BMW HP2 Megamoto - OOOH

Just a short intro to all this.

In my not so distant past I owned a brand new R1200GS, and rode it for 18 months, on track, to work, on holidays, everywhere. After about 18K miles I traded it in for my current bike; the K1200R. Both of these bikes are fantastic in their own way.
When BMW introduced the HP2 bike, I was very impressed, but the limited practicality and the huge price never really made it a viable alternative for me to even consider. It went straight to the ‘Dream bike shelf’. Then BMW added SuperMoto wheels to the HP2, wow, two bikes in one. Then last year they introduced the HP2 Megamoto; amazing, an HP2 optimised for tarmac. This year UK will be blessed with only 30 of these nice bikes.

HP2 the brand

Just to put this the right perspective, the HP (High Performance) brand stands for an exclusive batch of bikes that are engineered for performance rather than practicality. It’s not supposed to be some sort of cheap ‘GTi’ badge for bikes. No, this is equivalent of the M-badge on the four wheeled BMWs. To achieve this exclusivity BMW is deliberately going to, not only increase the performance of the bikes, but also the price. Naturally the price hike isn’t only to make the product more exclusive but to cover the development and components. For example the HP2 bike has got an exclusive air-damping system at the rear, and the HP2 Megamoto has got an Ohlins damper. These things cost, but so does a limited run of a specially designed frame.
To conclude about the HP2, don’t go think this is some quick way for BMW to bolt on after-market bits, nope, these are virtually new bikes, with that extra performance.

The static part

When you approach the HP2 Megamoto, you are greeted with a big bike. Not overly big, but it’s definitely tall. It’s not bulky as per se, but it definitely is a big bike, but at the same time, it is miniscule in the way that the frame is “peeking” through and that the plastics (carbon fibres?) are just a bit smaller than normally. The largest thing on the bike is the engine, naturally. Everything else is bolted around the engine, and one can really see that if you’d remove the engine, there would be very little left.

The Engine

On the subject of the engine; this is the latest version of the boxer twin engine that originally was presented in the R1200GS. However, unlike the ‘standard’ engine, this one has been hand assembled and blueprinted to achieve the best performance. Horsepower-wise you’ve got 110bhp to help you loose your license. What that figure doesn’t tell you is that this engine is extremely smooth on the lower revs, and still delivers a surprising punch at the top-end, around 7,000 rpms. The versatility of this engine is easily shown when cruising through a village at close to idling speed; there’s no protest, the throttle is smooth and it literally just potters along. Leave the village and open up; the engine pulls without any protest in a very linear way until you reach that power peak that chucks you towards the next bend just a bit faster than you expected.
Oh, and when you’re slowing down the Akrapovic exhaust gives you a set of very nice bangs-and-splutters to make sure you’re aware that you’re riding.
Compared to my “old” R1200GS, this engine is much smoother and pulls harder. Yes, you really do notice that this engine is special.

The chassis

BMW HP2 Megamoto, Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The BMW HP2 Megamoto - one of 30 in the UK.

BMW Megamoto front wheel and brakes, Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The impressive brakes of the Megamoto.

BMW HP2 Megamoto rear wheel., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The Megamoto's beautiful rear wheel and the shaft drive. You can also see a glimse of the Ohlins shock and behind the wheel is the Akrapovic exhaust. Yummy!

For BMW aficionados the Megamoto’s chassis is a bit odd in the way that it comes with “traditional” telescopic forks, and not any of the BMW “peculiar ones” like the Telelever (which is normally used on the boxer twin equipped bikes) or the DuoLever (which is used on the new generation inline four bikes). The reason for the for the forks is a two part one; first of all the HP2 (non-megamoto) was developed for off road activities and it required extra long suspension travel. The Telelever system is a bit restricted in that area. The second reason is weight; Traditional forks are still a bit lighter than the Telelever.
Personally I’m a fan of the BMW front suspension systems; I have learnt to loathe the pogo-sticks that dive under braking.
To make sure you do get that pogoing feeling you have dual BMW branded brakes at the front. These brakes are the most powerful ones I’ve experienced on any bike. The do lack a bit of feel (you know that “I’m here, don’t worry”-confidence you get from some red-painted calipers). However, the brakes are very strong; in fact, so strong that when I got back on my own K1200R after the Megamoto ride, my brakes felt particularily bad; and I like my K1200R brakes a lot.
At the rear you have the very familiar BMW shaft drive; this version works really well. The previous versions gave the bike a feeling of being hinged in the middle when going violently on-off the throttle. No more of that. You can be cranked over in a corner and shut the throttle and the bike just slows down without any fuss. And the new version is also quite wheelie friendly (they are big and clever so this is important). The shaft drive is controlled by an Ohlins shock. No complaints at the rear then!

Riding the Megamoto

This is where the real fun starts. Press the button and you get that “welcoming” sideways movement when the boxer twin picks up the RPMs. So far, it’s very much like the R1200GS. Gently pull away and you’re still riding the R1200GS, albeit a bit smoother. But this is where this bike starts to differ; Open the throttle and you’ll notice the lack of GS mass, and the increased “Husky-like-pull” (the dogs, not the blue/yellow bikes) - this bike wants to go. Hit some potholes and ignore them; suspension works well then. The big eye-opener comes when you approach your first corner; hopefully a bit faster than you had in mind. You grab the brakes, and they’re on the verge of being lethal; they’re that good. You flick the bike into the corner and it’s much much easier than you had imagined. Well in the corner it makes you smile as it holds the line without batting an eye-lid. Exit the corner and violently open the throttle to feel the front wheel getting lighter and hold on as the bike throws you towards the next corner... And this is where you shred your license, say good bye to polite traffic manners and you start pondering whether you should hand yourself in to the police or if you should make a run for it, because all you can think of is to repeat that cornering procedure ad infinitum! It’s really that good a feeling.
As I only had a limited play time I wasn’t in a position to explore the more “elaborate” characteristics of the Megamoto, such as backing the rear into corners and stoppies. Therefore I can’t really comment on those, but what I can comment on is the Megamoto’s impressive wheelie characteristics. I was lucky enough to find a very deserted country road that was straight enough where I could maintain visibility to to be a total danger to other people. On this road I found that the Megamoto pulls very very nice second gear wheelies, as long as you’re aware of that power hump around 7,000 rpms (it can come as a bit of a surprise and lift the front a bit higher than you anticipated). I was simply running in 2nd gear, reasonable amount of rev’s, dip the throttle a bit, then open it up properly with a slight yank of the bars, and up-up-and-away she went. The boxer engine is very smooth and controllable, resulting in loooong stable wheelies. Absolutely wonderful.
Further along my ride, when I had got a bit more used to the bike, I noticed the bike’s real party piece; roundabouts and wheelying out of them. To do this, you want to find a dual carriage way with one or more roundabouts. At best, you want to overtake a car filled with boy-racers, going into the roundabout on the inside of the car. Then you want to nail the throttle when exiting the roundabout so that the front wheel lifts up and you wheelie the bike away. Lovely, gorgeous and beautiful. Naturally all this is simply hypothetical as antics like these are dangerous and illegal. Always follow the law and ride with proper due care and attention. This is a fictitious story. OK!?!?

BMW HP2 Megamoto jumping., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Up, up and away!

BMW HP2 Megamoto wheelying, Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Loong, smooth, wheelies; The Megamoto in its right element.

My impressions

It’s been a while since I rode the bike, and I still haven’t got over how much fun the Megamoto ride was. The bike’s agile, precise and powerful. The brakes just urge you to go that little bit faster. The torque of the engine wants you to provoke the front wheel off the ground. Sadly all this fun brings out the worst (best??) in me as a rider. I’m sure I’m scaring grannies and baiting police officers, which is fun, but not good in the long run. It was still with great sadness I handed the keys back.

Glance at the competition

Without being some uber-specialist in these bikes, I believe that the closest competition is one from the KTM camp, probably the 950 Supermoto, and to some extent the weak Ducati offering in the form of the Hypermotard. I’ve ridden two KTMs before, and they’ve both felt very precise with wonderful brakes. The SuperDuke that I rode I liked a lot, especially the engine which felt very versatile. Both the KTM and the Ducati are much cheaper than the Megamoto, but then again, you’re getting a much more common bike. Also compared to these, the BMW offers a quirkier engine the most power.


The big questions are obviously “who’s this bike for”, and “would I buy one?”. The answer to the first question is fairly simple. This bike is for a serious rider, no doubt about that. You want the best, and you’re not afraid of riding a boxer engine (they’re not as much of a pop culture as V-twins seem to be at the moment). You love quality and customer service from the dealers, but above all, you want exclusivity, but exclusivity that you’re not afraid to use. You don’t want to buy this bike and park it in your garage; you want to use it, and use it hard; that’s what it’s built for.
Now would I buy one; no, I won’t. I’d love to, but I won’t. The reasons for that are quite simple; first of all, I don’t have the £12,595 that the bike costs. Another reason is that I just love my K1200R and whilst the K is a naked bike too, it’s still more practical than the HP2 Megamoto, and on top of that the K bike has got many more technical quirks and I just love those. The third reason is simply that I don’t think I’d be worth of keeping such a full bred in my garage; it demands to be ridden hard, and I don’t think that keeping it on the road is the best environment for the bike (it certainly isn’t for my license). Track-days is where the bike should live; and I only do one type of riding that’s close to track-days, and that’s the Nurburgring Nordschleife and the K1200R is more suitable for that environment. Having said that, I would still absolutely love to give the HP2 Megamoto a good home, and I’d enjoy it on a level I think very few bikes could offer.
The BMW Megamoto is a wonderful bike. If you’re interested in one of the 30 that’s entering UK, give Phil Davies a call at North Oxford Garage on 01865 319000.