With MCN due to test the long-awaited BMW S1000RR superbike next week, Chief Road Tester Trevor Franklin got a rare ride aboard Troy Corser’s full-race WSB version to get an idea of how the road bike may perform.
Here’s what he had to say:
"As per WSB rules the race bike’s silhouette is identical to that of the production machine but obviously there are differences, such as the OZ forged magnesium wheels, Brembo race-spec brakes and Ohlins suspension.
"Power-wise, however,, the differences between the two aren’t dramatic – the race S1000RR’s engine is tuned to produce over 200bhp at 14,000rpm, compared to the road bike’s claimed 193bhp at 13,000rpm. And even though the racer’s set-up has been tuned to suit rider Corser, it still feels spacious, like Yamaha’s R1 of a couple of years ago, where you’re sat with chest over the tank with a comfy stretch to the bars. Tank and rear seat unit don’t interfere with any part of the body, and that’s saying something if – like me – you’re shaped like a stunted hippo.
"One warm-up lap is enough to show the engine is no different to any other 1000cc in-line four cylinder with possible the exception of year’s stompy R1. Drive from bottom-end isn’t instantaneous but builds into a crescendo of shrieking Akrapovic exhaust note. The sound of this 200bhp devil when cracking the throttle wide open after trailing it through turns is pure music. And Christ this thing rips.
"The use of Ohlins suspension and 16.5in wheels with Pirelli slicks blur any handling comparatives to a road bike, but there’s no getting away from the fact this bike is easy to ride at trackday pace – it feels like a sorted trackday bike. At club race level the bike still retains its balanced feel through the turns, but is obviously working way below its potential.
"Even when the Brembo radial brakes bite and the front dips, it remains perfectly composed. But use the throttle in anger and the S1000RR’s attitude changes completely. It becomes a missile. It slays corners no matter how fast or how tight. It is an utter weapon – and it’s a BMW! I still can’t quite get my head around it.
"Based on this test, my hopes are high for the production S1000RR next week. If it’s only a quarter as capable as the race bike there are going to be a lot of people riding BMW sportsbikes next year – people who, like me, have always said never, ever.”
BMW | S1000RR | Motorcycle insurance