October 2019

‘I bottled out at an indicated 160mph’

From where photographer Matt Howell’s camera is, to the end of the runway is probably half a mile, and it’s hard to get a sense of space and speed when you’re belting towards the horizon on a BMW S1000RR.

I bottled out at an indicated 160mph with the bike still accelerating. There was plenty of space for a braver rider to go faster, but I’d already exceeded my excitement quota for the month.

I rolled off the throttle, let the bike coast and changed down two gears to perform a huge arcing U-turn without worrying about other traffic.

The BMW is an amazing device. A refinement of the evolution of the inline fourcylinder sportsbike that goes back to the 1985 Suzuki GSX-R750, via the ’92 Blade.

Sportsbikes might not be your thing, but the technology is amazing, and whacking the RR’s throttle open at 40mph in fourth gear for a return trip up the runway shows off the most impressive aspect of the BMW. The combination of variable valve timing and clever electronics deliver phenomenal grunt, pulling hard from low rpm in any gear. It’s really impressive.

But so, in their own way are the other nine bikes that we have assembled for our Bike of the Year issue. From the hilarity of the Fantic to the capability of the Triumph Tiger to the value of the Enfield Interceptor. And if you don’t agree, then write and tell us.

Enjoy the issue.

Hugo Wilson, Editor, Bike

Bike of the Year 2019

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12,000-mile test

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