BMW R 1300 GS conquers world’s highest active volcano to prove its mettle

The BMW R 1300 GS has just made its global debut last year and its formal local lunch shortly after that, but it’s already up and about in proving its mettle/

In a remarkable display of off-road prowess, the BMW R 1300 GS has etched its name into the annals of adventure motorcycling by successfully conquering the challenging terrain of Nevado Ojos del Salado in South America. A fleet of standard BMW R 1300 GS models, equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tires, ascended to an astounding altitude of over 6,000 meters in less than 24 hours, showcasing the motorcycle’s exceptional off-road capabilities.

The grueling expedition took place in December 2023, beginning at sea level in Bahia Inglesa near the Pacific Ocean, and culminating at the notorious “Rock Channel” on the northern flank of the Nevado Ojos del Salado, where the bikes reached a maximum altitude of 6,027 meters. The backdrop for this extreme challenge was the Circuito de los Seis Miles in the Atacama Desert, Chile – the highest active volcano chain in the world.

An international team of seasoned riders led the charge. Christof Lischka, BMW Motorrad Development Manager, Salvatore Pennisi, Metzeler Test and Technical Director, Michele Pradelli, Italian Extreme Enduro Champion and tester for InMoto magazine, and Karsten Schwers, tester and journalist for MOTORRAD magazine, piloted the standard BMW R 1300 GS models through the demanding terrain.

A noteworthy aspect of this achievement was the decision to undertake the expedition with completely standard motorcycles and standard tires. The models used featured 19″ front and 17″ rear tires, marking a new dimension in the world of adventure riding.

Christof Lischka, reflecting on the feat, stated, “With this extreme ride up to more than 6,000 meters, the new BMW R 1300 GS has shown what it can do and what it is made for. It masters off-road and adventure riding as well as a sporty pace on tarmac and long tours. Even in standard trim with off-road tires. It was important for us to emphasize these core competencies of the new GS once again with this expedition.”

The new BMW R 1300 GS, equipped with Metzeler Tourance Next 2 tires as standard, showcased its adaptability by utilizing Metzeler Karoo 4 tires for dedicated off-road use during this expedition. These multi-purpose tires offered superior off-road traction and proved to be versatile, excelling on various terrains such as sandy or desert tracks, deep mud, and both on- and off-road with the advanced rider assistance systems of the BMW R 1300 GS.

The climb to Nevado Ojos del Salado naturally posed an extreme challenge for both man and machine. The physical and mental demands on the participants were immense, with temperatures plummeting to around -10 °C during the day and -20 °C at night, coupled with low oxygen levels above 5,000 meters. The rigorous preparation included base camps at different altitudes, simulations on Mount Etna in Sicily, and comprehensive medical tests at the University of Enna.

The expedition also served as a stringent test for the BMW R 1300 GS’s electronic control systems, especially in the harsh conditions of high altitudes. The challenging terrain, comprising stony tracks, unpaved roads, sandy expanses, and even ice and snow, scrutinized the motorcycle’s chassis and tyres, proving their durability and adaptability.

“I am delighted that we were able to take on this challenge with the new R 1300 GS and mastered it with flying colors. On such adventurous rides, the new GS has already demonstrated its great off-road expertise in standard trim and shown what it can do in extreme situations,” said Lischka.

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