When BMW rolled the S1K into the public domain complete with heated grips, people laughed. We were the ones laughing this week after big miles and even bigger smiles onboard the 2015 RR in sub-zero temperatures and greasy roads, all with snuggly, entirely functioning digits.
Keen to do the job thoroughly, we enlisted the help of an old friend: the outgoing, perfectly decent, previous incarnation of the RR for back-to-back spanking. We already know how insanely fast and proficient the new bike is on circuit. A true, everyday real-world test is another matter. But BMW being BMW, they were hardly going to bastardise the RR were they?
We were testing the ‘Sport’ version, with DDC semi-active suspension, Gear shift Assist Pro (auto-blipper) and heated grips, but this particular bike was a rolling melange of gizmos and additional bolt-ons, such as the forged wheels and cruise control: perfect for rolling doobies on the fly, or as Baron pointed out, adjusting wing mirrors after various vehicular impacts.
Within seconds of swapping bikes after a McDonalds, the differences are hugely apparent. Far from agricultural, the conventionally sprung older model protested over sections that the 2015 RR sucked up and spat out. Being lucky enough to trial the semi-active suspension prior to this test, we knew it would prove to be a perfect affiliate on UK roads but nothing comes close to its magic carpet ride – there isn’t another sportsbike on the planet with the bump management of the 2015 S 1000 RR, save for the outgoing HP4.
Having softer internals and electronic damping over the HP4, the RR is distinctively silkier at any given time. There’s now the luxury of simply pressing the rider mode button without having to pull the clutch in. Only the throttle has to be closed to toggle between preferences. Starting the day in slick mode, the change to the softer Race & Sport modes sees the front vividly adjust its posture on the fly, dipping its nose and offering further plushness.
At any lean, the 2015 bike is more responsive, more willing to rider input. The weight loss isn’t a standout feature (even with the forged wheels), although it dances on its springs with more poise and precision – probably a culmination of the diet and sharper steering head. Despite the OE Pirelli Supercorsas reluctancy to attract heat, the ’15 RR’s mechanical grip ensured we stayed upright despite hefty abuse.
There’s a myriad of personalisation and electronics to perfect, and save you. The only thing you can’t adjust is the flight path of an A380. Even the pit lane limiter (adjustable to RPM) makes 30/40/50mph zones entertaining.
Whatever the speed, the 2015 RR feels engaging. If we’re comparing rivals’ grunt and sheer speed, the Beemer obliterates the opposition. Nothing (road legal) has the spread of delicious useable power and outright pace of the new motor. Honestly? You’ll struggle to expose the extra 6bhp over the older version. What is instantly tangible is the midrange, and just how eager the new motor is in building momentum. Coupled with a super-light throttle, the whole bike feels more urgent and responsive at any part of the rev range. Credit to the 2015 throttle: it makes the older action feel akin to a sticky carb’d shitter, and you’re left with a gammy right wrist. The disparity is seismic.
After a most of the day in the saddle, we both came to the conclusion that, despite the higher pegs, the 2015 ergonomics and wider bars are a little comfier – even for 6ft+ pilots. We’ll have to caveat this by saying there’s far less physical exertion on the wrists, courtesy of the auto-blipper that makes the clutch redundant on downshifts, provoking needless, yet oh so entertaining shifting. It’s worth pointing out that the throttle has to be 100% shut on order for the tech to function properly, which can lead to sloppy shifting and the sensation you might be dipping your foot into fresh cow poo. But this probably the only objective criticism.
A bike so focused on winning on Sundays is remarkably sexy for you and I on as Monday – or any other day. Craig David even took it for a drink on Tuesday and was swiftly arrested for making love on Wednesday, charged with gross mechaphilia. Those who say 200bhp is too much for the road, well, you haven’t ridden the S 1000 RR. The throttle works both ways and, even with the throttle wide open, BMW has given us sublime control.
The 2015 bike reads the road with greater clarity, almost slowing things down so you can go faster. It’s so easy to ride but doesn’t sacrifice involvement or thrills, and makes the Japanese efforts (until now) look abysmal.
Dynamically, the 2015 RR is genuinely faultless. We can all give an opinion on the aesthetics, monotone paint and looks in general, but analysing individual aspects further cements the 2015 model’s superiority. If you’re thinking of upgrading from the older model, the suspension is worth the money alone. And that auto-blipper…
None of its (very slight) track-based deficiencies were apparent back in the UK. The new-for-2015 drop in engine braking didn’t upset its road etiquette, and neither did the semi-active suspension’s lack of feel when loading the front and taking off-the-throttle liberties. It’s resounding 10/10 from us.
When you consider the OTR price of a Fireblade is £12k (and the ‘Blade SP is £14,999), the asking price for the S1K ‘Sport’ of £14,760 is laughably cheap. Bolting on the forged wheels is an extra £1075 and if you want the performance pack, consisting of DTC, the extra riding modes and cruise control, you’ll need another £490. The base version comes in at £13,750. Why you wouldn’t/couldn’t find the extra for the Sport model is beyond us.
Being as cold and treacherous as it was, the only kneedown heroics were going to be followed by a crash. However, there’s a video on its way, highlighting the fun and frolics and answering as many of your questions on the 2015 bike as humanly possible. Massive thanks for the queries and input.
And a massive thanks to Bahnstormer BMW in Alton for the hospitality and the use of that mint 2013 S1K.