The, updated for 2012, BMW S1000RR has proved it’s better than ever, after blowing away the competition at a track test comparison conducted in Spain by Britain’s leading motorcycle magazine, MotorCycle News (MCN). The superbike beat the other big name contenders in the test, knocking more than two seconds off even its closest rival. The Honda CBR1000RR ABS Fireblade was second, followed by the Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS, then the Yamaha R1 and in last place the MV Agusta F4 RR Corsa Corta. The MCN test is the third in a row in which the RR has been victorious.
The lap times on which the bikes were compared were measured by both stopwatch and GPS-logger. The latter monitors four different sections of the track and provides a projected average lap time, based on the times recorded over the course of the ‘out’ lap, two flying laps and the ‘in’ lap. The RR’s best stopwatch lap was 1m 43.97sec and its best GPS-logger ideal lap was 1m 43.7sec. The second place Fireblade trailed behind, with a best stopwatch lap of 1m 45.8sec and best GPS-logger ideal lap of 1m 45.3sec. The Kawasaki’s stopwatch lap was 1m 45.35sec and its GPS-logger ideal lap 1m 45.17sec, while the Yamaha scored a 1m 46.23sec stopwatch lap and 1m 45.7sec GPS lap. The MV Agusta’s laps were not recorded, due to a crash
The group track test, made up entirely of in-line four-cylinder superbikes, was conducted at Spain’s Almeria circuit. The 2.5 mile track is a challenging one, with blind crests, fast- and medium-paced corners, uphill back straight and downhill sprint to the finish line. The 2012 RR faced stiff competition from the other superbikes but still emerged as the clear winner. The experienced testers were impressed by the BMW bike’s power, speed and handling, but having ridden the previous RR, were not surprised it was the winner.
Improvements to the original RR include a more linear torque curve which has resulted in better pulling power. Response has been enhanced by adjusting the angle of the throttle and lowering twisting force by 25 percent. And refinements to the steering head, forks and swing arm pivot resulted in better handling characteristics. Riders can also opt for extras like a 5.6-kg (12-pound) lighter titanium exhaust system, heated grips and an HP data logger with GPS.
Trevor Franklin, a tester with more than 25 years’ experience, was among the group who put the bikes through their paces in Spain. He says, “The latest RR has started 2012 exactly where its predecessor ended 2010 and 2011: in first place. It has quite rightly retained the title of number one superbike in its class.
“BMW has listened to its customers and made changes accordingly. Those changes have led to faster lap times through improved chassis design, engine delivery and, far more importantly, electronics. If the changes to the production bike we tested are anything to go by, then Leon Haslam could be on course to grab some WSBK silverware this year.”
Trevor highlighted the RR’s power delivery, cornering, and speed, saying that the unanimous view of all testers was that it was ‘the bike to beat’. “It didn’t take much more than two laps to realize the RR is the real deal,” he said. “The seating position hasn’t changed from the original RR and is pure race-replica of high pegs and low bars. It forces the rider into getting off the seat to achieve optimum corner speed — and this bike certainly has improved corner speed, not just from the sharper steering but from the engine.”
Fellow tester Robert Gluck, road tester at German magazine PS, has been a tester for 11 years. He says, “BMW’s ’wonder-bike’ once more kicks ass. The 2012 model is much better for track use and is really pulling away from its competitors. Its massive leap forward can be seen on the stopwatch immediately. For road-use, the BMW looks as if it’ll also be my favorite bike, even though it has a beast for an engine. But, with ABS, traction control and heated grips, I am more than up to the challenge of taming the beast!”
Uwe Sweitz, editor of PS magazine, adds, “The RR’s engine is a monster. The chassis a killer and the brakes and electronics are superb. You want the best? Here it is…”