2011 BMW S1000RR | Doin' Time

Photography by Jim Moy

WRIST: Matt Samples
MSRP (2011): $16,630
MILES: 12,941
MPG: 37
MODS: MRA windshield, SW-Motech tankbag, Slipstream tailbag, Blaze saddlebags, R&G rearsets, Metzeler tires

When a group of my buddies decided to take a road trip to the Smoky Mountains for a weekend of sport riding, it was pretty much assumed that everyone would trailer their bikes. After all, who wants to suffer 650 miles on the freeway on a sportbike? Um, me! Some of you may recall that I rode my long-term BMW S1000RR from Los Angeles back to Chicago, so I’m not opposed to a little supersport-touring. I learned a few things the hard way on that transcontinental trek, and before setting off on this one I set about prepping the Beemer.

John LaConte of Gina's BMW Motorcycles (www.ginasbmwmotorcycles) in Iowa City, Iowa, was instrumental in getting the S1000RR dialed-in for track days, and he helped me outfit it for touring, too. Together we pored over the Twisted Throttle catalog (www.twistedthrottle.com), which contained virtually everything I needed.

I left the bars and seat alone since the upper ergos are already relatively comfortable, but I knew I was going to want more legroom. A set of R&G adjustable rearsets ($509.99) let me lower the footpegs an inch for the freeway, and then jack them back up once we made it to the mountains for increased cornering clearance. Perfect!

I could have thrown my gear in a buddy’s truck, but I opted to haul my own stuff with a set of Blaze saddlebags ($315.99), a Slipstream tailbag ($99.99) and a compact SW-Motech Daypack II tankbag ($79.99). The 17-liter tailbag has a semi-rigid construction and held its shape even when empty, so I used it to store “soft wear” like thermals and warm gloves. The tankbag attached to the gas cap with a quick-release ring, and could be positioned pretty far forward so I could tuck-in behind the taller MRA windshield ($95). The Blaze saddlebags made the BMW a proper sport-tourer; they affix to brackets that bolt to the passenger pegs and can be removed in less than a minute. So while the others were unloading their bikes, I just yanked off the bags and headed for the twisties!

We spent the weekend riding Cherohala Skyway, the Tail of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap, Blood Mountain, Highway 60, Richard Russell Parkway and countless other twisty roads. My bro’ Damoan and I were able to stay connected with Scala G4 Powerset headsets ($597.17). These technological wonders offer multi-device connectivity, including mobile phone, Bluetooth stereo, built-in FM radio and RDS wire connectivity to iPods. A 1-mile range means we rarely lost voice communication. A windsock on the mic installed at your lips works well for “Bingo fuel” or “Check six” up to about 80 mph. Speakers mounted at your ears ensure clear wireless streaming of Pandora.

The shagged race tires I had on the bike prior to departure weren’t going to cut it, so we levered on a set of Metzeler Z8 Interact sport-touring buns ($182.95 front, $276.95 rear; www.us.metzelermoto.com). I’m pretty sure this type of road trip is exactly what the autobahn-riding German engineers had in mind when they developed these tires. The Z8s shone throughout, providing good handling and plenty of traction in the mountains while resisting wear on the freeway. Previously I’d been feeding the tire-hungry S1000RR a new rear every 1500 miles, but the Z8s still looked fresh after 2500 miles. I’m betting they’ll go twice that far.

Sadly, the BMW folks are asking for their bike back, so next time we’ll wrap things up.

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