Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BMW S 1000 RR
After years of hype, BMW's S 1000 RR has now finally reached Aussie showrooms – diving headlong into the shark-infested waters of the litre-class sportsbike world in the process.

In carving its own slice of the sportsbike pie it ill be taking on the established might of Japan Inc, and supersport weapons honed over many years. To woo punters in this highly-competitive niche, the S 1000 RR must not only hit the performance mark, it needs to offer its own unique edge too, and all at a realistic price point.
Fortunately, BMW does 'unique' well. It's blazed a trail with many new models in recent years, and it isn't afraid to march to its own beat. In the litre-class, in-line four-powered supersport market, the differentiation between models isn't huge, but the S 1000 RR has burst out of the blocks with a class-leading claimed power-to-weight ratio, and an electronics platform that would raise the eyebrow of your average fighter pilot.

Mark Fattore covered the model's Australian press launch of the S 1000 RR, held recently at Victoria's Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. However, while the model was born to perform the smooth confines of a track, the reality for most S 1000 RR owners will be Australia's highways and byways – and that's what this road-focused report is all about.
At the heart of the S 1000 RR lies a 999cc, liquid-cooled, 16-valve, four-stroke, in-line four-cylinder engine, fed by electronic fuel injection and controlled by an 'E-gas' (or 'ride by wire') electronic throttle system. The engine's cylinders are canted forward some 32 degrees to help to lower the bike's center of gravity, and the entire engine weighs a claimed 59.8kg – BMW says this makes it the lightest inline four in the class.

However, the most impressive numbers here concern the model's power and torque output, and its weight. With a claimed 142kW at 13,000rpm and 112Nm at 9750rpm, and a claimed 183kg dry weight, we're talking about slightly over the hallowed one to one horsepower to a kilo ratio.
All this performance is backed up with what is arguably the most sophisticated electronics ever seen in a production motorcycle, blending four levels of operation – 'rain', 'sport', 'race' and 'slick' – with increasingly less intervention from the bike's Race-ABS and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) systems, while throttle response is correspondingly sharpened.

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