What a time to be alive if you’re a sports bike fan. A couple of weeks ago our friends at Bike World took a look at the beautiful Ducati Panigale V4, ours and their bike of the year for 2018.
This week, we thought we should talk about the competition, the 2019 BMW S1000RR.
When the S1000RR was launched over ten years ago, it didn’t just push the bar a little higher in the sports bike sector, it put the bar over its knee and gave it a damn good spanking. Nothing could touch it. It wasn’t just that it had traction control, ABS, riding modes and cruise control. It was also all day comfortable, sounded like an Angel on a Waltzer and even had heated grips.
There have been updates and a few special models over the last ten years, but for 2019 the S1000RR is all new.
First things first, BMW has fixed the lazy eye that the previous model had. Gone are the asymmetric headlights in favour of a Panigale style pout at the front. We like it.
The BMW has also been to boot camp, losing a stone and a half and gaining 8bhp might not sound like much on paper, but in sports bike terms, that’s like winning Slimmer of the Year and Mr Universe on the same day.
You can dance up and down the gearbox without using the clutch, all the while checking what gear you’re in on the new TFT (thin film technology) screen. Lean angle indicators will also show you how far over you’re cranked on your way to work.
Those headline figures are pretty serious, 197kg and 207bhp. The Panigale vs S1000RR track battle will be the Wilder vs Fury of heavyweight sports bike battles. For the first time in ages, we can’t tell which one will deliver the knockout blow.