Compared to a fully-spec’d S1000RR the HP4 weighs 9kg less, tipping the scales at 199kg. This saving comes from the use of lighter wheels, battery and various ancillaries - as a result the HP4 steers crisper and with less effort. New Monoblic Brembos have more bite and the ABS settings are racier – developed in the German IDM superbike championship. The big improvement to handling comes from the electronic suspension. The suspension is more or less pliable depending on which of the four riding modes you choose, then it adjusts itself depending on the HP4’s road speed, throttle position, lean angle, ABS and TC intervention and rear shock movement. The system is impressive, giving you perfect ride quality, support and control no matter what the conditions.
The 193bhp S1000RR is already the most powerful superbike you can buy - the HP4 has the same peak power, but more midrange torque and full power (instead of 163bhp) in its ‘Rain’ riding mode. The throttle response is even smoother than the revised 2012 S1000RR’s and in its ‘Slick’ riding mode, you can now adjust the traction control via a button on the left bar (in 15 increments).
The HP4 is beautifully-built and the polished aluminium swingarm is a work of art. Reliability is as good as any Japanese superbike.
When it comes to power, equipment, electronics, handling and speed, no other superbike comes remotely close to the HP4. When you consider the HP4 is cheaper than the Tricolore version of the Ducati Panigale, it looks to be very good value indeed.
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As well as the electronic suspension, there’s the new 15-stage traction control system, four riding modes, Brembo Monobloc front calipers, lightweight wheels, racing ABS, quickshifter, 200-section rear Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa SP, mini LEDs, tinted screen and an enclosed bellypan all included in the price. There’s also a ‘Carbon’ HP4 model, with carbon fibre body panels.