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Why 1000Cc Vs. 600Cc On Training On The Track?

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I'm fine with riding 1k or 6 on the track (think 6 would be my preference but wondered why CCS chose to go with a 1000cc machine to train vs. a 600cc machine?


IANAC, but the 1000cc bikes come with all the electronic gadgets and have seen a major evolution over the last 10 years, whereas several of the 600cc models are basically the same model as in 2008, only with "bold new graphics".


Cobie (and Kieth) have told that with the rain/street/track/race driving modes have actually helped half the number of falls per student from the older bikes (the advanced TC didn't prevent me from loosing the front when hitting a bump during CodeRACE a few years ago, but I'll admit fault for that).

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Many years ago I too was questioning the choice of a 1L machine for rider training. Until of course I rode the RR for the first time. All of the intimidation that riding a 1L machine for the first time ever went away in just a few minutes out on track. In rain mode the bike is much like a 600cc machine only offering much more protection against mistakes with it's ABS and Traction control systems.


The school takes full advantage of all of the ride modes that the S1000RR platform offers. The ride modes alter the power output of the engine and the behavior of the traction control and lean angle sensor system as well as the ABS system on the bike. The electronics on the BMW are pretty amazing. They stay out of the way until they are needed and don't interfere with the rider until you step over the limits established by the mode. Even when the system does get involved it's often very subtle and the only way a rider will know the system has activated is the flashing light on the dash and the very smooth reduction in torque. When you get back inside the limits established by the mode the bike returns all the torque it has taken away smoothly providing it to the rider at the maximum safe rate. Coaches frequently recognize students running against the limits of the modes and suggest higher modes as needed.


Despite my initial doubts and intimidation of riding a 1L machine I quickly fell in love with the bike. So much in love I bought twins. :)



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I think it was the sheer rideability and impressive capabilities of the BMW S1000rr in particular that drove the change from 600cc to 1000cc bikes at the school. In other words, it wasn't that the school switched bikes because they wanted to go from a 600 to a 1000, and went looking for a 1000cc bike to use - it was that the BMW S1000rr was (and is) a terrific machine that happens to BE a 1000cc bike. :)


I know I was enormously impressed the very first time I rode the S1000rr (I was previously on a ZX6R and had never ridden a liter bike). It was far easier to ride than I expected, and was overall friendlier and easier to ride than the 600 - despite being quite a bit more powerful once you really let it loose. I love riding it, and I bought one, too. :)

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I have to agree with Hotfoot that the BMW is a lot easier to ride than a 600. Here are a few of the ways I find it easier.


1. Power in any gear and at any RPM. 600's tend to only make their power if you keep them spun up at high RPM's. The BMW is similar where most of it's absolutely terrifying power is higher in the rev band. Unlike 600's however there's no dead spot and no lugging the engine. You can also use the engine power to make up for mistakes or track conditions where you would like to back off and give some distance for a moment.


2. Lots less shifting. The bike has a good amount of torque so even if you were to choose several gears too high for a corner exit it still will exit at a reasonably safe speed. When I ride my RR's on the highway there's literally no real need to downshift. In 6th gear the bike will go from staying with the flow of traffic to well over reasonable speeds with just a minor throttle input. The 600's that I have ridden you have to pin it to the stop and wait or downshift.


3. Quick Shifting. The Quick Shifter and the Clutchless rev match downshifting make life a lot easier when you do want to shift. The cool thing as well is they are both optional. Use the clutch on either rider aid and they deactivate and allow you to do it manually if you want.


4. Peace of mind. Race ABS available to save you from locking up on aggressive braking. DTC available to keep you from highsiding yourself to the moon if you get way too greedy with the throttle. Wheelie control to keep wheelies from getting out of hand. These systems sit in the background and are just along for the ride for the most part. When they are needed the step in and try to correct the situation. They aren't perfect of course and you can still crash an RR but think of them like a Parachute on a plane. The potential still exists to get hurt parachuting out of a plane but it sure beats the odds of going down with the plane. :)


5. Weight. This is actually a downside for the RR. It's heavier than most 600's. The interesting thing though is it's not by much. My personal R6 when it was new from the factory was 430lbs with fuel and fluids. The RR is 458lbs with fuel and fluids. That's only 28 pounds heavier. One has to wonder how heavy the R6 would be with an ABS pump and equal electronics to the RR. That 28 pounds is very easily offset with upgrades on the RR.


Just as an example my track RR has BST carbon wheels, full titanium exhaust and a lithium battery and carbon fibre race bodywork. I have not weighed it but I would be really surprised if it was over the weight of my R6. With double the power it certainly would make up for an extra pound here or there.


One of the other amazing things about these bikes is they make great track bikes right off the showroom floor. Years ago I did exactly that and bought a brand new RR and a few weeks later took it to the track with the school. The bike is the one on the left in the photo above. Even in mostly stock configuration it's amazingly easy to ride and has plenty of power. Even on tight tracks where a 600 would have a significant advantage it keeps up really well. Having 193hp on tap can make up for a lot. The new models come with 199hp stock and upgraded electronics that make it much easier to put that power to work for you.


It's pretty obvious I'm an S1000RR fan. It's not brand loyalty that makes me love the RR so much. It's the amazing bike. The RR is the only BMW I have ever owned.

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Not to ruffle any feathers but I'm not sure I see the point of a 600cc market segment anymore. It used to be about weight and handling but as time's moved on that's almost become a non existent issue the the more modern 1L machines. A new R6 is $10,990 for the base model with no electronics available for it at all. The Base RR is $15,500. So for about $4500 you get way more power, DTC, Ride modes and ABS along with it.


BMW is smart not getting into that market. A customer that can't see the value of that much more performance and equipment for $4500 is going to buy the Yamaha anyway based on cost alone. Don't get me wrong I love small displacement motorcycles. Ten years ago they were quite relevant. Technology however has moved on and the current model 1L machines are amazing. The only reason 600's still sell so well is because of a lot of somewhat outdated thinking about them. They don't handle that much better than the European 1L machines and they have a considerable power disadvantage to all of them. For years they have just been changing the paint schemes with no real R&D investment in evolving the designs.


If BMW wanted to make a "small bike" something similar to the KTM 390 would be a much better choice. I hope they don't thought. Invest those R&D dollars into the RR and make it even more amazing than it is. That's a tall order because even the first generation 2010 model year bikes are amazing in every way and still competitive against brand new 1L models.

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Denmark is an outlier, but here the R6 is 200K DKK and the R1 is 300K DKK (the R1M is 370K). The RR is 268K DKK for the base model.


All of this explains why I still have "Madame Blue" - my 13yo R1.


I think the reason why BMW doesn't get into the 600cc market and that you don't see new models coming out can be destilled down to three words: The Financial Crisis. Motorcycles are discretionary/luxury spending, and a lot of that got cut back on a world-wide scale from mid/late 2008, and it hasn't recovered yet. Companies may make a lot of money on the bottom line, but make people are not seeing an upturn in the personal finances.


Sorry, I'm getting OT here.

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Wow. To put that in perspective for those that don't do exchange rates in their head.


R6 $29,906 USD 2.72x more expensive than the USA market

R1 $44,870 USD

R1M 55,340 USD

RR $40,084 USD 2.58x more expensive than the USA market


I tend to agree with you on the Financial crisis. If you look at the progression of engineering you can even see that. Since about 2008 not much has changed engineering wise on the Japanese 600's other than minor revisions and color options. Until recently the story was much the same on their 1L models.


It's really interesting that a lot of the technology seen on the new 1L machines has never made it to the 600's. Not being a bike designer one can only speculate why. It may be business related due to what would sell in the market or it may be an engineering problem. Add those features to a 600 and you add weight and substantially reduce the bike's performance in the process. The 1L machines have the extra power to offset that weight. The legendary 600cc inline 4 design could very well be completely played out from an engineering perspective. It could also be customer related with the general attitude many riders have towards electronic assistance.


Several European makers have ventured into the smaller displacement market but not with an inline 4. The Ducati Panigale 899 (2cyl) and the MV Agusta F3 675 and 800 (3cyl) are good examples of these. There are probably others as well.


Whatever the reason it's a shame but I think BMW is smart to avoid this market segment.


There's a lot of rumors floating around about the next RR. If they end up being true I'll probably look something like this on release day at my local BMW dealership. :)



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Interesting thread. Then again when you look at it from a track/club racing experience a liter bike will cost more in tires (extra power), parts (more sophisticated technology), service and repairs (higher labor costs). I agree the value compared to a midweight is better, but in absolute $ terms a 1000cc bike can cost a lot more in maintenance.


You can make the same argument between a 600 and SV650/Ninja 650.

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I read that article but there's no real information there other than the author claims with very few facts to back them up. Quite honestly Asphalt and Rubber is pretty questionable at best. They posted several articles that were in favor of the EPA emissions ban on track going motorcycles. I quit taking them seriously after that and stopped using them as a source of motorcycle news all together. It was however an interesting read and there were some interesting theories. In his defense though none of the Manufacturers want to talk to a journalist about their strategic platform development.


In regards to cost. Absolutely a 600cc is cheaper on virtually everything from initial cost to tires, service and parts. If you expand your view beyond the basics and look at the true cost that view changes a bit. It takes just one on track accident to erase all of the cost savings by going with the lower cost platform. Accident's that the more powerful 1L machines can prevent if you choose to make use of that technology. That of course is not even factoring in medical costs and lost wages and other costs that can come up due to an on track crash.


Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the 1L machines can't be crashed. Turn off the technology or go well beyond what the technology is designed to do and you certainly can have a nasty crash. Something however is better than nothing at all.


What's interesting to consider as well is the way that many larger race teams use traction control. An interesting video where they interviewed Mat Mladin regarding his views on traction control. They use it to conserve tire life and to be able to make their tires last an entire race.


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What's interesting to consider as well is the way that many larger race teams use traction control. An interesting video where they interviewed Mat Mladin regarding his views on traction control. They use it to conserve tire life and to be able to make their tires last an entire race.



Right, I remember watching that interview with Mladin.


Interesting counter-point to MotoGP today - 10 years later, where it's Rossis' superior hand throttle-control (avoiding the electronic TC) that make him save his tires and get better acceleration out of the corners than, say, Lorenzo.

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I typed a long reply but the power went out. Nothing I have not said before so I'll save you the reading. :)


I think the real issue that many people have with electronic rider aids is admitting to themselves that they could use the help. As well some of this stigma comes across in the 600cc vs 1000cc debate with the perception that riders on 1000cc bikes use the additional power as a crutch. Whatever the perception the reality is these systems help reduce crashes. Look at what happened with the school when they went from the 600cc bikes with no technology to the 1000cc bikes from BMW.


These systems are gaining a bit more acceptance as riders try them out for themselves. The stigma of needing help is still there of course but give it some time and perhaps that will pass. Much like other stigmas involving safety like wearing helmets and other protective gear in the olden days.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You make it sound like electronic aids are only available on the 1000CC bikes


Kawasaki offered TC on the the 636 in 2013 ,


You can get ABS on 250's and assortment of other middleweight bikes,


There's all levels of systems and capabilities. Many of the entry level systems aren't much real help. A lot of them use engine RPM and a clutch switch to determine if there's a traction issue. Often times that's way too late in the game to provide the rider an intervention that's going to be of any use. Some manufactures tune these systems to be overly intrusive.


ABS is much the same story. Some systems work without wheel sensors. Without accurate data about what the wheel is doing you can only respond to brake pressure. You leave a lot of stopping distance on the table that way.


The cutting edge systems are on the 1000cc bikes exclusively. You might find the occasional bike with ABS or with TC but it's never using the latest technology. The new R1's traction control system is so sophisticated it even allows the bike to drift and has a second set of sensors to detect the exact amount of yaw the bike is experiencing in the drift.


I'm not familiar with those specific models but some questions for you. The 636. Does it have wheel sensors and lean angle sensors? Can you tune it at all? Same question for the 250's ABS systems. Which bikes have more sensors and the ability to tune and change the parameters? Would the 636's TC and the 250's ABS be of any use to a rider that rides primarily on the track?

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Kawasaki 2016 Ninja 300 ABS .... 5300 $




You can clearly see the wheel sensors in the pictures.


KTM RC390 ( 5500 ?? ) , wheel sensors, clearly visible





For 5300$ your not going to get top notch cutting edge tech, but your argument that only the absolute most bleeding edge tech will save a rider from himself is wrong. Sure the ABS on most bikes is overly intrusive, but most riders cant brake reliably in that bit of extra the ABS is keeping you from, or properly recover a front wheel lock if they overstep the limit. Personally I'd love to disable the ABS on my street bike ( except when it rains ) because it gets in my way, but I'm sure its saved the ass of many a Sunday rider when they stabbed the brakes on the freeway cause someone cut in front of them.


Also I believe "Help" is the wrong term, What all that tech offers is a buffer, or safety net, and that safety net's helpfulness is debatable.


If your buying a bike primarily for the track, A used 600cc bike is a MASSIVELY better deal than a brand new cutting edge 1000cc bike, regardless of brand, I can replace my entire R6 from Craig's List 4x over for the cost of a new S1000RR, Probably 5 if I buy salvage titles. I'm not arguing that the bikes aren't amazing pieces of technology, but to say that they have obsoleted the entire 600 segment is a little overstated. Personally I'll take 110 Hp and a skilled wrist over 180 Hp and a computer to manage it any day, Neither is right or wrong, its purely a matter of rider preference. I also will point out that there are skilled riders who can manage 180 hp without TC of any sort, but they are very much the exception.




My original statement was that I'm surprised BMW hasn't gotten into the 600cc game and I stick by it. BMW could easily do for the 600 market what it did to the 1000 market, the development has been stagnant for a decade from all the major players. A new entry with high end tech from BMW would sell like hotcakes, 600cc racing isn't going anywhere, and its a race class that BMW doesn't compete in due to a lack of hardware.

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Thanks. That's kind of cool actually. I noticed only a front sensor on the Ninja and only a rear sensor on the KTM but it's nice to know at least something is making it into some of the other models.


Your view of the cost of the S1000RR is slightly skewed to be really honest. Some of the early models are selling for under 10K these days. Even though they don't have the latest tweaks they are still quite competitive and light years ahead of the 10+ year old tech you can find selling new in some cases. I realize they are not trivial to buy new but you can't really fairly compare a used R6 to a new BMW without a bit of skew. Just as I would never try to compare my track bike to anything. The wheels I have on it alone cost a lot more than some bikes. Not exactly a fair comparison.


You bring up a good point. Riders and what they want. Some riders like yourself want a more direct experience with their bikes. Some riders like myself want more cutting edge technology and are more than willing to pay for it. There's no right or wrong answer here. Who know's what the future will bring. In the automotive world the fully analog car is nearly extinct. They still exist of course but most cars are leveraging electronics to some degree. Many of the Supercar makers are using these electronic systems to enhance performance with technologies such as active aerodynamics that can help the vehicle turn. Buyers want these features and the manufacturers provide them.


You certainly can be surprised at BMW not entering into that market. What you aren't considering is BMW is a premium brand. Look at BMW cars for a moment. Do they have an entry level subcompact that competes directly with Japanese manufacturers? I'll help you out with that. No. Nissan has their Versa Subcompact for $11,990 the cheapest BMW car you can buy in the USA is the 2 series coupe for $32,850 across the pond it's the 1 series for $27,560. Both of those cars are way more than double the price. It makes perfect sense to me that BMW would not want to try to compete on the automotive side and on the motorcycle side with the "low cost" competition. These bikes and cars simply don't match BMW's desired target market.


We all have our preferences and passions and i completely respect that. I obviously have my opinion which I shared. I hope that people reading realize that this is just one person's opinion and by no means did I want to minimize the machines that make people happy. I just returned from the AHRMA races at NJMP this past weekend and got to see a lot of the passion that people have for their bikes despite their "obsolescence". Despite my love of powerful Superbikes I was somewhat fascinated by the bikes that our pit neighbor was racing. Several 250cc and 125cc 2 stroke GP bikes. They were so different in nearly every way from anything that i have ever seen. Are they behind the times technology wise? Absolutely. They still look like an amazing amount of fun though.

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I'm pretty sure there are BMW sales rep's that are less pro S1000RR than you are and I know that :D


You have to scroll through the gallery, but the sensors are there front and back.


BMW doesn't have the same premium brand pricing in the Motorcycle world, all their bikes are priced comparably to the competition in each segment. BMW is also a big Motorsports brand, Racing is part of their DNA, they made motorcycles for decades before they made the S1000RR, and they designed that bike because they wanted to go racing. 600cc racing is HUGE at the club level, and BMW could sell a lot of bikes if they built one. Clearly their bean counters feel otherwise or they would, but IMO they would sell a lot of bikes and help reinvigorate the class,



Also you have to keep in mind that we are a minority in the motorcycle world, most bikes will never see the race track and most riders will never use the potential available in a 10 year old 600 , let alone the capability of a new S1000RR or R1M.



Regardless you should come to COTA and discuss this over ice cold beverages at my summer chateau :D:D

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On the sales thing I'm sure you are right. The RR is great technology but a big departure from what they are used to selling. Add into that a new type of customer who's using their bike in a very different way than what they are accustomed to. I'm actually quite fortunate that my local dealer BMW Atlanta is used to dealing with lots of track going RR's.


Yes indeed we are a minority in the motorcycle world. While 600cc racing is still popular many of the street going 600cc bikes are decisions based on cost. Those bikes on the road provide way more performance than most riders need. The riders who have the extra disposable income always go for the 1L machines. Quite honestly they are the best value. They also provide the highest level of status on the road being more powerful which in a lot of cases is what drives those purchase decisions. :)


Think about it this way. If you were selling a product and had a choice on which market segments you wanted to sell to what would you choose? An already heavily saturated market driven by cost with limited opportunity for innovation or a market not constrained like that?


Thank you for the invitation to your Chateau. I'll be at COTA October 29th and 30th. Hopefully you will be there. :)

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Yamaha's (not a fan but hey, gotta give them pts for upping the ante) XSR 900 has alo of electronic and mechanical goodies too
TCS (VERY BASIC , 2 modes plus off, ripped off the old r1 parts bin)
slipper+ASSIST clutch
450 pounds fueled.

....under 10K USD

I agree on RChase's points , 600cc's are not financially viable for all pts, power , r&d , sales , weight and etc etc

PS. BMW is partnering with TVR india for the G310 series single cylinder bike.

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That's actually an interesting point that I had not considered ktk_ace.


Perhaps BMW considers this segment already served by other products. The F800 as well as the R1200RS and the G310 are pretty close to the 600 market space. The R1200RS is actually listed on the sport section of their website and is a 125hp boxer.


One things's for certain. BMW's never been one to follow the herd and that's what many of their customers like so much about the brand.

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The F800 isn't a 600cc sportsbike. It's something else - say a city commuter or roadster. Turns good, but when you take it to the track you'll start to find the limits of it (a friend and fellow CSS student of mine has it).


For me, one of the key components of a 'real' sportsbike is a fully adjustable suspension, and the only thing you can do to the OEM fork is change the oil and give it stiffer springs. The rear shock has preload and rebound, but not compression.


Don't get me wrong: the F800 is a nice bike, but it just isn't a sportsbike.

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The F800 may not be a "real sportsbike" but put one of the school's coaches on one and you might swear it is. A few years ago at Barber I saw Dylan enter the track with an F800 and I followed him for a bit to watch his riding. He effortlessly left me in the dust and did not even realize I was behind him. It was quite amazing to see.


How about the Nine T? The Nine T has the front end and brakes straight off of the RR. Here's a photo of Nate racing his Nine T leaving purpose built race bikes like Panigale's in the dust. Nate refers to the Nine T as a "Starbucks cruiser". BMW lists the bike in the Heritage section of their website.




Here's a photo of the bike before it's paint job during it's first race.




While these bikes may not be "real sportbikes" in the classical sense they are still quite capable machines. It's important to keep in mind that the bodywork and shape of "real sportbikes" is a recent evolution within the past 20 years. While the design might provide a bit of aerodynamics and some better lock on points for the rider this design element is not the most important aspect. As Nate has demonstrated during many races a good rider can overcome design limitations of nearly any motorcycle. Including a bike never intended to go racing.

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