BMW’S KAISER

BMW en­tered the litre sports­bike game with a bang in 2010.

Fast Bikes - - 2010-2012 BMW S1000RR -

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.

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