Hp4-phwoar!

The most ex­treme BMW sports­bike ever re­leased boasts 212bhp, 171kg, and a £68,000 price tag – and only 750 will ever be built

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK IN MCN - By Richard New­land DEPUTY ED­I­TOR

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

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