Track test: 1000 super athletes
1000 super athletes compared to the slopes
All against one is common, but common. And anyone who, like BMW, is breaking new ground with the S 1000 RR and wants to steal a piece of the supersport pie should, no, have to be well equipped. In the first exchange of blows on the racetrack, all Japanese thousands and two Europeans face the Bavarian.
E.It is not often that a new star rises in the athletic sky. Of course there are new models every year, and of course manufacturers change their concepts from time to time. But it seldom happens that a brand ventures into completely new territory, almost in unknown spheres on the prowl for market share. BMW, of all people, dares to take this risky step. And with that you enter the highly competitive sports business where the old wisdom "What wins on sunday, sells on monday" is still valid.
Respect for this decision, for this daring. PS, the S 1000 RR, the first genuine super sports car from BMW, will give you a fitting reception and will not only invite the Bavarian woman but also the established competition to the PS Race Camp in Almeria, Spain. The brand new Aprilia RSV4 R, the Kawasaki ZX-10R and the KTM 1190 RC8 R were found in the 2010 model year "Akrapovic Limited Edition" as well as the Yamaha YZF-R1. Our Spanish colleague bought the Suzuki GSX-R 1000, which will continue into the new year, after Suzuki Europe International refused to provide a 2009 model for our test.
Since Honda Europe North did not yet have a 2010 Fireblade at the start, but this is only slightly modified in the area of the crankshaft, PS took hold of the well-known dealer Wellbrock & Co in Lilienthal released a 2009 blade for the test. Our thanks go to this committed dealer in northern Germany. Ducati, however, shot the bird. A 1198 S of the 2010 model year waiting in Bologna was not made available to PS because the tire used for the test supposedly does not harmonize with the motorcycle’s traction control. Whoever believes will be saved…
Ducati should take an example from Aprilia, BMW, Kawasaki and KTM. These brands not only sent one or two motorcycles to the party, but also provided technical support in the form of mechanics or development engineers. So if some manufacturers showed themselves from the bitchy side, the invited journalist colleagues came only too willingly. "InMoto" from Italy, "La Moto" from Spain, the Swiss "TOFF"-Editing as well "Motorwereld" from Belgium and the French "Moto Journal" sent their testers to the big round in southern Spain.
There, the proven team from Bike Promotion helped us with the timekeeping, while Bridgestone Germany carted a whole truck full of Battlax slicks to Almeria for the test. And they were all excited to see how the BMW S 1000 RR would perform. "open fire", is it [called, "off to the arena!"
Aprilia RSV4 R
After its messed up debut in Mugello (see PS 12/2009) and the rainy appearance at the second presentation, the standard version of the Aprilia V4 athlete can really get on with it for the first time in Spain. The small, very compact Italian had a few surprises in store for the testers, similar to Santa Claus the other day. The motorcycle from the German importer stood well in the forage with 175 horses on the crankshaft, although it had to get by without the complex, variable intake funnels of the factory. An army of engineers successfully dealt with the previously crude injection electronics. The RSV4 R responded well to throttle commands, but not too hard. Even the T-mode (track) used, which ensures a sporty, crisp response behavior and acted much too hard on the last factory tested, is now useful. The Showa fork and the Sachs shock absorber of the Aprilia are also sensitive, but also equipped with great takeaway qualities. In Almeria they are in no way inferior to the Öhlins components of the noble version and always provide crisp feedback.
Due to the somewhat heavier cast wheels, the RSV4 R no longer turns as easily, but is still a hair’s breadth ahead of the four-cylinder competition in terms of handling. So the recipe from the little ones from Noale still works. Only a shorter final gear ratio would be desirable in order to improve the torque, because with 9.1 seconds from 50 to 150 km / h the Mille only leaves the Kawa and the KTM behind.
BMW S 1000 RR
Hey, the new one! Like all BMW press vehicles, it comes full of electronics "Full dresser", therefore fully equipped. On board the S 1000 RR are Race ABS, traction control (DTC) and an automatic gearshift; from a sporting point of view all important and good for fast lap times. The fact that the BMW generates the third best pulling power after Yamaha and Honda despite a top performance development is proof enough that the Bavarians have put useful electronic shackles on their short-stroke performance monster. With 202 HP on the crankshaft, it is the most powerful production motorcycle ever measured in HP. But do not worry, the performance giant is not a bad one. There are four different modes of the injection system ready to tame him. in the "Rain mode" it only delivers 150 hp, for example, and the DTC regulates very early. Irrelevant for this test, because there is only one true mode on the racetrack and it is called "Slick". The DTC only controls it when it is really necessary.
The comfortably accommodated pilot can therefore fully utilize the performance potential on the Beemer, which demands a big heart on the treacherous course with the three peaks to be overflyed blindly. Moving to the limit, the BMW reveals that it is not a real racer, but a motorcycle that is tailored to everyday road use. Movements creep into the chassis that can no longer be removed simply by turning off the damping. The fact that you are much faster in this speed range than with a Japanese four-cylinder only underlines the quality of the BMW chassis. And to return to the topic of electronics: none of the testers drove the BMW without ABS. Yes, you read that right: the assistance system was also used for the very fast laps. Unthinkable a year ago, this year nobody thought of being able to brake better without ABS than with. The only annoying detail about the BMW brakes: in the first two to three laps the brake lever moves a little closer to the handlebars, but then remains there unchanged. So far, all S 1000 RR riders have had this phenomenon. So it seems to be standard, with an emphasis on moderate. However, this does not affect the Bavarian’s good braking performance.
So the BMW has become what at least the Japanese feared: a very good motorcycle. And a strong and mobile one at that. Congratulations to the creators of this brilliant contribution to the 2010 vintage.
The grand dame among the thousands is a little bit sick. Just under a year ago, she was the eye-catcher in person. Excellent performance, good manners, a sporty figure and for the first time as a supersport man with ABS. The system costs almost ten extra pounds, but they don’t bother anyone in everyday life. And now this! A highly effective racing ABS on the BMW, which only brings two and a half kilos of love handles! In addition, it is coordinated with the four different injection modes that can be freely selected by the driver. Foolproof in the everyday-relevant maps, sporty aggressive and highly efficient in "Slick mode".
It’s not that the Blade doesn’t have that elegant paleness around the nose, but to be dumped on ABS within a year does hurt. Too conservative the development approach, and the "Out"-Button for the hobby racer is also missing
But the Honda has retained its other qualities. Their rich draft, for example, their truly comfortable workplace, their precise gearbox and the high-quality workmanship. Here and now it’s all about the sausage, what counts is steering precision, light-footedness when turning from one side to the other, or braking stability. While the lean changes on the Honda have to be carried out with a bit of force, its full feeling in the lean position and the excellent balance of the fore and hindquarters still inspire. However, the hard throttle response of the four-cylinder hacked one or the other unnecessary corner in the line, especially in the fast chicanes on the track. Here the upcoming 2010 model with the increased crankshaft flywheel could go to work a little more gently. The next test will show. Completely unacceptable, however, is the fact that the spring preload of the shock absorber (it is hidden in the swingarm) can neither be adjusted with money nor good words, let alone with the on-board tool kit, comfortably and without tortured fingers.
Freed from such injustice, the Kawa revived. In contrast to the Honda, its shock absorber is easily accessible, which is also necessary. Because in order to make the green agile and stable for fast lap times, the rear has to be raised a bit, as with last year’s model. In general, the model maintenance measures for 2010 were low. Kawasaki only revised the gearbox gently, the rest is optical retouching of the exhaust and fairing. The engine tuning, which is quite idiosyncratic for a thousand people, has also remained. Up to 6000 revolutions is too little, above this mark comes life into the house, and shortly before the five-digit range the punk really goes off. This gives the ZX-10R the worst pull-through values in the test field, but that‘s not of interest in Almeria. If things get down to business quickly, the entire infield of the route is driven in second gear. Gears only change if you are not used to 600 rpm or if you are afraid of the 181 hp.
ZX-10R and Bridgestone-Slick complement each other harmoniously and form a well-functioning symbiosis. The Zehner turns precisely, keeps its line very clean in long, fast radii and can be turned down in the brisk chicanes courageously and with very little effort. Add to that its great stability, especially on the brakes, and you can live really well with the tens on the racetrack. It’s actually a shame that she still ekes out such an underdog existence.
KTM 1190 RC8 R.
A KTM RC8 R is found in the paddock even more rarely than a Kawa. The former noble version of the Ösi burner will be the only available RC8 version in the future, as the standard RC8 with the old 1150 engine will be phased out. This also explains why a "R."-Version and not a normal RC8 is at the start for this test. Our prettied special model "Akrapovic" The look is based on the IDM Superbike by Jeremy McWilliams and comes with the Club Race Kit (see box on page 18). Otherwise it corresponds to a completely normal RC8 R – and drives like one. Sporty, crisp, precise as a scalpel and almost as light-footed as the Aprilia. Like the RSV4 R, you can tell that the racing department has short distances to series development. Both the Italian and the Austrian flirt with their taut chassis and sporty genes. However, the KTM is still not as willing to give itself to the driver as a Japanese four-cylinder. The first time you sit down, this comfortable, almost touristy seating position is always surprising, but it is quickly perceived as normal and suitable for heating on the slopes.
The response behavior of the spring elements, which was previously often scolded and described as inharmonious, has now been eliminated. The KTM responds synchronously and sensitively at the front and rear and reports plain text to the popometer. Small bumps are ironed away, larger reports are reported, and very rough things, well, that’s the way the sport is, are passed on. The stoppers of the KTM are top notch, and the Twin has also gained a bit in terms of smoothness. Although it lacks a bit of top performance in this test field, the RC8 R makes up for this shortcoming with its very well-functioning chassis and the beefy torque at lower speeds. Only the high price of the KTM is worth discussing.
Suzuki GSX-R 1000
From noble twin to working class child. What sounds bad is not meant that way. Even if the big Gixxer doesn’t really lure anyone out from behind the stove. Her problem now is her characterless mediocrity. Since 2009 you have been sitting on it like a Honda – that’s great, but boring. The uniform look with its little siblings certainly ensures that many parts are the same, which lowers manufacturing costs – but oversaturates the customer’s eye.
But where there is shadow, there has to be light. The engine has lost some of its previous bull’s neck character, but it still sparkles like a bright star in the firmament. His exemplary manners, the great, because precise transmission and the very good slipper clutch put you in a good mood. From the apex it goes off with the rather soft Gixxer like on a cannonball. No performance gap, no chopping interrupts the brilliant propulsion. With a soft pumping action, the shock absorber signals that it could use more damping while the front wheel loses contact with the ground. So it is on the Gixxer towards the next braking point, which is however clearly earlier than on all other test candidates. The brake of the GSX-R is far too blunt for a super sports car and requires far too much manual force from the pilot, especially on the racetrack. The feeling for the brakes also falls by the wayside. Even replacing the brake pads and carefully braking in the new ones brought no improvement. As weak as the brakes, the feeling when flipping the GSX-R is as spongy. Especially in fast alternating curves, the Gixxer lacks the precision and accuracy with which more light-footed and more tightly coordinated competitors shine.
The Yamaha YZF-R1 is not a handling miracle in this test field. The lively Aprilia, the razor-sharp KTM as well as the BMW and the Kawasaki are waving away. On the one hand, with its 212 kilograms, it is not a lightweight, and on the other hand, its very soft suspension setup does not allow any real jerk actions in the chicanes. The superior everyday comfort takes revenge on the slopes. The Yam is living proof that the Japanese can also build polarizing motorcycles with strong characters. So it is not surprising that only small things such as some covers and the frame color have been changed for 2010. The white lacquer variant, as shown here in the test, now has a black and no red frame, to the delight of most viewers.
Otherwise, the R1 presents itself as grumpy and strong as usual. The hoarse barking of the four-cylinder suitably accompanies the hearty acceleration and gives the pilot a feeling of security even at the limit. However, because of the wax-soft tuning of the R1, there is hardly any feeling for that limit. When accelerating out of fast arcs, the rear of the yam contracts noticeably, which dilutes the line and sends man and machine onto a slightly wider path. With the hindquarters pumping, it goes towards the narrow chicane, in front of which the fork is completely compressed in the braking zone. When tearing through the left-right combination, you have to grab hold of it, but there is a lack of accuracy.
The six-piston stoppers of the YZF-R1 make a brilliant impression. They decelerate in a manner appropriate to their type and class and do not come from the Brembo standard shelf. An insignificant little thing, but again a bit of independence, of which the R1 has so much.
Wow! The wait was worth it. The BMW S 1000 RR clinches its first test victory on the racetrack. In second place the Ösi-Racer KTM RC8 R just ahead of the basic Aprilia RSV4 R. Fourth place is shared by the Kawasaki ZX-10R and the Yamaha YZF-R1. Both are very different, but while the Kawa has the sportier chassis, the R1 engine works better. Honda’s Fireblade with C-ABS comes in just behind the two in sixth. She should be a bit cheeky – Suzuki’s GSX-R 1000 in particular has to put up with this accusation in seventh place.
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