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2010 BMW S1000RR on track Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The table may seem a little busy, but it all makes sense when you get on the bike, select the Mode you want and take off – it all works transparently to the rider. You can really feel the systems at work, and how the behaviour changes in the different modes, especially when you push a little harder on the track, or in an emergency on the road.

And if you want another mode, just select another one using the “Mode” button on the right-hand grip, shut the throttle and pull in the clutch, and Bob’s Your Uncle!

Up-to-the-job chassis and suspensions
The chassis features the correct mix of length-wise rigidity with lateral flexibility, to help the suspension work more effectively over bumps at full lean. The long and variable pivot position swingarm, and forward placement of the compact engine make for effective weight transfer, great for front bite when braking and rear grip when shooting out of corners. Mass centralization has also been optimized to reduce the polar moment of inertia, for better agility when changing direction (It feels like a light 600 when entering corners or switching from one direction to the other in S corners.)

Brembo high quality monobloc calipers ensure fade-free and easy two-finger braking. Applying the front brake does cause some braking effort to the rear wheel, where the ABS and Anti-Lift systems work to avoid unintentional lockup of liftoff of the rear wheel.

I was almost comfortable when cornering close to my limits, despite my 115 or so kgs, with enough room to slide off the saddle, turn my hips slightly towards the ourside and steer with the grips without having to also hang on to the bike. Let me assure you that I did however hang on tight when accelerating in second and third gear on the straight.

German manufacturer Sach supplies the adjustable fork and damper. Preload is adjustable at both ends, while compression and rebound damping can be set using the sharp end of the ignition key. Only low speed damping at the rear requires a specific tool, a slim screwdriver in this case. Basic damper settings are easy to check on the highly visible, red, ten-position dials – no more counting clicks to find out where your settings are.

Surprising ergos and a distinctive look
At 115kg, I am no shrimp, and sport bike seating usually entails having my head over the bars, with my crotch jammed against the fuel tank and my heels almost touching my buns. Sportbike manufacturers have been working hard to give larger North American bodies more room and freedom to move on sportbikes, and the S1000RR is the best one of all so far.

The flat and elongated saddle allows you to move on the bike and relax arms and legs, while the short tank lets you slide forward enough to put more weight on the front wheel while sitting up comfortably in the corners, with hips turned in and little or no weight on your wrists.

The shark-like bodywork looks distinctive enough not to be confused with other brands, while the aerodynamics have been developed with high-tech Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computer simulations, then fine tuned in a wind tunnel to optimize protection against wind and rain, and lower drag. An optional, higher wind screen is available for those of us who find it difficult to hide behind the standard one.
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