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Interesting new BMW HP4 Race at the EICMA 2016....carbon chassis, carbon, carbon, more carbon ! No change in the engine though... Anyway, maybe 0.01% of us will be able to afford this, probably those hesitating with the new Ducati Superlegga :D :D ...

 

What is interesting though, is that after having really pushed the DDC, even for track and racing use...their ultimate race machine...has no DDC (but 15000$ Ohlins FGR front !!!).

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It's kind of hard to beat gas forks. If they were cheaper everyone would be using them. For my use though I would prefer DDC. Tinkering with suspension one of these days is going to become like using floppy disks. You can do it but you are generally wasting your time. :)

 

I have to admit that I did cringe a bit when I saw the bike. One of the things that I really admired about the S1000RR platform was it's general lack of the "you can't have this" snob factor you see on the Italian bikes. Even the HP4 was based on the core engineering of the platform with most of the parts needed to create one available in the HP race parts catalog. The new bike unfortunately seems to be exactly that (based on the current info) and therefore a bit of a let down for me. After seeing so many $100K+ MV Agusta's that have just a tiny bit more performance as my stock one for a stupid amount of money I'm super cynical of exclusive limited production bikes. It's a marketing tactic rather than an engineering effort. Kind of a shame to see this and I sincerely hope that I'm completely off base with my perception of the bike. Although BMW may surprise the heck out of us as full details have not been released. Keeping my fingers crossed. When more information is available I may find myself in a mad panic to get to the dealership and find my checkbook. :)

 

The one thing that really sticks out about the new HP4 is the frame. When there's some actual information on the frame and the weight savings I'm certainly interested in something like that. I doubt it will ever be available as an HP part but there's always written off bikes where you could get one. If the weight savings is big enough and the benefits are substantial enough I have already started researching having a Generation 2 carbon frame custom fabricated. It's expensive to get a high quality end result that you would trust your life with but doing a bespoke frame is a lot cheaper than my dream of designing my own motorcycle. :)

 

Then again BMW is full of surprises. They use a lot of carbon structural components in the BMW 7 series. Perhaps we might see the frame make it to the production bikes. Higher volume manufacturing can often lower prices.

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Actually, check out the new FKR kit ! Ohlins is giving up the TTX25 gas pressurized kit for a new, non-gaz pressurized system. Apparently, it's amazing, more reliable (no leaks), much easier servicing (and less often). And nowhere near the price tag of the FGR system. I was discussing with the Ohlins guy who is responsible of the suspension settings of SERT (endurance world champ 2016), and he told me this is a really amazing piece of kit...soon on my R1 (-: !

 

I personally will not be excited anytime soon about carbon frame...probably lots of advantages, but I would like to know really what is the gain in weight, how it really behaves...and more importantly, really, how it handles shock when you go down. Carbon wheels, for instance, are forbidden in a number of racing categories (if not all...I actually don't know any here where carbon wheels are allowed) because it's not reliable enough and increases danger on the track (in fact here, we also don't see much mag wheels except when you really reach very high level racing team which don't mind buying new mag wheels every other day...but mag wheels are also not as robust as forged aluminium...and very good forged aluminium wheels are almost as light as mag wheels...at least the ones we ahve access to, not the ones Rossi and Marquez use !).

 

As for DDC or equivalent, this surely will eventually replace normal suspensions. Right now though, for track use, standard setups are still preferred...could be simply inertia of riders, who want to stick with what they know. I cannot say. I am wondering though if teams running endurance race will go for electronic setups, as a mechanical problem in suspensions during a 24 h race can be fixed, but often enough, an electronic one may be more tricky ! On the other hand, it's not like they don't use traction control, which is also electronic !

 

Anyway, it's fun to look at all these evolutions ! On my side at the moment, I cannot be happier with my new bike..and can't wait to get very good suspension setups !

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I personally will not be excited anytime soon about carbon frame...probably lots of advantages, but I would like to know really what is the gain in weight, how it really behaves...and more importantly, really, how it handles shock when you go down. Carbon wheels, for instance, are forbidden in a number of racing categories (if not all...I actually don't know any here where carbon wheels are allowed) because it's not reliable enough and increases danger on the track (in fact here, we also don't see much mag wheels except when you really reach very high level racing team which don't mind buying new mag wheels every other day...but mag wheels are also not as robust as forged aluminium...and very good forged aluminium wheels are almost as light as mag wheels...at least the ones we ahve access to, not the ones Rossi and Marquez use !).

 

Carbon wheels are lighter and stronger than Magnesium wheels. The reason they are not allowed in some race orgs is because of the competitive advantages rather than safety. One race org they are allowed is AHRMA and Nate Kern's #9T race bike is equipped with them. AHRMA has some funky rules where brand new Panigale's and an ex EBR World Superbike can compete against vintage 2cyl bikes in their Battle of the Twins race.

 

Carbon fibre is stronger than steel and has been around for a long time. They have been using it in aircraft for years and many aircraft control surfaces are made of it. In fact there are several entire airplanes made out of carbon fibre such as the Raytheon Starship. If you have flown recently likely you have been on a plane with some composite control surfaces which are subject to tremendous forces at 500-600mph cruise speeds.

 

If you check out this video at 4:10 you will see someone bouncing a BST rear wheel off the pavement like a basket ball with no damage to it whatsoever. Try doing that with an aluminum wheel or a Magnesium one and try claiming that they are stronger than Carbon Fibre. :)

 

 

BMW has started using a lot of carbon fibre in the 7 series and many supercars are constructed entirely out of it such as the Paganni Zonda. Here's an article on BMW's use of the material.

 

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/209812-how-bmw-weaves-bakes-and-builds-the-carbon-fiber-7-series

 

Aluminum has it's issues as well when it comes to frame materials. Many manufacturers have cast aluminum sections in their frames that are really prone to cracking. I personally spent over $4000 having an ancient Yamaha R6 put back together with an aluminum frame after it cracked. A bike that had never seen track use and had only 16K miles on it. It was my first sport bike so it had a lot of sentimental value to me.

 

It's kind of ironic really. Racing is supposed to be an area where the pursuit of speed is the only goal. Unfortunately this is often not the case. Rules, politics and budgets often get in the way of the speed. Active suspension technology is a victim of this at the moment. You would think that 3 years would be enough time for people to embrace new technology. Perhaps in a few more years. Until then I do agree with you that the analog suspensions are better supported especially when it comes to the high end setups.

 

The new R1 is an amazing bike. I'm glad to hear that you are happy with it and are getting better adjusted. Features such as the yaw control are ground breaking. While you can do that with the BMW RCK putting that control directly into the hands of the rider with an on-board system monitoring in real time is a massive leap forward. Having the ability to let the bike "move around" makes the concept of traction control a bit more attractive to many riders. You can of course do this with many other traction control equipped bikes but it requires a lot of tuning.

 

There's a lot of people who have a lot of doubt on carbon fibre frame technology based on Ducati's experiment with carbon frames in MotoGP. That was one bike design with one rider in one very specialized race hampered by lots of rules and politics. While ultimately a failed venture many other ground breaking technologies start in failure. We would not have space travel or airplanes if people gave up as easily as the motorcycle world seems to on new technology. We need a lot more visionaries and people who are thick skinned enough to endure failure if we are going to move forward. Don't get me wrong though. I'm more than happy to see what we currently have. You can buy amazing 200hp bikes for 20K that have blistering performance from a myriad of different manufacturers. Just imagine however what "could" be done if we took the path that visionaries like John Britten did starting with a clean sheet of paper and only the pursuit of speed as a goal.

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Very interesting about carbon wheels ! I was told many times around here that it was for safety reasons (I don't know myself..have ever used them, and have never seen them). But it's good to know ! I am not a carbon expert (-:

Do you know how to deal with localized impact, like projection of a stone or something like that ?

 

Problem with carbon frame is that there will surely be, like for everything, a couple of failed attempts or not perfect combinations before they really take over...and the problem is that companies will not have the feedback they could get, simply because only few will be able to afford them. I think that's one of the main thing that slows down a number of really creative new things: if by nature they are really incredibly expensive, they will only be used by a couple of lucky people, and will take forever to really become general. That's too bad.

 

Motorcycle riding on the track is really expensive. I have already ruined myself :) with it, and without buying crazy expensive stuffs, I am already broke ! So fact is that for instance, even if I really like trying new stuffs, I will never be one of the lucky early adopters of things that are too expensive (I bet that the BMW carbon frame will be quite expensive !)...and I am not the only one, so that's one thing that will slow down new products... And also, usually, I don't buy the first product of a new line...always issues. s1000rr, R1, ZX10...all these bikes, in their first months, are suffering recalls of various kind. That's pretty normal, in fact. But I would not put my life at stake, riding at 300 km/h on a frame that, even if BMW engineers are top notch, has not been more thoroughly tested in the real life and not only by the few lucky BMW test riders.

 

All this said, if someone gives me the new HP4 Race for Xmas, I will NOT say no :) :)

 

If you get the opportunity, get a test ride on the track on the R1...it's incredible. What you lose a bit on the engine side (if you are running stock, without YEC etc...then it's hard to beat the s1000rr engine...but with the YEC ECU, proper mapping, that's a different story), you make it up 100 times in the curves. Anyway, love both bikes...would love to have one of each ! :lol:

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Carbon is a pretty tough material. Rocks tend to bounce right off. I'm sure a trip through a gravel pit at speed would leave some marks they would not really compromise the integrity of the carbon. Carbon can also be painted so if you were to get some major damage like that you could likely have it painted or repaired.

 

Unlike metal wheels carbon wheels are able to flex up to a point. When they do completely fail however they tend to shatter and come apart. The same metal wheel might be bent way out of shape or potentially shatter as well. Predicting accident physics is all guesswork anyway.

 

Because of the perception that Carbon wheels are super fragile companies like BST offer a rebuild program for damaged wheels. Send them the broken wheel (no questions asked on how it got that way) and for a reasonable price they will repair, rebuild or replace the wheel for around 1/2 of the cost of buying a new wheel. As far as I know no other wheel manufacturer stands behind their product like this.

 

With my experience with my BST carbon wheels and my experience with the amazing engineering that BMW puts in every single bike they make I have absolutely no doubts of the strength of their carbon frame. Trust me. Before they put a specialized product like that into the hands of a customer it's been tested thoroughly both in the lab and on the track with a series of test riders.

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Carbon fiber can handle a very high tensile stress, while compression stresses not so much (this of a piece of paper).

 

There was at least one accident some 10-15years ago where a US racer had the rear rim more or less collapsed on itself (it tore over the ribs). There was a youtube video of it, but my Youtube-fu is failing me on this.

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Metal wheels are no different. A certain Mr. Robert Dunlop unfortunately learned about that in 1994. :/

 

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Haven't looked into the cost yet...wonder if the average Joe can afford these?

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I'm actually puzzled by the new carbon framed bikes. If memory serves, Ducati decided CF frames didn't have the flex or the feel to work as well as aluminum. Can a potential SL or HP4 Race owner feel that difference? Probably not but I still think the most expensive sportbike should be the one that works the best.

 

I'd rather have a Graves R1 or even a Moto 2 bike. Another better option IMO is taking your pick of your 3 favorite liter bikes. My list: R1, RSV4, new Blade.

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I'm actually puzzled by the new carbon framed bikes. If memory serves, Ducati decided CF frames didn't have the flex or the feel to work as well as aluminum. Can a potential SL or HP4 Race owner feel that difference? Probably not but I still think the most expensive sportbike should be the one that works the best.

 

I'd rather have a Graves R1 or even a Moto 2 bike. Another better option IMO is taking your pick of your 3 favorite liter bikes. My list: R1, RSV4, new Blade.

 

Power to weight is simple physics and something that any rider can tell the difference with pretty quickly. Try a bike with carbon wheels sometime. It will blow your mind!

 

As for the carbon frames being not as flexible. The test everyone refers to was one rider on one bike. Is the failure due to their design or the materials? Or perhaps even a rider unable to adapt to something totally different than anything they had experienced before?

 

All of those are really nice bikes. If you can live with the reality that anyone with a stock BMW can slip by on the straights they are all great choices. :)

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Haven't looked into the cost yet...wonder if the average Joe can afford these?

 

Probably not. Just the forks on this bike rival the costs of a new RR. :/

 

What's even worse is it's going to be low production so it will be difficult to get one even if you show up to the BMW showroom with a briefcase full of cash. :)

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Might be an apples to oranges comparison, but Carbon Fiber aircraft typically come from the manufacturer with life limits on the airframe. Carbon Fiber is still considered a somewhat exotic material and real useful lifetimes haven't been established. With that said, motorcycle frames have to withstand heat in addition to stressed loads.



I can see the advantage for having a CF frame on a racebike that is meticulously taken apart and rebuilt every weekend, but my 15 year old Honda has only had the engine out of it twice. It has to sometimes endure owner neglect and has also seen pavement a couple times. It pulls double duty as a streetbike/ commuter and trackday fun toy. I can't forsee doing that with a CF frame bike.


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All of those are really nice bikes. If you can live with the reality that anyone with a stock BMW can slip by on the straights they are all great choices. :)

 

 

I'm currently riding a 675R so having literbikes only slip by me rather than rocket past me would be an improvement. ;)

 

BTW, I need to update my list. I'd love to get my hands on the Spirit GP Sport. Of course, I doubt I'd have any money left over for 2 other bikes. I should also note, I'm currently saving methodically for a single R1 and hope they're still nice by the time I can get one.

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With that said, motorcycle frames have to withstand heat in addition to stressed loads.

I can see the advantage for having a CF frame on a racebike that is meticulously taken apart and rebuilt every weekend

 

 

Wheels take a lot of stress as well as having 180 degree + tire warmers on them. There are still first generation BST carbon wheels rolling around at high speeds at the track.

 

There are cars from the late 80's such as the Ferrari F40 that have extensive use of carbon fibre that are still on the road.

 

I don't really see any differences between the carbon framed version and the aluminum framed version maintenance wise other than one being a lot lighter than the other.

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Hey Rchase,

 

Far be it from me to give anyone about their signature...but you do have cars listed above bikes. I'm just sayin'...

 

On another subject, I need to figure out how to get some new emoticons...the ones we have are old and lame. Better ask my webmaster...

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Hey Rchase,

 

Far be it from me to give anyone ###### about their signature...but you do have cars listed above bikes. I'm just sayin'...

 

On another subject, I need to figure out how to get some new emoticons...the ones we have are old and lame. Better ask my webmaster...

 

Not anymore. Just a couple of clicks and it's like it never happened. :)

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OK, I feel so much better now.

 

So, what kind of classic cars? I lust after Cobras and '67 Mustang fastbacks.

 

But truth is, I think I'd rather have a kit Cobra. I'd be too darned nervous driving a real one anywhere, and I just love that body style!

 

CF

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My classic car interests tend to be more practical and modern than most.

 

I have a thing for Land Rovers. If it were not for the lack of engine power and A/C you would likely see me towing my stuff to the track with a classic Series Land Rover rather than the P38 Range Rover that I currently use. The P38 is quite the amazing vehicle. The last of the frame constructed Range Rovers and a great blend of off road toughness and luxury car comfort and daily practicality. It's also one of the least liked Range Rovers due to it's styling, luxury and perceptions of reliability. I love misunderstood and weird vehicles a LOT. A fun video.

 

 

I also have a thing for classic Mercedes Benz's. I admire their construction quality and the fact that they are serviceable forever. I currently own a W126 and a W140 but would like to add a W108, W116 and a W221 to my collection as well as a R129, R107 and the SL55AMG version of the R230 to my collection. I also love the M100 cars from the Mercedes 6.9 to the Mercedes 600. The M100 was an absolute beast of an engine that was designed to haul the weight of the Pullman. Someone had the brilliant idea of sticking one in the standard S class. A video of a M100 powered W116 in the movie Ronin in a car chase.

 

 

Interesting tidbit about the W116 6.9. The man that filmed the movie Rendez-vous used a bumper mounted film camera on his Mercedes 6.9 and dubed the Ferrari V12 sound track on top. The Hydropneumatic suspension on the Mercedes was the only thing able to give a smooth enough ride for the film camera to work at those speeds.

 

 

I also love older Jaguar's and Citroen's. My favorite Jags are XJ6's and XJS's and my favorite Citroens is the strange CX model. A very weird car presented by an equally weird singer. :)

 

 

My impractical interests are Italian exotics. Anything with the sound of a Ferrari V8 or V12. I have come very close to buying a couple of Ferrari Mondial's and 400i's before I came to my senses (A belt service on a Mondial is $12,000 nearly half the price of the car). I love their very understated styling and cheap price tags as well as their construction quality. I would also love to have a late Coutach even though the car is pretty much useless for anything other than looking pretty and the occasional Sunday drive. I have my eye on the Huracan of late and may end up picking one up in a decade or so if the prices go the way that the Gallardo's prices have when it's replacement model comes out. I absolutely love the understated but exotic styling as well as it's practicality and V10 engine.

 

Cobras are certainly wonderful cars. I admire how absolutely insane they are as well as their styling. A friend of ours that we met at Atlanta Motorsports Park drives a Cobra Daytona Coupe. It's a very well done replica (it's not fibreglass) and sounds absolutely amazing. What's fun about it is the Daytona Coupe is so rare that nobody can ever guess what it is. They often think it's a Ferrari. The history of the car and why it was created is equally interesting.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_Daytona

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For those still doubtful of the strength of carbon fibre construction. The Lamborghini Aventador's construction process. Most of this car is carbon construction. Kind of neat actually. If it can hold up in a car I have no doubts on a much lighter weight bike. :)

 

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With that said, motorcycle frames have to withstand heat in addition to stressed loads.

I can see the advantage for having a CF frame on a racebike that is meticulously taken apart and rebuilt every weekend

 

 

 

 

I don't really see any differences between the carbon framed version and the aluminum framed version maintenance wise other than one being a lot lighter than the other.

 

 

The difference would be inspections. I saw a video recently of the Yoshimura races shop. They disassemble the bikes down after every race weekend or testing weekend. Only the most serious would be able to do that.

 

Thanks for the info on the Ferrari. Do they use CF on structural components?

 

The info you supplied about G1 BST wheels is dispositive. And the good thing is that a cracked wheel would be detected during tire changes and the inability to hold air.

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Many race teams inspect as their bikes see conditions beyond what a standard bike might. They have been doing it for years even on the older technology. F1 teams do the same thing with standard components on their cars.

 

The Lamborghini Aventador uses a carbon monocoque with the engine and suspension attached via metal components both front and rear. If there is a failure in the carbon chassis the car would literally break apart.

 

Carbon sounds like an exotic material but it is becoming more and more common place. It's just like any other material with the same strengths and weaknesses. It's really not that special beyond its incredible strength and light weight.

 

I'm sure people had the same concerns when manufacturers went from steel frames to aluminum ones. Aluminum was once an exotic material at one time too. All materials go through their "new" phase.

 

I don't blame you for your caution and if anything it's a good thing. Views like yours ensure that manufacturers go out of their way to get it right the first time. A motorcycle frame is a very important component!

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I just looked up something and saw that I may have been errantly using composite materials and CF in my above examples and discussion. My experience has been with the former while our discussion has been on the latter.

 

I will say that I like my Jardine CF underseat exhaust on my CBR1000RR :-)

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Bikespeedman...hmm..I think a real moto2 will get you wayyyyy beyond the HP4 Race in terms of price !

 

Anyway, the thing is not really to know whether the carbon frame had the potential to be notch, or just a "concept" without that much real advantage for random riders (so like me (-:)...because the fact that it does have the potential does not make it work, even with top engineering. These are very complex problems...the frame, like the rest, needs to work in harmony with everything else... Without that you can have the best frame ever without any good result.

 

For instance I was reading a very interesting article in a sportbike magazine where they were interviewing the teams of the WSBK (so...these guys are...well...not bad ! In the Jerez test, Rea's lap on his WSBK Kawasaki was faster than...Rossi's pole position lap at the same place this year...). Anyway, what the technicians of the two teams that are using BMW both independently said is that yes, the BMW engine is the best, most powerful etc...but they are not competitive because they don't manage to transfer all that power so efficiently to the ground. So more powerful but less efficient. And even at lower levels. Here in national championships, the R1s are outcompeting the S1000rr...although without dramatic mods, the s1000rr engine has still higher numbers...and gives you a tremendous excitement on the straights...but the bike is just less efficient overall and so does not win the races.

 

So all in all, while an engineer knowing all the tids and bits about carbon performance and how a carbon frame could be THE thing...until he/she has really looked it up (and tested) and investigated how it works together with all the rest, there is no real way to predict whether it will actually be of any real interest...

 

My 2 cents (-:

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