2017 BMW HP4 RACE

BMW’s own car­bon- fi­bre frame and wheels point to a mass- pro­duced car­bon S1000RR be­fore long...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - Contents -

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

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