Safety might not be a consideration of many superbike owners, but BMW's latest S1000 RR is changing the industry. We spent a week with their latest liter-bike and it made us reconsider many preconceived notions of what can be done on two wheels.
Designed to dominate the Wold Superbike series, it began life as a race bike in 2010. The transition to the street only required a drop in compression ratio from 14.0 to 13.0, along with DOT approved lighting. Technology from the track translates into safety with the most advanced traction control and suspension we have experienced. Dynamic Traction Control has modes for rain and race, along with a user mode that allows for customization. Working along with the active suspension, rain mode instantly softens the rebounds and limits engine power for wet conditions.
Race mode unlocks 193 horsepower and 83 lb-ft from the 999 cc four-cylinder. The power really comes on above 3,000 rpm, making you not want to shift gears. But thanks to BMW's Gear Shift Assist, your left hand will not get weary because the computer blips the throttle and allows for clutch-less shifting. Navigating around traffic is made easier by the flash-to-pass button, a courtesy not found on American bikes. If you over-indulge the throttle, big Brembo brakes will pull you down in a hurry.
Leathers are a must not only for safety, the frame rails of the S1000 are too hot for comfort down near the foot pegs. The heat is quickly dissipated while cruising, but city riders should beware of bar-b-que'd ankles. For $15,695 you will be ready for Daytona with engineering from the Nürburgring.