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PressClub South Africa · Article.

BMW Motorrad and Metzeler climb the world's highest active volcano with series production BMW R 1300 GS models.

From sea level to over 6,000 metres in under 24 hours on the adventure icon.

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R 1300 GS
 

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Munich. Barely two and a half 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 metres 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 metres in less than 24 hours. The climb, which is very difficult for riders, bikes and tyres, culminates in the notorious “Rock Channel” on the northern flank of the Nevado Ojos del Salado, where the expedition climbed to 6,006 metres in just 19 hours and 22 minutes to reach a maximum altitude of 6,027 metres.

The backdrop for the expedition, which represents an extreme challenge for man and machine, is 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. The 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 on the Pacific Ocean in the Atacama region, to climb the Nevado Ojos Del Salado.

International team of drivers.
The destination was finally reached on 7 December at 10.22 am 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.

A further unique feature of this expedition was the decision to undertake it with standard motorcycles and standard tyres. It should also be noted that this result was achieved with 19" front and 17" rear tyres, showing a new dimension in the world of adventure riding.

Lischka said: “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.”

Standard BMW R 1300 GS with off-road tyres.
The new BMW R 1300 GS is fitted with Metzeler Tourance Next 2 tyres as original equipment ex works. For dedicated off-road use, Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres are available as an option, and were used on this expedition. With the Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres, the BMW R 1300 GS offers even better riding characteristics both off-road and on adventure tours. The multi-purpose tyres offer exemplary off-road traction and can be used on everything from sandy or desert tracks to the deepest mud. They also work perfectly on- and off-road with the advanced rider assistance systems of the new BMW R 1300 GS.

A challenge for man and machine.
The climb to Nevado Ojos del Salado is an extreme challenge for both man and machine. Considerable physical and mental effort is required of the expedition participants. After all, the climb is be completed in less than 24 hours. In addition, the participants reach an environment above 5,000 metres that is very inhospitable to humans. The temperatures are very low - around -10 °C during the day and -20 °C at night - and the oxygen content is low.

Long-term preparation and prior acclimatisation to the region are therefore essential. In the days leading up to the expedition, several base camps were set up at different altitudes and a simulation was 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 metres 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 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 Lischka.


The BMW Group
With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises over 30 production sites worldwide; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2022, the BMW Group sold nearly 2.4 million passenger vehicles and more than 202,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2022 was € 23.5 billion on revenues amounting to € 142.6 billion. As of 31 December 2022, the BMW Group had a workforce of 149,475 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company set the course for the future at an early stage and consistently makes sustainability and efficient resource management central to its strategic direction, from the supply chain through production to the end of the use phase of all products.

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