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I know these roads. I have ridden them for as long as I have ridden a motorcycle. They are the asphalt capillaries away from the highways that link Southern to Northern California, the two-lane roads that offer an escape from the beaten path. For decades now, I've ridden them for


weekend getaways, for motorcycle road evaluations, and every spring for a visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to watch the world's best roadracers on one of the most iconic circuits in the world. They offer everything that the roads can


throw at a rider. There are wide-open spaces that test the ultimate power of the fastest machines (There is a reason that BMW brought us here, years ago, to sample the K1300S, at the time the most powerful motorcycle BMW ever had produced). There are tight, twisty sections, long, open sweepers, and if you are so inclined, you can escape these roads and jump onto long stretches of freeway to get you between Point A and Point B in as little time as possible. At the end of a day on these roads, you


Highway 33 and respite from the heat.


are deeply immersed in the experience of riding. Your vision is tuned in to the images at speed. Your skills are sharper, your knowledge of your machine more intimate, and your appreciation for the art of motor- cycling never greater. For the 27th year since we first made this


ride, the same group of friends joined me for the annual ride up to Laguna, this time to watch the Superbike World Champion- ship and MotoAmerica races. This year, I wanted to do the ride on a machine that would, at first glance, seem to be out of its element. It's easy to focus on the sporting elements


of the BMW S 1000 RR. Hard to overlook 190 or so horsepower at the rear wheel, semi-active suspension, massive disc brakes, dynamic traction control, and a rid- ing position that looks like something off a Superbike grid. But the fact is that more than nine out of


ten Supersports machines sold in the U.S. never are taken onto the track. They are used on the streets, as weekend sport riding machines, as commuters, and even as


long-distance touring bikes. Look at the parking lot at the WorldSBK races, and there are lots and lots of sportbikes with soft luggage attached. I have, in my library, Ian Falloon's book


on the history of the iconic BMW R 90 S. The machine was praised for its ability to compete with the best on the track and per- form the role of gentleman's express on the highway. So, the question here is simple: Can the finely honed blade of the S 1000 RR cut it in the role of touring bike? From the saddle of BMW's most advanced, most powerful and fastest motorcycle ever, can you hear the whispers of the ghosts of the R 90 S?


The Route


Fire up the 101 in heavy traffic out of the Los Angeles basin. Overnight at a friend's house, where each year dinner gets a little longer and the boots-up time the next morning gets a little later. First up is the two-lane Highway 33 past


Ojai, away from the coast and up over the mountains toward the great central plains


54


BMW OWNERS NEWS October 2017


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