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BMW’s HP4 RACE Prototype is a Carbon Fiber Work of Art

Rider Magazine StaffNovember 30, 2016
BMW's HP4 RACE prototype should be produced next spring. Details are few, but there's carbon fiber as far as the eye can see.

BMW’s HP4 RACE prototype should be produced next spring. Details are few, but there’s carbon fiber as far as the eye can see.

At the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, earlier this month, Ducati unveiled its new 1299 Superleggera (“super light” in Italian), a MotoGP-caliber sportbike that makes 215 horsepower and weighs just 386 pounds, in part because Ducati says it’s the first production motorcycle to have its frame, subframe, swingarm, wheels and bodywork all made from carbon fiber. Only 500 examples of the super-sexy Superleggera will be built, at a price of $80,000 each.

BMW says the HP4 RACE will be the most exclusive BMW motorcycle ever, built by hand in small numbers.

BMW says the HP4 RACE will be the most exclusive BMW motorcycle ever, built by hand in small numbers.

Across the hall at EICMA, BMW Motorrad pulled the covers off of its own carbon fiber beauty, the HP4 RACE, a prototype of “the most exclusive BMW motorcycle of all time,” which “will be manufactured by hand in an exclusive limited series and supplied in the second half of 2017.”

BMW was remarkably tight-lipped about details. All that Stephan Schaller, President BMW Motorrad, said is this: “The HP4 RACE will feature the full carbon fiber main frame and carbon fiber rims as shown here. We will reveal more about this model next spring.”

There's some serious craftsmanship involved in building a twin-spar main frame entirely from carbon fiber.

There’s some serious craftsmanship involved in building a twin-spar main frame entirely from carbon fiber.

Both wheels are made of carbon fiber. Beautiful, strong and light.

Both wheels are made of carbon fiber. Beautiful, strong and light.

Photos of the HP4 RACE suggest that the twin-spar main frame, subframe, tail section, passenger footpeg brackets, fuel tank (or at least its cover), bodywork and wheels are made of light, strong, woven carbon fiber. Even the Akrapovič silencer is made of carbon fiber. Up front there’s the telltale gold of an Öhlins fork and a red Brembo logo on the M50 monobloc calipers.

If the HP4 RACE is as exclusive as claimed, it will no doubt have the very best in components, the latest-generation of electronics and perhaps a meaty bump in horsepower (claimed output for the 2017 BMW S 1000 RR is 199 horsepower).

Will it top the Superleggera’s 215 horsepower or weigh less than its 368 pounds? Will it beat the Ducati’s power-to-weight ratio of 0.58 horsepower per pound? And how much will such exclusivity cost?

The answers to these heady questions should be available next spring. We can’t wait.

An artist's sketch of the HP4 RACE in BMW Motorsport colors.

An artist’s sketch of the HP4 RACE in BMW Motorsport colors.

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