BMW Motorrad has introduced what is being described as the world’s first series-production all-wheel drive travel enduro motorcycle with hybrid drive. Based on the BMW R-1200 GS Adventure, the x-Drive Hybrid is essentially a two-wheel drive version of the 1200 GSA, and uses a 45-horsepower electric motor housed in the front wheel hub in addition to the internal burning engine. The single four-wheel drive system offers better traction on slippery road conditions, deep sand or mud, according to a BMW Motorrad release. Combined with the 125 bhp boxer twin engine of the 1200 GSA, the combined output with the 33 kW motor is rated at around 170 BHP. The all-wheel drive system can be operated manually or automatically by the rider via the 2-WD switch located on the left handle-bar operation unit. It activates the wheel hub e-drive system which functions both as electric motor and generator. During braking, a new gen of batteries, derived from BMW i battery technology, captures and stores the kinetic energy. The rider can use this additional energy for acceleration together with the power brought by the combustion engine. Also on offer are a number of riding modes to customize how the all-wheel drive system operates and adjust the hybrid system’s recuperation strategies to suit individual riding needs in different terrain.
Overall, the xDrive Hybrid looks similar to the R 1200 GS Adventure. BMW changed from the dual-disc front brake set-up on the 1200 GSA to a solo disc set-up on the x-Drive Hybrid, given the braking function of the e-Drive system. This led to weight savings of 2.9 kg, but the overall weight of the bike remains the same as the 1200 GSA, a wet weight of 259 kg. BMW has been testing the R 1200 GS xDrive Hybrid over thousands of kilometres in the toughest of riding conditions. Last winter, Reiner Scherbeck, chief of winter testing at BMW Motorrad, rode the bike to the North Cape on a first stage and from there across the frozen Barrents Sea to the North Pole and back again.
“We were totally amazed how problem free and reliable the four-wheel drive worked even at minus 56 degrees. Thanks to our functional BMW rider equipment, the cold temperatures were no problem for the rider, too. Possibly the most thrilling conclusion we can draw from our test runs, is that for the first time we can offer a motorcycle that makes riding a motorcycle a pleasure at snow depths of 1.25 metres in high winter with the new R 1200 G-S x-Drive Hybrid. Special front section components have also been developed for this purpose as well as high-speed suitable M+S all-season tyres. This was also essential in order to meet the required requirements for high-speed winter operation,” said Scherbeck.
BMW Motorrad says the BWM R 1200 GS xDrive Hybrid will be revealed to the public soon “at a suitable location” and it will be available from the second half of 2017. BMW Motorrad says price will be announced at a later date, as well as special tyre combinations and optional features and equipment.