The mission: create a water-boxer dirt bike that weighs less than 440 pounds ready to ride. The players: Touratech AG, BMW Motorrad and TT-3D. The result: the 438-pound, R 1200-powered Touratech R1200GS Rambler. How awesome it is on a scale of 1 to 10: 11.
We don’t know who came up with the idea to build what is basically a modern-day HP2 Enduro, a bike that most people just didn’t understand (“Who needs a 400-plus-pound, 105-horsepower dirt bike??”) in its brief 2005-2008 lifespan, but we like it. Back in 2005, “adventure” bikes made about 100 horsepower, tops, including BMW’s own R 1200 GS. In today’s power-hungry world, where the latest crop of high-end ADV rides make about 160 horsepower, a stripped-down R 1200-based dirt bike is a little more palatable.
Touratech’s engineers started with the engine and chassis of an R 1200 R–that’s right, it’s not based on the GS–because the R’s frame is set up for a conventional fork, rather than the Telelever of the GS. The final drive and swingarm, however, were taken from the R 1200 GS for their maximized suspension travel. The fork is a reworked version of the one used on the F 800 GS Adventure, attached via a customized aluminum triple clamp. Touratech used their own long-travel cartridge conversion kit to increase the travel to 11.8 inches. The rear shock is a Touratech Suspension Extreme with 7.9 inches of travel. Haan Excel wheels (21-inch up front, 17-inch at the rear) are shod with Metzler Karoo 3 tires, and a dirt bike-style single front brake rotor set up (with ABS) helped shed a few pounds.
More weight came off by stripping the bike of as many extraneous features as possible, such as bodywork and unnecessary mounting brackets, and altering other parts like the airbox (made of carbon-reinforced plastic), fuel tank (combined with the rear subframe into a single aluminum structure) and seat (the seat pan was eliminated). Where possible, components were lightened, such as the master cylinders and titanium footpegs.
Touratech built two R1200GS Ramblers, one in the Touratech colors of black, grey and yellow, and the other in the BMW Motorrad colors of white, blue and red. Unfortunately, Touratech says these are one-off builds and there are no plans to put the concept into production. All we can do is hope that BMW sees enough interest in them to consider building a modern HP2 Enduro, or something like it.
Touratech R1200GS Rambler Modifications and Specs
Airbox: carbon fiber-reinforced plastic with original air filter (Touratech/TT-3D)
Fairing Mount: aluminum tube construction (Touratech)
Fuel Tank: aluminum, lowered side walls, capacity approx. 4.2 gallons (Touratech / TT-3D)
Fuel Pump: in separate plastic tank beneath main tank
Total Fuel Capacity: 4.75 gallons
Seat: rally seat made from PU foam (Touratech/TT-3D)
Frame: R 1200 R, unnecessary mounting brackets removed (BMW)
Rear Subframe: integrated aluminum fuel tank sub-frame (Touratech)
Handlebar and Controls: Magura TX handlebar, Magura HC3 radial-pump master cylinders for clutch and brake
Triple Clamp: custom (XTRIG)
Brakes: 300mm single front disc, 276mm single rear disc
Brake Lines: stainless steel braided (Stahlflex)
Fork Guard: aluminum (Touratech)
Front and Rear Body Work: custom plastic (Touratech/TT-3D)
High Front Fender: carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (Touratech/TT-3D)
Rear Fairing: carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (Touratech/TT-3D)
Tail Light: European BMW R nineT
Headlight: BMW G 450 X
Turn Signals: BMW R 1200 GS
Enduro Exhaust System: custom titanium and carbon fiber (Akrapovič)
Rear Exhaust Bracket: custom aluminum (Touratech)
Battery: lithium ion 12V, 4.6Ah
Wheels: custom Haan Excel rims, 21-inch x 2.15-inch front, 17-inch x 4.24-inch rear
Tires: Metzler Karoo 3, 90/90 R21 front, 150/70 R17 rear
Skid Plate: carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (Touratech/TT-3D)
Rear Suspension: custom long-travel (7.8 inches) Touratech Suspension Extreme shock
Front Suspension/Fork: BMW F 800 GS Adventure fork with long-travel (11.8 inches) Fork Cartridge Conversion Kit by Touratech Suspension
Footpeg Assembly: titanium footpegs, aluminum bracket and heel guard
It may be okay on fire trails & gravel roads but that is still one big heavy bike for dirt. I took a 1000GS into the strip mines once and it was a disaster; definitely not fun.