AS I TYPE this, my fingers tingle and my bum aches following a 200-mile ride home from Donington Park.
What could induce such discomfort you ask. I’ll give you a clue – 999cc, 199hp, and 0 – 62mph acceleration in just 3.1-seconds. Earlier this month editor Al claimed this German beauty to be the most suitable sportsbike for everyday use, but after 1,000 miles in the saddle I beg to disagree.
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about BMW’s S1000RR. Renowned for its plentiful power and impressive cohort of rider aids, the S-thou is a bucket list bike for any speed enthusiast. We had the £15,205 top spec ‘Sport’ model in for our Superbike test last week, and I have had the joy of looking after her in the interim.
Two weeks on a 200hp superbike? I had to pinch myself. I’ve coveted the S1000RR since it was first launched in 2009, but 14-year-old me never expected to actually get a ride on one. Oh, how times have changed.
I collected the bike from BMW HQ two weeks ago, with just 619 miles on the clock. In a new set of Dainese leathers, I looked factory, while my dark visor hid the sweat that dripped off my brow in the 33-degree heat.
A blast through the Hampshire countryside took me the long way home – so long, in fact that I more than doubled the 52-miles it should have been... It was exhilarating, and equally terrifying – it had been a while since I’d ridden a sportsbike, and even longer since I’d been aboard a litre machine, and the incredible acceleration left me clinging on white-knuckled and laughing all the way home. After a month on my long-term F850GS, I certainly got a rude awakening on the S1000RR. This was a bike that you could lose your license on in first gear – on a motorway.
As terrifying as it was, the S1000RR struck me as remarkably user-friendly – once I’d got used to the aggressive riding position, that was. Its fully adjustable electronic system meant that it could go from being ‘my first litre bike’ to an absolute track weapon in seconds. The quickshifter (BMW’S Gear Shift Assist Pro) – the same as on my F850 – is brilliant, and down blipping makes for a lovely gurgling note.
Power-delivery was infallible, with the ride-by-wire system not missing a beat over the last 1,100 miles. While dulled down for rain mode it was still smooth and progressive. Sport was potent and Race took it to a new level of refinement. The track-focussed ‘Slick’ setting allows the user to adjust traction control while on the go.
And, as I had been promised by fans of the machine, there was power everywhere, especially in the midrange. Making 199bhp at 13,500rpm and peak torque of 113Nm at 10,500rpm, the inline-four just keeps on giving nearly all the way to the 14,500rpm redline.
As would be expected, the Brembo stopping power was equally impressive, and the adjustable traction control and ABS a nice safety net. I particularly like the fact that the dash tells you how hard you last braked, and the most lean angle during each ride.
While the bike may lack the cornering ABS of its competitors, it does feature BMW’s Dynamic Damping Control semi-active suspension system, which works by adjusting damping automatically to suit braking, accelerating, and cornering on various road surfaces.
After two weeks and 1,100-miles together, I only have one criticism of the S1000RR – and the reason for my discomfort. The engine is just so buzzy at around 4,000 revs, regardless of gear, riding mode or speed. And it’s particularly bad cruising at around 60-70mph in sixth, which was basically my entire ride home. Add a fully loaded backpack and it was far from the fun I had before.
But as I approach a year at Visordown, what better way to spend it than with BMW’s brilliant S1000RR. I’ll be returning the bike to HQ tomorrow and swapping it for my F850GS long termer, but not before one last blast.