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BMW S 1000 RR news - Light artillery - 2009

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942bhp per tonne. That’s the power-to-weight ratio of the S 1000 RR superbike, BMW’s first foray into the world of litre sports bikes (they’re the ultra-fast, super light ones). Once more, that’s 942bhp per tonne.

OK, we don’t usually cover motorbikes here on Top Gear - largely on account of the fetishistic clothing required to ride them - but that stat stopped us in our four-wheel tracks.

Here’s the maths: the RR’s one-litre straight-four engine puts out 193bhp, lightly glued to a bike weighing just 204kg, making the RR the lightest litre sports bike. That’s fully fuelled, mind, so when it’s running on fumes, the RR will be knocking on the door of 1,000bhp per tonne. That’s twice the power-to-weight ratio of the Veyron, twice that of the Caterham R500. Unless you’re a fattie.

It’s right up there with a volatile hand grenade. Or the Caparo T1. But the Caparo has belts, and a monocoque, and a few other bits and pieces to stop you turning into a leather-wrapped lump of sausagemeat in the event of something going wrong. The RR is, in short, insane.

In fairness, it does have a couple of safety aids: factory ABS, for one, and a seriously clever traction control system.

That said, you should always be suspicious of a bike with wonky eyes. Look at the RR’s face. It has asymmetrical headlights (is that what you call them, bikists? Headlights? Do they have some fancy bike-based name?). Don’t trust this bike any further than you can throw it. Which, given that it weighs slightly less than a small feather with an eating disorder, is probably quite far. We’ve gone and confused ourselves now…

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