Monday, November 3, 2014

BMW S1000R - the first 500kms

Hallå! It’s been a slow start getting on board the new BMW S1000R, least of all because I’ve gone from riding twins for the past ten years.

On delivery day the flu hit me. I could feel it taking me down in real time, I just managed to get to the dealer, pick up the bike and ride straight to the GP who gave me a double dose of antibiotics and said ‘go to bed’. 
All I could do was cling to this. Pretty, isn't it? I love a good key.

I hate keyless ignitions and proximity sensor keys.
That was Friday night. By Monday, after a near perfect weather weekend, I had recovered mostly from the coma like symptoms of one of the worst flus I reckon I have ever had, and not a single kilometre had ticked over since Friday afternoon.

No good riding like that, I told myself. I couldn’t even function properly to feed and bathe myself. No sympathy at home, either just tough love. All I wanted to do was get out and ride, but I couldn’t; head splitting in half, fever running in overtime, cold sweats the works.

Day 1 Delivery - full touring bag setup, zero kms. Worst flu.[/caption] Anyway, it was Tuesday night before I dialled up my first 100kay, beautiful conditions, early finish from work and a few hours to myself so I took the longest way home possible, via Williamstown, cruising and winding along the west coast.

Man it’s beautiful. So smooth. Terrifyingly fast yet reassuringly glued to the road on two of the most planted hoops I’ve ever felt. I feel like I’m oozing with things to talk about after the first 500kms so I’m just going to outline some of the best bits I’ve enjoyed so far. A good excuse to upload a heap of bike-porn pics, really.

Electronics that work

Heated Grips

Totally necessary in a naked format. Perfectly accessible button on the right hand blocks. Will need them in Winter and frosty Spring mornings. There are two heat settings and they work very well, often underestimated I’m a massive fan of good heated grips.

Auto-off indicators

What a genius invention on a motorcycle. As expected these disengage after turning a corner. The only problem is, I can count 20 additional flashes before it turns off.

Cruise Control

The best thing ever invented? Now I can finally position my Right Hand Mirror - while cruising along and get it just right! Set it at the speed limit with a flick of your left index finger, and a green Cruise light flicks on the bottom left of the dash and away you go, no hands. It’s a really neat system and works just it does in a cage.

Flick up to increase cruising speed, flick back to roll off a bit, clutch in or either brake to release and flick up again to resume. A click blip on the clutch seems the be the best way to disengage as both breaks cut it off too sharply, pushing you forward awkwardly. Clutch blip and the throttle snaps back to your wrist with a good tactile response.

BUT, and there are always buts with anything this good. Be careful. You can roll on while in cruise, then release the throttle and it will return to where it was set. So you may be on the gas a bit, above that last limit set, and thinking that by rolling off you are going to cut the engine, when it only slows to the last speed limit set.

Scared me twice already, made me think about it. However, whilst slabbing it on the freeway I can now rest my right hand, and alternate rests between left and right hands, this alone is enough to convince me of Cruise Control for Life. Less fatigue is always excellent.

Quick Shifter

Speaking of less fatigue, this is another genius piece of technology that I have yet to experience, and now that I have, I never wanna go back. Get on the gas in a straight line, hold it open and just upshift, fly through those gears as hard and fast as you like. It’s flawless, fast and sounds like a motoGP bike.

It makes you feel like Marquez. Enough said. Get one for your bike, stat.

Shift Light

This is another thing I need to get used to but man I love it. It’s a fairly bright although tinted white circle right above the taco. I see it blip as I hit 7 and that’s as far as I’ve gone up that delicious needle as yet, still running it in. I like it though, it’s shiny and blips when you should change, handy when you’re pinned to the tank.

Things I have, but haven’t used

Ride Modes

Rain, Road and Dynamic. Haven’t had much time to explore this as yet. Can tell the throttle map is more aggressive and interesting in Dynamic, without being ridiculous (like Sport was on the Ducati) so that’s where it stays!

Suspension Modes

Soft, Normal, Hard. I’ve flicked through them and as yet after only a few hundred kays, I can’t feel MUCH difference, except in Hard. This translates to every bump transferring through the bars, shit gets real stiff real fast. Must be working eh?

DDC - Dynamic Damping Control

Micro-second electronic active suspension. It’s about as high tech as it gets. I have no idea if I am meant to feel this or just let it do its thing. Think I opt for the latter at this point.

Traction Control

Never been a fan of the traction control, being a dirt biker from years back but I have faith in millions of dollars of R&D and expect that it will protect me when I need it, if I ever push it that hard or get into a sticky situation and the bike knows best. Best of all, with the flick of another button I can turn it off on the fly. Best idea yet. No hiding behind a 3 deep menu system that makes no sense whatsoever. Better yet, any changes you make to the system overall stay on, even after you switch the bike off. That makes me very happy indeed.

ABS - Anti Brake Lock System

Haven’t felt this yet, breaks feel as hard as ever with plenty of initial bite and a unbelievable amount of stopping power when needed, yet I haven’t felt the ABS kick in as yet, I guess it’s that good. I got used to ABS on the Ducati and I’m a fan, I expect it will save me over time, in time as it should.

Value for money

All of this BMW in this much of an aggressively styled super naked, for a very reasonable $18,990 + ORC & options packages. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find better value or more motorcycle for less. Overall this bike is brilliant, and probably a bit too easy to ride. I'm reminded of this write up on the S1000RR by Ride Apart going back a ways, sums it up perfectly.

Nothing’s weird, nothing’s surprising, nothing’s unique. The brakes are extremely powerful, yet gradual in their application. The suspension is extremely capable, yet compliant over bad roads. The steering is very fast, yet the chassis is completely stable. The engine is extremely powerful, yet utterly smooth, linear and predictable. Just get on it and ride fast, you’ll hardly realize you’re on a motorcycle at all.
Everything works exactly like it should, it will handle anything you can throw at it with ease, and will make you faster than you are. It’s that good. About time BMW. Thank you.

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