The S1000RR was a landmark model for BMW when it was first introduced in 2009, a new high-performance Inline-Four sportbike for a company that established its bona fides in Boxer-Twin adventure bikes. Since then, the S1000RR has been a perennial favorite for MO’s annual superbike shootouts, even against brand new contenders despite only receiving small updates in 2012 and 2015.
For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…
A few days riding seven of the most powerful sportbikes available on public roadways without incurring a single speeding ticket is next to miraculous. Johnny Law, wildlife, tourists, and sharing hotel rooms with one another are only a few of the occupational hazards we navigated when conducting our 2017 Superbike Street Shootout. The street-centric comparison may be representative of the actual lives most of these motorcycles will lead in the real world, but for us it’s a necessary precursor to where we prefer to be and where these bikes should actually be ridden: the racetrack.
As Bob Dylan wrote, the times, they are a’changing. All you need to do is take a look at our latest superbike shootout to see that technology is playing an ever-increasing role in how we ride motorcycles. What about simpler things, like instruments? Well, superbike instrumentation has been changing, too. Of our seven superbike contestants, only one has an old-school, swept needle tachometer. The remaining six count on some kind of bar graph. Three of the bikes have LCD screens delivering at least some of their information while the remaining four utilize color on TFT screens. So, we thought we’d ask our loyal *MO*rons what they thought about the instruments. Vote for all the instruments you like, and we’ll figure out which is the best.
It’s been two years since we summoned together the superpowers of the sportbike world. In that time the Aprilia RSV4 RR, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, and Suzuki GSX-R1000 have either been heavily revised or completely overhauled. These changes beg a reinspection into the pecking order of world’s premier street-legal superbikes. Can Japan wrest away the literbike crown from the European OEMs, Aprilia and BMW, that have dominated the class since 2010?
We’re getting a little giddy around here as we begin to gather the gamut of new superbikes for our most intensive shootout of the year! We’ve got a fabulous two-day street ride to begin our testing, stringing together some of our favorite twisty roads on an overnight trip to begin our superbike shootout. And then the hardcore performance testing will take place over two days at Auto Club Speedway with our friends at Fastrack Riders. If you can be near Fontana, California, May 26-27, you should sign yourself up for a fun day at the track with us!
As expected, BMW introduced the production version of the carbon fiber HP4 RACE at the 2017 Auto Shanghai show. To be produced in a limited run of 750 units, the BMW HP4 RACE claims a fully-fueled weight of just 378 pounds while its S1000RR-based inline-Four claims a maximum output of 212 hp when rated at its crankshaft.
What if a tire manufacturer told you that their new street tire had the performance chops to take 3.5 seconds off the best lap of the previous-generation tire at Spain’s Circuito de Cartagena? That’d get your attention, right? It got mine, but then again, I was sitting in a press briefing in one of the pit boxes at the Losail International Circuit so soon after the first MotoGP of the 2017 season that the rider name boards were still in place.
As far as 2017 is concerned, this might be the year we remember as the one that saw the entire liter-class field go electric. No, I don’t mean like that. I mean electronic rider aids – every major player in the field has them now. Honda and Suzuki, with their CBR1000RR and GSX-R1000, respectively, had held out on introducing riding aids (beyond differing power modes in the Suzuki’s case) until this year. Meanwhile, the rest of the competition has leap-frogged ahead, introducing highly advanced traction control, wheelie control, launch control, slide control, and all kinds of other controls previously only seen on MotoGP machines.
BMW revealed an updated four-cylinder lineup at Intermot, announcing minor changes for the S1000RR sportbike and adventure-styled S1000XR and some more substantial changes to the S1000R streetfighter. For the most part, the changes were made to comply with Euro 4 regulations but we are glad to see a power increase to the S1000R and S1000XR and some formerly optional equipment become standard issue for 2017.
Twenty fifteen was a big year for sportbikes, with the new Yamaha R1 and a heavily revised BMW S1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 RF making their debuts – the two European weapons motoring their way to the Best Sportbike and runner-up awards, respectively, in last year’s Sportbike MOBOs. With the proverbial load being blown that year, there wasn’t much excitement in store for 2016, save for the new, heavily revised Kawasaki ZX-10R. The Green Machine is a good literbike, no doubt, but it still wasn’t a match for the year-old Aprilia RR (the “base” model RSV4) when we put the two $17,000 machines against each other.
Motorcycle companies like to return to their roots to draw inspiration. Kawasaki did it with the Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R models, BMW with the R nineT, and this year Yamaha did it with the XSR900. Well, Bimota is also looking to its past too, but unlike many other manufacturers, however, that past only goes so far as to produce a rolling chassis. With the Bimota BB3 kit, now customers can re-live Bimota’s early days.