SHOW SPE­CIAL BMW re­veal their most ex­clu­sive mo­tor­cy­cle ever, a car­bon-framed ‘ HP4 Race’ ver­sion of the S1000RR

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jon Urry MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

The con­cept be­hind the HP4 Race is to in­tro­duce the idea of a main frame and wheels made from car­bon-fibre into a pro­duc­tion mo­tor­cy­cle ,ó ex­plains BMW project leader Chris­tian Gon­schor at the Mi­lan show, where BMW un­veiled their sur­prise ad­di­tion to the 2017 line-up. ÒIT is a deeper look at this new tech­nol­ogy and also the op­por­tu­nity to of­fer cus­tomers a very ad­vanced ma­chine that cer­tainly won’t dis­ap­point them. ó

Some­what an­noy­ingly, for BMW, the fan­fare of the HP4 Race’s de­but at the Mi­lan Mo­tor­cy­cle Show was muted by Du­cati and its Su­per­leg­gera, re­vealed the day be­fore. How­ever, while both of th­ese bikes use car­bon-fibre tech­nol­ogy, they do it in very dif­fer­ent ways.

Òthe tech­nol­ogy for the con­struc­tion of the wheel rims and frame is very im­por­tant, ó says Gon­schor. ÒWE have many patents and in­no­va­tions in the con­struc­tion of th­ese com­po­nents. When our car­bon parts leave their mould, they are ready to go, much like an alu­minium part would be, and have very lit­tle, if any, vari­a­tions in their con­struc­tion. We have sim­pli­fied the whole con­struc­tion pro­ce­dure to the point where it is ready for mass pro­duc­tion with pre­cise tol­er­ances in flex­i­bil­ity and with none of the vari­a­tions in con­struc­tion you get with hand built one-off car­bon parts. ó

While this may not seem very rad­i­cal, what BMW has done is ef­fec­tively open the doors to us­ing car­bon-fibre in the same was as metal is cur­rently used Ð some­thing Gon­schor ad­mits is a tar­get of the HP4 Race project. And it’s a field of tech­nol­ogy that BMW’S car divi­sion is al­ready very ex­pe­ri­enced in.

Ve­hi­cles such as the BMW i3 and i8 al­ready use car­bon body struc­tures, which are lighter and stronger than metal. BMW ac­tu­ally went as far as buy­ing 49% of car­bon-fibre man­u­fac­turer SGL Group to give them a head­start in this new tech­nol­ogy. But what does it bring to the mo­tor­cy­cle world?

Ò AS well as be­ing lighter, a car­bon chas­sis al­lows you to play with ev­ery ge­o­met­ri­cal item Ð stiff­ness, flex, ev­ery­where. If you know what you want, you can achieve it. With an alu­minium frame you are far more lim­ited, ó says Gon­schor. Ò for sure it will al­ways cost a pre­mium, but like our car col­leagues have done with the i3 and i8, we are mov­ing to the next step .ó But does it work in prac­tice?

ÒIF you want to show the per­for­mance of the frame and wheels, what is the

‘It’s not hand-built, we are ready to mass-pro­duce car­bon frames’ BMW’S CHRIS­TIAN GON­SCHOR

best thing to put it on? A cur­rent World Su­per­bike-spec bike! An S1000RR is ready to go close to the limit, but to re­ally reach the limit you need to use a com­plete Su­per­bike-spec bike and that in­volves the best com­po­nents on the mar­ket, ó says Gon­schor.

In the HP4 Race pro­to­type this means top of the range Wsb-spec … hlins sus­pen­sion, Brembo brakes and an en­gine that is also very close to WSB-spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Will th­ese com­po­nents make their way on to the pro­duc­tion ver­sion? While Chris­tian Gon­schor would­nõt be drawn on the pre­cise spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the fi­nal ver­sion of the HP4 Race, it is be­lieved to be very sim­i­lar to the pro­to­type and be a track-only ma­chine with a price tag that re­flects its high spec­i­fi­ca­tion. A fact backed up by BMW Õ S Pres­i­dent Stephan Schallerõs con­fir­ma­tion that the fi­nal ver­sion of the HP4 Race will be an ex­clu­sive lim­ited se­ries ma­chine when it ar­rives in the sec­ond half of 2017.

Ò with the HP4 Race ad­vanced pro­to­type, we want to show the world that we are ready to mass-pro­duce a car­bon main­frame and that it is not just a hand-built pro­to­type, ó con­cludes Gon­schor. Òthe bike is a kind of taste of the fu­ture and in the first half of next year we will re­veal more in­for­ma­tion about the bike such as weight, spec­i­fi­ca­tion, pro­duc­tion vol­ume and of course, price. ó

HP4 Race was sur­prise ad­di­tion to the range

Car­bon wheels should greatly lower ro­ta­tional mass

It’s noth­ing if it’s not stealthy You wait all year, then two car­bon-framed su­per­bikes come along at once... BMW have mas­tered mass pro­duc­tion tech­niques to fab­ri­cate car­bon HP4 frame

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