Our good friend and Bloomberg anchor Matt Miller made a "huge mistake" when he bought the BMW Hp4. Yes, it's a sexy and powerful bike, but it's juuust enough motorcycle to land him in the hospital. Again. Here's his hilarious tale.
To put it in terms a Jalopnik reader can understand, this tiny litte motorcycle cost more than a brand new Miata — specifically more than a 2015 MX-5 Sport Soft Top with the Convenience Package AND the Appearance Package — and I sincerely regret buying it.
Long story short — i bought a $26,000 2014 BMW HP4 Competition less than a month ago, and it's taken me about 900 miles to realize this is *way too much bike for me* and that i'll likely die on it if i keep it. But not only did i spend the average annual salary of someone living in Greece (in 2012 dollars) on this German death machine, i threw good money after bad (just like the Germans in Greece!), trying to get it to fit me with new rearsets, a new seat, and even a new kit that replaces the clip-ons with a handlebar for THOUSANDS of more (2014) dollars. Word to the wise: don't ever buy the S model and then fully customize it to be something it's not.
How did i make such a major mistake to begin with?
Well, if you must know, i have always been impulsive and indecisive, as well as whatever the antonym to frugal is, so that's a bad combination. But more specifically, after years and years of riding Ducatis, i felt it was my journalistic duty to try out the offering of another major motorcycle manufacturer. Plus, i love the press people at BMW, the company has a great rep, it's German, and i love the cars. Also, i'd ridden the S1000RR on a trackday weekend with famed pro Nate Kern and instantly developed the kind of man-crush Porsche drivers have on Hurley Haywood.
If you don't think he's adorable you don't have a human heart.
It was the good looks of the HP4 that got me too. The smart man in me was like, ``Hey, that's cool, you want to try a liquid-cooled inline four after all these years of 2-valve twins. Buy a used 2012 S1000RR.'' But then the me in me was like: Carbon Fiber! Full Exhaust! Dynamic Damping! BLUE WHEELS!!! It is covered in carbon fiber — to a Ducati lover that's like a bottle of vicodin and a box of bomb pops, you cannot turn it down no matter what the price. Plus, the 999cc inline four has damn near perfect power curve. It's so good most reviewers say it ``lacks character,'' which is code for ``it's perfect.'' It pulls from the bottom of the RPM band and as an added bonus, in this day and age of digital dashes that are impossible to read and terribly ugly, it still has an actual needle-on-dial tachometer.
Sex, right? And more Powerful Than a Formula 1 Race Car.
But even with that little touch of retro flair, the BMW HP4 is a super-modern weapon of Matt destruction. It's got a dry weight of 371.8 pounds (169 kg) and cranks out 193 horsepower. The weight of the bike, therefore, is less than a quarter the minimum weight of a 2014 Formula 1 car (691 kg), but if you multiply the horsepower by 4 (772 hp), you get a much higher figure than the 710 horsepower the current Mercedes is making before KERS. Good luck achieving this power-to-weight ratio in any car under 8 figures. Well, i guess you could squeeze in just under that his year:
|Engine Unit||$7.7 Million|
|Carbon fibre monocoque||$650,000 per chassis|
|Front wing & nose cone||$160,000|
|Rear wing & DRS overtaking aid||$80,000|
|Fuel tank plus assembly||$110,000|
|Total Basic Cost||$9.4 Million|
And yet, it's all useless unless you can control it. The geometry of this bike means it turns in *quick*. If i so much as look any other direction than forward, i'm changing lanes or hitting a wall. Don't get me wrong, many people are incredibly good at getting this bike around a track quickly, my main problems are that, A) i'm not one of them, and B) i paid $26,000 for this thing and can't return it.
But i think i have to sell it now, since it's got fewer than a thousand miles on the clock and still has almost the full warranty left. What kind of hit do you think i'll take?
P.S. before anyone else advises me to start small, i'd like to make my history clear. when i said i've been riding ducatis for years and years, i meant for over a decade. my first bikes were vespas — an et4 125 and then a px150 — before i bought my first monster in 2003, a 620. since then i've had many bikes, upon which i've ridden many trackdays, and even an 1199 panigale that i commuted on for a year. my current garage holds an m900 city, an 1100 evo and a multistrasda 1200 pikes peak, as well as the HP4.
so yeah, i know what i'm doing.