"Five seconds? It takes almost twice as long to change a light bulb. How bad could it be?"
In motorcycle racing, or just about any motorsport for that matter, five seconds might as well be five minutes. And when you've spent countless hours testing and scrutinizing every possible combination of engine, brakes, suspension, tires, rider position, etc. on your bike to shrink those brief flashes of liquid crystal on a stop watch, those seconds start to feel more like hours.
With the Daytona 200 AMA roadracing season opener only weeks away, BMW Motorrad appeared to be in just such a jam, looking for seconds, during Pirelli tire testing on its new HP2 Sport in the beginning of December, 2007.
For 2008, AMA rules allow, among others, 990cc-1200cc 4-stroke air/oil-cooled 4-valve twin-cylinder machines to compete in the Formula Xtreme class. BMW learned a lot campaigning the then-in-development high-performance Boxer during the 2007 World Endurance Championship, so it seemed a logical choice to enter the 200. But like we've come to expect from the German giant of performance vehicles that does nothing if it doesn't do it well, they'll be coming with not one but four HP2 Sports.
Perhaps BMW learned something between December of last year and now. They better have if they have any hope of a podium finish. At the close of testing, Pirelli reported that Nate Kern had posted a 1:46.70 on the Sport with his German teammate Thomas Hinterreiter turning a 1:45.20.
In comparison, newcomer to Attack Kawasaki, Chaz Davies, put down a 1:39.53 on his Pirelli-shod ZX-6R Formula Xtreme bike while teammate and 2007 Daytona champion Steve Rapp burned off a 1:40.20. Honda rider Josh Hayes also had a 1:40.20 on Dunlops, and Honda-mounted Englishman Neil Hodgson posted a 1:41.51 on Dunlops.
In the accompanying video from our friends at OnTheThrottle.tv you'll get to hear how the BMW race team was dealing with the unique venue of Daytona Speedway. Nate Kern of recent endurance racing fame seemed a bit frazzled in the video about his time aboard the Sport, but he blamed his struggles on transitioning from his race-prepped R1200S to the newest HP2.
"The bike's great. It's awesome," said Kern. "I really muscled the R1200S around. The input I put into this [HP2 Sport] almost plows it everywhere. I really need to just take about half the energy – it's an effortless bike to ride."
Effortless, indeed. Motorcycle.com attended the world press introduction of the HP2 Sport in Ronda, Spain, only days after the Daytona tire tests completed, and from our time at Ascari Race Resort we'd have to agree with Nate.
A final note on the HP2 Sport: U.S. MSRP remained unknown during the press launch, but our best guess of at least 25 large was spot on as BMW announced recently the bike will have a sticker of $25,375 plus a $495 destination charge. A strong finish at Daytona would do wonders to help prospective HP2 Sport buyers forget the pain in their pocketbooks.
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: First Ride
|2008 BMW R 1200 HP2 Sport Specs|
|Engine Type:||Air-cooled/oil-cooled Boxer twin-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke:||101.0 mm x 73.0 mm|
|Horsepower:||130 bhp @ 8750 rpm|
|Torque:||85 lb/ft @ 6000 rpm|
|Compression Ratio:||12.5 :1|
|Valve Gear:||DOHC chain driven|
|Valves:||2 x 39 mm mm intake / 2 x 33 mm mm exhaust|
|Valves / Cylinder:||4|
|Engine Oil Capacity Info.:||Unavailable|
|Engine Management:||BMW Engine Controller - BMS K|
|Fuel Requirement:||Premium Unleaded|
|Fuel Tank:||HDPE, internal pump and internal filter|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.2 U.S. gallons|
|Charging System:||480 Watts @ 14 Volts|
|Battery:||12 Volts 12 Amps/hour|
|Cooling System:||Air and thermostatically controlled oil cooling|
|Clutch:||180 mm dry, single plate w/ hydraulic actuation|
|1st Gear Ratio:||2.17:1|
|2nd Gear Ratio:||1.62:1|
|3rd Gear Ratio:||1.29:1|
|4th Gear Ratio:||1.06:1|
|5th Gear Ratio:||0.93:1|
|6th Gear Ratio:||0.84:1|
|Final Drive System:||Enclosed driveshaft with two universal joints|
|Final Drive Ratio:||2.75:1|
|Frame and Suspension|
|Frame:||Tubular steel trellis with carbon rear subframe|
|Front Suspension:||BMW Telelever|
|Front Travel:||4.1 inches|
|Rear Suspension:||BMW Paralever|
|Rear Travel:||4.7 inches|
|Brake System:||Front and rear disc with optional ABS|
|Front Brakes:||Radial mounted Brembo monobloc|
|Front Rotor:||12.6 inch Dual Rotors|
|Rear Brake:||Brembo double piston floating|
|Rear Rotor:||10.4 inch single, fixed rotor|
|Actuation Method:||Hydraulic, DOT 4 fluid type|
|Wheels and Tires|
|Front Wheel:||3.5 x 17 forged aluminum wheel|
|Rear Wheel:||6.0 x 17 forged aluminum wheel|
|Front Tire:||120/70 x 17 tubeless|
|Rear Tire:||190/55 x 17 tubless|
|Overall Length:||84.1 inches|
|Overall Width:||29.5 inches|
|Ground Clearance Info.:||Unavailable|
|Seat Height:||32.7 inches|
|Steering Angle:||66.0 degrees|
|Front Wheel Trail:||3.4 inches|
|Weight - Dry:||392 lbs. excluding options & accessories|
|Weight - Wet:||438 lbs. excluding options & accessories|
|Maximum Load:||726 lbs. GVWR|
|Standard Colors:||White Alpine|