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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 342 > CARBON DATING


The age of carbon is upon us, and it’s BMW’s HP4 Race that’s leading the charge into this featherweight frontier.

If Carlsberg made track bikes they’d be pretty crap compared to this one. Come to think of it there aren’t many machines this side of the MotoGP fence that could hold a candle to BMW’s ludicrously lavish HP4 Race, at least in terms of innovation. Being the first mass produced carbon-framed sportsbike to ever hit the market, you’d be right in thinking it’s more than a little bit special; BMW go as far as to say it’s the future. And even though it’s been over a year since this godlike creation came bounding into our lives, weighing less than a World Superbike and sporting an eye-watering 212bhp motor, we still can’t get enough of it. Lucky for us, or should I say me, Fast Bikes was invited to test it at Almeria.

Being more excited than that time I got my first strip tease, I was struggling to hold myself together when we reached the circuit and discovered a garage with four immaculately prepared HP4s waiting to be tickled. Or £272,000 of motorbikes, if you want to look at it that way. Cheap they most certainly ain’t, but for a mere £68k a pop you’re buying into something so exceptionally special they can make space travel seem boring. Crafted through endless graft, heartfelt aspirations and big boy development budgets, the HP4 Race was spawned to make the world take note of the German brand’s engineering prowess, and not just for its aesthetics.

That said, there’s no getting over the drool-worthy carbon elements to this bike, which include the frame, wheels, fairings and sub-frame, but the message received from its project leader Christian Gonschor was one of irrefutable sporting performance that chose logic over looks. Even if you’re crap at Where’s Wally you’ll have probably clocked the metallic Suter swingarm bringing up the rear of the Beemer, and maybe wondered why it’s not made of carbon? The answer’s simple; the Suter jobby’s as good as you can get. That’s the concurrent theme to this bike, which has more shiny bits than you’ll find in a glitter factory. Wherever you cast your eye, you’re greeted with tantalising trick bits… and they’re the best trick bits at that.

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About Fast Bikes

Un-identical twins. KTM RC8R 1,195CC from £7k -VS- Aprilia RSV-R Factory 998CC from £4.5k. BMWs £68k HP4 race - Carbon King takes on an RR and a stopwatch. Crutchlow unlocked - "Whatever people think of me, I'm here to do a job" Bike Frames: The types, the tech. & how yours works. Yamaha Niken - its toughest ever test: Wheelied [check], Endo'd [check], Kneedown [check], Drifted [check] PLUS: Trick K5 Gixer // Project Ninja // Trackday Prep // Bike Protection How to: Go quick on Trackdays // Buy a used Ducati 848 // Master Castle Combe