BMW’s R 1250 GS is one of the most popular adventure bikes of the modern era. Everyone from casual riders who consider trips to their local Starbucks an “adventure,” to die-hard adventurers who go on multi-day trips off the grid appreciate this German marvel of engineering. Needless to say, when BMW unveiled its successor, the R 1300 GS, the adventure world went nuts.
As is the case with BMW, all of its bikes are extremely good at doing what they’re designed to do. In the case of the new R 1300 GS, it recently proved itself as an exceptional off-road performer. Nevado Ojos del Salado, situated at the border of Argentina and Chile, is the highest active volcano in the world with an elevation of 6,893 meters. It was precisely the height and thrill of this challenge that allured BMW, as it sent a fleet of brand spanking new R 1300 GS adventure bikes to climb the volcano.
BMW Motorrad didn’t do it alone, though. It had the support of renowned tire specialist Metzeler, who supplied the off-road focused rubber for the bikes that partook in the challenge. The team of riders consisted of Christof Lischka, BMW’s Development Manager, as well as Salvatore Pennisi, the Test and Technical Director of Metzeler. Seasoned riders such as Michele Pradelli, Italian Extreme Enduro Champion and InMoto tester, and Motorrad test rider and journalist Karsten Schwers, were also part of the team.
The bikes were equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tires, among the best when it comes to off-road performance for large adventure bikes. According to BMW’s official press release, the bike showcased its prowess in all conditions – from sporty performance on twisty roads, long-distance touring abilities, and of course, its resilience in the face of challenging, sometimes extreme conditions. In total, the team was able to ascent the Rock Channel in an impressive 19 hours and 22 minutes, with a total elevation of 6,027 meters, or 19,773 feet.
Commenting on the successful adventure, Lischka stated in BMW Motorrad’s official press release: “With this extreme ride up to more than 6,000 metres, 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 tyres. It was important for us to emphasise these core competencies of the new GS once again with this expedition.”
As you would probably expect, ascending at such elevation exposes you and your equipment to some thoroughly harsh conditions. The higher you go, temps drop and the oxygen thins. For reference, temps can hit as low as -20ºC, or -4ºF. As such, preparing not just the bikes, but your physical condition for a ride like this is of utmost importance.