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"Fast Bikes", January 1, 2013

BMW S 1000 RR

You’d never guess the Dunlop SportSmarts had well over 5,000 miles on ’em

The S 1000 RR in whatever guise is an animal, but Rootsy’s machine is an absolute beast. This leviathan has the power to fulfil Thomas Hobbes’ prophecy that life can be nasty, brutish and short. It has power running through every vein and its aggression could easily leave hardened riders cowering in its wake.

On a circuit as tight and bumpy as Llandow, it’s all about the engine. There’s little time to get settled into a turn on a bike as quick as this, and if you can’t use the power available to you then it ain’t worth shit. So it’s a good job that the extra shove that’s been donated by the Austin Racing system is perfectly metered by a fuel map carried by the Dynojet PCV.

Of course, it also helps that the BMW boffins played with the DTC traction control system, and it’s much better than last year’s agricultural efforts. Given the conditions, the Mamba thought it wise to stick it in Race mode, but even here, with the front end wanting to head to the hills, the system cuts in too much on exit. Slick is the only way to go, bro.

You could tug oil tankers and turn them into powerboats with this lump. The raw power it unleashes really takes some getting used to, and you have to shift all your weight forward as soon as you tap the throttle otherwise the front wheel becomes furniture. That’s not so easy with the nose-bleedingly high Gilles rearsets that are simply set too high for the Mamba – and for any normally limbed human. At least the rest of the controls are intuitive.

The Dunlop SportSmart rubber was well past its use by date in terms of its profile, but grip levels are still good when it’s on its sidewall. The transition to get to this stage was a little fraught, but once you grit your teeth and get used to the falling-off-a-cliff feel then the Beemer enjoyed life in a turn. The lost weight from the stock exhaust means it likes flicking this way and that, but control remains a constant and the chassis does such a manful job in keeping the engine in check.

That it was almost every bit as nimble as the supersport crowd is a real revelation, and even through the gnat’s chuff stuff the BMW offered nothing but control. The Mamba’s not felt the BMW’s slipper clutch slip quite as much as it did on Rootsy’s bike, a little intrusively, and the gear assist isn’t the slickest product on the planet, so there are little chinks hiding amid the armour of polished performance. The blue hue is not the Mamba’s cup of tea; if only Rootsy could’ve got the rest of the bike clad in carbon.

But you had to get a crow bar to prise the Mamba off this bike. The package is almost complete as stock, and talking to a few old mates in the paddock, we all reckon that you could roll this out of the showroom and be on superbike pace of five years ago. Rootsy hasn’t really upped the game on much, mainly because the game’s got nowhere else to go, but the changes to the power have a stellar effect – the noise brings BSB to a road near you, and the coughs during the quick shift cuts are echoes of this bike’s race pedigree.

PRICE NEW: £14,085

MOD’S: £4,657

MODS/PRICE RATIO: 33.1 %

ENGINE

The big-bore, short-stroke 999cc motor doesn’t get any internal treatment. Power increases come via electronic management, plus a 20 per cent larger cross section of the air intake in the steering head, a modified airbox and new bellmouth geometry. The Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is apparently based on the HP Race Power kit. The throttle valve now features a supporting spring to reduce actuating force and a quicker action.

CHASSIS

The 2012 bike gets a modified frame and a new steering head. The steering angle is now 66° instead of 66.1°, and the wheelbase has been shortened by 9.3mm to 1422.7mm. Trail has been lengthened by 2.6mm to 98.5mm, and the fork offset is now 2.5mm shorter at 29.5mm. Suspension has been refined at both ends, with mid-speed damping added at the front, and BMW’s fitted a mechanically adjusted damper.

Highlights

Austin Racing system

Gilles rearsets

Carbon bodywork

Usual BMW gizmos

183bhp

204kg (wet)

TRACK 9

So close to sublime

FAST ROAD 10

It’s got the lot

HOOLIGAN 8

Knows the ticks of the trade

NEW RIDER 2

It’ll rip your head off

DESIRABILITY 8

A stunner in performance only

DON’T BE FOOLED BY

HP sauce. Once served in parliament, it’s made in the Netherlands now, sacrilege!

Verdict 8/10

The ride may not be super plush, but the motor certainly is. Stick some numbers on it and go and have a race...

+ IMPECCABLE DELIVERY, WEIGHT LOSS, NOISE

- NOT ALL CARBON, SUSPENSION AT LIMIT

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