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BMW’s $200k Carbonfibre Motorcycle

Derryn Wong
19/04/2017

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BMW Motorrad unveils the HP4 Race, a racing-spec, carbon-framed, limited-edition superbike

Munich, Germany – BMW Motorrad has unveiled its most extreme machine to date: The track-only HP4 Race.

The new model is derived from the brand’s current S 1000 RR superbike, but with everything turned up to ‘11’. The model is part of BMW’s limited ‘HP’ series of motorcycles, which have included ultra-special machines like the HP4 and the HP2 Sport.
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The most unique part of the machine is its central frame. While the S 1000 RR has a aluminium beam frame, the HP4 Race has a frame constructed entirely of carbon fibre, a world first for a production motorcycle. BMW Motorrad says the frame weighs a mere 7.8kg, 30 percent less than an aluminium alloy one.
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The bike’s subframe is also made of carbon fibre, as are the wheels which are specially-designed by BMW itself. All the CFRP (carbonfibre reinforced plastic) components, it says, are designed with longevity in mind, and are engineered to be the last elements to fail in case of a crash, and to break in a predictable, gradual manner rather than dramatically shearing to pieces.

All this is possible as BMW has invested hugely in CFRP over the years, the most visible examples are in its BMW i3 and i8 cars, as well as the ‘Carboncore’ technology of the new 7 Series.
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The rest of the HP4 Race’s spec list reads like a no-cost-object list of sell-your-kidneys racing spec components: carbonfibre wheels, Brembo GP4 PR monoblock brake callipers with titanium pistons, a reduced-weight electrical system, an aluminium fuel tank, Ohlins FGR 300 racing forks and TTX 36 rear shock. A full suite of electronics, from traction control to Race ABS, wheelie control and more are onboard, and the 2D electronic dash is also a telemetry datalogger.
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It’s powered by a tuned engine described by BMW Motorrad as ‘world cup’ spec, similar to those being used in World Endurance and World Superbike racing: It makes 16bhp more than the S 1000 RR, with 215bhp on tap, and 120Nm of torque. The engine has a raised rev limit of 14,500rpm, 300rpm more, which contributes to the greater top end power. The pistons are the same as the S 1000 RR’s, but they and the new Pankl conrods are weight-selected for maximum smoothness, while the engine bores are polished and honed. The oil system and cooling system are upgraded.

As a result of the weight saving, and the fact that it has no road-legal lights, it weighs just 171kg with fluids, a huge 34kg less than the standard S 1000 RR. Given all that, it means the HP4 Race lives fully up to its name, as it’s basically a fully fledged race bike. 
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The HP4 Race is limited to 750 examples worldwide, and local pricing has not been unveiled yet. However given Ducati’s exotic track special, the Superleggera (which also has 215bhp and carbon fibre everything except its frame) , now costs more than $180,000 with COE after the recent ARF spikes, it would be no surprise if the HP4 Race costs northward of $200,000, given the higher technical specification of the bike. The Superleggera is road legal though, while the HP4 Race is, as far as we can guess, a track-only bike. 

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About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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