The HP badge is the motorcycle equivalent to the M badge you find on BMW cars. Except this time it has gotten even more nutty. The newest HP4 RACE is a culmination of technologies that gives us the fastest S1000RR we have ever seen. The ultra rare HP4 RACE is a turn key rocket that comes with a monstrous price tag, but it also brings an exclusive factor to the table.
The HP4 RACE is first and foremost a track specific bike. It’s an assault on the sportbike world as we know it. It boasts 215hp, a stout number even in today’s literbike market. And it weighs under 400lbs. 377lbs wet, to be exact. That’s astonishingly light. That gives the new HP4 a power to weight ratio that exceeds all other superbikes. They get the power from a full race built engine, one built to a similar spec as those used in World Superbike. The new redline is 14,500rpm, a 300rpm jump over the already lofty 14,200rpm redline. To handle this the engine is given new camshafts for both intake and exhaust. The crankshaft and connecting rods are also new for the HP4 Race. The transmission even received an overall, with everything but 3rd gear being changed. This is all well and good, obviously making an impressive statement on the dyno. But where BMW really brought their A-game was with the all new frame.
The HP4 RACE is BMW’s first foray into carbon fiber frames, and man did they kill it. The entire main frame is carbon fiber. Like the whole thing. They utilized metal mounting points, but even those are integrated directly into the carbon frame. That gives the new HP4 a total weight of 17.2lbs for the main frame. That’s lighter than the average road bicycle! It’s also 8.8lbs lighter than the barbaric aluminum frame found on the standard RR, but who’s counting anyway. The rear subframe and seat supports are also fully formed carbon fiber. BMW’s design allows the rider to fine tune the seat height into three different positions, for the optimal riding position.
Bolted to that trick frame is the best suspension money can buy, literally. BMW went all out and used Ohlins FGR 300 forks and an Ohlins TTX 36 GP rear shock on the HP4. The same units you will find on MotoGP bikes. If you aren’t drooling yet you should be. They even used the WSBK spec rear swing arm, which is longer than a stock RR to aid in high-speed stability. I was a little surprised that it wasn’t carbon, but if it’s good enough for WSBK I’m sure it will work fine on the HP4 RACE.
Speaking of carbon, check out those wheels. You guessed it, carbon. BMW used a “braiding” process that wraps the entire fabric structure into one piece. This gave the HP4 a set of wheels that are 30% lighter than the forged aluminum ones on the RR. This also reduces the rotating mass substantially, with BMW claiming up to 40% less gyroscopic effect. These are the extreme measures BMW has taken to give the HP4 RACE that slender 377lb wet weight they keep bragging about. Paired with that massive power this is no doubt a rocket. So how can a mortal like ourselves pilot such a mighty steed? Simple, throw a computer that is smarter than MIT onto it and let it do its thing.
The HP4 RACE comes with a full electronics suite that is capable of fine-tuning every aspect of the bikes performance. It has launch control, traction control, wheelie control, hell it even has a pit speed limiter. Being on the same level as a factory race bike means when the HP4 is in neutral it is in ‘mechanic mode’ allowing someone more qualified than I to dial in all its settings. Once it is put into first gear it automatically switches to rider mode, displaying all the necessities like speed and RPM as well as what setting your traction control is on and what not. The technology is so finely designed that you can actually dial in each setting for each gear. For example, you could put traction control on full bore for 1st through 3rd gear, then dial it back or even turn it off for the last 3.
The 2D system even records lap times, giving the rider a heads up display of how they are performing on track. All the data is collected and it allows you to study when your back in the pits, allowing you to pinpoint where you could be going faster on the track. The sad part is most everyone that will ride one of these, the screen might as well read ‘EVERYWHERE’. The HP4 doesn’t come with a pit crew, but it does come with a slew of accessories like spare chains and sprockets allowing for different gearing at different tracks. It also comes with inserts that allow you to change the geometry of the frame, drastically changing the handling. All in the pursuit of more speed. It may not come with a pit crew, but you will certainly need one.
So now the downside, and that is the price tag. The age old saying, you get what you pay for couldn’t ring truer because the HP4 RACE is a whopping $87,000 motorcycle. While I’ll admit I’ve seen more expensive, that is still a lot of coin for a bike that doesn’t come with headlights. If the price point wasn’t enough of a kicker, the fact that there will only ever be 750 units sold should be. That’s a pretty elite club, even by BMW’s standards.
The HP4 RACE is an incredible machine, but it’s much like the Ducati Desmosedici RR or Honda RC213V-S, bikes that are more for rich people to store in their summer house as decorations than to actually be ridden as the track weapon they truly are. For that kind of money, I would personally go with a well sorted AMA built bike from the previous season and use the $60,000 I saved to keep racing. But that’s just me. I mean, can you imagine how much that bodywork would cost if you got taken out by some squid!? Yikes. Either way, good on BMW for bringing this bike to the market, even if its just to look at.
All Photos: Cycleworld.com