Another Literbike Shootout

Motorcycle USA Motorcycle.Com has posted their 2010 Literbike shootout, comparing the newest European bikes to the top Japanese 1,000cc rockets.  From Europe, they test the Aprilia RSV4 R, and the BMW S1000RR.  From the Land of the Rising Sun comes the Honda CBR1000RR and the Kawasaki ZX-10R.  Like nearly everyone else who’s riddewn it, they give the top marks to the BMW.

BMW S1000RR. If you want the literbike with the most power, best brakes, a wonderfully compliant chassis and best available options in 2010, these are the only letters and numbers you need to know.

Everybody loves this bike, it seems, in the sportbike set.

And yet, in World Superbike, where the S1000RR is in its second season of competition, its riders have been on the podium…um…not a single time.

BMW S1000RR: 200HP+?

BMW S1000RR Dyno Chart
BMW S1000RR Dyno Chart

Motorcycle Daily reports that the BMW S1000RR appears to be a real superbike.

Apparently, our Brit cousins at MCN strapped the S1000RR to a dyno, and got the HP/Torque results shown over at the right (click to enlarge).  The results show 183HP at the rear wheel with stock exhaust, and 185.5 with an Akraprovic setup.

Oh, and about 81 lb-ft of torque, if anyone cares.

So, if they’re putting out 185 at the wheel, then they’ve got to be pushing 200+ HP at the crank, which is…a lot.  A lot more, in fact, than BMW even admits to.

As Gabe Ets-Hokin notes:

Used to be 180 hp at the back wheel was the result of tens of thousands of dollars of soup-up work: a turbo or nitrous, or just getting your hands on a megabucks works racebike.

Back when I was a kid in the 70s, we thought a 70HP bike was wicked fast.  200HP would have been seen as…insane.

BTW, the nearest competitor–according to the dyno-tested models, at least–to the S1000RR was the Suzuki Hayabusa at 179.5 HP.

Yet, with all that horsepower on tap, Troy Corser is being beaten like an egg-sucking dog in WSBK by guys riding 170.6 HP Fireblades.

Loser.

2010 BMW R-Series Motorcycles

By far the most popular search that leads people to this site, is a search for the rumored variants of the BMW R1200RT for 2010, such as “R1300RT”, or R1250RT”.  Everyone seems to want to know what the 2010 version of the BMW R-bikes are going to be.

Well, now we know.  It’s the R1200RT, and R1200GS.

2010 BMW R1200RT
2010 BMW R1200RT

BMW announced today that the 2010 R-Series bikes will all sport a DOHC Boxer motor derived from the Hp2 Sport.  Unlike the HP2 Sport, however, the R Engine will rev lower, and put out less horsepower.

So, the horsepower figure for the R-series Boxer will remain unchanged at 110HP, but torque will increase by 3lb-ft to 88lb-ft at an unchanged 6,000RPM, for faster acceleration.  The redline will increase to 8,500 RPM from the current 8,000rpm.

The R1200RT will receive an updated fairing and windscreen, designed to offer better wind protection.  The instrument panel has also been updated, with redesigned instruments and a visor to help keeps the sun’s glare off a bit better.  Also updated are the handlebar controls, with the old-style paddle turn signals on each side being replaced by standard turn signals.  An additional control is a rotary thumbwheel on the left handgrip to allow the rider to cycle through all the stereo options without taking his hand off the grip.  The stereo itself gets rid of BMW’s CD player, although a jack is provided for external audio sources.

2010 BMW R1200GS
2010 BMW R1200GS

TheR1200GS is visually unchanged from the previous year’s model, except for the cylider covers, which have two bolts, instead of four.  The new engine, on the other hand also gets the 110HP output, and increase of 5 horsies over last year’s.  There’s also an accessory LED headlight for a few extra bucks.

Overall, the change to the DOHC engine doesn’t provide as much oomph as I would have expected, considering that the HP2 engine actually puts out 130HP in the HP2.  I would’ve thought that BMW would have added more ponies to the R-series boxer, rather than upping the torque a bit.

I’m also a little disappointed in the new styling for the R1200RT.  I think last year’s version looked better, and came in better colors than white, beige and two-tone gray and white.  Overall, I suspect that GS afficionados will be a bit more pleased with the 2010 update than their RT brethren.

There’s tons of detail available from BMW about the new models in PDF format, which you can acquire here for the GS, and here for the RT.

[ad#1]

EICMA 2009

The big motorcycle show, Italy’s EICMA, will be happening in 20 days. Traditionally, this is a show that always brings some surprises for the new year.  So, what’s up this year?

Obviously, Aprilia will be rolling out the RSV4 and RSV4-R.  That’s a no-brainer.

BMW might be an interesting presence this year.  The rumors of what is going to happen with the R-Series bikes has been rampant, with everything from a new 1300cc boxer, to the 1200cc boxer getting an update with the 130HP DOHC motor ported from the HP2.  I’ve written about the GS getting that motor, but there are rumors that the whole R-series will be getting that upgrade as well, which would make both the GS and RT extremely attractive.  And with 130HP, the lighter-weight RT would approach the performance of the FJR, making it a true sport-tourer.  The 1300cc K bikes and the S1000RR are old news already, so the only conceivable surprise would come from a revamping of the R Bikes.

Ducati’s new 1200cc Multistrada and Hypermotard 796 will be there.  We’ve already seen the Hypermotard.  And we’ve seen the new Multistrada, too, except with lots of duct tape hiding the fairing.  The removal of the duct tape will be Ducati’s big event.

MV Agusta has had the same model lineup of two bikes–the F4 and Brutale–for the last decade.  This year looks to be a little different, however.  We’ve already seen the two new Brutale models, so, while they’ll no doubt be there, no one will care.  What we haven’t seen is the revamped F4, other than the teaser image MV released several days ago, So I expect that to be unveiled.  But what we really haven’t seen are the two entirely new models that have been rumored over the last month or so.  The 675cc triple that has shown up is spy shots, and the company’s new Superbike, which is expected to lead MV Agusta back to participation in WSS or WSBK racing.  We don’t even know if it’s a completely new model, or WSBK-compliant F4 model.  But, after a decade with the same old line-up, MV might be the surprise of the show this year.

Neither Honda now Yamaha will be there, which, in Honda’s case seems a bit odd, since their new VFR1200F has just debuted, and it’s supposed to be the basis for a whole new line of motorcycles from Big Red.  So, it seems strange that they won’t be at EICMA so show it off.

Triumph will be there, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the new Street Triple R show up, with its new black and gold paint scheme, reminiscent of the John Player Special motorsports paint scheme of beloved memory.

But, surprises aside, with thingsas bad in the motorcycle manufacturing and sales world as they are, it seems that this year will mostly be a low-key affair, which the absence of two of the Big Four won’t help.

BTW, I wonder if Harley-Davidson will be pulling the Buell 1125R from the show?

R1300RT Rumors

[ad#MotoBanner]

When people find this blog through web searches, the absolute number one search that brings traffic here is a search for the notional BMW R1300RT.  Now, this may be because I’m nearly the only-English-language web site to pull a story from the French Motosports web site MotoRevu about BMW releasing a bike of that very name in 2010. If so, it’s only natural that I get so much traffic from that search, because I have about the only content that matches it…in English, anyway.

The thing is, as near as I can tell, there is no hard information about a new generation of BMW boxer engines for 2010.  And, to the extent there is, the most likely move is to a 1250cc boxer, not a 1300cc one.  Oberdan Bezzi, the Italian motorcycle designer says that BMW’s next move is for the R1250GS, with and RT version coming a bit later.  And BMW’s changes since the 1990s to the R-bikes have been 50cc bumps in displacement.  That makes a 1250 more likely than a 1300 for the next-gen R-bikes.

But, of course, that’s just a rumor, too.

The bottom line is that, as of September 2009, there’s no firm indication of a change to the R1200-series bikes coming in 2010.  And if there is one, BMW will announce it in the next 60 days or so.  But, right now, all the rumors about a new R-bike are just that…rumors.

MCN: S1000RR Kicks the Fireblade’s Butt

[ad#MotoBanner]

MCN's Aug 19th Cover Story. Click to enlarge.
MCN's Aug 19th Cover Story. Click to enlarge.

Motorcycle News, in the UK, has just released their 19 August  print issue, in which the BMW S1000RR goes head to head against Honda’s venerable CBR1000RR, and smacks it down like a red-headed stepchild.  Indeed, they say that their tester could do a 3-second faster lap in the test at the track in Brno.  They breathlessly report:

In this week’s issue of MCN, on sale August 19, we have a world exclusive track test of the BMW S1000RR. According to our tester, it feels more powerful than a Yamaha R1 and makes the Honda Fireblade’s suspension feel rubbish in comparison…

World exclusive riding impressions of the new BMW sports bike shows it can lap Brno 3 secs faster than a Fireblade.

Man, that sounds like a super hot bike, doesn’t it?  Three seconds per lap faster than the CBR1000RR!  Wow!

The thing is, that in World Superbike, where actual, professional racers do actual, professional racing, the S1000RR’s best result to date has been Troy Corser’s 5th place finish at Brno in Race 1.  He was 10th place in Race 2.  He was beaten by two Fireblades in race 1 and three in race 2.

And, of the top 10 riders in WSB after 10 of 14 rounds, four of them ride Fireblades.  None of them ride BMWs.

I’m just saying.

Those BMW Guys Get All the Nice Stuff

[ad#MotoBanner]

BMW and Garmin have released a new motorcycle navigation device for BMW motorcycles, the BMW Navigator IV. It sounds very nice.

With a new slim design and custom BMW four-button mount cradle, the BMW Navigator IV includes a bright widescreen 4.3 inch display and waterproof design, configurable fields and display, stereo Bluetooth for hands-free calling, turn-by-turn directions and lane assist features with lane guidance and junction view.

 BMW Motorrad Navigator IV
BMW Motorrad Navigator IV

Of course, it’s specifically designed to be used while wearing gloves, too. It’s also got a lane assist feature that guides you through multiple lanes, and even displays road signs on the screen that look like the actual signs you see over the highway.

And, since it’s a BMW device, plan on shelling out about $1,000 for it, too.

BMWs are really the Swiss Army Knives of motorcycles.  BMW riders get spoken, turn by turn navigation through their Bluetooth-linked helmets.  Meanwhile, a gentleman such as myself, who rides an FJR, has to carry around paper maps like an animal.

Motorcycle.Com’s Best of 2009

[ad#MotoBanner]

The annual march of media bike choices continues, with Motorcycle.com weighing in with thir top picks of the year.  Their choices are interesting, and a bit different than I would have expected.

Triumph Street Triple R: Motorcycle.Com's Bike of the year for 2009.
Triumph Street Triple R: Motorcycle.Com's Bike of the year for 2009.

For the overall bike of the year, they picked the Triumph Street Triple R.

Best Sportbike honors go to the Kawasaki ZX-6R, with the runner-up being the Honda CBR1000RR.

The Ducati Monster 1100 gets the nod for best standard motorcycle, with second place going to the Harley-Davidson XR1200.

The best cruiser pick is the all new Triumph Thunderbird 1600, with the Suzuki Boulevard M90 taking an honorable mention.

The award for best touring bike goes to the BMW R1200RT, closely followed by the Honda Gold Wing.

BMW also take both first and second place spots for sport-touring, with the K1300GT winning, and the F800ST getting the honorable mention.

BMW stays in the winner’s circle for best off-road bike, with the top honors going to the F800GS, and the second spot going to the Aprilia SXV/RXV 5.5.

They also have picks for best eccentrics, scooters, technology, and more, so why not go there and read them?

‘Busa Killer?

[ad#MotoBanner]

The September issue of Sport Rider has a head to head comparison of the BMW K1300S and the Suzuki Hayabusa.  You can read it when the mag hits the newsstands, or you can read it in PDF Format here: BMW K1300s vs. Suzuki Hayabusa.

You might expect that the venerable ‘Busa would be the hands-down winner in a head to head comparo with a BMW.  You’d be wrong.  They rated the K13S higher in every category except transmission, where both bikes tied.  They especially liked the more comfortable ergonomics, the anti-spin control, and the on-the-fly adjustable suspension.

Another BMW Rumor

[ad#MotoBanner]

I‘ve been seeing this pop up for the last few days.  Oberdan Bezzi is an Italian motorcycle designer.  Sometimes his notions of what a future bike model would look like are just that: notions.  But, he is a guy who has some hooks into the major bike shops in Europe, so, sometimes, he’s spot on.

Oberdan Bezzi's BMW GS12500R Concept.
Oberdan Bezzi's BMW R12500GS Concept.

In this particular case, the rumor is that BMW is working on a 12500cc successor to the current 1200cc boxer in their R-Series bikes.  It would give the bike maybe, what, 10-15 more ponies, and an extra lb-ft or two?  And, it would keep in tradition with past incremental shifts for the R-Bikes, from the 110 to 1150, to 1200.  maybe it;s shave a few punds of weight off, too.  I dunno.

If I was BMW, though, I’m not sure why I would.  Instead, I think the move towards the HP2 boxer engine, with the dual overhead cams would be a better move.  They already get 130HP out of that engine.

Of course, if you bumped up that engine to 1250cc, you’d probably get to 140+ HP out of it in the HP2 series.

And, lets’ not forget my previous trip down BMW rumor lane, which is that there will be a 1300cc HP2 boxer, and it will go into the RT and GS.

BMW Is Serious About Sportbikes

[ad#MotoBanner]

BMW recently announced that the new S1000RR superbike would be available for sale to the public in January, at a price that makes it very competitive with Japan’s Big 4.  Now, it appears that this was part of an intentional strategy to go after the Japanese market share in liter-bikes. And they’re confident enough in the new bike to predict a 20% increase in sales–even in this shaky economy–and to let the Japanese know that the Bavarians are taking aim at them.

“We are going to take the Japanese head-on,” said Pieter de Waal, vice president of the company’s U.S. motorcycle operations, at an event last week in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

The motorcycle’s introduction puts BMW into a niche — informally known as “crotch rockets” — dominated by Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha Motor Co. and the Kawasaki brand owned by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. The four Japan-based companies have 88 percent of U.S. market share in the superbike category, De Waal said. BMW’s offering will be priced at $13,800, close to the four most popular competing motorcycles.

While it’s always good to see Germans in a buoyantly confident mood, some observers say, “Not so fast”.

“For BMW, which has always had a reputation of being a very high-priced motorcycle, it’s certainly a lot closer to the Japanese bikes in price,” said David Edwards, Cycle World magazine’s editor in chief. “That may be for some people a reason to consider it, especially if its performance lives up to expectations. But I don’t think you are going to see a mass exodus of Japanese sportbike riders going to BMW.”

2010 BMW S1000RR Superbike
2010 BMW S1000RR Superbike

Perhaps, but a lot of the liter-bike guys are crazy for motorcycle racing, and if BMWs race version can show up the Japanese bikes on the track, it can’t do anything but help their sales. And releasing the bike for public sale here in the US allows them to meet the homologation rules for AMA Superbike, so I’d bet very good money that we’ll see a BMW race team hitting the tracks next season.  If you really want to take on the Japanese–and the Italians, by the way–that’s the way to do it.

Although, having said that, Buell proved a few weeks ago that, while the AMA may have rules about homologation, they aren’t, you know, fanatics about them.