Motorbike review: pole position on Dubai roads with the BMW S 1000 RR
A top speed of 299kmh should tell you all you need to know about this one
Much like owning a hypercar capable of speeds the Starship Enterprise wouldn’t sniff at, just because you have a hair’s breadth under a potential 300kmh between your legs when riding a BMW S 1000 RR, doesn’t mean you’ll ever get near to ‘maximum warp’. Though that’s not the point, is it? The fact is the possibility remains just that: a possibility. And what are bikers if not dreamers at heart? Okay so you’re hamstrung by a 120 limit. That doesn’t have to mean pulling off the line when the light turns green you’re not jostling for first place at the Isle of Man TT? In reality you’re going from one petrol station housing a McDonald’s to another boasting a Burger King for your shameful (or should that be brilliant?) pick and mix Big Mac and mozzarella sticks meal, but under a motorcycle helmet focusing on the tarmac for that split second you could just as well be the next Carl Fogarty. Although perfectly capable in town, thankfully the UAE is blessed with more than inner city roads, where long sweeping bends over the hills to Fujairah and seemingly endless kilometres of straights to Abu Dhabi allow you to put this bike through its paces without having to rent out Dubai Autodrome every weekend. So how did we get on with this bona fide racer happy to take civilian streets in its stride? To give you a preview and we don’t think we’re spoiling the ending too much here, rather swimmingly.
We’ve got the power
It’s difficult to ignore just how much grunt BMW engineers always seem to squeeze of their motors and yet have the machine as a whole feel so nimble and light as to be in a class of its own. In fact, unless you increase the revs when you climb to around 110kmh in fourth, just how primed for action the RR really is can come as a surprise. Acceleration is effortless. The 204hp the 999cc four-cylinder block pumps out and standing 210kgs on the scale goes some way to explaining the feat. That is an awful lot of horses bound up in those dimensions and they’re in a hurry to get out. Perhaps it is not the top speed for which the bike should in truth be lauded, rather the natural and uncomplicated manner in which it could be achieved.
How does it look when you’re riding?
You tell us. We’re guessing you wouldn’t have given this page a second glance if that sleek frame hadn’t been winking at you from the pictures. Now just imagine the feeling when approaching the RR in a showroom. The marbled white floor, soft lights glinting off the bodywork and a faint murmur of approval when circling the object of your desire, it’s intoxicating. The gorgeous frame layout is practical too. Ergonomically sound, its new woven-in suspension tech does make the motorbike lighter and more precise. The standard LED headlights also add to a certain aggressiveness. The front indicators have wandered from the fairing in previous incarnations to the rearview mirrors, again driving home the ferocity. Slipstream giddy, if MotoGP is your thing you’re going to look the part.
Now for the science stuff if you want to race
Four standard modes: rain, road, dynamic and race, cover the regular conditions you are going to encounter, though the RR looks to offer so much more. Pro mode lays the genuine racing scene at your feet with three additional modes: race pro one, two and three and extras including launch control and dynamic brake control. Configure everything through the full-colour 6.5-inch TFT display and you’re good to go.
Anything you didn’t like?
The only complaint is with our own genetics. There’s a reason champs are usually only knee-high to a Hobbit because it makes them more aerodynamic, weigh less for success and able to scrunch down in a racing position for increased periods. Practically high-fiving two metres, long rides were admittedly less comfortable, though absolutely bearable and, with that velocity, you couldn’t wipe the smile off if you tried.