The R1100S is BMW’s most sporty machine, with a 97bhp twin cylinder Boxer motor, underseat exhausts and – for a BMW rather good looking bodywork too.
But against a Ducati, MV Agusta, or even a Yamaha R6, the R1100S still has a little bit of an image problem.
However, BMW are already re-inventing themselves and their new Sport model, plus
Sportmoto options package, for the R1100S are intended to make you look – and think twice when shopping around for your next sporting trackday tool.
A BMW that’s perfect for trackdays – mission impossible surely?
I have to admit to liking the BMW R1100S straight from the crate. It’s a lightweight, (for a BMW), sharp handling, yet comfortable sportsbike.
So many stunning looking machines like Ducati’s, ’Blades, R1s and so on, are all basically a pain in the neck after 50-ish motorway miles, or ten minutes in heavy traffic. By comparison, the Beemer is sheer luxury.
There’s a trade-off for this comfort of course. The R1100S makes a great roadbike, but as anyone who has taken it to a trackday can testify, it can feel slightly too soft in its suspension, brakes and power delivery to really cut it in the fast group.
Power in particular is a problem at tracks like Donington, where no amount of daring cornering through Craner and the Old Hairpin, is going to keep you ahead of something as blisteringly fast as an R1 once you hit the main straight.
The solution is fairly simple with most modern superbikes; firmer suspension, wider tyres, less weight and more power. The Sport model from BMW themselves offers nearly all this, but retains the stock bhp power output.
But the real fun begins when you ride the Sportmoto options model. It’s a short list of mods, which includes one ace feature which every R1100S owner should try; an 11bhp boost from a replacement EPROM engine management chip, plus free breathing exhaust system.
The cost is £625 (plus VAT) dealer fitted (and it MUST be dealer fitted), which isn’t cheap, but the difference is remarkable. Now kicking out 108bhp around 7500rpm, instead of the stock 97bhp, the R1100S pulls out of corners with a real urgency, rather than a steady drone. It also sounds vastly better too; the bike has a deep, rough-edged bark to match its bite now.
Sadly, the one-off exhaust from Rugby based Sportmoto isn’t road legal, but for track use, it isn’t ridiculously loud, so if the circuit has a decibel limit, you should be OK. The other ingredient which will help you stick with quick riders on Japanese fours and Italian V-twins is the PFM developed braking kit. This consists of a cast iron pair of discs, quickly detachable carriers, plus six pot pistons. As BMW allowed a small posse of journalists out onto Cadwell’s Club circuit to test the variously modified bikes, it was soon obvious that the brakes gave you a three, maybe four bike length advantage rushing into Park corner at the end of the main straight. The discs themselves are actually made from cast iron, rather than the usual stainless steel, which will lead to some surface corrosion if you ride in wet weather and then leave your bike standing overnight. But iron gives much better feel, and generates more friction against the pads. Race compound brake pads are also available from Sportmoto if you need them and as the kit has been used on race winning V & M Yamahas, I think we can safely say that it works.
LAPPING IT UP
A session on the bike with uprated brakes was fine and dandy. But the real fun started when aboard a stock R1100S, whilst playing tag with Motorcycle Sport road tester, and sometime racer, Alan Benallick.
A couple of hard laps saw me gain a little bit on Alan, as his right hand was still suffering from crash damage, which restricted his braking somewhat. But Alan’s bike had the re-mapped ignition and fuel injection set-up from the Sportmoto chip inside its cases, and the extra acceleration sent his bike rocketing away out of corners. A 12% gain in power output doesn’t sound much on paper, but on tarmac, it translates into seriously addictive lunge.
On a tight track like Cadwell, I reckon you could stick with all but the fastest boys aboard the chipped R1100S, especially as recent suspension improvements to the stock model have firmed things up to the point where you have to be at almost mental lean angles to deck out the footpegs.
The neat thing about the BMW is that you can simply dial in some extra clicks of pre-load into the rear monoshock, then head out for another track session to gauge the difference. No fiddly spannering, no rooting about in the dirt to accomplish a little improvement. Smart thinking BMW.
HEY BIG SPENDER
The PFM brakes cost £999 retail, which is serious money. You’d be mad to spend that amount of cash and then not go for the chip and pipe kit too, which brings the bill up to 1750 notes, or thereabouts. BMW also have some sexy looking factory, and beautiful A C Schnitzer, accessories available, which will add to the looks of your bike. So let’s make it a round two grand, on top of the eight grand list price for a new R1100S.
Yep, we’re at a level where you’re spending 10,000 quid to make a BMW twin fast enough to potentially humiliate a £6,000 Japanese 600cc four around Oulton Park. Not sensible, not something a slightly dull accountant called Gerald might contemplate.
But life on a motorcycle is all about fun, individuality, going slightly crazy at the weekend. So if you have the cash – and have one sensible eye on your bike’s future re-sale value – then maybe the Sportmoto R1100S is sexy enough to tempt you.
For me, it proved a revelation. Functional, yet funky. In a nutshell, it was mission accomplished.
Get BMW bike insurance for the bmw r1100s.
|Engine||Flat twin, four stroke, eight valve|
|Claimed power (bhp)||97bhp @ 7500rpm (stock Sport model), 108bhp @ 7500rpm (Sportmoto chipped)|
|Carbs||None, digital fuel injection.|
|Claimed peak power||97bhp @ 7500rpm (stock Sport model)|
|Claimed peak power||108bhp @ 7500rpm (Sportmoto chipped)|
|Brakes||305mm front discs, four piston Brembo calipers (stock Sport), 320mm cast iron PFM discs, six piston calipers (Sportmoto)
single 276mm rear disc. No ABS option on Sport model
|Wheels/Tyres Front||Metzeler 120/70. Rear: 170/60. Five spoke cast alloy 17 inch diameter wheels|
|Colours||Red, yellow or black|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|Current price||£7,995 OTR (standard Sport model)|