BMW superbike star stripped naked
The unexpected star of the BMW stand at this year's EICMA motorcycle expo in Milan is this - a naked version of the Blue Propeller Company's championship-winning S1000 RR superbike, rather unimaginatively dubbed the S1000 R.
Its styling is very much in the current 'street' idiom, with a low-mounted headlight cluster, a high, sporty tail-piece and a paperback-sized pillion pad designed for a small, supple person with a single central buttock, plus a few scraps of plastic to clean up the radiator plumbing.
The forward-tilted 999cc transverse four has been detuned from 142kW at a screaming 13 000rpm to a more real world-friendly 118kW at 11 000 revs, but most of the superbike's electronics are still there, including ABS, stability control and a choice of two riding modes as standard; it even, somewhat to our surprise, retains the RR's programmable quick-shifter.
Traction control, incorporating two additional ECU mappings, is a factory-fit option, making this one of the most sophisticated street-bikes on the market.
Most of the engine changes are at the top, with 'softer' cams, reshaped inlet tracts and a remapped ECU that delivers peak torque of 112Nm (almost exactly the same as the RR) at a somewhat more accessible 9250rpm.
What's more important, however, is that the R delivers 10Nm more than its hard-revving older sibling all the way up to 7500rpm, which is good for punchier acceleration out of tight corners on real roads, aided by slight changes in suspension geometry to make the bike a little more stable and its steering a little less hair-trigger.
Adaptive electronic damping is also available ex factory.
BMW has wisely left the RR's superlative Brembo radial-mount brakes strictly alone, resisting the temptation to move to fully integral plumbing; as it is, applying the front brake will also give you some rear-wheel braking to stabilise the chassis, while stomping on the foot lever will apply only the rear brake - within the limits of the ABS, of course.
Also carried over almost unchanged is the sportster's comprehensive instrument cluster, with an analogue rev-counter, correctly aligned so that the torque peak is almost exactly at 12 o'clock, and a neatly laid-out and easily legible liquid-crystal screen that displays everything from speed, distance, gears, time and ECU modes to ambient temperature and lap times.
The BMW S1000 R streetbike will be released in South Africa in the second quarter of 2014; prices, as always, when they get here.