Bmw Hp 2 Sport}
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Submitted by: Chris Moss
BMWs on a bit of a roll at the moment. The German bike firm is expanding its range of road bikes, and many of them are selling well. Its also just launched its four cylinder superbike which has formed the basis of a 2009 WSB campaign. The blue and white roundel is rolling well and in the right direction.
But BMW hasnt forgotten the purists. And though its now using singles, twins and fours to power its bikes, the venerable flat twin-cylinder powerplant will probably remain in place for some time yet. The versatile trademark Boxer motor has been used in sportsbikes, sports tourers, tourers and adventure sportsbikes. Now the most powerful version of all has been fitted to the most exclusive BMW to date, the HP-2 Sport. Essentially a road-going replica of its endurance racer, the 130bhp limited-edition model was first seen at the Paris show late last year. And by the time it reached the dealers, the vast majority had been sold. Its still possible to buy an HP-2 Sport, but youll need to get a bit of a hurry on if you fancy one.
Spending a few hours with the BMW recently showed me why its in such demand. Though I would add straightaway that the more time you spend with the bike the more youll appreciate it for what it is. One of the first things to realise is that the 1200 is not a direct competitor to Japanese 1000cc sportsbikes though it is a great alternative. It simply doesnt have the power and speed to rival bikes like the Fireblade or GSX-R1000. However, dont get the impression that the Bee-Em is slow because its far from it.
Central to the bikes performance is its classic 1200cc Boxer twin motor. Based on the one fitted to the R1200R sportsbike, it features many revisions including twin cams, radial valves, increased compression and a close-ratio gearbox. Elsewhere, carbon bodywork (including a self-supporting seat unit), digital MotoGP style dash, Ohlins suspension and a quickshifter, all help to increase the status and quality of the bike.
You wouldnt exactly call its style cutting edge, but theres no doubt the HP-2 does have a classy visual appeal. It looks good from a distance, and once you get closer for a more detailed peek, its obvious this is a well-crafted machine featuring excellent engineering. If you want to stand out, then the HP-2 can help. The show is matched by some decent levels of go too.
Its an easy bike to get on with thanks to a relaxed and roomy riding position making it both comfortable and manageable something helped further by the adjustable bars and footrests. Part of that manageability is down to the lightweight of a claimed 178kilos dry and how well thats distributed. Round town at lower speeds, the bike feels well balanced and tighter moves between traffic dont present any real problems. But its out and away from the busy streets where the big twin shows its best qualities. Well suited to a speedy run down a twisting backroad, the HP-2 steers lightly and accurately. And the pace and fluidity with which it can be put on its side and then brought back to the vertical is very impressive. It makes the bike feel really agile and gives you the impression that its even lighter than it actually is. It might not be the smallest of sportsbikes but its certainly one of the most flickable.
Joining forces with the just right nature of the bike are the two fully adjustable Ohlins shocks and Brembo brakes. Both manufacturers products work extremely well, though in the case of the suspension there is some slightly unconventional behaviour to get used to. The Telelever front end gives a supple yet supportive ride and allows the Michelin front tyre to stay mated well to the road even when it becomes less than billiard-table smooth. Under braking though, the usual dive associated with the conventional telescopic forks is not in evidence. Theres a slight amount to begin with but then, even when youre using the Brembos hard, the BMW stays pretty much level. The initial strangeness of the feeling that the brakes might not be working as well as expected is soon overcome though as the monobloc radial calipers offer massive stopping power. And they do so with plenty of feel and progression. ABS is an option on this bike, but the set-up is so friendly Im not sure that it should be a priority order.
The brakes are possibly the best feature of the bike, and are up there with the very best fitted to any production bike. They really help to make the job of going fast on the HP-2 all the more safe and secure. So too does the engine. It has bags of torque and flexibility, not to mention lots of deceptive speed further down the rev range, and runs quite sweetly and smoothly thanks to very good fuelling and little vibration. But though the well-mannered nature of the delivery continues at higher engine speeds, a sense of much greater urgency begins when the digital tacho gets to 6000rpm. At that point theres a significant hike in acceleration and the bike very much starts to get a move on. Its not quite the sudden change in momentum as it can be on a four cylinder bike, and it wont make the Bee-Em either slide or wheelie either. Instead, you get a solid boost in the torque that pushes you back into the seat unit as the bike charges forward with that certain and forceful punch so typical of a twin-cylinder engine. Its still friendly when its doing all this, but its definitely driving the bike much harder when it is. The first few times you sample the extra thrust, its quite breathtaking making you think the motor is making much more power than it does. Once youre used to it more it just makes you grin and soon addicts you to dropping down through the very slick gearbox to have some more.
The HP-2 Sport is the first ever production bike to be fitted with a quickshifter and though its good, unless you use it when youre in a real hurry and only when youre on full throttle, it can make the change feel a bit snatchy. Its not really a problem as such, and like the slight torque reaction from the longitudinal crank which pitches the bike over to the right when you first spin the engine up more, you soon get used to it. In some riders eyes theyll add to the appeal of the bike and help set it apart from the more automated Japanese superbikes, which though absolutely brilliant, can at times feel a bit sterile and sanitised.
The HP-2 Sport is easily BMWs strongest performing production bike to date, and allied to its exclusive, classy appeal is a bike to form a real bond with. Its certainly not cheap, but then quality never is. Like other Euro-classics like the 1098, and KTM RC8, its certainly worth considering, especially if want to ride down an alternative road.
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2007 BMW HP-2 SPORT
Type: air/oil cooled, 8-valve, dohc, flat twin
Bore x Stroke: 101 x 73mm
Maximum power: 133bhp @ 8750rpm
Maximum torque: 85lb/ft @ 6000rpm
Carburation: Bosch electronic fuel-injection, 52mm throttle bodies
Gearbox: 6-speed with quickshifter, shaft drive
Chassis: Steel tubed trellis
Suspension: Front: Telelever, fully adjustable Ohlins shock
Rear: Paralever, fully adjustable Ohlins shock
Brakes: Front: twin 320mm discs with four piston radial calipers
Rear: single 265mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Wheels/Tyres: Front: 120/70 -17
Rear: 190/55 -17
Rake/trail: 24 degrees / 86mm
Seat height: 830mm
Wheelbase: 1487mm (1507mm)
Fuel capacity: 16 litres
Dry weight: 178kg
About the Author: MOTORCYCLE journalist extraordinaire and one of the most respected bike testers in the business Chris ‘Mossy’ Moss supplies reviews of the latest motorbikes on CIA