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Tuesday 20 February 2024


Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!

From sea level to over 6,000 m on an R 1300 GS in less than 24 hours, and on an active volcano! When it comes to publicity stunts, this one was pretty far out there - or should that be 'up there'.

In collaboration with Metzeler, less than three months after its world premiere, the new BMW R 1300 GS "proves its outstanding off-road expertise and unique robustness in South America. From 6th to 7th December 2023, starting from sea level on the Nevado Ojos del Salado - at 6,893 m the highest active volcano in the world - a fleet of fully equipped BMW R 1300 GS models managed to reach an altitude of more than 6,000 m in less than 24 hours.

"The climb culminates in the notorious 'Rock Channel' on the northern flank of the volcano , where the expedition climbed to 6,006 m in just 19 hours and 22 minutes to reach a maximum altitude of 6,027 metres."

The backdrop for the expedition was the Circuito de los Seis Miles in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the highest active volcano chain in the world, to which the Nevado Ojos del Salado belongs. Four standard BMW R 1300 GS models set off on 6 December at 3.00 pm local time from Bahia Inglesa, a town near the port of Caldera, to climb the Nevado Ojos Del Salado.

The destination was finally reached on 7th December at 10.22 a.m. local time. Equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres, the BMW R 1300 GS models started from sea level on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, followed by the ascent through the Atacama Desert to the Circuito de los Seis Miles and finally to the slopes of Nevado Ojos del Salado on the border between Argentina and Chile. 

Riding the BMW R 1300 GS were Christof Lischka, BMW Motorrad Development Manager, Salvatore Pennisi, Metzeler Test and Technical Director, Michele Pradelli, Italian Extreme Enduro Champion and tester for Italian magazine InMoto, and Karsten Schwers, tester and journalist for German magazine Motorrad.

The expedition was undertaken with standard production motorcycles and standard tyres - a 19" front and 17" rear.

Christof Lischka is quoted as saying: "With this extreme ride up to more than 6,000 m, 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 emphasize these core competencies of the new GS once again with this expedition."

The environment above 5,000 m isn't exactly "human friendly". The oxygen content of the air is low and the temperatures are around -10 °C during the day and as low as -20 °C at night.

Long-term preparation and prior acclimatisation to the region saw several base camps set up at different altitudes and a simulation carried out on Mount Etna in Sicily, the highest active volcano in Europe. Specific medical tests and checks at the University of Enna, in cooperation with the health authorities of the province of Enna, were also part of the preparation of the expedition participants.

"At over 5,000 m above sea level, the cold and low air pressure place particularly high demands on the electronic control of the air-fuel mixture of the Boxer engine, but also on all the other vehicle components of the new BMW R 1300 GS." The chassis and tyres are also put to the test by the varied terrain with stony tracks, unpaved roads, endless sandy areas and sometimes even ice and snow.

"I am delighted that we were able to take on this challenge with the new R 1300 GS and mastered it with flying colours. 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," concluded Christof Lischka.