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2010 BMW S1000RR on track Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The busy display panel remains easy to read in all lighting conditions, with a highly visible analog tach and the digital speedometer. The display can be configured to provide road- or track-oriented information, such as ambient temperature, lap times, or engaged gear for example.

Brake and clutch levers are adjustable and all other control buttons are easy to reach and use. I really liked the combined kill switch / starter button – it makes so much sense.

Time for the magic ride
The lead riders from BMW, S1000RR Product Manager Sepp Maechler and BMW US house racer/tester Nate Kern led us around the track in Rain mode as an introduction to the bike, weaving around to give us a better idea of how light the bike feels.

The clear and easy to read display feature an analog tach with easy-to-see red needle, and a precise digital speedometer, for serious consideration in this repressive street environment.

We were then gradually cut loose and allowed to play with the modes, this writer going up to Race mode before settling on the higher DTC intervention level in Sport mode – nothing like seeing only blue sky for a few seconds to make one revert to wheelie control in a hurry. Second gear power wheelies at 150kph were a first for me!

Braking was as powerful as it gets, with the Race ABS doing its job without the usual vibrations or rumblings that often come through to the lever; it only seemed to me that the lever travel was a little longer than usual. In fact, this extra lever travel made it easier to modulate the level of effort, feeling more user-friendly than some rock hard systems that go from 0% to 100% in a few millimetres. Do not ask me how the rear brake feels as we only rode on the track, where I never touch the rear brake lever. My excuse for this is that I have decided to wait for the first thumb rear brake to come out on a production bike, as playing with the right foot to modulate rear braking while going into a corner is more than I can safely manage.

The DTC makes for easily controlled hard exits, with the front unloading to the point of a slight wag - nothing to worry about but very satisfying to the ego - and the aforementioned power wheelies if you are wide open, as you should be! The wheelie control and power limiter based on lean angle in Sport mode were a delight, as you could feel the power come on as the bike went back to vertical, with the front wheel just skimming the ground enough to let you complete the change of direction. I was headed for the grass at one time, and a slight cut in power put a touch more weight on the front, reducing the perceived “understeer” and making the world right again.

The 2nd to 5th blast of acceleration on the short straight was, euhh… impressive. One goes from the front of the saddle on corner exit - to load the front and prevent easy wheelies - towards the rear of the saddle as speed builds, hanging on to the grips for dear life, and with the wind crushing the helmet against your face. The world starts to blur above 220 kph, so watch out for the brake marker, glancing at the speedo if you must just as you cut the throttle. I ended up taping my glasses in place to see better at 260kph.
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