The “literbike” category has long been regarded as the pinnacle of supersport motorcycle development. Climbing the ladder of 1000cc inline-4s often boils down to measuring the minutia. A milligram saved is a thousandth of a second earned -- competition is that close, and progress is typically incremental. Much like in nature though, every so often, a new breed comes along and evolution skips a rung or two. BMW’s Motorrad division, while rich in motorcycling history, had long steered clear of this screaming world of 13,000 rpm showroom repli-racers until 2009. Boy are we glad they finally joined.
Their latest iteration, the 2013 BMW HP4, doesn’t just raise the bar -- it punts it into the stratosphere. An incredible combination of razor-sharp, race-proven tech and unobtanium materials, the HP4 is one of the fastest, lightest and most rideable bikes on the market today.
The 2013 HP4 is only the fourth bike from BMW's Motorrad to feature the HP moniker (that distinction is much like BMW's "M" autos in that each creation is very special indeed). On the surface, the HP4 resembles its S 1000RR stablemate: the asymmetrical headlights and fairings, the split nose and aggressively tall tail are all there. So, too, is the 999cc powerplant that churns out 193 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque. Things diverge from there. The HP4 weighs a mere 439 pounds, making it the lightest literbike available. Carbon fiber is used extensively, as is titanium for the exhaust and forged alloy wheels to tip scales a full fifteen pounds lighter than the standard S 1000RR.
But it's the software side that really sets the HP4 apart. Race ABS, an anti-lock braking system with a sporting bias, features four different modes -- Rain, Sport, Race and Slick -- to tailor the big Brembos to the task at hand. On the acceleration side, the same choices are available, with Slick mode engaging launch control to ensure the front wheel is planted when the flag drops. The HP4 is also the first production bike to be outfitted with Dynamic Damping Control (DDC). Instead of relying on a rider’s best guesses at perfecting suspension settings, BMW’s software tackles this task in an active role, thereby maximizing chassis dynamics under any and all conditions. There’s even a Competition Package option to add more adjustability and exclusivity and set the HP4 just a bit apart from... itself. The most extraordinary bike of an extraordinary motorcycling category -- wunderbar doesn't quite cover it.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers