Lifestyle

First Ride: 2016 BMW S1000RR

Registered track assault weapon

Developed as a World Superbike homologation special, the BMW S1000RR took the superbike world by storm when it arrived in 2010. BMW freshened up its road-legal race bike for 2015, improving electronics, smoothing out the engine’s torque curve, adding 6 horsepower, and shaving 8.8 pounds from the curb weight by using a lighter exhaust and a lighter battery. With 199 horsepower and only 449 pounds to move, the S1000R has a power-to-weight ratio of just 2.26 pounds/horsepower, which means it can go from full stop to 60 mph in a hypercar-taming 2.6 seconds — without shifting out of first gear, which tops out at 96 mph.

The S1000RR comes with standard three drive modes — Sport, Race, and Rain; Sport is the base mode, Race makes traction control less intrusive, and Rain dials output down to 187 horsepower and 80 lb-ft of torque, reduces throttle response, and puts stability and traction control on high alert. The S1000RR is also available with an optional Ride Modes Pro functionality that adds two more modes, Slick and User. Slick mode allows the rider to adjust the sensitivity of traction control, and User lets the rider to customize ABS, stability control, engine mapping, and the Dynamic Damping Control suspension settings. In addition to the additional electronic modes, the Ride Modes Pro package upgrades the S1000RR with launch control and pit-lane speed-limiter functionalities. Other electronic systems offered on the S1000RR include Dynamic Traction Control, which includes a banking sensor and gives the rider seven settings to choose from; Gear Shift Assist Pro, which allows clutch-less shifts; and cruise control.

Like most sport bikes, the S1000RR’s natural riding position puts your knees up by your elbows and your chest close to the tank. Snugging up to the front of the seat takes the load off your elbows and shoulders but also applies uncomfortable pressure on your crotch when you touch the brake lever, which produces a strong but linear arresting force even if you only use one finger. This bike is a docile machine that emits a subdued growl as you cruise around down but go somewhere to fully open the short intake channels, the engine starts screaming as it climbs toward its 14,200 rpm redline.

Since BMW designed the S1000RR so it could handle World Superbike tracks, local canyon roads are as challenging as a set of monkey bars would be for a Navy SEAL; you very rarely feel like you’ve approached the bike’s limits. The engine, suspension, and electronics are bred for road courses so if you want to get the most out of BMW’s superbike, go to a track day and let the bike make you look like a star.

2016 BMW S1000RR Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $17,399 (base)
Engine: 1.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/199 hp @ 13,500 rpm, 83 lb-ft @ 10,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed sequential manual
Layout: 2-passenger, RWD motorcycle
EPA Mileage: 32/36 mpg (city/hwy)
Wheelbase: 56.1 in
Weight: 449 lb
0-60 MPH: 2.6 sec
Top Speed: 163 mph

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