Project: The Big Bad Wolf BMW R1200GS
Call it evolution or revolution, the fully equipped 2014 BMW R1200GS may be the most technologically advanced adventure bike ever built. Dial in the advanced electronics for the prevailing riding conditions and you get one gnarly machine capable of motoring through almost any terrain.
BMW has an obvious emphasis on creature comforts and the lack of standard protection would lead you to believe this bike is only meant for the road, but don’t let this wolf in sheep’s clothing fool you—it can be a hardy off-road beast ready for your next epic adventure as long as you’re willing to spend the extra money to outfit your rig. Starting from a blank slate, ADVMoto set out to create an aggressive, trail-ready heavyweight.
Protecting the Power Plant
AltRider's integrated crash bars and skid plate are brilliantly engineered to distribute the impact energy away from the motor. The weight of the GS can generate a lot of force in an impact and, with cylinder heads completely exposed, this is one of its more obvious vulnerabilities.
AltRider’s integrated crash bar and skid plate for the water boxer offers an impressive design providing comprehensive protection around the motor. The 1.25”-diameter crash bars are the largest on the market, yielding incredible strength with less flex on impact. The 3/16”-thick skid plate provides smooth tire-to-tire protection with no mounting hardware on the bottom to get buggered up from offroad use.
Installation of the integrated system is simple and straightforward. The main front mounting brackets bolt to the frame and serve as the lower front mounting point for both the crash bars and skid plate. This design smartly avoids the more commonly used engine mounting points that would transfer significant point force directly to the motor on impact.
AltRider also takes an innovative approach for the rear mounting points of the skid plate by utilizing the center stand joints to form a rigid front-to-back exoskeleton. I tested the rigidity of the system when I clipped a large boulder after a miscalculation. The crash bars performed perfectly to protect the cylinder heads from the impact.
When selecting crash protection for your bike, be aware that the black powder coat option quickly shows battle scars, whereas the silver has subtler wear characteristics. A notable design drawback is the ineffectiveness of the small cutout on the skid plate for accessing the oil drain plug.
You can easily get to the plug but it gets messy when the flow reduces toward the end, allowing oil to collect on the top of the skid plate. Overall, AltRider’s clever design provides exceptional engine protection.
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