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BMW IDM-S 1000 RR and BMW HP4 Race in the test

Racing BMWs in a duel

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Lots of punch and low weight turn these two racing BMWs into real bullets. How close are the IDM winning bike from 2017 and the 80,000 euro BMW HP4 Race when smoking?

Whoever wins 13 of 14 Superbike races in the International German Championship last year, like Markus “Reiti” Reiterberger, needs not only awesome talent but also a powerful streak. Of course, his Van Zon Remeha BMW team under boss Werner Daemen knows that too. A unit for many years, they jointly developed the BMW S 1000 RR into a tailor-made weapon. Three titles in four seasons speak for themselves. We meet the champion on the piste in Valencia in the south of Spain and can win him over as a photo driver straight away. We also do a few laps on his master bike and feel in direct comparison with the extremely expensive BMW HP4 Race on the tooth. Noticeable differences? Oh yeah! To get to know Reiti’s bike, first turn cautiously into turn one. Despite the restrained speed, the Bavarian obediently follows the steering commands, there is no trace of squabbling or diva-like behavior. Once again it is clear that good racing machines can also be slow. But we’re not here to fool around, attack!

BMW IDM-S 1000 RR and BMW HP4 Race in the test

Racing BMWs in a duel

Like a good buddy

Even with increasing speed, the BMW burns regardless precisely on the targeted line, of whether when turning into the corners or when shooting out from the apex. The load remains extremely stable without appearing stiff or even stubborn. Rather, it feels familiar at all times, like a good buddy who accompanies you through thick and thin. "We don’t see any disadvantage compared to the competition with the chassis," replies team boss Daemen when asked about possible weaknesses of BMW compared to the strong competitors in the IDM. We take his word for it. The basis for this are the conventional spring elements from Ohlins, which responds extremely sensitively despite the rich damping. In addition, the Bavarian gives crystal-clear feedback from the front and rear, which informs the driver one-to-one about the grip conditions – what a divine feeling! In the 2017 bike, the youngest Ohlins creation, called FKR, is already at the front when riding in Valencia. It is considered a further development of the well-known FGR fork. The most important difference: In the case of the new one, the material quality and wall thickness of the inner and outer tubes are matched so that the two tubes bend so evenly during the inevitable deformation during hardcore anchoring that they continue to work cleanly instead of jamming.

Plenty of chassis flex despite the carbon frame: HP4 Race

"It’s unbelievable how well the BMW HP4 Race works in the delivery condition," says Markus Reiterberger, raving about the small-series racer. For the first time ever, the Upper Bavarian swings on the noble bike. “For fast lap times, I just have to adjust the gear ratio and turn down the driver assistance.” The champion promptly burns a 1.35 lap on the Spanish asphalt with the bike that has been modified in this way – a fabulous time! The HP4 Race only irons the slopes a bit less than Reiti’s IDM bike and doesn’t quite provide their brilliant feedback. “It’s all a question of chassis tuning,” assured a BMW manager. "The test machine comes straight out of the box and offers numerous setup options". In fact, the fork and shock absorber, which, like the brakes, are also used in the Superbike World Championship, have a wide adjustment range. The steering head and swing arm angle can also be varied and the height of the front and rear can be adjusted. Because of its formidable performance, the race-ready HP4 Race may need fine-tuning and adjustments to personal preferences.


Wonderful to look at: The HP4 Race offers an abundance of well-processed carbon and creates a true carbon fiber flash.

The IDM racer does not offer such a wide range of setting options due to the very strict regulations. Another difference concerns the handling. The IDM machine also bends jaggedly, but it doesn’t quite come close to the phenomenal light-footedness of the HP4 Race. After a minimal steering input, the Race storms greedily in and around corners. Lovely! It owes this mainly to its light wheels with low gyroscopic forces. Like the complete frame, the rear frame, the full fairing and other fairing parts, they are made of wonderfully processed carbon fiber. The racer beats absolutely neutrally around the slopes, stubborn behavior or even hard rashes due to a lack of flex in the carbon chassis are completely nil. With 17.5 liters of Super Plus fully fueled, the premium racer should also weigh only 171 kilos. With a specific weight for gasoline of 750 grams / liter (average), this results in an empty weight of around 158 kilos. This puts the HP4 around 13 kilos below the IDM machine, which BMW attests to have an empty weight of 171 kilos.

Driving dynamic experience in a class of its own

The performance rating of the IDM bike is the understatement of the year. According to BMW, the engine should only generate 200 hp. For comparison: the absolute peak value for a series S 1000 RR we measured is 212 hp. It is hard to imagine that a racing bike with such an accurate structure would be less pressing, especially since it would allow interventions in the engine management system and a thinner cylinder head gasket for higher compression. But top performance doesn’t count that much anyway. Much more important is a steady, steadily increasing punch, preferably already at low to medium speeds. And that’s what Reiti’s BMW offers. It pushes with elemental force, fires and presses whatever it takes from the corners, always present, always extremely easy to dose: gassing made easy!


Well-tuned Ohlins chassis from Alpha Racing.

The same applies to the BMW HP4 Race. From below, it doesn’t feel quite as brutal as the IDM bike does. But that can be deceiving because of the long serial translation of this test machine. The fact is, however, that the premium racer presses harder around the top, which in combination with the low weight also sweaters the pilot’s arms out, triggers astonishment as well as the broadest grin and leads to a driving dynamic experience in a class of its own. We are sure: the promised 215 horses have started in full. Also for this reason, but above all because of its exclusivity and the well thought-out, sophisticated overall package, the HP4 Race arouses the “we really want to have it” feeling. A tense day with the Bavarian rockets therefore comes to an end far too quickly. We say servus and pfiat di God – and all the best, Reiti, for the Superstock EM!

Interview – Markus "Reiti" Reiterberger

PS: First of all: In the last two seasons you have badly injured your back twice from falls. How are you today?  

Reiti: The lateral freedom of movement of the upper body is clearly restricted, but that doesn’t bother me when driving. Besides, I don’t feel any pain because I’m so full of adrenaline. But before and after it hurts a bit. The spine will probably never be the same as it used to be.

PS: You start this year in the FIM Superstock 1000 EM with the aim of getting back to the Superbike World Championship in 2019. Why the detour?

Reiti: My team and I just didn’t have the budget for the World Cup in 2018. With the corresponding results in the Superstock 1000, it should work next year.

Felix Wiebmann

Markus "Reiti" Reiterberger (24) on missing entry into the Superbike World Championship 2018 and the upcoming season in the FIM Superstock 1000 class.

PS: So in 2019 you want to compete in the world championship with BMW again. But the brand has not broken much since its serve in the World Cup. The first four races of the season this year were sobering for the manufacturer despite ex-MotoGP rider Loris Baz.

Reiti: I’m sure that I can achieve more with my boys from Van Zon-Remeha-BMW than with the Althea team in 2016 and early 2017. Loris Baz is also driving for Althea this year. It’s no secret that I didn’t feel very comfortable on this team. Those responsible did not respond to my setup requests and suggestions and only looked at the data recording. As a result, I couldn’t build trust in the bike. At Van Zon-Remeha things are very different. There I give my input and we work until I have a good feeling for the bike and can attack. That makes me confident.  

PS: But this year the first thing to do is to convince in the Superstock EM. At the final race in Jerez last year, you won as a guest starter by almost five seconds. This automatically counts you to the title contenders. Do you feel special pressure? 

Reiti: Not more than usual. Last year we just wanted to see where we were in this class and started in Jerez without any special ideas. We were surprised ourselves that it would go so well. This result naturally makes us optimistic for the season.

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