It's New, It's Fast, It's Everything They Claimed

How often do new products live up to their glorious, pre-launch hype? Techno-geeks are already suggesting changes for the unfortunately named iPad. Though poorly named, it may actually sell. Other products though, are all hype, no traction and few sales.
Not so for the BMW S1000RR. Four years in development, the S1000RR super sportbike appears to be taking the BMW universe by storm. Local BMW Area Rep Mark Jamroz reports some of his dealers have waiting lists twenty deep for the bike. You read that right. Twenty. Where's a ramped up production line when you need it?

Shreveport Motorsports Sales Manager Jason Kilpatrick just returned from the North American dealer launch of BMW's foray into supersport and reports the dealers are universally upbeat. While dealers speaking well of their products in order to sell them is not at all surprising, what impressed Jason was the number of multi-line dealers singing the S1000RR's praises. Those dealers of the Suzuki and Kawasaki sport bikes that will be BMW's biggest competition liked what they saw and want more of it.

The bike is so fast and so responsive, BMW took the unprecedented step of refusing to give dealerships the keys until they could complete some rider/dealer training. Jason was taken through three track sessions at the Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida that included rides in rain mode, sport mode and race mode. "This bike just delivered on everything BMW has promised," says Jason. "In terms of performance, the transmission and clutch, it's just smooth and seamless. Going from 160+ mph to 30 mph is as simple as downshifting and dumping the clutch. There's no wheel hop." Jason clocked mid 160s down Palm Beach's 6/10th of a mile straightaway and says the bike is good for more. "The engine on this bike is 216-hp that has been detuned through electronics. It's still getting 180-hp to the back wheel. I think it's a 200-hp bike."
It seems apparent that BMW took the time to make this bike the one to beat in the world of superfastsuperlight-ultra performance. It comes standard with a 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty, which is two years longer than those offered by other sport bike makers. It can be ordered with both traction control and ABS brakes, which BMW believes will be 90% of their orders. BMW even went so far as making the key adjust the suspension so riders won't have to dig through pockets searching for a tool.

Jason in front on the track at Palm Beach

At age 31, Jason has felt the need for speed since he was a 4-year-old kid tearing through the woods on dirt bikes. He has owned more than 25 bikes, most of the them the 'eat-the-road' variety, and started racing at tracks in 2000. He knows fast, he knows performance and he knows a great bike when he sees it. "BMW plans to take on the Japanese sportbike builders this year and capture 10% of the US sportbike market (roughly 2300 bikes).  Most of the 624 pre-sold units have been sold to existing BMW owners." But as the word gets out, BMW is hoping to go head-to-head with riders who may now be in the market for a Suzuki Hayabusa or Kawasaki ZX-14.

Bike builder Steve Culp says he can't imagine this bike won't lure Japanese sportbike riders into the BMW fold. "It's the traction control that makes this bike amazing," says Culp. "It's as close to idiot-proof as a bike can be. You can dive into a corner at the wrong speed and the bike will back the throttle off until it gets you into the right parameters to complete your turn. I don't think there's another bike out there like this."

Some 2300 units will be available in the U.S. in 2010, the other 8,000 are committed to Europe, where the bikes are selling for much more than their U.S. counterparts. With the ABS/traction options, the bike is available right now for $16,225 at SMS, but that price may not be good for long. BMW may have found the combination of fast+light that will demand more than MSRP. If you want one, you might consider getting while the getting is good.

"BMW is calling the S1000RR their 'Conquest' model," says Jason. "It's the model they think will help them conquer the Japanese sport bike market." From all indications, they have.

The S1000RR is more than fast:

S1000RR vs. 700hp Corvette (in German, but worth watching):

The official S1000RR site:

Photos from Jason's track day:

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