Why The 190 mph BMW S1000RR Would Make a Terrific First Motorcycle



Why The 190 mph BMW S1000RR Would Make a Terrific First Motorcycle

Ok, conventional wisdom states that all new riders should only ride a Ninja 250. But why ride a 25-year old beginner bike when you could instead have what, until this year, was the fastest motorcycle ever? Yeah, that sounds like a much better idea. Here’s why the BMW S1000RR would be a great choice for your first motorcycle.

Photos: Grant Ray

It’s extraordinarily fast.
Until the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R came along (has it actually reached dealers yet, post recall?) the S1000RR was the absolute king of the liter bike hill, claiming 193bhp and 204kg (wet) to give it the highest power-to-weight ratio of any production superbike to-date. Last year’s date.

You can see that performance on the street too. Riding the S1000RR back-to-back with the Aprilia RSV4 — which just bested it in SBK two seasons running — it was the BMW that was pulling away with ease stoplight-to-stoplight and out on mountain roads too. The Aprilia rider had to work significantly harder for noticeably less speed. Over the length of Glendora Mountain Road the difference was measured in minutes, between two riders of largely similar capabilities.

But why’s this matter if you’re considering an S1000RR as your first bike? I mean, there’s no way you’ll be capable of using even 25 percent of its performance, right? Two words: bragging rights. No matter how stretched the swingarm on your buddy’s Hayabusa nor how bright the airbrushed flames on that other guy’s R1, it’s your bike that you can tell the girls at Burger King is the fastest parked outside.

But it’s exceptionally easy to ride.
That’s not just due to the electronics either. Like an old Honda Fireblade, you’ll feel right at home the second you hop on the S1000RR and everything works exactly the way you expect it to. Nothing’s weird, nothing’s surprising, nothing’s unique. The brakes are extremely powerful, yet gradual in their application. The suspension is extremely capable, yet compliant over bad roads. The steering is very fast, yet the chassis is completely stable. The engine is extremely powerful, yet utterly smooth, linear and predictable. Just get on it and ride fast, you’ll hardly realize you’re on a motorcycle at all.

It’s affordable.
$13,950 ($15,880 with ABS and DTC) is less than half the price of that 350Z you crashed last summer. I just got an insurance quote on one (third party only) for $217 a year! I’m 30, single and have been riding for a while though, yours might be a bit higher if you’re a n00b and don’t have grey hair yet. What’s that bike payment average out as? A couple hundo a month to own one of the fastest production vehicles ever made. Sure beats a new set of rims for your Civic.

It’s got a luxury badge.
Honda? Jap crap. Ducati? Come on, you’re not a dentist. Aprilia? Who? Everyone, from your old school buddies to your mom/landlord to that girl that won’t sleep with you, knows what a BMW badge means. It means she’ll come home with you now. Right?

It compensates for your riding inadequacies.
Know the one thing that makes the S1000RR unique, at least as long as every other performance bike doesn’t have crazy electronic rider aids? You control acceleration with lean angle, not throttle. Leaned over in a corner, just whack the throttle wide open whenever you feel like it. The traction control will meter out acceleration at a rate the available grip can handle and the wheelie control will keep the front end down. Keep it pointed around the corner and you’ll simply accelerate at the maximum possible rate. That’s the kind of performance only hitherto available to talented superbike racers, but now new riders can have it too.

That’s not the only trick up the S1000RR’s electronic sleeve. Blow into a corner too hot and there’s no need to worry. Just grab some front brake and the ABS will keep the front wheel from tucking as you lean towards the apex.

If ever a motorcycle was idiot proof, it’s this one. That’s a good thing, as a new rider on a 193bhp liter bike, you’re going to need all the help you can get. Our advice: keep it pointed away from trees. If you can manage that, you should be ok.

Its manners are mild.
Won’t you be scared by all that power the second you open the throttle pulling away from the dealer’s smiling face? No you will not. Hopefully he’ll have helpfully switched it into Rain mode for you, limiting power to 150bhp and slowing down throttle response. Open the throttle and acceleration occurs as if by magic at a rate even you can control. See previous advice about pointing away from trees.

But even in Sport or Race mode (ok, Slick, as in “slick tires” is a bit snappy on the throttle response), where full power becomes available, the experience belies the performance. It’s an inline-four so you know it’s going to be smooth but nothing other than the speedometer adequately conveys what exactly is happening between your legs. And even the flickering numbers on that digital speedometer — illegibly blurred by transition at full throttle — fail to truly convey the sheer violence of the raw performance. Riding the S1000RR is like sleeping through an earthquake.

It’s comfortable.
Ok, since you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, here’s something you weren’t expecting: motorcycles are abysmally uncomfortable. Especially fast ones. Your hands will go numb, your ass will go numb, your legs will go gangrenous and fall off. But not on the BMW. You probably still don’t want to cross the country on it if you’ve got a back problem, but the seat is soft, the bars are reasonably high and not too far from the seat, the pegs are surprisingly low. There’s no vibrations of any kind, whatsoever.

We’ve frequently argued that sportsbikes make the best road bikes largely because they’re so capable that anything you can do to them on the street fails to faze them. The only fly in the ointment has traditionally been that you can’t ride them on the road because your legs will inconveniently detach from your body. On the S1000RR, not only will you be able to keep your legs, but you’ll be able to use them to walk when you arrive at your destination too.

Everyone knows what it is.
That guy at the lights in the Porsche? He knows he can’t beat you. Your buddy with the CBR? He understands the consequences of you showing up on this RR. Your non-riding buddies? They’ll be hella impressed when they see you’re riding this BMW.

It’s won every formulaic bike mag superbike shootout ever. That’s all that matters, right?

  • Kentaro

    “truly convey the *shear* violence”

  • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee



    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      On some things. Not on others.

      • Jason

        There is something to be said however for the fact Keith Codes superbike school uses these bikes exclusively now and has a large reduction in crashes since going to them even though they are way more powerful than any of the previous bikes they were using

        It’s not going to prevent the local motorcycle shops from selling litre bikes to 18 yr old marines who will go do something stupid on them (like point them at trees or telephone poles) but it is admirable in the fact someone like me normally intimidated by a super sport bike but a decent rider could probably love the hell out of one of these

        • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

          but knowing that they’re “idiot-proof” why on earth would I pay extra to use one at a school whose sole purpose is to teach me how to corner?!?!? No thanks, I’ll stick to my “experts only, thanks” R1.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

            Think of it like learning photography. Digital can teach in a weekend what the use of film may never be understood in a lifetime. Want to understand how just hard you can come out of a corner without the potential consequences of a life-threatening crash? Well, now you can.

            • Jason

              Just because the electronics allow you to set nannies that make things easier doesn’t mean the bike can’t teach “experts” something. As stated the slick mode is not for the faint of heart. The photography analogy is probably a pretty good one because a modern DSLR has a lot more it can do if the user is knowledgeable but by default it takes a lot of the stress away and just takes some good pictures

  • DoctorNine

    (blinks… blinks again…)

  • Trev

    Rotfl, really had to reach with most of this; but we get the point. The bike would be a real weapon in the correct hands, but could make a novice racer/trackday person seem pretty good.

  • Ceolwulf

    k, i’m sold. off to the dealer

  • Surj

    Seat height needs to be a bit lower.

  • Pete

    So is it impossible to end up in a guard rail on one of these things while exiting the highway? If so, all new riders should have one.

  • slowestGSXRever

    I wonder if the ’11 ZX-10 is as idiot proof as the bmw? Anybody?

  • Dumptruckfoxtrot

    It is op-eds like this that make this publication appear more to be a very well written blog than a serious piece of motorcycle journalism. It isn’t the style, the style is great, it is the overwhelming amount of opinionated content generated from only one person.

    I understand that the publication is changing, and I appreciate the input from writers like Edwards that provide different view points. However, the style of the publication seems close to becoming formulaic itself. While there are no ridiculous shoot-outs, at least in other publications there is more than one view expressed routinely and the same shtick that extols the virtues of conspicuous consumption of things that go fast rather than things that are shiny or “tuff”.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      So should we not write fun articles like this one?

      • Dumptruckfoxtrot

        Not at all, as I said the style is great. I just think more content from other people, hell even people who outright disagree with you, would elevate the publication from seeming like a well-written blog from someone who has very good contacts. It just doesn’t feel like a holistic coverage of motorcycle culture when one person submits nearly every article, especially when that person is very opinionated.

        I’m not trying to just rag on HFL. I do really like this site and I don’t regret subscribing. But to me it seems like there is room for more than one take here.

        • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

          yeah, you need to hire more writers. like me, for instance. ;-)

          DTFT- the more subscribers HfL gets, the more $$$ they can get to hire other awesome writers…

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Oh I totally agree. We’d love to see more writers and will actually be rolling one out shortly.

          What we do is hard, not many people can do it unfortunately. The venn diagram convergence between people that love motorcycles, write well and are prepared to work their asses off for not much money is very small.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            Oh, and there’s definitely room for more opinions, even ones totally opposite to ours. That’s why we enjoy talking to you guys in comments so much.

          • Nick

            PETER EGAN!

            • Daniel

              The reason why i love this site and subscribed even when living in the other side of the world, is because they actually do have an opinion.

              I have still to read a single article in a paper magazine that shows an opinion about a bike. “Hey lets compare this 2 similar bikes”, then they spit a wall of numbers on your face and end saying that both bikes are equally good and each one will do exactly the same for you. “Oh but one has hooks for a net and the other has fuel gauge” Yeah i will decide wether i buy one or the other based just on some stupid hooks vs fuel gauge… I want to read what people really thinks after actually riding a bike, and why. Wether i agree or not. Wether theyre right or not.

            • boxofbits

              DAN WALSH!

              • Richard


                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  Me too! I’ve already offered in fact. We’ll see if any words ever grace my inbox.

      • MotoRandom

        If you take this as pure serious or pure sarcasm, you may be missing the point. It’s these left hand column thought excercises on HFL that make this place so much fun. Only Wes, Grant and assorted crew seem to be willing to give the hornets nest a good smack and then smile while suffering the consequences. It makes for good Interwebs, worth paying for even.

        If you guys keep printing offensive hyperbole like this, then by golly, I’m renewing my subscription!

        • Dumptruckfoxtrot

          Daniel and MotoRandom.

          Again, I’m not against this article, I’m against only having this article. Watered down advertisements masquerading as Ads suck, but that doesn’t mean that every attempt to have balanced journalism is wrong. I am not against any articles on this site because they are offensive or creative nonfiction or new journalism or whatever you want to classify an article like this as.

          I am instead for an approach towards the subject that doesn’t lead readers around by the nose. An approach that features only one viewpoint on motorcycles is not a serious publication. It is a personal blog and blogs are not journalism. You might as well be subscribed to a Livejournal account, or Fox News: XTREME Moto-sports Edition.

          With multiple opinions shown the audience grows, and the publication has room to expand. Even if that means letting a pirate write an article about some like say, the Cyclewerks Heist.

          I understand that HFL is a work in progress and I get the humor, but much like the writers have shown on this site, I believe in criticizing things I do want to succeed more, not less.

          I look forward to reading the new writer Wes and I appreciate your taking the time to respond.

          • dux

            Wow, this is the first place I’ve seen in a while where criticism is actually constructive and doesn’t get (too)personal. Very cool

            Hey! Animated, civil criticism isn’t usually allowed on the internet! You need to swear and use CAPS LOCK.

            Anyways, I agree. Liked the article and hope we get some more good writers as well.


            • Daniel

              Yeah the comments on this site are always awesome, love them almost as much as the articles! ;)

              • noone1569

                This is one of the main benefits of the subscription here. The fact that anyone willing to throw down a couple bucks just to read about motorcycles on a relatively small website is probably going to a die-hard motorcyclist, and thus, be able to provide great content within comments. I do enjoy the pieces such as this one and the other Op-eds done here; but, I believe the the comments are just as, if not more, rewarding because it allows us motocrazies to chime in and voice our opinions. This is usually accomplished here without any flaming that is typically seen on the net. This is one of the reasons I suggested an HFL forum on the FAQ post. I believe that such a place would be a rewarding experience for subscribers and the HFL crew alike.

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  So make one!

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            “Blogs are not journalism.”

            Have you been hiding under a rock for the last decade? Look at the world outside motorcycles if this blog isn’t evidence enough.

            Not only am I a trained journalist that writes for Newsweek, Wired, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science etc etc etc, but more truth is told and more of the public is informed through this shitty personal blog than through any other motorcycle publication out there.

            HFL is actually an incorporated LLC, a profitable one at that.

            And as for writers? David Edwards was the editor of CycleWorld for 25 years. Michael Uhlarik designs motorcycles for major OEMs, Kevin Ash is the world’s most respected motorcycle reviewer. We’ve also had articles by Mat Oxley, Wraith-designer JT Nesbitt, Mark Gardiner and many others.

            • Dumptruckfoxtrot

              I’m not hiding under a rock. I’m fully aware that by and large journalism is a dying field that is being replaced by “reporters” that write a scathing report after doing two Google searches and making it halfway through a hot pocket’s heating cycle. I’d like to make it clear that I certainly don’t think that is what you do, just what others have done the last decade.

              Being profitable or an LLC seems to be unrelated. The KKK is an LLC and though i’m not sure if they broke even this year, I don’t think it would make the organization good or valid if they did. (Please scroll to the bottom if you feel the dogs of war are slipping.)

              As I said, I am excited about the other writers you have had on this page. You do offer multiple views Wes, I wasn’t referring to this as just a “shitty” blog. I just think there is room for improvement.

              I have no doubt you have been to quite a few J-classes and outside of that, you’re simply a phenomenal writer. That being said, you know that your style is not traditional journalism and that quality is only one facet to running a publication.

              Frequency that one writing style or opinion is displayed is another thing to take into consideration. 2 out of the last 21 articles (22 if you want include the phantom BMW article) were written by one person. If you’re making an attempt to add more writers, awesome. That satisfies me.

              Just to make this clear: I do not think Wes is a grand wizard, there is no way that you can even begin to follow ATGATT wearing those thin little sheets alone and wearing them over your gear isn’t at all aerodynamic. It was instead an absurd, but I think apt, example of why being an LLC has no business being a way to judge the value of an organization.

              • Kirill

                Your main criticism seems to be that Wes is the main writer, which is an odd one given that the existence of the site is entirely because of Wes and he’s running it on what seems to be a shoestring budget because he wants more editorial independence than he’d get at an ad-based operation and is thus relying on the likes of us being willing to pay a relative pittance per month to keep him going.

                Given that people tend to ask for money in exchange for their writing (unless they’re writing for HuffPo), its a bit daft to ask him to throw down cash for other people’s opinions unless they’re actually worth it.

                As for the blog vs journalism question, I think its highly irrelevant because any kind of enthusiast publication is really more about entertainment than journalism. Nobody would ever buy a car or bike mag, for example, if it was written like a newspaper.

                • Dumptruckfoxtrot

                  Asking that a publication pay to show more than one man’s viewpoint 19 out 22 times on a topic as broad as motorcycle culture is daft?

                • Kirill

                  Yes, because a)it’s that man’s blog/site and b)because the business model doesn’t support it, at least not yet.

                • Dumptruckfoxtrot

                  Kirill, while you disagree, I’m sure you can see that I’m being constructive. I’m not trying to spit in anyone’s eye.

                  It is a pay-site, a product, it is profitable even. There isn’t any reason that as a consumer that it is wrong of me to critique it, any more than it is wrong or strange or for anyone else to critique whatever other product is out there.

                  I bought his work, it was a steal granted, but it was still bought. His product, the site, is as much mine as it is yours or anyone else who paid for his work. He has every right to take or leave the critique.

              • DoctorNine

                First, the value of journalism is derived by the reader. So your assessment of the relative merits of HFL is more or less moot, in that there seem to be quite a number of us who would rather pay money for this format than traditional print publications, specifically BECAUSE the authors are free to lay it on the line, and NOT be beholden to the advertisers.

                Second, the number of authors that a given publication, paper or electronic, uses, is absolutely immaterial to its quality. The earliest pamphleteers in the English language weren’t devotees of The Fairness Doctrine. They were opinionated and brash. So are many of the newest internet publications, and not by coincidence. This tendency isn’t an indictment on their quality, but a characteristic of a new media generally. Journalism isn’t dying. It’s just morphing into a new corpus. So relax.

                Lastly, I find your tone tiresome, pedantic and an unwarranted critique of what, to my mind, is one of the best new expressions of motorcycle journalism to be found on the Net or anywhere. I base this opinion on decades consuming pretty much all varieties of journalism related to the subject, in all its forms.

                Wes may have some evolving to do with this format, certainly. But you also, sir, require a bit of evolving. And my criticisms of you, involve nothing so much as a simple lack, of what we in the literate South simply call, “home trainin’ “.

                Good day.

                • Dumptruckfoxtrot

                  In that the merit of any written word is derived by the reader you’re absolutely correct. However, to act as if there hasn’t been generally accepted standards and practices either codified or not that have been adopted, for very good reason, since the ages of the early pamphleteers is absurd.

                  I do require evolving, that’s why my writing is sold at a level that reflects my experience and ability. However, I’d reckon you’d have some “home trainin’” to undergo yourself assuming I’m a sir.

                • DoctorNine

                  DTFT, you criticize Wes for failure to follow ‘standards and practices either codified or not’ yet complain when I apply the standard English practice of using masculine gender for an unspecified addressee. This is patently illogical. You yourself thus make my argument for me. Blind stylistic prescription never lasts long in culture, and when it IS found, time relatively quickly obliterates any pretense of universality, as ossified forms fall to colloquialism within a generation or two. So seeing HFL break out of the mold cast by paper mags is hardly surprising, or even undesirable. If this is a sample of your editorial expertise, and your writing is being sold at any value exceeding that of my local high school paper, then you are overpaid. Please save us from your fussy, misperceived opinions about the style of HFL, here within the comments section, and instead regale us with your exploits upon two wheels, which i am sure are extensive. Yes? Thank you.

                • Dumptruckfoxtrot

                  Ad Hominem attacks do not prove a damn thing. It isn’t a stylistic consideration, the style of the article wasn’t something I had issue with.

                  My criticism has been met by Wes himself, and I found it acceptable, he didn’t even need to insult me. I’m sure everyone is thankful you were there to defend HFL’s honor.

                  You may appreciate this website as well.


                • DoctorNine

                  Oh, but it was the style of the articles that you objected to, DTFT. You said:

                  “I am instead for an approach towards the subject that doesn’t lead readers around by the nose. An approach that features only one viewpoint on motorcycles is not a serious publication. It is a personal blog and blogs are not journalism. You might as well be subscribed to a Livejournal account, or Fox News: XTREME Moto-sports Edition…”

                  And you also did use ad hominem about Wes:

                  “Just to make this clear: I do not think Wes is a grand wizard, there is no way that you can even begin to follow ATGATT wearing those thin little sheets alone and wearing them over your gear isn’t at all aerodynamic..”

                  So that point is also false.

                  Additionally, DTFT, if you bother to read that old Rhetoric text that you must have hanging around, ad hominem DOES prove something, but only in a specific form. The form of argument I used is called ad hominem tu quoque which, roughly translated, means, ‘you also’. It is used to point out hypocrisy in a speaker’s argument, by showing that they are also guilty of the original criticism. The legitimate form of the argument is as follows:

                  A makes criticism P.
                  A is also guilty of P.
                  Therefore, A is dismissed from their role as a model of the principle that motivates criticism P.

                  I’m curious however, to find that you frequent a fan site for Wes. I didn’t know that he had one. I think they are kind of creepy, personally. But whatever floats your boat. I enjoy riding motorcycles more than that sort of thing.

                  You DO ride motorcycles, DTFT, right?

                  What do you ride, and when/where did you last do so?

                • Dumptruckfoxtrot

                  You’re an ass.
                  That’s an ad hominem attack.

                  Thank you for a logic 101 class, that only works if my statements fit how you described them, which they do not.

                  Style and frequency of expression of other views are different concepts.

                  I ride a 96′ Honda Magna currently. I ride nearly every day. This isn’t a chatroom. As much fun as yarning on about our motorcycles and calling each other names sounds, it isn’t really relative.

                • DoctorNine

                  Ha! You’ve found me out! I’m an ass! What will I ever do now?!?

                  Looks like it’s time for another glass of Glenkinchie…

                  Listen, DTFT. If you are going to use these arguments, at least be ready when someone calls you on it. What you just did there isn’t even ad hominem. It’s just a simple insult. Which is at least kinda refreshing in its simplicity. I like it better.

                  But as to whether my argument pertains, let the readers decide. And here is a little guide on how ad hominem works, next time you are inclined to go there:


                • Dumptruckfoxtrot

                  The reason why it is an ad hominem insult or ad hominem attack or ad hominem fallacy is because calling you an ass, or your assertion that my writing is only fit for a high school paper, is not relevant to the argument.

                  Since saying someone is not something negative isn’t criticism or argument, I’m failing to see how your quote shows anything.

                • DoctorNine

                  Apparently you failed to read the primer carefully, DTFT. My opinion of your manifest lack of skills as an editor, has nothing whatever to do with my ad hominem tu quoque refutation of your criticism of Wes’ stylistic approach here on HFL. Go to the link and read it again.

                  But I am enjoying foxtrotting you around.
                  haven’t had this much fun in months.

              • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                Criticism is welcome, just please don’t try to say that we aren’t journalists when, as far as I can tell, we’re the only people doing anything of the sort on two wheels.

                • Dumptruckfoxtrot

                  I didn’t say you weren’t a journalist, I said what I was against.

        • slowtire

          +1, don’t change a thing! This is my ticket into learning the right things (I hope) about sport bikes. Always fun.

  • Skank NYCF

    “Your buddy with the CBR? He understands the consequences of you showing up on this RR.”
    Not this CBR rider.
    But it’s really funny when these new Jacks roll up on their “best sportbike ever” and get smoked with ease.

  • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

    “Riding the S1000RR is like sleeping through an earthquake.”

    I’ve slept through just about every earthquake this state has had since 1970. Didn’t even feel the big one in SF in 1989 cuz I was on my Lambretta, which is like riding the San Andreas fault on a busy day. Why on earth would anyone want a bike so dull you sleep right through it?

    Although this is a hilarious article, I must say that the 2nd reason I give n00bs as to why they shouldn’t buy a proper sportbike (even a 600) is that they trick you into thinking you’re a better rider than you really are. So before you know it, that corner tightens up and you find yourself panicking as you target fixate on the tree because you don’t realize you actually have about 2 feet more lean angle you can use to make it through.

    It is a bike destined for n00bs, because all experienced riders know that only creepy old men ride Beemers.

  • Brian

    FWD’ing to all my aspiring-motorcyclist friends. They’ll be relieved to know that they’re not doomed to ride the grotesquely slow Ninja 250.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      Or the pesky CBR250, or those obnoxious Cleveland Cycleworks jobs, or…

      So strange having other 250s for new riders to consider. Spoiled brats.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

    It’s only “idiot proof” until the “idiot” turns off the traction control.

    • noone1569

      Or the idiot goes 0-100 in 4 seconds right into a guardrail/car/fence/etc.

      • mb

        4 seconds?

  • Kirill

    If it had been around when I was a n00b, maybe I wouldn’t have been hit by that MPV in my first week of riding. Alas.

  • jason

    All it needs is ‘Now with Nuclear Power’.

  • gregorbean

    Good stuff guys.

  • ike6116

    Too much time in California.


    Come on, you’re better than that.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      You don’t think that’s a word friends of buyers of an s1000rr as a first motorcycle would use?

      • ike6116


        Hella is wicked gay.


        • Brent

          I actually did buy a brand new 2012 S1000rr as my “almost” first bike.
          In 1983 I owned a honda XR250 for one year…and nothing until 2012. I then pondered an MV F3 675…but when I saw this, and calculated the cost verses what I was actually getting with the S1000rr I rationalised this was actually a far better choice. I’d just have to be thoughtful & careful for awhile.
          I collected my S1000rr two weeks after I qualified for my full motorcycle licence. Best decision I ever made. The hardest part was grasping & being confident parking & slow speed manovering. Everything else was easy.

    • dux

      People cross-shopping this with a Honda Civic sure would.

    • Kirill

      Hey now, Hella is strictly a NorCal creation. We SoCalers want nothing to do with that, bro

  • RWerksman

    Owning an S1000RR, and having worked at a motorcycle dealership for the better part of a decade, most of me agrees with you. The RR is comparatively confortable, mild mannered, and easy to ride. The key word is comparatively.

    You ass, wrists, and neck will still hurt in the time it takes you to flick a wrist and summon forth the hand of god. The ‘letrics can only reign in so much of the combustable stupidity + power equation. It’s affordable sticker wise, but service and parts are certainly European and not Japanese.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love it, love it, love it, love it, love it, love it, and it’s absolutely the best liter bike on the market. My asshole, Bostonian next door neighbor would certainly call it, “Fuckin Wicked”, but it isn’t a first bike.

    Then again, fuck it. Buy it. Drop it. Put some of that hair bullshit on it and rock out with your cock out.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    Welcome to Planet HFL: Where the veteran hooligans ride 250s, and the n00bs are advised to buy literbikes.

    • Miles Prower


      Hey Wes, hire Mark D as a writer. Or perhaps as an official subtitle-er. (I first wrote subtitler, but that looks wrong.)

    • Devin

      Comment of the day

  • Tony

    The only reason I would never consider riding one is because I know I would abandon my 999 and buy a s1000rr the same day..

  • nymoto

    Thank you, that was fun.

  • Archer

    OK. So which planet of aliens abducted Wes and replaced him with the guy that wrote this? We need to go get him back before it’s too late.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    Serious in that it’s a much better option for those squid dumbasses who will go out and buy a literbike anyways first time around.

    Sarcastic because… a literbike over a 250? Really?!

  • Matt Wisch

    So it’s basically the Mitusbishi Evo of sport bikes?

    • dux

      I think the crash rate is way higher for Evos…just ask my buddy who tried to skip one like a stone on a lake

      • Richard

        Too much Mythbusters?

        • dux

          I think Mythbusters copied him – was a couple years before that Fiero episode,and they never tested the electrical system as it went nose down into 40 feet of water.

  • Penguin

    Use le traction control for infinite lean angle.

    U Jelly, squidfags?

    • Uncle Fluffy


  • http://theprojectbeta.com/ andehans

    Well, I got recommended a F650GS as great first bike. Had it for less than a year. It was slow, with a high center of gravity and bad handling. Bought a cheap Firestorm instead. More power (though of course not in the same league as the S1000RR) meant it felt safer for me, better handling, much better brakes and so much easier (and fun) to drive than the F650. Power to the people.

  • aristurtle

    Well, I’m sold. Now which one of you has a kidney or two that I can sell for $16K?

    (Although the BMW is so annoyingly asymmetrical. Maybe I should just upgrade from my Ninja 250 to a new ZX-10R. What could possibly go wrong?)

  • JonB

    It is ugly. And sucks when you hit a pothole—I could get across SF faster on any single cylinder bike than you on this.

    In all honesty this is the test I am dying to read about. A “Bay to Breakers” style race/review on motorbikes.

    GSX-R vs. TU250X
    CBR vs. 250
    R1 vs. WR250


    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      Now THAT’S a comparison “shootout” I’d read. If you need commuter riders with limited skills, I’ll be in Bay Area in August :)

    • Dumptruckfoxtrot

      Yes, that’d be awesome! I’d be happy to be the McQ to your Dirty Harry and take on Seattle.

  • Tony

    Great article, thanks!! Now, pls write about a terrific second bike ;)

    • Kirill

      Everyone knows a Harley Road King is the perfect second bike

  • Charlie

    I can’t believe all the critics out there. Let’s face it, this is the ONLY place with consistently interesting (varied) articles and commentary. All the magazines are unreadable. Plus, I would like to see the complainers do half as well needing to produce regular content. And there is plenty of dissent tolerated in the commentary. Moreover the point is well taken…the bike is user friendly and relatively inexpensive. You can kill yourself on just about anything. The biggest myth in motorcycling is that you need to have some graduated scale in displacement. Once competent, there are so many other factors that are more important (e.g. seat height).

  • markbvt

    It would be fascinating to know what percentage of readers actually took this article in earnest — and what percentage of those will use it to justify buying a bike that’s wildly beyond their capabilities.

    Although that said, the S1000RR really is shockingly easy to ride. I’d have to disagree with the comfortable part though.

  • andy727

    I love my S1000RR. (not my 1st bike) I’m new to track riding, and I am having a blast on this thing, and I am the slowest guy out there!

    Great article with good advice…I am headed to Burger King tonight! ;-)

  • jwinter

    Opening photo is really good. It would make lighting nerds squirm, but screw them anyway.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      We’re more about conveying an experience visually than we are running perfectly retouched DSLR photos of a guy in day glo leathers in a corner. This isn’t porn, it’s riding motorcycles.

      • Richard

        It works for me. I’m more into the “reality” porn anyway. Keep this stuff coming, makes my day.

      • jwinter

        A good eye trumps everything.

  • Keith

    “So should we not write fun articles like this one?”
    Keep ‘em coming! I really enjoyed reading this one.
    Hard to talk with that tongue in your cheek like that?

  • KP

    I’ve heard from other 6’2″ (which I believe you are) that the bike is cramped for them. I’m in that category and figured the pure SBs weren’t for me, but apparently this one can accommodate? Maybe I’ll reconsider the ZX14 as the next bike and visit a BMW dealer to see if it fits. The Ducatis, I know for sure, do not. Felt like a fat guy on a moped.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, I’m 6′ 2″, 34″ inseam. Bike totally fits.

    • Eric

      I’m 6’2″ and some Ducatis fit. (Like the Terblanche era 900SS I just bought) However I am “hunched over the tank like a person diving into a pool that got emptied yesterday.” It’s a tight fit. =)

    • andy727

      I am 6’7″, 36″ inseam. I installed rearsets and the high screen immediately. I might look a little funny, but I feel just fine.

  • Chris F

    Nobody has commented that despite the absurdity of the 1000rr for a new rider, the statistics say that liter bikes get crashed less. Is that purely a function of more experience? Having learned from a very young age how to ride, i have always treated bigger bikes with a higher level of respect (read fear, maybe) and have only crashed on the small ones. Anomaly?

    • Kirill

      Its probably mostly a function of money, as in 20 year old squids are unlikely to have the money to buy a literbike

      • Myles

        Meh, I just checked my local craigslist and there are tons of big bikes for cheap.

        giXXXer 1k’s only a few years old for around 5grand.

        • Kirill

          On the used market, obviously. I was talking new.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    Rad. Truthiness beats the truth, every time.

    I enjoyed the part about bragging rights. The fastest bike in the parking lot is almost never the fastest bike around the track. The rider is the difference.

  • Gregory

    I’m not allowed to buy a new motorcycle until my KLR 650 has 100’000+ miles on it.

    But this thing is so ugly/ sporty. Go for an R 1200r if you want a real BMW.

    Portland, OR
    2008 KLR 650 w. milkcrate

    • Rob

      That’s just the point, right? Once BMW decided they would build a bike that could compete with the best out there, they had to drop all that wacky stuff with the shafts and levers (para & tele), not to mention the sideways bricks and servo brakes.

  • Daniel

    Buying this as a first bike will save you tons of money!! How many bikes will you usually buy before a liter one? 2-3? Get this one and start saving NOW!! :D

  • tears

    Dear HFL,

    You guys are awesome, and it even goes beyond articles like this. Usually I’m not all that into motorcycles, but this site actually got me into thinking about picking up a bike.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      So long as you don’t actually pick up an S1000RR as your first bike…

  • Brad

    First I was all WTF? Then, I was like LOL.

  • John

    The way I see it, BMW is once again raising the bar. In another 20 years, I think most bikes will come standard with what the “R” has.
    Remember when digital watches cost $400.00?
    I think the article was well written in the sense that it takes many parts to equal a sum.
    The way many stokes of a paint brush make a picture.
    When I come to this site, I WANT a certain level of entertainment. Not a technical manual.