That BMW is a company with huge engineering resources shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. After all, it's been building motor vehicles for more than 90 years and has a German stereotype to uphold.
Nevertheless, my biggest surprise at the launch of the 2012 S1000RR was the boundless enthusiasm each engineer, no matter if gray hair or no hair, showed in regard to sportbikes. There's a lot more to this performance-driven crew than just building transportation appliances, as we found out at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain, where the bike's 2012 edition was sampled by the world's media last week.
For example, Ralph Schwickerath, the S1000's chassis project manager, is not only a mechanical engineer but a former racer who is nearly as quick as Jurgen Fuchs, a BMW test rider who has raced in 250cc and 500cc Grands Prix. And the RR's dual project managers, Rudi Schneider and Josef Machler, were both suited up and ripping around the grand prix circuit in a rare display among OEM senior managers. And then there's 58-year-old Markus Poschner, BMW's general manager for the K and S series platforms, who chooses the hardcore S1000RR among BMW's selection of more comfortable models when he takes his wife out for rides in the Alps.
These sportbike enthusiasts are responsible for the overhaul of our 2010 Motorcycle of the Year just two years after first blowing our minds at its first press launch. No other literbike has such an accelerated pace of development.
Sure, this latest version has only seemingly modest refinements, but, as the aforementioned Poschner told us, "It's definitely more than just a facelift."
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