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Hard act to follow

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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It is generally accepted in the world of superbikes that BMW's S1000RR has got it all and by some margin, so why would you want to try and improve on it still further? Well BMW has decided to take on this challenge and produce the HP4. So, is it better than the S1000RR? Is it worth it? Does it make sense?

The basic HP4 retails at £16,000 which is not cheap, but then you wouldn't expect it to be from a manufacturer such as BMW. And if that wasn't enough there's the £20,000 HP4 Competition featuring carbon fibre bits, race levers and footrests.

The HP4 is based on the popular and successful S1000RR using its standard frame, slightly tuned engine for better mid-range, same riding position, mirrors, bodywork, lights, seat and quickshifter.

But where the HP4 differs from its clone is in the technology that it is showcasing.

The real point of this bike is that it is in the vanguard of the next generation of your ordinary road bikes that will in future feature many of the bells and whistles that now adorn the HP4.

These include the world's first semi-active suspension, Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) which automatically self-adjusts fork and shock absorber damping relative to real-time riding conditions like speed, angle of lean, engine mode and throttle setting.

On top of this, BMW has revised the engine management system by adding launch control and refining the traction control and ABS systems to near race competition levels of sophistication.

The HP4's every move is also logged by a GPS based system that was previously only available on the S1000RR as an extra.

The 999cc 16 valve in line four cylinder engine now delivers 83lb.ft of torque and it's mated to a really slick six-speed transmission that allows for very quick changes.

The bike's performance is even more exhilarating to say the least, its acceleration almost brutal but also you have the reassurance that its traction control system, ABS braking system, chassis, suspension and latest electronic wizardry are all totally up to the job and surprisingly unobtrusive.

Verdict

You know that when you're buying a BMW bike you are gaining all the hallmarks that the Bavarian brand brings, that is to say quality, durability, reliability and an excellent resale value when it eventually comes to replacing it.

The HP4 is no exception but it adds something else into the mix, and that's sheer excitement and exhilaration in a controlled fashion.

The latest electronics make this bike so easy to ride but no less exhilarating.

The HP4 is not a cheap machine to purchase but given that it offers tomorrow's technology today as well as being one of the best sports bike currently available in the world, it's going to be a hard act to follow!

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