Carbon Fiber BMW HP4 Race Debuts in China

As we predicted, the BMW HP4 Race carbon fiber superbike debuted today in China, at the Auto Shanghai 2017 expo. This is the production version of the prototype that BMW Motorrad teased at last year’s EIMCA show in Milan. Details were scarce in Italy, but now BMW is ready to tell us all about its halo bike. The numbers? Only 750 units of the BMW HP4 Race will be produced. Each one will make 212hp, and weigh 377 lbs when fully fueled and ready to ride – which is lighter than BMW’s WorldSBK-spec S1000RR racing machine. Of course the main feature of the BMW HP4 Race is that it drips in carbon fiber. The bodywork, main frame, and wheels are made of this composite material, with the tail section being a self-supporting carbon fiber unit.

Mmm…Check This Suzuki GSX1100SD Katana Race Bike

I am young enough that most of what I can remember of the 1980s is skewed by the forming mind of a child, thankfully. New Coke, ponytails to the side, Cabbage Patch Kids…Alf – it is all a bad dream as far as I am concerned. The 1980s were a pretty good decade for motorcycles though. Two-strokes still reigned supreme in grand prix racing, and some of America’s best two-wheeled heroes were riding them. The only rider-aids that were available were things like handlebars and footpegs. Even then, racing a motorcycle was a pursuit full of perils. Mirroring this notion on the production side of things, the superbike was just starting to be born in earnest, with consumers able to buy fire-breathing monsters that tested the limits of chassis and tire design. A healthy dose of male bravado was involved in riding a motorcycle like a Katana.

Mega Gallery: 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans

Not only does the FIM EWC showcase several manufacturers, with strong race-winning potential each of the championship’s multiple iconic events, but it the series is the last great venue for a proper battle between the different tire brands. Add to that the fact that the Endurance World Championship is comprised not only of endurance specialists, but also with some of the top names from motorcycle racing, both in factory and satellite teams, and it’s easy to find a reason to cheer for a particular entry. The best part though might be the photography that comes from motorcycle racing, which often spans from daylight and into the darkness of night. This year’s 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans event was no different, and we have a bevy of photos to share with you from France.

At the AMA Supermoto Season-Opener in Bakersfield

It all started with the Superbikers. As a young man growing up in the late 70s, there were only three network TV stations for me to watch, and unlike today, motorsports programs were few and far between. Other than the Indy 500 and the occasional airing of stock car racing, motorsports just weren’t on the air very often. During one serendipitous Saturday, I happened upon ABC’s Wide World of Sports. And on that particular day, they were airing the Superbikers. Looking back, the influence that program had on the rest of my motorcycling life is immeasurable. An unusual combination of road racing, dirt track, and motocross, the Superbikers showcased racers I had only read about in the motorcycle magazines.

The WorldSBK Season So Far: Yamaha & Honda

While it has hardly been surprising to see Ducati and Kawasaki maintain their position as the dominant forces at play in WorldSBK, the battle for best-of-the-rest has been an interesting subplot for 2017. Over the course of the opening three rounds of the campaign, the form of Honda and Yamaha has been marked by their stark contrast in fortunes. Last year, Honda had been a podium and front-row regular as the season moved into the European swing, and Yamaha looked to be clutching at straws and looking for any positives they could find on their return to the series. This year has seen their roles have reversed, with Yamaha consistently the best-of-the-rest and in position to fight for a rostrum finish. Honda on the other hand have had a disastrous start to the campaign with an all-new Fireblade.

Investors Leveraging MotoGP for Sizable Payout

According to several reports in the financial sector, the investors behind Dorna Sports S.L. are readying themselves for another sizable payout from the media rights holder for the MotoGP and WorldSBK Championships. Using a bit of financial finesse, the move would see Bridgepoint Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) – the two major investors in Dorna Sports – taking roughly €889 million off the books of the Spanish media company, according to Reuters. As such, today’s news would make this the third time that Bridgepoint and the CPPIB have raided the piggy bank for motorcycling’s premier racing series, having done similar deals in 2011 (€420 million) and 2014 (€715 million).

Norton Gets £3 Million to Increase V4 Production

If you have had your eye on a Norton V4 superbike recently, you might not have to wait as long for it to arrive, as the British marque has secured £3 million from the Santander Corporate & Commercial bank. The debt investment will allow Norton to triple its production rate on the V4 SS and V4 RR models, and also allow for the company to hire 40 new employees for the job. Additionally, according to Norton this will allow the company to increase its production volume to 1,500 motorcycles per year. “Having developed and pre-sold a huge number of bikes, we needed the funding to be readily available to pay for tooling, stock and people to allow production to move from 40 bikes per month to in excess of 130 bikes with effect from summer 2017,” said Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles.

Is The 2018 BMW HP4 Race About to Debut in China?

After this year’s April Fools hijinks, we have a whole new respect for the cunning that resides at BMW Motorrad, and the Germans seem to be honing that trait even further today. Announcing its plans for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2017 later this month, BMW lists a number of four-wheeled news items for the Chinese auto show, and then casually slips-in at the end of the press release that we should expect a big unveil from BMW Motorrad. The statement reads that “the highlight of the BMW Motorrad stand is the world premiere of one of the most exclusive models ever offered by BMW Motorrad,” which is terse, though given what we know about the Bavarian brand, it should be easy to guess what they are hinting at.

Vyrus 986 M2 Street Bike Now Priced at €38,000

It is apparently more difficult to sell a kidney than I had previously thought (type o- / non-smoker / non-drinker…if you happen to be in the market), which isn’t good news when you are trying to get together some scratch for a Vyrus 986 M2 – the hottest supersport we have ever seen. Making matters worse is that Vyrus got in touch with A&R, updating us with their latest pricing structure for their Honda-powered hub-center steering masterpiece, which now comes with a price tag of €37,940 for the street bike, and €27,930 for the street bike kit. That is quite the change from the originally quoted €25,000 street bike model and €16,000 kit, and there is good reason for that, say the folks at Vyrus.

You Didn’t Know You Missed It, But the Honda NM4 Is Back

You probably didn’t even realize that the Honda NM4 was missing from Honda America’s model list for 2017, but the polarizing motorcycle is back for the 2018 model year. The first 2018 motorcycle to be announced so far this year from Honda, it probably helps that the Honda NM4 is featured in the Ghost in the Shell movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson. Laugh if you want, but the NM4 is a surprisingly pleasant to ride, even if you aren’t dressed like the Caped Crusader. As such, the Honda NM4 represents a tradition of motorcycles from Big Red that have pushed that boundaries of not only what we visually accept a motorcycle to look like, but it also blurs the distinctions we make between different motorcycle segments.

KTM Begins Testing Moto3 Race Bike

01/02/2011 @ 2:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

At the end of last year we learned that KTM had committed itself internally to competing in the upcoming Moto3 class, which is slated to replace 125GP in 2012. At the time of that news, the Austrian company was still in the early stages of planning for its 250cc four-stroke single-cylinder race bike; but not wanting to let Honda take all of the Moto3 development spotlight with its NRS 250, this past week KTM began testing Moto3 chassis configuration at the Cartagena track in Spain.

Arriving with a modified 125cc chassis and 350cc SX-F thumper, KTM’s IDM Supersport rider Michi Ranseder took to the helm of the prototype race machine over the two day testing session. More of a prologue than the first chapter to KTM’s Moto3 story, this event makes it clear that KTM is still getting its bearings on what direction it wants to take its entry-level GP program.

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Norton Returning to MotoGP Racing

08/19/2010 @ 11:18 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

German magazine Speedweek is reporting that Norton will be back in GP racing for the 2012 season with a two-man team. Speedweek‘s highly respected Austrian journalist Gunther Wiesinger has received word that Norton has requested two spots on the 2012 MotoGP grid, and has signed a request to join the series when it returns to the 1000cc format. It’s unclear at this time if Norton will be entering as a claiming rule team (CRT), or be listed as a factory prototype, which could have a dramatic affect on the team’s success in the series.

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Moto3 Coming to Replace 125GP in 2012?

06/01/2010 @ 12:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

MCN is reporting that the days of 125GP may be numbered as Dorna and the FIM get ready to replace the small displacement GP series with what’s being called the new Moto3 race class. Drawing from the formula found in Moto2, Moto3 features prototype bikes with 250cc four-stroke single-cylinder motors. However instead of a single-spec motor rule, as found in Moto2, Moto3 appears to be open to multiple engine manufacturers.

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Aprilia RSV550 Prototype In the Works

11/05/2009 @ 4:33 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

While out testing the 2010 Aprilia RSV4 R in Tuscony, the guys at Hell for Leather got a word with Aprilia’s Motorcycle Product Manager, Francesco Polimeni, regarding rumors of a RSV550 prototype. Allegedly, the bike would use an RS chassis, and the SXV/RXV’s 550cc v-twin motor, and according to Polimeni everything about that rumor is true…except the fact the bike would be coming to market any time soon.

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FB Corse to Join MotoGP in 2010 with Former BMW 3-Cylinder Prototype Race Bike

09/10/2009 @ 9:03 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

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Former World Superbike Team, FB Corse, looks to be poised to enter the MotoGP Championship series for 2010 with race bike that uses a proprietary chassis and a 3-cylinder motor that was originally designed for BMW’s MotoGP effort.

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Motoczysz Moving on to TTXGP?

04/01/2009 @ 9:06 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Motoczysz Moving on to TTXGP?

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In a post titled “TTXGP”, Motoczysz, the American MotoGP hopeful, has posted up on the company’s blog what appears to be a message hinting at a shift in the company’s focus to developing an electric motorcycle.

“It became very apparent to me that I was working to catch up in an era coming to an end – maybe I should set off and try to lead in an era arriving” -MC

It seems Motoczysz will be abandoning their efforts for a new electric bike. Now the speculation will be what parts of the C1 prototype will make it into the electric GP contender.

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Alstare Suzuki Cries Foul on Aprilia RSV4 Homologation

02/28/2009 @ 4:15 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Controversy has hit Aprilia after Max Biaggi took second place in the Superpole shoot out. Alstare Suzuki owner and team manager, Jean Francois Batta told Italian network La7 that: “Everyone knows that the RSV4 is a prototype and shouldn’t be racing here in SBK. After the race I’m going to the technical commission and lodge a complaint.” According to paddock gossip the Alstare techs seem to have had a tiny peek at Aprilia’s fuel system and saw something that did not convince them. Fuel systems according to Superbike regulations have to be identical to the road bike version. Since Aprilia’s return to the series, several teams have quietly expressed concern regarding Aprilia’s new superbike, deeming it not yet a true production bike.

 

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BQR-Honda Releases First Moto2 Bike

02/04/2009 @ 11:26 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on BQR-Honda Releases First Moto2 Bike

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The Spanish based BQR-Honda is the first team to unveil their Moto2 series bike. The CBR-esque bikewill make its debut this season in the Spanish Roadracing Championship (CEV), before going on to race in the Moto2 series in 2011 when it premieres. The 599cc, 140hp, Honda motor is framed into a prototype aluminum chassis, and tips the scales at 302lbs (137kg). 

Controversy surrounds the sourcing of the motor from Honda. The BQR team has used a modified Honda CBR 600 engine, which is entirely within the rules of the new category, but also goes against the spirit of the new series. Having a road bike take key parts and development from production road bikes is the exact opposite of what prototype racing is about. The purpose of the Moto2 series is to setup an exotic testing ground for the 600cc class of streetbikes. With these bikes based so closely on the production models, one can only think that World Superbike and Supersport are feeling a little infringed on.

SBK has a contract with the FIM that grants them the exclusive rights to organize a world championship for production motorcycles, and Paolo Flammini (owner of IMS, which operates the SBK) has made several public statements saying that they intend to defend those rights aggressively. While the BQR bike will race first in the Spanish national championship, IMS will have no grounds for recourse, but that could all change in 2011 when Moto2 goes live.

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