2017 BMW HP4 RACE
BMW’s own carbon- fibre frame and wheels point to a mass- produced carbon S1000RR before long...
Does new carbon chassis superbike mean mass-produced carbon S1000RR?
WHILE THE SUPERLEGGERA was unveiled at the Milan show with fanfare, dry ice and a certain Mr C Stoner riding the bike onstage, the release of the BMW HP4 Race was relatively low-key. But in many ways, it’s far more important. BMW are rightly very proud of their abilities to mass-produce carbon-fibre. They’ve been doing it for years, from the roof of the M3 CSL back in the early 2000s, right up to the chassis of their i3 hybrid town car and i8 hybrid supercar.
Both of these cars use a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer chassis, and the HP4 Race, which will be available to buy from mid-2017, looks like it uses the same technology. BMW’s automated moulding techniques have less wastage than slow, labourintensive hand production of carbon.
The chassis and the bodywork, including a selfsupporting subframe and the wheels, are all carbon- been conceived for mass production, while the Germans say they have many patented ideas for their production. The stretched weave of the rims points to a composite forging, a technique already used by Lamborghini in the making of their carbon chassis.
Last month we caught up with BMW design boss, Dr Schaller, who told us: “The use of carbon is really exciting, carbon-fibre wheels are the next step when it comes to agility and carbon’s use in a frame is really exciting, too. The thing you need to overcome is the cost of manufacture. When you understand the material you can alter its properties and do lots of exciting things. It’s always a possibility for the future.”
Details are still scant and no weight figures have been released, but there’s more to the HP4 than just the chassis – this could be the highest-spec trackbike we’ve ever seen on general sale. As well as the carbon, there are Öhlins FGR forks and a TTX36 shock, what looks like a WSB-spec swingarm, full datalogging and god-knows-what motor. Considering you can buy off-the-shelf 220bhp WSB motors from the Germans, you could end up with something truly mind-blowing...
ÖHLINS TTX36 REAR SHOCK