BMW entered the litre sportsbike game with a bang in 2010.
They say that time is a great healer. Well for the Japanese manufacturers, time most certainly hasn’t helped them when it comes to taking on BMW’s S1000RR. From the very moment the RR arrived on the world scene it has left the Japanese trailing in its wake. True, in terms of WSB success it’s fair to say Kawasaki have comprehensively handed BMW their arses, but if you look at domestic club racing, the TT, showroom success and the rate of technological advancement of the RR compared to the likes of the R1, Blade and GSX-R1000 – well, there isn’t much comparison, is there? And it has just got even worse for the Japanese…
With BMW pulling the covers off an all-new generation of RR and announcing they are heading back into the WSB paddock, the sporting spotlight is on the S1000RR again. But by the same token, a new bike often results in prices of the older generations taking a hit, meaning now is a great time to look at dipping into the used market and snapping up one of the original models. And as we all know, when the temperature drops, so do used bike prices! But does the first generation of this game-changing sportsbike still live up to its hype? It’s a 182bhp inline four bristling with technology – what do you reckon?
Back in 2010 the S1000RR was a shock to the system. Packing a genuine 179bhp with 106Nm at the rear wheel, it was more than a match for the rest of its far more established inline four
rivals – not to mention the V-twins from Ducati and KTM and Aprilia’s V4. Nowadays the RR remains just as impressive as over the last eight years, BMW have left the motor largely untouched, instead focusing their attention on advancing the RR’s electronics and simply tweaking its power here and there to bring it closer to the ‘industry standard’ 200bhp mark. And let’s be honest, for road riding 179bhp at the rear rubber is more than enough and that’s where the majority of S1000RRs live.
If you aren’t that interested in track riding, on the road you will never feel yourself wishing for more grunt than the original RR delivers. Unlike the ZX-10R and latest generation of YZF-R1, which can both feel a little slow to respond when low in the rev range, the RR’s inline four delivers huge amounts of drive at all points. It’s an engine that reminds you of an older litre bike, before they got all top-endy and rev-happy, which is no surprise as BMW’s development team spent a lot of time studying the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5’s engine! And the RR’s chassis also feels pleasingly old-school in its approach to rider comfort.
The RR is physically quite a big bike, especially when you ride it back to back with something like the latest generation R1. This is no bad thing at all and on the road it means you can actually ride it for decent amounts of time before discomfort sets in. Sadly heated grips aren’t a factory-fit option (this arrived on the second generation) but you aren’t all ‘head down/bum up’ as BMW appreciated that sportsbike riders are getting older and not everyone is jockey-sized. Although they seem to have gone back on this philosophy for the latest generation… However don’t let the RR’s roomy size fool you into thinking this is a relaxed sportsbike, this is still a machine that will blow your socks off when the time comes to flick that switch.
Armed with a chassis that is right up there with the very best, sorted suspension and Brembo brakes, even by modern benchmarks the RR doesn’t disappoint in the bends. It’s a brilliant handling road bike that has the backup of electronic assists that while not up to the latest standards in terms of their
DON’T LET THE RR’S ROOMY SIZE FOOL YOU – THIS IS STILL A MACHINE THAT WILL BLOW YOUR SOCKS OFF
accuracy of smoothness of interference, are still a welcome safety net and more than adequate to save your bacon! And let’s be honest, how often does anyone ride that hard on the road that they are permanently leaning on the electronics? As long as ABS stops the front locking and DTC prevents a highside when you hit an unexpected patch of slippy tarmac, job’s a good ’un…
You may be tempted to think that buying an ‘old’ sportsbike like the 2010/11 S1000RR will leave you behind your mates in terms of pub bragging rights or on the road. However the truth of the matter is that BMW were so far ahead of the game in 2010 with their next generation sportsbike that the RR is still very much a match for most contemporary litre bikes.
And it’s actually a bit better than some of them when it comes to road riding…
BMW WERE SO FAR AHEAD OF THE GAME IN 2010 THAT THE RR IS STILL A MATCH FOR MOST LITRE BIKES
The RR proved an instant hit on the roads and track.
It came, it conquered.
The Beemer’s electronics were cutting edge back then.
We’ve seen much worse.
Sitting offset is optional.