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BMW S1000RR - best superbikes

If you’d said 10 years ago that BMW was going to produce a world-beating superbike, the nice men in white coats would have locked you up.

If you’d said 10 years ago that BMW was going to produce a world-beating superbike, the nice men in white coats would have locked you up.

You see, there was a time when Beemers were ridden by chaps with beards who hauled out their R80 once a year and took their faithful pillion to a damp campsite in Cornwall for their annual holiday.

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Then the Long Way Round TV show came to pass in 2004, and you couldn’t go five miles down the road without passing a man of a certain age wearing a Rallye suit, riding a GS Adventure and imagining that he was Ewan McGregor.

So far, so slow; until those sneaky Bavarians stunned the biking world in 2008 by bringing out the S1000RR, a sexy 179bhp rocket with a 999cc inline four engine, to compete in the 2009 Superbike World Championship.

The release of the roadgoing version in 2010 came with a clever YouTube video showing off its acceleration by pulling a tablecloth off a 20-seat dining table without disturbing the place settings and table decorations. 

Today, its third generation is even more powerful and faster, but safer too thanks to infinitely variable but user-friendly adjustable electronic systems. These systems mean that everyone from a race ace down to an inexperienced rider can wring its neck in (relative) safety.

A lighter frame, sharper fork rake and longer wheelbase, makes the S1000RR more nimble, sharper turning and more stable. The optional semi-active suspension system nicked from BMW’s discontinued hyperbike the HP4, makes the ride even more flawless.

The engine now has 199bhp and a flatter torque curve, and there’s even cruise control and heated grips, so you can hurtle towards the horizon in comfort.

Best superbikes

  1. Ducati 1299 Panigale S
  2. BMW S1000RR
  3. Honda Fireblade
  4. Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja
  5. Yamaha YZF-R1
  6. Aprilia RSV4 RF
  7. MV Agusta F4
  8. Suzuki GSX-R1000
  9. KTM 1290 Superduke R
  10. Kawasaki Ninja H2
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