In the black corner weighing in at a dry weight of 385lbs is the 2010 Honda CBR 1000 RR.
The rules are simple: a head-to-head battle on a race track and open road wearing the same rubber, Avon Xtreme VP2 high performance tires.
Three judges will pilot these bikes: Julian Taylor, Editor-in-Chief AllAboutBikes; Rodney Burrell, Executive Editor AllAboutBikes; and Scott Betten, SB Cycles Road Tester extraordinaire.
As the bell sounds the BMW launches out of the corner punching fiercely, the 184hp at the back wheel (142 kW) at 13,000 rpm against the Honda’s 175.6hp 131.0 kW @ 12000 rpm is obvious as the BMW pulls away in second gear right up through the power curve. The Honda is certainly very powerful but the BMW just has the stronger right hook.
The secret to riding these machines fast is smooth power delivery, opening the throttle slowly allowing the power to be delivered to the back wheel in a clean linear fashion; the BMW allows that with the DTC (Dynamic Traction Control).
Depending on the setting you choose, between Race, Sport, Track or Slick, the power is delivered to the back wheel at a rate that coincides with the lean angle of the motorcycle. In Rain mode the lean angle is 35 degrees, Sport 45 degrees, track 48 and Slick a whapping 53 with the option of turning it off completely if you are Troy Corser.
The difference between these two bikes is the ability to get on the gas early out of a corner, and only the BMW has DTC. The BMW left black marks on the track if you opened the throttle up early but it never stepped out, and if it did the DTC reduced the power which cancelled any threat of a “high-side” the Honda doesn’t have any form of DTC and you could tell. There was many a time coming out of the carousel (a long right hand bend with a sloping camber) that the back end of the CBR buckled under power delivery trying to keep with the S1000RR. It just meant that you couldn’t get on the gas too early with the Honda or it would kick you off; this was definitely a blow from the BMW to the chin of the CBR.
Braking was another blow to the torso for the Honda. The ABS of the BMW allowed very deep corner trail braking and the initial bite on the front of the S 1000 RR was much stronger than the Honda. We did turn the ABS off on the Honda which gave us the ability to brake later without the hassle of the Anti Lock system kicking in.
Both these heavyweights are very capable when it comes to getting around the ring. They are both light and nimble even being big bikes. This first wave of testing was on a tight short mile long track so we could never test their full top end potential but we made them work in the corners. This is where the Honda’s electronic steering damper came into its own. You feel like the damper has a brain, you can feel it react to different situation, speed, road surface, braking and accelerating the Honda’s electronic steering damper works. Point to Honda here.
Now one of the issue about riding on the road with machines like these is that you need the wind from the screens to take the weight off your wrists, and going slow isn’t conducive to the aerodynamics of these bikes. (That’s my story officer and I am sticking to it). So inevitably machines with such HP lead to higher than normal speeds. Obviously the BMW has the Dynamic Traction Control so when it does actually rain you could use it.
If you want a bike to ride every day, to take to the track, and which has all the toy’s for a sensible price it has to be the BWM. It truly is an all-round bike that you could live with; you will have a few issues with your driving license on the road though I guarantee. The Honda is a very reliable work horse. Not many bells and whistles but a good solid machine, it works on the road very well and overall it’s a bike you could live with every day.