Since BMW introduced the adventure motorcycle concept with the R80 G/S in 1980, the big-capacity multisport class has evolved to a high-end market segment. Naturally BMW keeps on cashing in on its success with the ever-evolving GS series, which now includes a wide array of models spanning from the brand-new G310GS all the way to the latest liquid-cooled R1200GS.
The members of this luxurious class have grown to become mostly tall, heavy and over-equipped touring machines, a far cry from the off-road adventurers that 30 years ago were little more than production versions of actual Dakar rally winners. It goes without saying that the touring capabilities of these motorcycles, combined with their worldwide popularity, offer very fertile grounds for a lucrative accessories market.
Enjoying a leading position in this supporting industry, Touratech designed and built the R1200GS Rambler concept in the shape of a sincere homage to the 2005 HP2 Enduro – probably the most off-road worthy GS since 1994, when the R1100GS inaugurated the modern four-valve era.
The Rambler is primarily a showcase of Touratech's engineering prowess, but underneath the custom plastics and after-market parts lies a series of surprises.
Although the bike is supposed to be a modified GS, actually only the shaft transmission of the adventure model is used, coupled with the frame and 125-hp (93.2 kW) engine combo of the R1200R roadster. The choice centers on the front suspension, as this frame is designed to house telescopic forks, the obvious choice for a true off-roader. The production HP2 Enduro, just like the R900RR that BMW had raced at the Paris-Dakar rally a few years earlier, famously ditched the production GS' proprietary Telelever front for inverted forks.
Hard off-road efficiency is a requirement for the Rambler, so its suspensions at both ends have been tuned by Touratech's specialists, and the frame has been reinforced accordingly. To complete the enduro looks, the front brake is now a single disk with a four-piston caliper and the original ABS in place.
Touratech also fabricated a carbon-reinforced plastic airbox that sits between the rider's legs and is protected by crash bars on both sides. As for the fuel tank, this is another one-off aluminum design housed under the seat. It holds a total of 18 liters and doubles as the rear subframe, helping shave several kilos.
Low mass was a key target for the Rambler's designers, and apparently they did such a good job that they overshot the intended 199-kg (438.7-lb) mark. From the 244 kg (537.9 lb) that BMW claims for a road-ready stock R1200GS, Touratech has managed to come up with just 188 kg (414.5 lb)! That's a pretty impressive number that would put to shame any production adventure bike boasting off-road capabilities, and would probably compete with race-prepped adventurers.
The Rambler is a concept model that will probably never reach production, and this is a quite unfortunate fact for a motorcycle that seems to epitomize the hard-core adventurer. Only two fully functional prototypes have been built, a BMW Motosport-themed bike with blue frame, and a yellow-framed version with details in Touratech's signature black-grey-yellow colors – the latter starring in the following promo video.