Our man Al has swanned off to Almeria this week, for a nice day out on BMW’s tasty 215bhp, carbon-framed hyper-bike. He’s on a plane as we speak, but here’s a quick taster of what he thought of the thing:
Sometimes you need to have a bit of a think about the headline on a bike when you first ride it. But the HP4 Race is not one of these times. It costs a fortune (£68k-ish), is lighter than a proper WorldSBK bike, makes 215bhp, and looks tricker than anything short of a full MotoGP bike.
It has Ohlins FGR300 gas forks, nickel-plated Brembo megabrakes, a swingarm by legendary Swiss chassis-meisters Suter, and more bells and whistles than Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It’s a track-only, non-ABS’d plaything for the plutocracy. And I’ve got a day out riding one, on full Pirelli superbike slicks. Go me.
At first I wasn’t so sure about tazzing this thing round Almeria – a tight, technical, flowing circuit, which I last saw behind the bars of a Yamaha R6 last year. But the HP4 makes life super-easy. Its combination of light overall weight, and carbon-fibre BST rims means it goes where you point it in an almost prescient way, and direction changes are a proper piece of piss.
The slicks offer hilarious levels of grip and the brakes feel like you just dropped a USS Nimitz-class supercarrier anchor out the back, while the 215bhp WorldSBK-spec engine has all the civility of a Groucho Club commissionaire at kicking-out time. Nice as ninepence, but relentlessly vehement in its drive.
It’s hardly surprising that a £68k superbike from BMW goes as well as this one does. But I’m still reeling a bit from experiencing just how good it really is…
More (much more) on the BMW HP4 Race once Al has calmed down a bit.