Up first was the BMW and we came away very impressed for a first-year effort on an all-new machine in anew series.
First on the list of dream rides was the all-new BMW S1000RR, a bike which in street from hasn’t even been released to the sporting press. Rumor was they were on the fence about letting us ride it due to this reason, but luckily they got their heads screwed on straight (or maybe not straight) and both Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser’s rides were available for sampling. Yours truly was set to ride Corser’s mount and, well, I was pretty damn nervous going in – a big-HP superbike on at track I’ve only seen in on a TV screen with a plastic controller in my hand. Thankfully, after a matter of laps I was relatively on-par speed-wise and pushing the propeller-branded bike quite hard. And she responded quite well…
First thing one notices is the rigidity of the chassis; set-up quite stiff and relaying each and every bump straight back to the rider’s hands and up through the spine. Once accustomed to this it allowed for ample feedback, though, as well as made for a quite flickable machine from side to side. Right up there with the Honda CBR1000RR, the S1000RR changed directed with but a thought. Surprising, as I expected the slightly larger BMW to be heavy when leaned on its axis.
(From left) The S1000RR looks very ‘BMW’ with its traditional motorsports colors; Engine is very compact and features a large bore to stroke ratio; Handmade swingarm braces trick forged wheels.
Undeniably worth noting was the engine. While they had the TC (Traction Control) cranked up to a pretty high setting – I could feel it cut in multiple places per lap (there’s no way the riders use it on that setting) – once stood up and heading down the straight she put you back in the seat with the devil’s scorn. Get to 11,000rpm and the BMW comes to life like Lucifer himself, pulling hard to redline with fury.
The only major downside we found was some front end chatter at the bottom of the hill entering Turn 1, making braking late into the corner impossible. This excluded, for a first-year bike the performance was astonishing. With several top-10 results this season it’s easy to see BMW is onto something. But was it the most fun to ride? Not in this group. It’s just plain too docile and mild mannered with the engine and TC settings they had on it for a true adrenaline rush. Still a blast, just not top of the heap.
That said, considering how good this bike performed for an all-new machine in an all-new series with an all-new crew of guys, it’s easy to see why the base model is quite impressive. I say this because with a world championship of this level, to be competitive takes an extremely good platform from which to start, as it’s a production-based racing series. So, be sure to see the recent review of the base S1000RR.
2009 World Superbike Comparison
Corser’s BMW S1000RR
Fabrizio’s Xerox Ducati 1098F09
Rea’s Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR
Tamada’s Paul Bird Kawasaki ZX-10R
Spies’ Sterilgarda Yamaha YZF-R1
Kagayama’s Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000
Biaggi’s Aprilia RSV4