Last week I went along to Vines in Guildford as a friend was picking up their brand new S1000RR. Whilst there I got chatting to the dealer and was offered a test ride on one. Not one to turn down some free fun, I said I'd come back when the weather was better and so I duly rode down there today. Had over an hour's ride down on mine, about an hour on the S1000RR, then over an hour's ride home again on my SP - so it's very easy to compare them when you hop straight from one to the other. The S1000RR was a 19 model with 3k on the clock. Sport (not M Sport) so didn't have the clever wheels, but did have full electronics package. As such it was a pretty even comparison - both bikes have electronic suspension and a full set of rider aids, although the BMW has clever navigation and phone integration built in (as well as a bigger/better) TFT screen. First impressions though of the BMW aren't that great. When you put the bikes side by side the Honda looks to be the more expensive and better built bike. Componentry and build quality are qualitatively better, bike looks and feels much less 'plastic'. The red colour doesn't help the S1000RR - the M Sport blue/red/white looks much classier. Pulling away the impression is reinforced - everything feels a bit 'soft' - from the response of the gear shifter when you tap it down to check first (soggy), to the plastic looking levers and slack on the throttle. Then you get up to 20mph in traffic and the engine sounds like an old 500cc twin - clattering away. I even wondered if there was something wrong with it. But then after a mile you settle in and realise the riding position is actually much more comfortable - you feel like you're sitting IN the bike, rather than on it like the Blade. The seat feels lower, as do the pegs, and the bars feel higher. The seat is softer, and the suspension is MUCH more supple - in ROAD setting almost too much so. I switched it up to DYNAMIC and then it felt a bit tighter, although still gobbling up the bumps much better than my blade on its softest mode. (modes on the BMW ascend from rain-road-dynamic-race). In fact, it reminded me of my old (2017) CBR650F - in a good way. That bike had an uncanny ability to gobble up road imperfections and make you feel in control even on the worst B-road surfaces. Obviously it was soft on when taken on track but with only 90bhp that wasn't a massive issue. I felt at home on the BMW much quicker than I did on my SP - and to be honest I'm only just starting to tune into the Blade after 500 miles. On the BMW I was bunging it into corners after just 5 miles - that front end is just so quick and trustworthy, it gives a huge amount of confidence. The bike itself is gruesomely competent at demolishing the road in front of it. It made me feel a bit like I did when I took a KTM 790 Duke out - that bike turned you into a hooligan, and the BMW does a bit of the same thing. Just feels so chuckable that you end up doing overtakes you wouldn't have otherwise have done, squirting the straights harder than you otherwise would... On the power you can feel the extra torque of the shiftcam system - the bike is gruntier than the Blade, no question. Can't compare ultimate power as you're never able to completely open up either bike on the road. But it's not like it's just torquey like a twin and runs out of juice - I got it up to about 10k rpm on 3/4 throttle and it was still picking up. The front brakes have epic bite, much more than the Blade. Don't know how ultimate stopping power compares but certainly felt safer with the BMW's front brakes. Although the rear was positioned horribly and I could barely even reach it. I've heard other complaints about that - that you can't even adjust it up into reach. That seems pretty basic and dumb! Once the engine is up and spinning it sounds totally fine, less highly strung than the Blade, and gives you some nice pops on the overrun, even on the stock exhaust. Also - heated grips, very glad of those. Hill start control is useful. Tyre pressure monitor - likewise. Cruise control I didn't get a chance to use but would love that when stuck on the motorway for a bit. The Blade feels like a tight, precision engineered, quality machine. Which it is. But I can see why the press has been raving about this generation of S1000RR. It's easier to ride fast than the Blade, it's more comfortable than the Blade, it's got more toys and more sophisticated electronics. I can't compare what they're both like as track machines (yet) but as a road bike - dare I say it - the S1000RR is better. Now where it's not an entirely fair comparison is that I got a great deal on my '19 SP - so I'd need to find at least another £5k to put myself on the BMW. And is it worth that? Maybe, to some... However, one final thought - when it comes to the Nigel living room furniture test, the Honda wins Just don't think you get as much joy from admiring the BMW as you do the Fireblade. Anyone else ridden this latest generation of S1000RR? What did you think?