146kg, 215hp, £68,000

BMW HP4 Race

Written by Ben Purvis , Date 12:54 PM

The BMW HP4 Race is vying with Ducati’s 1299 Superleggera for the title of 2017’s most exotic production bike. Now the firm has revealed all the details of what’s included in this crazy track-only beast and we’re not disappointed.

BMW HP4 Race

BMW HP4 Race

Both the BMW and Ducati were unveiled at EICMA last November, both have a carbon-fibre frame, bodywork and wheels and now it turns out that other specs are close as well. BMW has revealed that the HP4 Race makes 215bhp – that’s identical to the Ducati’s power – at 13,900rpm. Its UK price of £68,000 is near enough the same as the £72,000 Ducati’s tag. Its weight – 146kg dry – is 10kg less than the Ducati, which weighs in at 156kg without fluids. Throw in all the oil, water and a full 17.5 litre tankful of fuel and the BMW is still a featherweight 171.4kg. The Ducati is 167kg with oil and water, but filling its 17 litre tank would add about 12kg more.

BMW HP4 Race

BMW HP4 Race Frame

The BMW’s weight savings come from a 7.8kg carbon frame that’s 4kg lighter than the aluminium one on the S1000RR. The carbon wheels are 30% lighter, too. And unlike the road-legal Ducati, the track-only BMW does without lights and emissions kit. That would easily account for its weight advantage over the Italian machine. Importantly, BMW’s carbon frame, wheels and bodywork is made using mass-production techniques learnt from the firm’s experiences with carbon-fibre cars. So while the HP4 Race might be out of your reach, its descendants are likely to be much more attainable.

While Ducati opted for a carbon swingarm as well, BMW sticks with aluminium, which is also used for the HP4 Race’s fuel tank.

BMW HP4 Race

BMW HP4 Race forks and brakes

Much of the high price of the HP4 Race actually stems not from its carbon construction but the expensive equipment bolted to it. Ohlins FGR 300 forks, for instance, and a TTX 36 GP rear shock. Not to mention the Brembo GP4 PR calipers. That’s all MotoGP or WSBK level kit.

In fact, the HP4 Race is too light to be legal to race in WSBK! It would also be too expensive, as that series has a €40,000 price cap for homologation.

The engine achieves 215hp thanks to new milled con rods, high-lift cams and a lightened crankshaft. Allied to new injection settings and a race exhaust, it’s enough to give a useful power boost over the stock S1000RR it’s based on. A reworked transmission with new ratios and an upside-down, race-style shift sits behind it.

BMW HP4 Race

BMW HP4 Race instruments

Electronic toys include a quickshifter allowing clutchless shifts in both directions. There’s also the full spectrum of traction control, launch control and wheelie control. A race-style dash gives the details and allows access to a built in datalogger that tracks everything from brake pressure to suspension movement.

BMW will be making just 750 HP4 Race machines, with orders being filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Any BMW Motorrad dealer can take an order, but they’re likely to sell out fast. Order books are open now and deliveries will start in September.

Fortunately, BMW’s commitment to carbon fibre means that we’re very likely to see more bikes like this including road-going models. The next-generation S1000RR may well be offered with the option of a carbon chassis, at least on high-end versions, and BMW is also developing carbon trellis frames for other models in its range.

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