In 2009 when the news broke that an all new one-litre race replica was on the way from BMW, the Hayabusa was the fastest bike on the planet. BMW were still all about the GS. Most of us didn’t hold out too much hope for the new machine. We couldn’t have got this one more wrong!
The new BMW S1000RR re wrote the superbike rulebook. Suddenly the brand was propelled into the fastest race classes in the world. The number of riders who wouldn’t traditionally have gone near a BMW but now needed one, was phenomenal. It rapidly became a road racing legend.
We’ve had the BMW S1000RR for almost a decade now. The machine has spawned the single R with its conventional bars as well as the XR. When word came out that the company was launching a new RR it was going to have to be terribly good to keep our jaded attention.
Initial reports did exactly that. The new machine features the Shift Cam technology. This allows for a variation of valve timings and valve strokes on the intake side. This results in a more controllable and rideable machine. There is a whole lot more torque in the lower and medium speed ranges. At least 100 Nm of that beautiful usable torque is available from only 5,000 rpm. The new bike pushes out 205 ponies at the top of the rev range and 113 Nm of that delicious torque at only 11,000rpm. The motor revs out to the limiter at 14,600 rpm.
The electronics package is impressive to say the least. The standard Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race are still there. A Pro Mode option is also available. Once selected, this Pro Mode hides the built in navigation system as well as the MP3 remote player. It also introduces a clutchless shifter which can be used both up and down the box. This allows the rider to set the wheelie control function, the intensity of the ABS system, the suspension, the traction control and even the engine braking. The whole lot of it is adjustable and can be done from the handlebar mounted controls. Even I can do it with ease.
All of this is available on a machine that, on the standard settings, has a hill start assist feature! The TFT screen is incredibly easy to read. Thanks to developments in LED lighting technology the front end of the bike now looks both more conventional and stylish with both lights being the same size.
While the M package features stuff like the Pro Mode, carbon fibre wheels, a lightweight battery as well as an M Sport saddle, the optional extras list includes a luggage system and even a smartphone pouch. The dynamic pack even features heated grips and cruise control!
I’m in Estoril with some of the fastest riders on the planet. There are ex TT racers, at least one WSB winner as well as a team of development riders. I’ve yet to ride this circuit. You can imagine how my stomach feels as I sit on the bike for the first time.
An hour later I’m in the top corner, the Senna Parabolica, a long right hander. I’m following one of the lead riders. My right knee slider is being obliterated. The bike is silky smooth as I hold it on the rev limiter in fourth gear at a speed that I simply shouldn’t be comfortable at. Thanks to the electronics package on the bike, I am. As a matter of fact I think I should be going faster! As we come on to the main straight I hook it up into fifth, then sixth using the seamless quick shifter. I see a rather wonderful 280 KPH before being overtaken by one of the faster riders.
I drop back down to second and squeeze the brakes as hard as I dare before putting the bike into the most glorious downhill fast right handers I’ve ever had the joy to ride through. The rest of the circuit is fast but predictable with a challenging chicane, a brilliant left hander before that long right hander and back onto that straight.
The best bike we’ve ever ridden on the best track we’ve ever ridden on just got even better. On the recently resurfaced circuit the grip levels were phenomenal and the bikes stability package made, even a rider like me, look good.
All of this is available in a bike that still has heated grips. It can be reconfigured in rain mode, can carry a pillion and even some luggage. That, however, is not what this machine is about. BMW have taken the best they have, made it even better, and, at the same time easier to ride faster and safer.
As one of my colleagues so succinctly put it, ‘It’s hard to believe that this thing came from the same place that produced the Rockster just a few years ago’. BMW are to be commended on getting this machine so very, very right.
The BMW S1000RR is available in both Kearys and Duffys. Give them a call on 021 500 3600 and 01 864 7750 respectively to find out more.
If you’re going to take one of these then please, bare in mind that, while it can be ridden to work in the mornings or on a Sunday breakfast run, this is a machine that excels on track. If you are getting one then please, please talk to Paul from Motocraft on 086 822 2859 about getting some quality track time in Jerez or Cartagena this summer.