mo­tor­bike—oth­er­wise, you would just be wast­ing time and ef­fort.

BMW Mo­tor­rad Philip­pines, a ma­jor part­ner of the an­nual ride train­ing pro­gram of CSS Philip­pines, as­signed an S1000RR to each me­dia par­tic­i­pant en­rolled in the Level

4 course. When the news broke out that we would be rid­ing this su­pers­port mo­tor­cy­cle, it trig­gered mul­ti­ple or­gasms. Sorry, guys!

At the time, the bike was still earn­ing pos­i­tive re­views from the in­ter­na­tional press six years af­ter its launch. It be­came an in­stant hit among hard­core rid­ers in the lo­cal scene—some of these folks dumped their Ja­panese and Ital­ian ma­chines in fa­vor of this sleek Ger­man-bred track star.

My mem­o­ries of rid­ing it at the Clark In­ter­na­tional Speed­way are very much em­bed­ded in my thoughts. At­tack­ing cor­ners with one knee down, ac­cel­er­at­ing hard on the main straight, brak­ing hard for tight turns— these were just some of the thrills I ex­pe­ri­enced that day. They gave me the feel­ing of ul­ti­mate com­mand and con­trol.

Fast-for­ward to 2018, and I cross paths with the S1000RR again. Still a hot item even now, it joins five cars we love for our cover shoot this month. Its task now is not to tear up the race­track, but to show how it fares on reg­u­lar roads. Can it de­liver the same level of rid­ing eu­pho­ria with the men­ac­ing traf­fic?

Two years on, I eas­ily re­gain fa­mil­iar­ity with the tow­er­ing 32.2in seat height and the for­ward rid­ing pos­ture—but these qual­i­ties make the bike tax­ing to ride in traf­fic for some­one of av­er­age height like me. The ex­treme heat em­a­nat­ing from the en­gine is also a night­mare. Never mind that this stan­dard-ver­sion S1000RR is com­pletely street-le­gal, with asym­met­ri­cal head­lamps, turn­ing lights, and a li­cense-plate holder.

The ride be­comes more in­ter­est­ing as I tip­toe my way through Manila traf­fic. Torque is abun­dant even at low revs, al­low­ing this iconic iron horse to take off seam­lessly from tight

spots. On the NLEX, I pick up speed and chase af­ter the Nis­san GT-R and the Lexus LC500 for some nice ac­tion shots, and when our lens­man sig­nals me to go faster, I squeeze the throt­tle like Mad Max and am re­warded with crisp, pow­er­ful ac­cel­er­a­tion by the 999cc in-line-four en­gine. The 199 hy­per­ac­tive horses come to life at 13,500rpm.

Hear­ing the en­gine scream gives me the urge to push the nee­dle higher. Just think how much bet­ter this ex­haust note would sound if the bike were equipped with a premium af­ter­mar­ket pipe like an Akrapovic or an SC-Project sys­tem.

I wait un­til af­ter rush hour and head back to Manila from our photo-shoot venue at 10pm. From the Di­nalupi­han en­try of SCTEX to the Bal­intawak exit of NLEX, traf­fic flow is green and go. With noth­ing much to see apart from the bar­rier re­flec­tors and the flaw­less roads ahead, I be­gin to have a bet­ter ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the full-LED in­stru­ment panel and the set­tings for the elec­tronic rider aids. Here’s what’s on the menu: five rid­ing modes (Rain, Sport, Race, Slick, User), dy­namic trac­tion con­trol with seven lev­els of ad­just­ment, launch con­trol, and cruise con­trol.

To be hon­est, I never get to en­joy many of these toys be­cause my main pri­or­ity is to evade slow-mov­ing traf­fic. Even if it’s gor­geous and street-le­gal, this bike is bet­ter left in the garage dur­ing the week­days. If you have P1.385 mil­lion for a stan­dard S1000R, you must have the extra bucks to buy a plain-look­ing scooter as your ride around the city.


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