Long-term test: BMW S1000R
‘Super nakeds’ are the perfect kind of road bike for me. They have superbike-levels of acceleration, handling and braking, but they’re comfy and will wheelie, stoppie and skid for England. Their lack of fairings are good for keeping your speed down, but there’s just about enough wind protection to go touring on them.
2014 has been the year of the super naked and we’ve seen the new KTM Super Duke, Kawasaki Z1000, Monster 1200 and the BMW S1000R arrive on the scene.
The Tuono won our group test earlier in the year. It’s more stable on track and at high speeds, but the BMW, which came second, is more point-and-squirt fun. The KTM disappointed with its strangling electronics and over the course of this year our long-term Super Duke has had its share of problems, in the hands of MCN’s Tim Thompson.
I’ve been lucky enough to run the S1000R this season. I’ve done 9825 miles and had three big trips: to watch the TT, visit the Nurburgring and my annual pilgrimage to Ibiza. Between all that I’ve done trackdays at Brands Hatch, Anglesey and Rockingham, as well as general hooning about in the UK and on the commute to work. I’ve loved every crazy little minute.
With a true 160bhp at the rear wheel (and tiny fairing) it’s eye-wateringly fast and the way it pops, bangs and burbles on the overrun is music to my ears. The ‘DDC’ semi-active electronic suspension gives a plush and controlled ride and despite its complexity hasn’t caused me any problems.
But there have been some niggles along the way. My Beemer used to stall coming up to junctions, but that was fixed with a new clutch switch and it briefly broke down completely when I was caught in flash floods in the south of France during the summer. The trip has a habit of resetting itself and while the S1000R is extremely well built and finished I hate the way the exhaust collector box has discoloured and now looks so grubby.
The best tyres I’ve tried are Metzeler’s new Sportec M7 RR – they handle everything you throw at them and the rear lasts 4000 miles. Pirelli Supercorsa SPs are the best trackday tyres and the Metzeler Z8 Roadtec is a brilliant all-year sport touring tyre - superb in the dry, wet and even around the Nurburgring. I also tried Bridgestone’s new S20 Evo, which had excellent wet and dry grip, but the ride quality was slightly harsher and the rear only lasted around 3000-miles.
Mods have been few and far between. Replacement SBS Sinter brake pads are more powerful and give more feel than the standard Brembo items, but they only last around 6000 miles. I’ve also fitted some R&G crash protection and tail tidy and a beautifully made Ilmberger carbon fibre hugger and front mudguard from www.performanceparts-ltd.com.
But now my beloved Beemer has gone and my garage is sad and empty. And with no significantly new super-nakeds arriving for 2015, my S1000R will still be the road bike of my dreams next year.