The most extreme BMW sportsbike ever released boasts 212bhp, 171kg, and a £68,000 price tag – and only 750 will ever be built
212bhp + 171kg = £68,000
BMW have revealed the full production version of the concept bike they teased us with at the end of 2017. Dubbed the HP4 RACE, it’s the first BMW to feature a full carbon fibre frame.
Unveiled in all its glory at the Auto Shanghai 2017 show in China last week, the HP4 RACE’S big claim to fame is that carbon frame. Weighing just 7.8kg, it’s joined by carbon fibre wheels that are claimed to be 30% lighter than the equivalent alloys, as well as carbon bodywork and an adjustable selfsupporting carbon tail unit.
BMW say that the engine, electronics, brake and suspension technology on the HP4 RACE take it to the same spec level as current factory superbike racing machines, and weighing just 171kg when fully-fuelled and track ready, the HP4 RACE is actually lighter than the current crop of World Superbikes.
Ready to race
At the HP4’S unveiling, Olaf Kastner – the President and CEO of BMW Group Region China – said: “This must surely be the most stunning BMW Motorrad [motorcycle] ever. This is the exclusive BMW HP4 RACE. RACE – you can take that literally. In terms of technology, the new HP4 RACE is in the same category as current superbike racing machines.
“The HP4 RACE is the first motorcycle with a carbon fibre main frame produced industrially using the RTM process. Only the BMW Group has this competence. The wheels are also made of this ultra-light but rigid material. Ready to race, this bike has a dry weight of just 146 kilograms!”
While BMW’S Hp-series bikes have always pushed the boat out when compared to the underlying machinery that spawned them, the HP4 RACE is in another league altogether. But that comes at a price – £68,000 to be precise. Price aside, the other big downside is the HP4 RACE’S singular purpose - this is a track-only bike, and so not homologated for road use. The upside of that focus is that you get a World Superbike spec engine, producing 212bhp, WSB spec Öhlins suspension and Brembo GP4 PR calipers.
Lighter, faster, fitter
The rev ceiling has been increased by 300rpm to 14,500rpm, while there’s also a 6-speed close-ratio gearbox and various secondary ratios supplied.
Delivering control to the package are an Öhlins FGR300 inverted fork and a TTX36 GP monoshock, the latter working with a light alloy underslung swingarm which BMW say is a direct Superbike World Cup refugee. There’s no explanation for why they chose to use alloy rather than carbon (Ducati use carbon on their Superleggera).
The seat unit is adjustable for three different heights, and is also selfsupporting carbon fibre, while the remainder of the bodywork is also formed from the magic carbon weave.
A helping hand
The new HP4 gets a step up in electronic assistance, too – all of which are viewed and controlled through the 2D dash, which includes a built-in datalogger. The Dynamic Traction Control, Engine Braking and Wheelie Control can be programmed for each gear, while wide-ranging set-up options are possible for different track layouts and surface conditions. There’s also a Pit Lane Limiter and Launch Control.
Taking care of stopping power are a pair of fat Brembo GP4 PR monoblock calipers, with coated titanium pistons and single-piece aluminium bodies, chemically nickel-plated. The calipers bite down on 320mm T-type steel discs (which use alternate floating Ts and Os to ensure optimum disc stability).
No road bike?
The old HP4 was primarily a trackfocused road bike, but the new version is purely a track bike. So does this mean the end for HP4 road bikes? It seems unlikely, and the majority of the innovations seen on the RACE could easily be translated into a more affordable HP4 ROAD version that simply ditches the carbon frame in favour of a conventional alloy one, mated to a subframe and conventional seat unit. Everything else could remain largely – or even completely – unchanged, including the use of carbon wheels.
But until BMW confirm its existence, the limited edition of 750 HP4 RACE is your only option, and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis at your local BMW dealer.
Motorsport paintjob leaves plenty of bare carbon fibre on show Gorgeous 2D dash tells you everything