Thursday, 19 August 2010

Who uses more than 100bhp?

My old fashioned, aircooled, ditch pump engined BMW GS is the Volvo estate of the bike world. It does about 130mph, and has 6 nicely spread gears. Just occasionally I will use wide open throttle and getting on for peak power revs (around 7000rpm) where the full 100 or so horsepower is available, and I can do that in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear without hitting licence-losing speeds.

In car terms this Volvo-bike is not slow - its capable of 0-60mph in around 4 seconds (not with me riding it isn't...) so is quicker than pretty much everything on 4 wheels I'm likely to encounter.

You may be surprised to hear that the latest, baddest, fastest superbike is also made by BMW. The S1000RR produces an astounding 190bhp and does over 180mph. To help prevent it killing riders unused to controlling MotoGP levels of performance, it has a full set of electronic safety aids; including state of the art traction control, selectable power maps and ABS.

But I was thinking about that 190bhp. Typically for a modern superbike, the S1000 is geared for over 100mph at the red-line in 1st gear. To access full power, you will need to have the throttle on the stop, and the engine spinning at 13,000rpm. In rough terms that's going to be in the area of 120mph, 135mph, 150mph, 165mph in 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th gears.

Even leaving the question of legality, even on the open A roads in my part of West Sussex, its difficult to see those sorts of speeds being a practical proposition, certainly not for the sane or sensible.

I wonder how many of those S1000 riders ever really see the 190bhp they've paid for?

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