Many of you will be familiar with the ball-tearing BMW S1000RR unveiled back in 2009 to compete in the Superbike World Championship. With the beast weighing in at less than 200kg and being propelled by a massive 193hp, it made quite the statement (seemingly that statement was a drill sergeant screaming ‘POWER!!’ directly into your ear).
So it was with some disappointment that when BMW decided to do a sports-naked version of the S1000RR – the S1000R – they decided to knock the power down from 193 to an comparatively thrifty 160hp. Enthusiasts were left slightly deflated. Would this prove to be a doddering British Bulldog when compared to the greyhound-like whip of the RR?
These concerns, as it turned out, were entirely unfounded.
What BMW has managed to do with the S1000R is totally invert the equation. Where the RR is astounding at the high end, providing greater slingshot acceleration the higher up the rev counter you fly, the S1000R’s focus is at the lower end, with its best work being done at 9250rpm compared to the RR’s 9750. In fact, both bikes have the same amount of torque on offer (112Nm), but the S1000R’s is far more accessible at lower revs. Revving at 7500rpm, for example, will give you 10Nm extra on the R when compared to its superbike brother.
Rather than a British Bulldog, in the S1000R, you’ve got a Rottweiler.
It serves as neither an improvement nor a regression for the S1000RR’s engine, it’s just… different. Different in a beautiful, exciting and throaty way. It’s a supremely flexible engine. Sixth gear pulls at just a short roll of the throttle, and it can sit comfortably at any cruising speed you please.
You can spend hours on this bike, thanks to a level, neutral seating position that doesn’t feel as though you’re hovering atop the bike like a bird on a perch, nor laying face-down on a masseuse’s table. It’s just plain comfortable. The only discomfort you may feel on long hauls is if weather hits, as the naked styling doesn’t offer much protection against road spray.
Speaking of rain, that’s one of four riding modes available on the bike, along with Road, Dynamic and Dynamic Pro. Rain mode engages the traction control and ABS (if they aren’t already switched on) and also puts a limit on power of 136hp. The modes flow through, lessening the restrictions as you toggle up, until Dynamic Pro offers you an absolutely uninhibited ride. Wheelstand your way from Canberra to Cairns if you so choose.
While the backroom work – the algorithms, sensors and computing power at play – may be complicated, the result is nothing but. Each mode has its own personality, and offers the rider a unique experience. The BMW boffins have done brilliantly in leashing this Rotty while letting it retain its trademark snarl.
The S1000R comes with fully adjustable suspension that is PlaySchool-simple to change. It uses the ignition key and a simple set of clickers to firm or soften, and will have you enjoying whatever level of comfort or responsiveness you desire quicker than you can say “change my suspension settings”……..
The stopping power of the R is just as impressive as its going power, with the Brembo discs bringing a level of anti-lock almost unmatched in the sports-naked class. The ABS feels so unobtrusive that you’re likely to forget it’s on at all. It’s a big – and honestly unnecessary – call to switch the system off.
In short, BMW have delivered one of the very finest – if not the finest – sports naked bikes available in Australia. While stiff competition comes from the likes of the Kawasaki Z1000 and the Ducati Streetfighter S, almost nothing competes with the BMW. It’s as rich and complete a sports-naked package as a rider could ask for.
Rent This Bike, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Budget Prices, Premium Motorbikes