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2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS vs. 2011 BMW S1000RR (video)


by Pascal Bastien ,

The challenge
The BMW S1000RR is not a forgiving machine in any situation. It feels more like a true race bike - always intoxicating but a tad unruly at times - and demands your utmost attention. Needless to say there's no room for guesswork. How could it be any other way? The sensational, razor-sharp chassis teams up with a thundering powerplant to send you flying from one corner to the next. It constantly asks you to give your best shot and outdo yourself. If you're up for the challenge, embrace it thoroughly and you won't be disappointed.

The safe route
Obviously, ZX-10R ABS riders don't have to be nearly as focused to post quick lap times. The more direct and more transparent electronics will rapidly step in to correct your riding style. Fortunately, engineers were wise enough to equip the bike with an electronic assist level indicator on the instrument panel, which I found interesting to have when powering out of corners.

2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS vs. 2011 BMW S1000RR
The engineers has equiped the bike with an electronic assist level indicator on the instrument panel. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/

This one will forgive your mistakes even when grip is limited. Never has a superbike proved that easy to ride or inspired as much confidence on a race track. Of course, you'll lose a few tenths of a second due to the aforementioned long gear ratios. It doesn't help either that the handlebars are mounted too high, and that the footpegs scrape the tarmac.

The toughest of choices

As far as I'm concerned, there is no winner or loser here. While being two of the fastest and safest superbikes in the world, by a long shot, the 2011 BMW S1000RR and Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS have very different personalities and target very different riders. So, are you fearless and feisty, or smart and steady?
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