BMW HP4: Racing, out of the box
EVERYMAN'S BIKE: Country roads, track days, crusing, drag racing - BMW's new HP4 can be dialled in for them all.
BMW Motorrad has brought out what it claims is the lightest four-cylinder supersports bike in the 1000cc class, based on the S 1000 RR and with 142kW on tap to shift its 199kg.
The BMW HP4 (er, High Performance) is the name and it comes with Race ABS at a dry weight of 169kg.
The Blue Propeller people see the bike as a continuation of BMW Motorrad's HP model series that was created in 2005. The BMW HP4 is the first four-cylinder member of the HP family after the boxer HP2 Enduro, HP2 Megamoto and HP2 Sport.
Rarely shy about its products, BMW says: "The HP4 embodies outstanding agility, power and riding dynamics but it also reflects the use of extremely high-quality materials and intelligent technology, carefully conceived down to the last detail.
"In short, the HP4 stands for perfectly controllable power and sporty perfection. HP motorcycles are truly outstanding."
Each unit, the bikemaker adds, will be exclusive and authentic, always relatively rare. Each is issued with a serial number engraved on the upper fork bridge.
"Due to its extensive range of fittings and excellent set-up," BMW adds, "the new HP4 is immediately ready to race, ex-works, no elaborate modifications needed. Yet it also offers great potential for dynamic riding on country roads."
The HP4 claims to be entirely uncompromising, combining athletic flair and riding dynamics at the very highest level – to an even greater extent than the S 1000 RR.
Since its international media presentation in late 2009 the S 1000 RR has sped from one triumph to another - and not just in motorcycle magazine comparative tests. "This is clear evidence," BMW says, "of the qualities and the consistency of the supersports concept. Fitted with Race ABS and dynamic traction control, the RR set a benchmark in this hotly competed and technologically highly sophisticated segment."
It still, however, left room for improvement. Or, as they say, wait!, there's more...
The HP4 provides homologation for BMW motorcycles in racing, especially Superbike and Superstock. The new model has numerous technological innovations which highlight its track orientation. The standard pillion cover ensures the monoposto look for the track but for riders who would like to travel with a friend, BMW Motorrad also offers a pillion package ex-works.
The HP4 shows its status as a high-performance motorcycle in terms of its suspension system with, BMW says, a world-first for serial production: dynamic instant damping control of the upside-down fork and spring strut to suit the road surface of the moment.
The Race ABS has four modes: RAIN for, well, rain; SPORT for ordinary road use; RACE for track with supersports tyres; SLICK for, yep, you got it.
Racing experience gained from the International German Motorcycle championship has been fed directly into the Race ABS computer. Slick mode gives a skilled rider maximum possible deceleration.
The HP4 has a new-format tyre: 200/55 ZR 17 to get the most from the bike's traction control on the 'slick' setting, which can be adjusted on the move. 'Launch control' can also be dialled-in and the bike's computer allows instant gearshifts with virtually no interruption of traction with the standard "shift assistant"; good for road or track!
LOOKS GOOD, SOUNDS GOOD
BMW is a fastidious weight-watcher: light alloy, seven-spoked rims and a lighter sprocket shaved off 2.4kg from the RR's set-up; the whole exhaust is made of titanium to drop another 4.5kg and comes with an interference pipe between cylinders two and three, a controlled acoustic valve and a closed-loop catalytic converter.
It not only looks good and sounds good but also optimises the torque curve of the engine whose peak output is at 13 000rpm (142kW), 1200rpm from max revs. Max torque of 112Nm comes in at 9750rpm though it increases noticeably from 6000 to 9750. In 'Rain' mode, for obvious traction reasons, power/torque are tamed between 2500 and 8000rpm.
Unlike the RR, however, the full 142kW is available in all modes at 13 000rpm.
A "specially exclusive" competition package is available in the back room which includes carbon parts (among them a long HP engine spoiler, an adjustable footrest system, folding brake and clutch levers and a sponsor sticker kit.
And of course you'd like to know when and how much? Approximate answers - before the end of the year and round about R220 000.
For more BMW motorcycle information, got to BMW Motorrad SA.