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BMW HP4 RACE: Does an $87,000 Limited Edition Sportbike Still Make Sense?

The sportbike market has shrunk dramatically in the past dozen years. Market emphasis seems to be on standards, retro models and adventure tourers. In this context, BMW has announced the $87,000 limited edition (750 units available worldwide) HP4 RACE, an exotic track weapon for wealthy enthusiasts and collectors.

With 215 horsepower and 377 pounds of curb weight (yes, that’s with a full tank of gas!), the HP4 RACE features a carbon fiber frame and world championship level components, including brakes and suspension. Here is how BMW describes the HP4 RACE, followed by a couple of videos:

Maximized to the essentials.
The HP4 RACE is more than the sum of its parts. This bike is pure emotion. From the development right up to the racetrack, passion is what has made this race bike what it is. An innovation driver, designed to push the limits.

The HP bike is the first motorcycle in the world to offer a fully carbon frame and fully carbon wheels. With 215 hp (158 kW) of power, it weighs just 321 lbs (dry weight). A handmade dream come true for 750 enthusiasts.

Pure performance 750 times over.
The HP4 RACE is a masterpiece of engineering prowess. Each and every one of the 750 limited-edition racing machines was handmade by our specialists and fitted with a numbered sticker.

Concentrated passion that we only produce for those who share it. For those who have no limits and always go further. Frontier crossers whose requirements are not only satisfied by the HP4 RACE, but have to redefine their requirements. There are only a few like this. More precisely: seven hundred and fifty.

New benchmark in lightweight construction.
The frame of the HP4 RACE is made of endless carbon fiber and is a continuous component from the steering head to the swing arm pivot. Compared to the standard frame, it saves a full four kilos in weight.

For the BMW HP4 RACE’s carbon technology, it’s not about how it looks, but rather its characteristics. They facilitate the precalculation and incorporation of function-dependent torsion and rigidity. As rigid as aluminum, as hard as steel. All advantages of the carbon material were fully exhausted on the wheels. They remain particularly flexible.

Perfection right down to the smallest detail.
Developed for the racetrack through and through, the HP4 RACE has a self-supporting carbon front that practically devours the headwind with its aggressive splitface with the ram air behind. The dome-shaped windscreen offers riders optimal protection and keeps them in the streamline. The perfect interplay between paintwork and carbon material makes the HP4 RACE an absolute highlight when it can be admired at a standstill. A new era is dawning for color too. With the HP4 RACE, we present the new HP motorsport colors Light White / Racing Blue Metallic / Racing Red.

Built by hand. Configured for maximum performance.
Made by hand in Berlin, the HP4 RACE engine is a further development of the engine from the long-distance WM and the World SBK. It produces 215 hp (158 kW) and the maximum rotational speed was increased to 14,500 rpm. The maximum torque of 89 lb-ft is at 10,000 rpm.
The first service, including an oil change, is carried out after the engine has been run in and recorded on the test stand by our specialists. The engine is endoscoped and the control times and valve clearance are adjusted. Meaning that the HP4 RACE is ready to reach its full potential on the racetrack right from delivery.

The best lap times are a question of adjustment.
The HP4 RACE’s racing claim is reflected in every component. There is a 2D dashboard in the self-supporting carbon front that contains all of the important information for drivers and engineers. The 2D data recorder allows the recorded data to be saved and read out. The dynamic traction control (DTC) is operated with precise buttons and offers the optimal traction for every racing situation. The gear-dependent power delivery and programmable engine brake and wheelie control are further electronic features that, in addition to the pit lane limiter and launch control, guarantee problem-free racing operation. The electronics are topped off with the minimized cable harness and the lithium-ion batteries installed in the self-supporting carbon frame tail. The carbon frame tail, an additional part of the optimal ergonomics of the HP4 RACE, can be adjusted to three levels.

Individual, from the seat height to the model number.
Other driver-specific adjustments can be made to the handlebar tapering and the footrest system. The HP RACE shift assistant Pro with shift direction inversion gives clear feedback at every gear shift. The six-gear, “close-ratio” transmission has transmission stages adapted to the World Championship specification and can be further adapted with additional secondary transmissions (contained in the scope of delivery). At World Championship level and with 215 hp to work with, the oil and water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke engine is built by our specialist team, checked on the test stand and delivered with a test certificate. Every single engine achieves the required power curve.

Well thought out for the biggest challenges.
The FGR 300 upside down fork and the TTX 36 GP spring strut made by Öhlins are known from the World Superbike. The Brembo GP4 PR brake calipers, which are used in the MotoGP, lead to superior brake performance in combination with the 6.75 mm-thick 320-T-Type racing steel brake discs. The HP4 RACE’s carbon-fiber woven rims save 1,540 grams in comparison to forged wheels and are noticeably more agile thanks to the reduced mass. The consistent lightweight construction is continued with the Volltitan exhaust system from Akrapovič and the hand-brushed aluminum tank. After all, those are also the details that make a dry weight of 322 lbs (377 lbs / DIN empty) possible. The titanium screws installed in the sizes 6, 8 and 10 do not only save weight on the HP4 RACE, but also on the tools required.


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80 Comments

  1. andyman says:

    The problem isn’t the cost of the bike. The real issue is if this bike is worthy of a garage space and sadly I am not sure it is. Its just another limited edition sport bike. Whats not a limited edition anymore? And its not different enough. Even the desmosedici is a maybe.. but i’d take a desmo before this bmw.

  2. DaveA says:

    I’m not seeing many folks here getting the point. That thing is pure sex, and if I could afford it, I’d have one, and it would be parked next to my Desmosedici. And this from someone who is decidedly not a BMW fanboy.

    Now that said, as a practical matter of track performance, the S1000RR is still a very potent weapon, with private examples in World Superbike regularly cracking the top 10. When BMW was running a factory race effort, they were consistently at the front pretty much immediately. This bike isn’t meant to be raced, it’s meant to be collected and enjoyed. For some that will mean track days and others it will mean living room duty.

    Also, don’t think that nobody who buys one will ride it. I know a guy personally who bought a Desmosedici when they came out, and the first place it turned a wheel was at Putnam Raceway in IN, and trust me, it was _ridden_.

    One last thing…the question of ‘does this make sense’ isn’t really relevant. I mean, define ‘makes sense.’ Does it make sense to spend $30,000 on a K1600GTL? Does it make sense to buy a new bike that strikes your fancy even though the one you have is perfectly useful and not near the end of its service life? Most people like bikes in no small part due to various visceral and aesthetic factors that really have no place in practical analysis, and to me that’s completely ok. More than ok really. Personally, I get a considerable amount of value from my motorcycle when I walk into the garage and it makes me smile. Does that make sense? I think so.

    If it didn’t, we’d all ride KLR650s or PC800s.

  3. PN says:

    Of course it makes no sense. BMW is just being pretentious.

  4. gpokluda says:

    Of course it’s worth it. BMW riders will buy anything.

  5. Joe says:

    Golly! Sure is impressive!
    But I think they spelled ” EGAD !” wrong. 🤔

  6. jabe says:

    Yes, its worth every cent. Unfortunately I don’t have that many cents (or sense)?

  7. Gham says:

    I would need it to come with a limited edition “crash bike” so I could get the feel of what 215 hp handles like.I’m guessing it’s a little different than my current stable.

  8. scarecrow800 says:

    I kinda wonder, as the ” ultimate track bike “, will even one of these actually be used in any sort of official competition environment. Or, will they all just sit in various collections to be occasionally started or possibly even be toodled around the block once or twice.

  9. Tom R says:

    A World SuperBike for the masses (relatively speaking). Just lighter.

  10. Jeremy in TX says:

    I think it looks beautiful. If I were a track day junkie, I’d probably find it irresistible​, even at $87,000.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “even at $87,000”

      in the grand scheme it’s cheap as chips.

      oh btw as you walk Circuito De Estados Unidos this weekend, look for the new aero fairing KTM just debuted. they’ve dropped their own toned down variant of “hammerhead”. as i mentioned earlier “all eyes on Austin” (no not Powers the other one).

  11. motorhead says:

    German Transformer Bike series, at a Mercedes AMG price.

  12. Jim says:

    I would guess that most of these will be snatched up by wealthy posers. That’s a nice bike BMW. I will be anxiously awaiting one of these to be rippin’ by me in the twisties of southern Ohio or on the local tracks.

  13. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Already sold out, I bet. For the 1% there is little difference between $8.7K and $87K

  14. Gutterslob says:

    RE: “the HP4 RACE features a carbon fiber frame and world championship level components”
    Would be a better sell if the company did any actual world championship winning…. and no, Superstock doesn’t count.

  15. Sparkchaser says:

    “The HP bike is the first motorcycle in the world to offer a fully carbon frame and fully carbon wheels.”
    Somebody needs to tell BMW about the Britten V1000 . . .
    Maybe the key work is offer. I don’t remember if the V1000 was a production bike.

  16. Mick says:

    I find it odd that some people are sure that the bike won’t sell out. Of course it will. The price is chump change compared to a comparable car. I would bet that few will get so far as the US.

    I don’t understand how so many of these million dollar cars are “cool” while a motorcycle that even dares to approach one hundred thousand dollars is ridiculous crazy never sell.

    It’s not my thing. But it is a super trick bike that can be had for about the price of only a remotely trick car.

  17. dave911 says:

    Obviously, this needs to be tested against the Kawasaki H2/R. Race track, big road, quarter mile, and sexual magnetism (I made that last one up, but u get this idea). 😉

    • Rapier says:

      The H2R is not the same kind of bike. It isn’t a track race bike. It’s too heavy.

      There are quite a few people with too much money looking for exclusive things so maybe they will sell them all at full price.

      I always figured I would buy a Desmosedici for my show off ultra performance bike when I won the lottery.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        The V4 Honda is more in line with the BMW. Even pricier though. Especially in the unlocked, track only, trims.

        Honestly pretty pointless from an objective purchaser POV, both of them. No race team/tuner is going to dare touch the carbon Beemer, as everything is so exotic and one-off’y. If you crash one at a trackday, even lightly, would you even dare getting back on it and go flat out? Not knowing what the crash did to the carbon frame?

        And for the Honda, the only ones with a clue about setting it up for an individual rider, are working at HRC. And unlikely to care much about even your $200K bike, unless you’re Marquez. Who already has a bike to race on. That is even tricker and more expensive than even these two…

        And even as a test bed for new tech, I have a hard time believing the buyers will ride them hard and varied enough to give BMW much useful feedback. Unless of course a bike somewhat like this would have had to be built for research/testing purposes anyway. Mainly for internal test bed use. And BMW figured offering a version for sale, is a way to recoup some of that money.

    • richard says:

      the H2R is heavy..wont handle like the BMW…the H2R is cool..would probably keep up ina straight line …maybe ..lol

    • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

      i watched a H2/R do some parade laps today at the vintage races at Willow Springs. I think it does better on a track than specs suggest. I think the two bikes on the same track with skilled riders would be pretty interesting

  18. Left Foot Down says:

    Exhibitions of extraordinary technology and craftsmanship always are a good idea. Harley-Davidson’s 1916 Model 17 FHAC 61ci 8-Valve Racer comes to mind. Thanks to those with deep enough pockets to entertain the ambitions of those engineers capable of these stunning creations.

  19. Trent says:

    It sure is purdy!

  20. marloweluke says:

    “Each and every one of the 750 limited-edition racing machines was handmade by our specialists and fitted with a numbered sticker.”

    A sticker? For $87,000 I would think a gold plaque would be more appropriate.

  21. ROXX says:

    I bet Bobby Axlerod has one already.

  22. Vrooom says:

    Still make sense, or ever make sense? While surely a potent track weapon, and a hoot to ride, for 99.999% of riders a $25K bike will do for that purpose, or $15K, or $5K. That still leaves more than 750 riders, but by the time you filter down to rich track riders who don’t already have an exotic bike of choice, it’s questionable.

    • richard says:

      3 kilos lighter than a GP bike and the same components….this is the ultimate track weapon…5 to 25 k wont get you this kind of performance…maybe the R1M..however no where near the same suspension package…the BMW would probably destroy it in the twisties !

  23. Curly says:

    If it were half the price I think they’d sell all of them but that much for a bike that’s not actually winning lately in WSBK will be harder to move. I predict they won’t book orders for the whole 750. I could also say it’s pointless because the majority won’t get ridden but will sit in their owners’ collections waiting for the anticipated “investment” value to rise then be sold off but heck I don’t ride most of my bikes either so who am I to judge.

  24. orbit398 says:

    Make Sense??? Why the heck not? There are enough folks out there with more money than they know what to do with. So for them, it’d be an awesome toy. Bet BMW sells everyone of them and will be happy to have all that profit. Just a business model that will work.

  25. Neil says:

    There are plenty of wealthy Chinese, Indians, Arabs etc in the USA who have the $ to do anything they want. They pay $2000-3000 to start for apartments in East Cambridge near MIT and have unlimited spending cards for cafe’s and restaurants around the area. Asian women walk around with the latest Gucci fashions, bags, shoes etc. Brand new suburban streets are being built in the Boston burbs with $500,000 homes and up. You can also buy any and all exotic cars you want around here. So yeah, there is a market for stupid fast and expensive bikes. One owner bought up the five Honda/Suzuki/Yamaha dealers in metro Boston. People ride on Sundays if at all.

    • richard says:

      ouch ! the best racers in the world are non of these nationalities ..hmm !

    • todd says:

      I had to snicker a little when you said this. You can’t even get a fixer in a sketchy neighborhood around SF for $500k. $2,000 a month will get you nowhere. The bikes will sell quickly to anybody no matter their color or where they live.

      • johnny ro says:

        Boston real estate is high but not like SF. Can spend $1m per bedroom if you want, in the nicer city neighborhoods, or spend 100k per bedroom for older fixer upper out in the lesser burbs.

        The bike is silly for average people who ride cheap bikes on the street but cool for people who can pay for it and then ride it where it makes sense to ride it.

        I bet the BMW people involved in the project got a lot of professional satisfaction out of the project.

  26. mickey says:

    Cool, bet the pucker power on opening that baby up down a long straight would be through the roof.

    addendum: I hate the word “ultimate”..it’s only the ultimate until the next lighter, faster bike is produced, and as far as race bikes go, I’m pretty sure the Moto GP bikes are more ulimate-er than this one.

  27. wjf says:

    no aerodynamic winglets?…junk

    • Dave says:

      no beak?
      no self-cancelling turn signals?
      no heated grips?
      less than 5.5 gallon tank?
      Tank seams?
      (that about covers it for MD..)

      Junk…

      Does anybody know if they’re racing WSBK with the carbon frame? I wonder how that’s going?

      • Norm G. says:

        Q: Does anybody know if they’re racing WSBK with the carbon frame?

        BETTER Q: does anybody know if BMW is racing WSBK fullstop…?

        A: no, BMW is not racing WSBK c/f frame or otherwise.

        in standard fashion that reflects the vast majority of their motorsport efforts, they showed up, put forth the ILLUSION (to scam everybody) that they were in it for the long haul, and then promptly “cancelled Christmas”. this is their MO, or should I say this is the MO of Bavarian accountants. quick on the draw them. prolly more savvy than their engineers.

    • richard says:

      lol..you are hilarious

  28. Wendy says:

    I neither need or want this bike, but is very wantable.

  29. Spiderwatts says:

    Dear Santa,
    I have been a good boy so far this year. I have tried to ignore and not listen to the negative commenters and whining old people who supposedly used to ride to school in the snow and were so tough they could hand kick their panhead when their leg was too tired from whooping a$&.
    You were so nice to give me the location of the world’s best website (motorcycledaily) years ago and I thank you daily for that gift.
    This year please bring me this bike. I promise to ride it. I promise not to complain or nitpick.
    Thank you!
    Spiderwatts

  30. azi says:

    This is perfect for the group of track day riders that the average participants refer to as the “drug money group”.

  31. Matt G says:

    Its a halo bike, therefore it doesn’t make sense. Halo machines never do. Their sole purpose is a an exercise for the engineers to show off what they can do, and more importantly what they can bring to market irregardless of price. The beauty of the halo machine though is that the technology has a way of working its way down, over time, into the lower price ranges where mere mortals actually have a chance at using it. It should also be noted that by the time it gets out of the stratosphere, it tends to be more refined and just plain works better.

  32. hh says:

    What a great thing! If you got that kind of cash there seems like no buyers remorse to me like when you pay for an upscale model and then all the features you paid a premium for are standard on the regular model the next year. Things like this, like for example the Desmosedici would seem like a no regrets purchase for them that can afford it; no matter how the world moves on.

  33. Tom R says:

    Even if my credit gets approved (???!!!), I’m thinking that the comp and collision insurance requirement will be…prohibitive.

  34. Jim says:

    Difficult not to be jealous of someone who can spend that kind of money on a track toy. Perhaps that is the point?

  35. Roadrash1 says:

    It makes sense to folks who have more money than most of us can imagine.
    The same folks who buy a $2.5 million – Ferrari F60 America. In fact, this bike seems sensible in comparison!

  36. Pacer says:

    They will sell all of them. These types of exercises are ways to show what you are capable of giving the rest of your line credibility.

  37. xLaYN says:

    Jay needs to occupy somehow the garage you know.

    http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/2017-ducati-1299-superleggera-dream-bike

    The other carbon fiber toy.
    I read somewhere that it’s lighter even than official superbikes.

    I wonder how it will compare in alien hands to a satellite and official gp bike.

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