BMW's HP4: The rivals

It's a sublime motorcycle, but its not without challengers

You can bet that what's on the HP4 today, will be on the superbikes of tomorrow.

Designed with one eye on homologation for Superbike and Superstock racing, it's up there with the best.

But if you want to get close to the HP4 in terms of spec, capability and gadget-factor, here are the other motorcycles that are vying for your hard-earned cash.


IT'S a technological tour-de-force; boasting adjustable-on-the-fly traction control, power modes, launch control, ABS with a race-developed setting and Dynamic Damping Control; suspension that adjusts itself on-the-go. Not forgetting 190bhp at the back wheel, BMW's quickshifter and wheelie control.

As if that's not enough, you can plug-in BMW's Race Datalogger that features GPS and plots everything from lean angle, throttle position, gear, speed and what you were thinking as you entered that corner too hot.

Price: £16,000 (est) and £19,000 (est) for the 'Competition Package'.

Dry Weight: 169kg

Power: 190bhp at the rear wheel

Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE

IT'S easily Aprilia's most advanced production motorcycle to date. It's tiny chassis packs in a stonking V4 motor and features traction control, launch control, wheelie control and a quickshifter. The 8-way traction control can adjust to different tyres and like the HP4, is adjustable by the rider, on the go.

If you're looking for ABS, you won't find it, but pure track riders won't care about that.

Proving that it's not all about outright power, it's about torque and usability, the V4 engine is the least powerful in this class, but the sublime chassis allows you to use almost everything the engine's got to give and the fantastic traction control is one of the best in this class. It's so small it makes an RVF400 feel big.

Price: £16,999

Dry Weight: 179kg

Power: 153bhp at the rear wheel

Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS

PACKING a screaming inline-four like the HP4, Kawasaki's ZX-10R is the subtle option in this class. If you can call a 173 bhp aggressive-looking superbike subtle. The ZX-10R has three power modes, the middle power mode adjusts to your riding and if you're going for it, it'll give you the full-fat option.

The S-KTRC traction control is the ZX-10R's ace. It may not look as sophisticated on paper as the S1000RR but if you ride it to somewhere near the edge, you'd know. It's fantastic and allows mortals like us to slide the rear out of corners.

It is a delight to ride, it feels tiny, nimble and the power, although not as punchy as some of its rivals, is very usable.

There's no quickshifter as standard and the ABS version is £1000 extra but well worth the dosh.

Price: £11,999 or £12,999 with ABS

Dry Weight: 177kg

Power: 173bhp at the rear wheel

Ducati 1199 Panigale Tricolore

THE Panigale is a departure from the run of 1098 models that resulted in the incredibly rapid and slightly scary 1198SP. Forget lumpy and aggressive power delivery, the Panigale is smooth, revs hard and most importantly - thanks to the electronics - it's managable. Well, at least more so than the 1198SP.

Featuring riding modes, 8-way traction control, electronically adjustable suspension, a quick shifter, ABS with race setting, Electronic Brake Control - designed to help you tip into corners and a full TFT display.

The suspension is electronically adjusted but only when at a standstill, unlike the HP4 it won't adjust to suit the conditions but that's not something to worry about.

If you want ABS, the Termignoni exhaust and Ducati's Data Analyzer+ as standard then you'll need the Panigale S Tricolore. If you can do without the ABS and DDA+ get the Panigale S.

Price: 1199 Panigale: £14,995, S ABS: £19,750 and S Tricolore: £23,495

Dry Weight: 164kg

Power: 184bhp at the rear wheel (Tricolore)