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Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know performance. Or we wouldn’t be at this website.

But do we really know performance? State of the art performance? Eyeball-wrenching performance? Neuron-reprogramming performance? Performance that equates to the fastest machines on the planet?

I’d say that, unless your hedge fund bet against the mortgage crisis, and you took the spare change from your payday to buy yourself a used Porsche Carrera GT, or a Ferrari FXX, and unlimited laptime at Weisach or Fiorano, you don’t really know.

Unless you ride a bike.

I’m sure I’m not the only one here who rides a fast bike. And, of course, I keep it Teutonic. I have a BMW K1200S. 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds, according to the magazines. When I bought it, it was the fastest thing BMW made and a huge leap forward from its predecessors. It doesn’t go around corners quite like a Jap crotch rocket, or a Ducati. But the difference is de minimus on the street. On the track, well, ok, they win, but not by much.

But not any more. I just demo’d Bavaria’s first-ever assault on land-based space flight, the new S1000RR.

0 to 60 is about the same as my bike. Then it’s like engaging warp-drive. 0 to 100 is 5.3 seconds away, according to the Brit magazine Bike.

Let’s put that into perspective. The Bugatti Veyron clocks 5.8 seconds, 0 to 100, according to the magazine Evo. And it’s got something north of 1,000 bhp, and four-wheel drive. A McLaren F1 does it in 6.3 seconds, a Caparo T1 in 6.2. That’s about as good as it gets on four wheels with a license plate.

Nothing with two wheels and a plate touches it, either. BMW claims the bike packs 193 bhp at the crank -- Bike dynoed it and found 183 at the rear wheel, the most ever, beating the fabled Suzuki Hayabusa by 5 -- and pushing just 403 lbs dry.

Then you have your four riding modes - Rain, Sport, Race and Slick. My ride was short, way too short. It felt like milliseconds and… there I was, transported to Pandora. Though I did sample the difference between Sport and Race. In case you’re curious, Rain drops power output to a measly 140-something, and correspondingly slows throttle response and lean angle before stability control kicks in.

The difference between Sport and Race is the difference between Right Now and not having the time to say the words. As for Slick, well, who knows? It’s supposed to be only for when you’re running slicks on a track, and setting the bike for it is kinda like what you have to do to get the Veyron prepared for a top speed assault. You can’t go to it on the fly.

But what blew me away is how friendly the machine really is. You can toodle around town like you‘re on a Vespa. But, if you’re stuck at a light, and you start blipping the throttle out of boredom, beware. The exhaust barks… and this is in stock German form, remember, with no aftermarket cans attached to the exhaust. Shatter a few windows? Trip a few car alarms? No problem.

Do you know the name Valentino Rossi? He’s won nine Grand Prix World Championships to date, and is the current reigning MotoGP champion. He’s sort of a combination of Schumacher, Senna, Stewart and Clark, all rolled into one. Perhaps the best ever. The point is that, on this bike, you may actually get a feel for what it’s like to ride like him.

Here’s how I know. Sending me off, the company rep said that, when I come to a corner, I should really put the power down, mid-corner, to see how the stability control works. If you ride, you know this move is insan… no, I swallowed deep and tried it. The thing just settled. Mid-corner. With no drama. No high-siding, no low-siding. No nothing. On anything else you can buy for the street, next stop is a hospital stay that will test your current health care plan. Or the Pearly Gates. But on this bike, you just hang on. Then you straighten it out, point it down the road, and the traction control keeps you just at the limit of adhesion - with no wheelie - as you catapult, once again, into hyperspace. Like Rossi!

In fact, the stability control is set to a specific maximum roll angle, based on what riding mode you’re in. Race mode allows for, well, let’s just say more lean than I’m comfortable with. I never said I was Rossi.

Then there’s a “Quick Shift” option. What happens is that the electronics allow you to shift up, without clutching, and without releasing the throttle. It, too, works as advertised.

And the brakes…. Sorry, I’m out of metaphors.

So what do you do with a machine like this? Ride it on the track. Ride it to the track. Ride it anywhere. The fact is, it’s really up to you, and your wrists, and your feet, and your adrenal glands… and your driver’s license.

I really want one. Getting back on my K1200S, I actually felt like I was stepping back into my wife’s SUV. Which is funny, because I always feel the same when I get off my bike and hop back into my Boxster S. Everything is slower, more bulky, less fun. It’s weird how your parameters change.

Such is the price of performance. A Veyron costs $1.6M. The bike’s MSRP is $13,900. BMW cars are called Bimmers. This is a Beemer. What would happen if Porsche made a bike? The mind crumbles.





 

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They came close with the V-Rod.Owned one unless i was on a quarter mile track the thing was dangerous.Bad dangerous.Cross winds would send me sailing and if you hit a defect in the tarmac the front end would lose contact with the pavement. Granted Porsches involvement was only with the engine design and i'm sure that they had to work within the confines of a v- twin layout.It would be interesting to see if they where given a blank page what they would come up with.The Beemer sounds exhilerating.You are right there is nothing like hanging it out there on two wheels for an adreline rush.Seeing the road ahead and then seeing it pass underneath you un-obstructed really puts you in the moment.If it was not raining right now i would jump on my bike and go for a ride.Thanks for posting....
 

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I currently have four motorbikes. In the '70s and early '80s I did a fair share of club racing on Kawasaki H1 500 (widow maker) Yamaha RD and TZ. The last bike I actually campaigned was a KZ550. I ride daily either my '76 Yamaha XS750 or my '01 Kawasaki W650 to work every day. I love to thrash my Ducati at the track and in the canyons, and it is scary fast. At my age, after 20 laps at Willow, I feel beat up. Stiff suspension is great, but it take it toll on me. Keep the shiny side up.
 

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Wow, fantastic write up! I really enjoyed your story :)

Although I don't have much to add, I can definitely relate to you in some ways. I rode a bike for the first time this past summer, a race ready 02 CBR 600 and my gosh...WOW. My perception of fun while on wheels completely changed, I loved every second on that bike and couldn't get enough. I've always wanted to ride a sport bike and was so glad I finally had the opportunity to for a couple of short weeks. When I got back into my CS, it felt slow but I could still out-corner my friend's bike any day of the week. You seriously have not lived until you've ridden a bike.

I will never forget the memories, stories and adrenaline I got from that bike :dance:
 

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Good write up - looks like a great new path for Beemer. I will have to wait and see if it can out do the Busa or 14 though, even though it may have more hp and less weight. Busa's and ZX's are stable and I've seen 0-100 mph times of 4.9. Having owned 1000 open classers and big bore hyperbikes, the 1000 sport bikes are generally more exciting because of big hp/weight, but the average guy can kill them out of the hole on a hyperbike because of more stable wheelbase and cg's. Either are a big rush though!:cheers:

Local dealer says the traction control is fantastic!
 

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great read - brings back fond memories of my old Ducati which instilled the love of sports machines forever
 

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Nice to see an articulate fellow Motorcyclist, express in words the acceleration we feel on these machines. I ,personally, own a 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S which is the same silver color as my Cayman S.

Cheers
 

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I make do with a measly 2000 Aprilia Mille R. It's got about 130HP and weighs about 400 lbs. The Leo Vinci single-can CF exhaust saves 12 lbs. The Wolf chip and the Evolution air filter give it a fatter torque curve but don't help with top end. I've done 144 on it. It's like getting shot out of a gun. I bought it new and have only put 10K miles on it so far, but they've been very good miles.

The '05 R1200RT gets about 45 mpg and has a 7 gallon tank, a power windscreen angle adjustment, built in V-1, Garmin Zumo GPS, electronic cruise control and a great Sargent heated seat. This bike has 57,000 miles, has been to Banff, and nearly all the western states at least once. It's been to the Smokies and Deals Gap countless times and done the entire Blue Ridge Parkway plus Skyline Drive a couple times. TN and KY have some really wonderful roads too. The back roads of SW Wisconsin are to die for and I run those every year, then there's the area of MO just below STL down around Steelville and Potosi.... 110 HP and 520 lbs or so, but it rocks just the same.

Not as weatherproof as the CS, but for a two-wheeled conveyance that handles like this thing, it's pretty close. We went down to Deal's 5 years in a row from Chicago on the Friday after Thanksgiving for a long weekend. 8 below one day heading out and 4 below one day heading home. We road through a snow squall at night on the way to Lexington, KY one year and tiptoed over glare ice for about a quarter mile on a back road out of NC near Deal's one year. Generally, once you get down to S. Central IL, the weather breaks and it's good riding with electric gear. The amazing roads of NC and Eastern TN are abandoned that time of year. Woohoo!
 

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Great writeup, Thanks for it :thanks:... This "beemer" does seem awesome.

You mentioned things changed with this bike, can it now out-corner a ducati??

And I wonder too how the stability control works, does it just control the power and the brakes? Or does it some how magically control the lean angle too?

P.S. It looks great from the back, but the front looks a little odd with two diffrent headlights. Any idea why they're like that?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The bike has four separate maximum lean angles, one for each riding mode. And they are indeed controlled by sensors that then control power and braking. Maximum lean in Slick mode is something like 47 or 48 degrees... I don't remember exactly off the top of my head... but it's way way over.

As for styling, I agree that the front is, shall we say, unique. But, then again, it's not as, shall we say, unique as the Bangle Butt/bow wave styling of recent Bimmers.

I didn't take a photo of the side view, but, trust me, it looks very much like a Jap liter bike.

I think all the bike magazines will soon do comparison tests, probably within a month or two. I'd guess they'll test a Ducati 1198 against it. I would.

Glad you enjoyed the review.
 

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Great article - I've been looking at it also (I've a ZX12-R, its in the garage if anyone wants a peek) as it has incorporated some useful technology, which is a step on from the K1300S and R models. I love the asymmetrical look, and it has enabled me to poke a bit of fun at my German friends in that at last BMW have seen the light and have produced a litre sportsbike which seems to copy the Japs!! Even the indicator switch seems to be normal!!

One of the problems is that if you're an older biker mentally keeping up with the technology is problematic - opening up hard mid-corner, for example - doing this is a mental leap (as you mention in your article). Guys (& gals) now haven't had the disadvantage of learning on plastic penci-thin tyres on rubber-frames - and these hard lessons that you learn (gravel-rash) tend to get imprinted on your brain! But I suppose you could say the same about advancing technology in general - its just that dropping a bike tends to bend the wallet a bit, and a twisted knee at my age seems to take forever to heal! Its a shame as, as a result, you tend not to push the limits of the current technology available - and miss out on the fun! Until, that is, you do it and gain confidence in the bikes (and your) ability. The intersting thing is to find the limit without doing the damage.

Also good to see so many Cayman/Boxster owners into bikes also - I guess that the adrenalin rush you get on a bike leads us to towards such an excellent machine - and it is a bit more comfortable when the winter is in and the roads are covered in snow!!

It is going to be interesting when the weather turns - on a summers day - will it be the bike or the Cayman for a blast?
:cheers:
 

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Great write-up; this is the first Beemer that is tempting me into visiting the local dealer (which I don't like). Thanks for the insight.

I miss riding - haven't been on a bike since 2006, when our track closed. I gave up street riding to go racing in 2004. Now, that there is unlikely to be another track in the foreseeable future, I'm thinking of getting another street bike. My wife thinks Ducati but I was leaning towards the new Aprilia.
 

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For the folks trying to decide, after thoroughly looking into all the current options, went with the Duc 1198 and have been very happy with it.
Dyno numbers don't convey the real world street feel of the new fours vs. the big Duc twin.
The Duc pulls so hard and with such response out of corners that it's really
a matter of your aggressiveness and not the bike's limitations.
I could see the BMW/Aprillia for more open types of riding, they are smoother. But for more point and shoot
mountain/street types of riding, the 370lb and torque of the big twin is what won me over.
The sound and passion of the Duc vs. a BMW also has a bit of the F430 vs. GT2 feel to it. Different strokes.
Really, whichever one gets your motor going more. At this performance level, prob. isn't a "need" decision for most.
 

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Hi there.

Fantastic article and great to see this crossover on my favorite car board.

I have a Ducati 1198S on the way for this season and I'm a Ducati fanatic. From what I understand, the DTC on the 1198S is also impressive in/out of corners, although it is not combined with ABS and throttle mapping in the same way as the S1000RR. However, the engine feel on a Duc is a unique and wonderful beast in its own right and typically, they own the realm of cornering stability.

All that said, if I make any money this year at all, an S1000RR will be joining the Ducati in the garage. I've been through many Japanese bikes - great machines all - over the years and have moved on to try something different. Aprilia not easily available in my neck of the woods, so Beemer it will be if I add to the Italian machines.

I've done both car and bike track days and riding a bike on track is visceral beyond belief. Worth a shot if you've never had the chance to go there...
 

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My 2 ducs.

Tried the 1098 and found it to be as uncomfortable as my 916 was. Digital dash as hard to read as on my RC51. Stayed with the 999 instead.

jD

I've heard that the 999s are great bikes.
 
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