As expected, BMW introduced the production version of the carbon fiber HP4 RACE at the 2017 Auto Shanghai show. To be produced in a limited run of 750 units, the BMW HP4 RACE claims a fully-fueled weight of just 378 pounds while its S1000RR-based inline-Four claims a maximum output of 212 hp when rated at its crankshaft.

Designed to be a track-focused weapon with no street provisions, the HP4 RACE claims performance similar to a World Superbike racebike, with BMW claiming it even surpasses Superbikes in terms of its suspension and carbon fiber frame. The claimed weight of 378 pounds with a full 4.6-gallon tank is already lighter than BMW’s factory race bikes, as WSBK regulations require a minimum weight of 370 pounds even at the end of a race after using up fuel.

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The carbon frame is produced using a Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process, which BMW claims is a first for motorcycles. The RTM process saturates the carbon with a thermoset resin in a closed mold which BMW says allows for a high level of quality with uniform physical properties. BMW claims the frame weighs just 17.2 pounds, or about 8.8 pounds lighter than the aluminum frame on the S1000RR. The frame is molded as one whole piece with no weak points formed by welds or bolt-on components.

The rear subframe is also made of carbon fiber, though it wasn’t produced using RTM. The subframe is adjustable, changing the seat height from a maximum height of 33.3 inches to a minimum height of 32.1 inches (the HP4 RACE comes preset to a height right in the middle at 32.7 inches).

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The engine is based on BMW’s World Superbike and Endurance racing machines, spinning up to 14,500 rpm or 300 rpm higher than the standard S1000RR’s engine. The claimed 212 hp peak is reached at 13,900 rpm while torque tops out at a claimed 88.5 lb.-ft. at 10,000 rpm. BMW engineers altered the camshafts to increase valve lift, while increasing the length of the intake funnels. BMW also reduced the crankshaft’s weight by about 0.4 pound by drilling boreholes into the counterweights and primary drive wheel. Spent gases are fed through a 4-2-1 titanium exhaust system with a carbon fiber muffler.

The six-speed gearbox is optimized for the track, with longer first and second gear ratios and shorter ratios in fourth through sixth compared to the street-legal S1000RR. As a racebike, the HP4 RACE comes standard with a reverse shift pattern with BMW’s HP Shift Assistant Pro allowing for clutchless upshifts and downshifts.

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The HP4 RACE also uses carbon fiber wheels, produced in a braiding method wrapping the fibers by machine in one piece. BMW claims the wheels are 30% lighter than conventional wheels with a 40% reduction in gyroscopic forces. BMW also claims the wheels are stronger, testing the theory by running the wheels over a small obstacle at 75 mph. Under this test, light alloy forged wheels broke while the carbon wheels absorbed the energy from the impact.

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The front wheel is fitted with Brembo GP4 PR monoblock calipers. Its titanium pistons are treated with a friction-reducing coating for smoother movement through the nickel-plated caliper body. The four-piston rear brake caliper also uses titanium pistons.

Öhlins supplies the fully-adjustable FGR 300 inverted fork, offering 5.1 inches of travel. Steering geometry is adjustable using inserts to offset the fork bridge. The light alloy swingarm is paired to a Superbike-spec Öhlins TTX36 GP strut with 4.7 inches of travel.

BMW also equipped the HP4 with its latest electronics package, including dynamic traction control, wheelie control, launch control, a pit lane speed limiter and a 15-level engine brake function to customize the amount of engine brake torque.

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The HP4 RACE is fitted with a 2D multi-function dashboard. When the engine is in gear, the dash displays pertinent information, including electronics settings, lap times and water temperature. When the bike is stopped, the dash switches to mechanic mode for use in the pits or during warm-up. Available when the engine is idling in neutral, mechanic mode shows more detailed information such as front and rear brake pressure, suspension travel, throttle grip position, throttle valve position and lean angle data.

Other features include various carbon fiber trim, a lightweight lithium-ion battery and a BMW HP Motorsport paint scheme. U.S. pricing has yet to be announced but reports out of Europe have the HP4 RACE going for 80,000 euros (approx. US$85,664). Production begins in the fall.

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  • john phyyt

    Straight Crack.. !! No emotion .. F##k and F##k off… who needs relationships.

  • spiff

    Only problem with bike like these are they end up in offices and dens not paddocks.

  • William Marvin Parker

    I’m curious how it’ll handle compared to a conventional twin spar frame. It is likely to be stiff, wonder if handling will lack “feel”. Wonder if any light steering could be attributed to the carbon wheels…

    • spiff

      Good question. I believe Ducati deserted the carbon frame for aluminum in MotoGP.

      • hipsabad

        iirc, it might’ve been the strengths n weaknesses of twin spar frame design versus monocoque rather than the difference in materials themselves

        • spiff

          Interesting, unfortunately those who have the answers aren’t going to talk.

        • William Marvin Parker

          Ah, didn’t see this..err rudundant post…

      • William Marvin Parker

        Yea, I remember that. Difference being this is an entire frame made of Carbon Fiber, not just a monocoque thingy..

    • Born to Ride

      It is a twin spar frame, just made of CF instead of Al. They claim the material properties are uniform throughout. I wonder if that claim implies that they have achieved a isotropic and homogenous composite structure that mimics the mechanical properties of conventional alloys. I’ll have to do some research into RTM. Also, fracture resistance is not the same as strength in a material, a stronger material tends to resist crack propagation, but they imply superior toughness. They need to back up seemingly bogus claims with the correct terminology.

      • William Marvin Parker

        Yes, was wondering about that, i.e. how CF will withstand a crash. Do you have to take it to a special place to have the integrity of the frame checked?

        • denchung

          For what it’s worth, BMW says “The damage chain in the new HP4 RACE is structured in such a way that the carbon fibre frame and wheels are the last motorcycle components to fail in the event of a fall.” One can argue the finer points of what constitutes a fall or a crash but this remains a bold claim.

        • Born to Ride

          Depends on how it is constructed. Some CF structures are designed for extreme rigidity, and others for flexibility. The mechanical properties of a composite are generally tuned for their application. You really couldn’t make a blanket statement one way or the other. Also it would be really hard to find cracks in the frame. So I would assume yes.

      • JMDGT

        I have limited knowledge about the manufacturing process of carbon fiber components but my understanding is that it is achieved by layering carbon fiber on top of another layer bonding it all with some kind of epoxy resin. If this is true wouldn’t they be able to ensure uniformity providing they control all aspects of the process? Further wouldn’t they be able to test this somehow after the process? I am curious about this. I also have wondered if these component shapes can be made with carbon fiber using an injection mold process of some type. Hopefully you can shed some light on this.

        • Born to Ride

          The relative strength of carbon fiber composites comes from the immense tensile strength of the carbon fibers that are woven together and bonded in resin like you said. Homogeneity in a material refers to the consistency of the properties at any given point in a chunk of the material. Isotropy is a principle in material science that refers to uniformity of mechanical properties at any given point in the material. I realize that it sounds like I just said the same thing, but they are very different. Carbon fiber is generally pretty homogenous, but not isotropic, where steel is both homogenous and isotropic. This is because the reinforcement to the epoxy resin from the fibers are aligned with the weave, and therefore the strength of the material varies depending on the mode of loading and the direction in which it is applied. In order for the the carbon fiber to have uniform strength in all directions, it would have to be woven in all directions, which is impossible. Homogeneity however, can be achieved through excellent workmanship and perhaps a cutting edge manufacturing method.

          • JMDGT

            It makes sense then that to achieve the best properties assembling carbon fiber oriented in layers (as in fabric) is the only way to go. Using some kind of liquid mold process may not even be an option. I’m not sure carbon fiber construction is more advantageous than aluminum as a frame material considering cost and time to manufacture. It may not be an issue when making this kind of machine. Carbon fiber sure is a lot cooler than aluminum for sure. I have a carbon fiber framed bicycle. It is lighter and stronger than most road bikes I have owned. What I noticed most when first riding it was how stiff the frame was. The better for power transfer when peddling. Thanks for filling in the gaps. Ride safe.

  • DickRuble

    Now I have to decide between the HP4 and the Superleggera….

    • JMDGT

      Or a Grom.

    • BDan75

      If BMW can’t leave the “sponsor” stickers off mine, I’m totally going for the Duc.

  • kenneth_moore

    I doubt it’ll be too long before we start seeing CF frames and other components in “ordinary” bikes. Yamaha’s high pressure “controlled fill” die casting was comparably expensive not too long ago. Now it’s used for a number of parts on street bikes. CF is already appearing in high volume car manufacturing.