Demo This: The 2010 BMW S1000RRPosted: April 6, 2010
On a mere two hours of sleep, I toss my gear into the backseat and hubby, who is well rested takes me 112 miles in a northerly direction towards Greenville, SC; to our closest BMW/Ducati dealership. I try to sleep, as I had planned, in the truck but I can’t. Between being so excited that I can’t shut up talking, and hubby’s homebrew songs and stupid jokes, I can’t get a snooze in. I’m also a little nervous again; nothing compared to what I went through when I picked up my Hayabusa 11 months ago, but I was definitely feeling anxiety creep in.
Would I be able to keep the front end down? Am I going to over-steer and lean it right into the ground? Am I going to do something stupid in front of a bunch of people? Shit, am I even good enough of a rider yet to be on an S1000RR? Flighty thoughts, the sheer excitement of getting to ride again after almost two weeks since my crash mostly quiets my silly doubts.
I take my pinky splint off and before we get out of the truck, I sternly point a finger at my husband and tell him: “I don’t wanna hear you in there going on about how your wife trashed her Hayabusa like you did at Street & Trail.” That’ll be one hilarious scenario right there: “I wrecked my bike in a corner and now, please kind Sir, could I ride one of yours, because I’m in the market.” Yeah. NO!
So we go in, and they don’t jump all over us. Good. +1. I have plenty of time to drool over both S1000RRs that are sitting on their showroom floor, one in ‘Thunder Grey Metallic’ (read: black) and one in the ‘Motorsports’ color scheme. Hubby cracks a joke about how my riding skills only rate the pink Vespa he saw sitting outside and I reply that he’s just jealous because he still has those little rubber bristles sticking out the edges of his rear tire after over 5000 miles. He just grins and makes a slow chopping motion with his right hand: “Mine’s still upright.” Touché.
After several more minutes of reverence and quiet adoration, I finally park my butt on the object of my desire. It’s almost a religious experience. At first I’m not too impressed, sits kind of like the CBR1000RR to me. My ass is used to the comforts of the ‘Busa. Plush. Substantial. Wide. I wiggle around a little and rock the bike side to side between my legs to get a feel for it. Ah, that’s better. Nice. Feels lighter… no, not lighter, more at balance than any of the liter bikes I’ve sat on; the center point feels lower, too; however, it doesn’t feel insubstantial to me, even though it should, by logic alone. It feels compact, but rightfully so. It doesn’t make me feel like I’m sitting on a bicycle, like all the other bikes have felt to me in comparison to the ‘Busa.
Ryan, the sales manager, eventually saunters over to see if he can help. I introduce myself and tell him that we had been emailing back and forth about the S1000RR and taking it for a test ride. We chat for a while about service schedules, maintenance requirements, BMW’s way of doing things and then finally get ready to go out and ride. As I sign the waiver that requires me to pay for the thing if I trash it, Ryan asks me to please not wreck this one, since he’s planning on buying it once it has fulfilled its obligations as demo bike. I see Mr. Slow has been running his mouth again…We go outside and I circle the Double-R that I’ll be testing shortly. It looks a heck of a lot better in person than it does in the stock images on the Internet. I am starting to really like it. But it’s white. I’ve had a white bike… every little imperfection due to hastily applied unprofessional touch-up jobs stands out like a sore thumb. After concluding my adoration, I throw my leg over the S1000RR, put her in neutral and crank her up. She purrs to life. More menacing than the Hayabusa, at least at idle speed. I pull the clutch in and put the transmission in gear, to say hello to the gear box. CLUNK!
Ryan comes running around the corner like a shot, sporting that all-telling ‘holy shit!’ expression on his face. My hubby had also turned around and several other people are also paying closer attention.
Ooops. I smile sweetly, then sit there innocently, still in first gear with the clutch lever pulled in. I see Ryan visibly relaxing after he realizes that I’m not going to peel out of their parking lot and scream on down the road on their brand-spanking-new S1000RR. Hahahaa…
He goes over all the functions with me. He explains the controls and readouts and when I indicate that I’m ready to get the show on the road, Ryan picks a blue F800ST for himself and I follow him out of the parking lot with the bike’s DTC set to ‘Sport’ mode.As I roll over the curb and into the four-lane highway, I immediately notice how the S1000RR almost wants to fall into the turn. Whoa! Not used to that. I kind of scare myself a little, but relax as I notice how easily the bike is controlled. The throttle action is smooth, all the way through. No on-off switch-like jerkiness. The power just feeds in relative to the throttle movement. Smooth, without hiccups and predictable. The clutch lever’s friction zone doesn’t seem much different from what I’m used to riding the Hayabusa.
Once we get out of the heavy traffic I play around a little with acceleration in the lower RPM range and through several gears. Hot damn! This bike means business. The Hayabusa is no slouch in that department, but since the S1000RR is a lithe ballerina compared to The Fat Lady’s opera singer persona, it feels just as powerful and, if I dare say, quicker. 3 HP less on the rear, but 118 pounds lighter will probably explain that.
The Hayabusa is a somewhat cranky shifter and so is the S1000RR. Different quirks, but both bikes want to be shifted a certain way and once you figure that out, they are pretty much happy and won’t give you any problems.
I’m having way too much fun to really get technical about my test ride. I forget all about checking out the different traction control modes or check out the RaceABS with some purposeful over-braking. After two weeks caging it to work and having PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome [and boy, did I park that one, huh?]) I’m just way too busy getting my throttle therapy in during the few miles I get to have with this awesome piece of Teutonic engineering.The bike is a precision missile. I just have to think about turning and it does. It corners like it’s on rails. It holds its line and reacts to steering inputs with confidence-inspiring accuracy. It is predictable, well-mannered, balanced and it sounds awesome.
The roar of the exhaust and the deep vibe the engine emits when I crack the throttle open makes my spine tingle all over with excitement. I gotta have this thing! If The Fat Lady is deemed repairable I’m going to have to figure something out, because I want one of these babies. Ooooooo yeah! Come to momma! I almost feel like I’m cheating on the ‘Busa with her slimmer, younger sister. Dirrrrrty gurl!!! Ohhhh riiiiight giggity diggity giggity!!!
I do not sit on this bike, I sit in it. It is almost like the bike tells me to sit a certain way and that’s where my bum seems to always end up. Like it wraps itself around me. I know this is a very subjective observation, since I am only 165cm tall, weigh around 115-120 pounds and have long legs compared to my torso. The BMW’s riding position gives me the impression of being more in control. The bike is definitely confidence inspiring. I feel one with the machine. Heck, I feel faster already. …and am probably a better rider than I was twenty minutes ago. ;)
The only gripe I have about the S1000RR are that the grips are way too skinny. They are not much better than wrapping grip tape around a set of clip-on ends and calling it good. I loved my fatty Hayabusa grips. They were comfortable. These horrid things on the Beemer have got to go! I’ve only been riding for what? 15-20 minutes and my fingers and palms already feel cramped and are aching. Ryan later assures me that this can be easily fixed with a set of OEM grips from one of the sport-touring K-bikes, but I cannot remember which model.
Of course the stock levers have got to go. But that is a problem with all the bikes I’ve ever owned or ridden. My hands are simply too small and my fingers too short for stock levers. That’s why Pazzo Racing rakes in a killing from my wallet. =D I also would need a set of grippy tank pads, to ensure proper grip when hanging off. This also would be a requirement for any bike of mine.
We arrive back at the dealership way too soon. I park the Double-R, hop off, practically tear my helmet off my head and loudly exclaim with a huge mischievous idiotic grin on my face these two simple words:
And it is thus that the girl with the rising sun Hayabusa kanji tattoo is on her way to become rebranded. She is a ‘Busa girl at heart, always will be, but her riding style is not compatible. How many Hayabusas must die before somebody steps in? Please forgive me. You will be missed. Mr. Slow, bring your wallet, this is going to cost you.