Some things just go without saying. Canadians knows how to use hockey sticks just like Russians drink vodka for breakfast. And Germans know how to make cars, of course. From F1 racing all the way down to tuner car street burners, BMW has it dialed. But bikes have been a different ball game for the four-wheeling firm. Until the S1000RR, BMW has struggled to produce a high performance bike that appealed to the masses using the basics: power and style. True, it's had some notable "sport" bikes in the past, but a Boxer motor wrapped in a bikini fairing with a hefty price tag was never really gonna cut it against the Big Four Japanese juggernauts. For sportbike aficionados who could afford to be a part of the exotic elite, there were various Ducatis or MV Agustas to scratch their itch. Italian sex appeal and raw performance easily knocked German sophistication in the dirt time and time again.
Apparently BMW had enough.
What was the answer? Build a superbike that would beat the Big Four at their own game; an inline four-cylinder motor with traditional suspension-at a competitive price.
Nobody really took the threat seriously, much like when Ducati announced it would enter the MotoGP championship. But the laughing stopped when Ducati immediately started winning races.
BMW isn't messing around either. And the only ones with a smile on their face at the moment is BMW.
The Germans had quite a task though. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 has been a standard benchmark for pure power in the liter bike class since its introduction nine years ago. It's always been at the top of the dyno chart, and the seat of the pants experience was oftentimes a life changing experience for many riders. But the new dog on the porch happens to be a German shepherd, and he's got sushi and pasta in his dish.
The rumor mill has been churning away for months regarding the S1000's power output. Reports of 200 horsepower were out there, but we've heard that several times in the past with both the ZX-12R as well as the Hayabusa. Both turned out to be pretty far from the truth, so we figured the BMW would be a similar case. Wrong. The BMW tech boffins dropped a 193 horsepower bomb during the press conference prior to our ride that dropped a few jaws. 193 HP!
OK, that's at the crank, but once it makes its way to the wheel we're still talking a ballpark of 175. And seat of the pants indicates that this brute is pretty darn close to that number. What's that do on paper? Destroys anything out of Japan (even the hyperbikes like the ZX-14 and Hayabusa) by a long shot....
For the complete review check out the February issue of Super Streetbike!