A GP machine
Riding the 2011 BMW S1000RR at full steam on a tight track when you're not familiar with how it handles is like spurring a freshly-tamed stallion that misses its wild days. However, despite being showered with superlatives such as ''wicked,'' ''mega-powerful,'' and ''track monster,'' it actually remains accessible to mere mortals. In fact, the S1000RR proves compact, lightweight and ergonomic, with a friendly riding position and intuitive controls. There's also a number of adjustable electronic assist systems with various modes (rain, sport, race, and slick) that watch over adrenaline-fuelled riders.
|Riding the 2011 BMW S1000RR at full steam on a tight track when you're not familiar with how it handles is like spurring a freshly-tamed stallion that misses its wild days. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/Moto123.com)
With the S1000RR, you sometimes get the impression of riding a next-generation 600cc bike because it easily leans from one side to the other and lifts the front wheel at each twist of the throttle. There's just one tiny problem (except for a champion like McCormick): You can only taste the machine's full potential when you push it to the absolute limit and make the most of its premium components. Anything less will result in disappointing lap times, so be prepared to grab the bull by the horns and ride it to hell.
The Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS is extremely strong and committed, but not quite as explosive as the BMW. The new 4-cylinder feels more accessible and linear in its power delivery, striving for superior efficiency as much as the chassis. The powerful brakes will never catch you off-guard, the bike remains perfectly stable even at a severe angle, and the rear tire sticks to the pavement like crazy. Add race ABS, adjustable traction control, wheels sansors and lean angle sensors, as well as 3 engine mapping settings, and you get the safest, most rider-friendly superbike ever made.
Not all about agility
The German wins in the agility department by slicing corners like a middleweight. On the other hand, the Japanese inspires much more confidence when leaning at the apex and encourages the rider to give it all upon exiting the corner, although I noticed a certain lack of precision from the throttle of the Kawa when the time came to re-accelerate.
Both transmissions deliver sharp and quick shifts. However, the Kawasaki's require a bit more effort, while the BMW's lower gears are closer to each other, making corner exits that more exciting.
As for the engines, the S1000RR throws punches like a juiced-up 600, and the ZX-10R like a powerful locomotive that won't slow down. During the acceleration tests, the latter proved to have a slight edge despite its excessively long 1st and 2nd gears. I even caught up with the BMW after a failed takeoff (my bad).
|With the S1000RR, you sometimes get the impression of riding a next-generation 600cc bike. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/Moto123.com)