BMW Motorrad has unveiled their sharpest, lightest – and most expensive – high-performance motorcycle ever in the form of the ‘HP4 Race’.
In a similar mould to Kawasaki’s supercharged H2R, the HP4 Race is an ultra-exclusive hero model that the German manufacturer says is more race-focussed than current World Superbike machinery and compares favourably with MotoGP bikes, too.
But whereas the H2R was around the $60,000 mark, the HP4 Race is expected to be close to double that. A published North American market price of US$87,000 would directly translate to something in the region of AU$115,000, which puts the HP4 Race in the same price bracket as Ducati’s 1299 Superleggera. Also unveiled at EICMA last year, the Superleggera carries a pricetag close to AU$125,000.
Why so expensive? Well, the HP4 Race is largely hand-built and has the best of everything BMW can put into it, but its key point of difference over other BMW models – and indeed all production motorcycles – is a full carbon fibre frame.

CARBON OVERLOAD
Carbon fibre has been used for fairings, wheels, subframes and other parts before, but the HP4 Race claims to be the first motorcycle in the world to use a full carbon fibre frame. Weighing just 7.8kg, the frame has been produced in such a way that it carries the “flex” of traditional steel or alloy frames; something previously unachieved. BMW Motorrad says the full carbon fibre frame has been produced industrially, too, which has apparently made it viable to produce the HP4 Race in a limited edition of 750 units.
Matched to the carbon fibre frame is a carbon fibre subframe and seat unit, carbon fibre 17-inch wheels (claimed to be 30 per cent lighter than the lightest alloy wheels available), and carbon fibre bodywork, but the swingarm remains metal – of a light alloy construction, comprising both milled and sheet metal parts.
In total, the HP4 race weighs 146kg dry and 171kg fully fuelled, which BMW Motorrad says makes their creation lighter than a WSBK racer and only marginally heavier than the factory machines in MotoGP.

RACE ENGINE
The 999cc inline four-cylinder engine used in the HP4 Race is based on that from BMW’s S 1000 RR production bike, but has been hand-built to the sort of specs found in WSBK and Endurance World Championship machines, with a claimed maximum power output of 158kW at 13,900rpm and peak torque of 120Nm at 10,000rpm. This compares to 146kW and 113Nm (claimed) for the stock S 1000 RR.
Additional to the extra power, maximum engine speed has been increased from 14,200rpm to 14,500rpm, with the 4-2-1 exhaust system consisting of titanium pipes and a carbon fibre-wrapped silencer. The 6-speed gearbox has also been modified to suit racetrack use, thanks to the addition of optimised transmission ratios and various secondary ratios, with a range of different rings and pinions included to allow the gearing to be adapted to suit different tracks.
A reversed shift pattern (1 up, 5 down) is also race-inspired, while the inclusion of the HP Shift Assistant Pro allows for clutchless shifting.

SWEDES AND ITALIANS
Race-spec suspension for this premium model comes courtesy of Swedish suspension specialists Ohlins and consists of an FGR300 USD fork and TTX 36 GP rear monoshock; both similar componentry to that used in MotoGP and WSBK.
Braking consists of 320mm twin front discs and a 220mm rear, matched to race-spec Brembo calipers. The GP4 PR front calipers feature titanium pistons and are the same units the Italian manufacturer supplies to WSBK.
Steering head offset, rake, seat height and swingarm pivot points are all adjustable to enable the ideal (race) rider setting to be found.

HIGH TECH
An extensive electronic package consists of Dynamic Traction Control that’s 15-level adjustable and EBR engine braking control that’s also 15-level adjustable. Wheelie Control, a pit lane speed limiter and launch control are other tech features. The on-board electronic and electrical system has been weight-optimised for this model, so a lightweight lithium-ion battery is used, while the instrumentation viewable on the 2D dashboard is transferable via the included data logger.

LIMITED EDITION
Of the 750 units of the HP4 Race to be released worldwide, only ten are allocated for Australia, but BMW Motorrad expect all will find buyers here, despite the hefty pricetag and the fact it’s a racetrack-only machine that cannot be complied for road use.