Does the BMW HP4 Race bike deserve its P5.8 million price?

Can you guess who the first crazy rich owner is?
by Aris Ilagan | Aug 30, 2018

Finally, it’s here!

Almost a year after this Bavarian track beast made its way to different BMW Motorrad dealerships worldwide, it has finally landed on Philippine soil. Yes, folks, the BMW HP4 Race is here.

BMW Motorrad Philippines invited a select group of motorcycle racers and media to check out the two HP4s that were allocated to the local market. Only 750 of HP4s have been produced by BMW in Germany for performance-hungry riders worldwide. Each unit, which costs P5,800,000 , has a numbered plaque stamped just above the headset.

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Gil Balderas, the director of BMW Motorrad Philippines, turned over one of the HP4s to the first buyer, Emil Banno. The lucky customer traveled to Valencia, Spain, last March to test this track beast. It was a case of love at first sight for Emil.

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Members of the BMW Motorrad Philippines Racing Team, led by Philippine Superbike Champion Marvin Mangulabnan and Lawrence Macalinao, witnessed the turnover ceremonies along with other BMW motorcycle owners.

Racing coach Marc Wilson of the California Superbike School laid out the technical specifications of the HP4 to the media, before joining Emil on the tarmac to break-in the latter's newly-activated bike.

If you feel like you have the skill—and the bank account— to master the HP4,  there's one more unit left.

In the meantime, here are 11 jaw-dropping facts and mind-blowing stats about the BMW HP4 Race:

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1) Light is might.

The first thing that’s going to hit you about the HP4 is that it's ultra-lightweight. With a dry weight of only 146kgs, this machine has almost the same weight as the KTM 390 Duke, a 400cc naked bike.

2) The meaner, the better.

Its hand-built 999cc inline engine revs up to 14,500rpm. Maximum power is 215hp at 13,900rpm, while maximum torque is 120Nm at 10,000 rpm. In other words, an ordinary rider needs to be brave to push this bike to the limit. To squeeze the best out of the HP4, the rider needs to be a factory racer.

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3) Less aluminum parts.

The HP4’s main frame is made of full carbon fiber which weighs only 17.2lbs. It's roughly 8.8lbs lighter than the S1000 RR’s aluminum structure, but doesn't compromise on strength and durability. These Germans are so innovative that they were able to make some areas of the frame flexible and others stiff, depending on the function of the attachments.

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4) Wheels of fortune.

The carbon technology of the HP4 was handed down to its front and rear wheels. This makes them 30% lighter than the forged aluminum wheels. Theyr'e also more durable than the metal version.

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5) Awesome stopping power.

The powerful HP4 Race gets its stopping power from the Brembo GP4 RR monobloc calipers (nickel-plated) in front, and single-disc Brembo racing brakes at the rear. Both are fitted with titanium pistons that are light and easy to operate.

6) Top-quality race suspension.

Derived from the World Superbike Championship experience, the suspension of the HP4 is composed of the Ohlins performance parts: The FGR 300 for the front fork, and TTX 36 single shock for the rear with adjustable knobs for compression and rebound. This setup keeps the rider in full control—whether you're braking hard or attacking corners at high speed.

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7) Four riding modes.

Depending on the track conditions and style of the rider, the BMW HP4 Race offers four riding modes: Dry 1, Dry 2, Rain, and Intermediate. Just ride on and the bike will correct itself on the tarmac.

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8) Advanced rider aids.

Using the color-coded buttons at the left and right handle grips, the rider can electronically tune the traction control, engine braking control, pit lane speed limiter, and launch control. And if you're not a fan of electronics, you can easily turn them off.

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9) Height is no issue.

Given that the HP4’s seat height is 33in, a Pinoy with an average height of 5’5” would have problems balancing this bike. Since the BMW Motorrad engineers already had the Asian market in mind right from the start, they came up with a three-stage, height-adjustable frame. This allows the seat height to be adjusted between 33.3in and 32.1in. Thank heavens! 

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10) Reverse shift pattern.

This will entail a lot of adjustment for first-timers. With the HP4, upshifting means stepping on the gear pedal while downshifting requires upward movement. It's the same shifting pattern used on MotoGP bikes. However, the rider will likely have fun with the double declutching quick shifter and auto blipper which ensure seamless gear changes.  

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11) Track time information.

Designed for serious motorbike racing, the BMW HP4 Race is equipped with a 2D dash display and data logger that show the recorded lap times, number of laps completed, and status of other electronically operated settings.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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