To speed-up the steering, improve stability in the corners and increase rear grip, the S1000RR’s steering geometry has been altered. The wheelbase is 9.3mm shorter, the swimgarm pivot is higher and there’s 0.1° more rake and 2.6mm extra trail. Fork offset is 2.5mm shorter and the forks protrude 5mm less through the yokes. Ride quality, suspension control and range of adjustment has been improved thanks to new fork and shock springs and internals. There’s a new 10-way steering damper, too, which is so good you could use it for racing. Now the S1000RR is a lot more agile and even feels lighter just pushing it around, thanks to the revised weight distribution, although all-up weight is the same. It’s as comfortable as any superbike on the road, but the screen is quite low and the pegs high for taller riders.
Although power and torque remain the same, the 2012 S1000RR has a lighter-action throttle, smoother power delivery, a 20% larger air intake and a one-tooth larger rear sprocket, which gives the BMW extra oomph off the corners. There’s also a revised traction control system, which is based on the £2500 optional HP Power Kit from the previous model. In the electronic riding modes (Rain, Sport, Race and Slick), the Rain mode now has 163bhp – 11bhp more than before. There’s less engine braking in Slick mode now. The throttle butterflies open to take some compression out of the engine when you’ve got the throttle shut entering a corner. There’s also now an optional GPS datalogger, for just £530, which is brilliant. The 2D system gives you 32 channels of information – everything from lap times, to speed, lean angle, brake pressure, traction control information and everything in between. You can further enhance the system with a timing beacon, which gives you live lap times on the dash, as well as a green light that lights up when you improve you sector time. It’s the ultimate track-riding gizmo.
The S1000RR is built to a very high standard and the reliability is excellent. There were stories flying around the internet about gearbox problems, but these were wildly exaggerated. True, a handful racing superstock bikes had gearbox problems early on, but then a lot of other different makes of machine occasionally have similar problems – it’s what can happen when you ask a road gearbox to perform in racing conditions. The BMW’s problems were focussed on, where those from rival manufacturers weren’t reported.
No other machine gets close when it comes to technological, big bhp bang for your buck. Its closest rival, the ZX-10R ABS is just over £500 cheaper, but isn’t as fast or as clever and the Ducati Panigale S, with all its electronic rider aids is over six-grand more.
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For the price, you get a mouth-watering level of equipment as standard. On the Sport model there’s traction control, a quickshifter, racing ABS, four riding modes, electronic engine braking control, a slipper clutch, Brembo brakes, easy to adjust suspension, Metzeler Racetec Interact K3 tyres and all the other bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern-day superbike. For 2012 the S1000RR gets a new tail section, a new dash and colours.