BMW races a 2-wheel-drive F800 in European Hill Climb Championship

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Hill climb races are extreme events that require extreme machinery - check out this video of the famous Billings event if you need any confirmation on exactly how crazy these guys are. And while BMW is hardly known for its extreme bikes, they’ve put together a ripper of a factory bike for this year’s international events.

The bike is powered by the engine from an F800, in a custom frame with an extended swingarm, dirtbike ergonomics, and a paddle-style rear tyre. The front wheel is driven from the countershaft sprocket, and it’s unclear exactly how this is managed.The bike saw its first taste of competition at the recent Obersaxen round of the European Hillclimb Championships in Switzerland, attacking the famous Karitscha Hill. The course is only 235 metres long, but in this distance it climbs a massive 115 metres, and has sections so steep it would be extremely difficult on your hands and knees, let alone on a 100+ horsepower motorcycle.

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Champion enduro rider, legendary stuntman and all-around nice guy Chris Pfeiffer was due to give the 2WD F800 its first outing - he’s taken HP2 Enduros to the podium at this event before - but injured himself in a backflip attempt, leaving the bike’s creator Silvio Scholzel to compete against Europe’s best climbers.

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The bike acquitted itself very well, finishing 4th in its first outing. “It’s a very nice bike,” said Scholzel, “much lighter than I anticipated it would be – and it has a lot of power, which is one of the most important attributes a bike can have in hillclimbing. But most importantly, it covers up any little rider errors from me!”

BMW say they have no plans to take the 2WD bike towards production, but with Yamaha already a fair way down the track with their 2-trac 2WD, and other interesting aftermarket 2WD kits like this very effective unit from Christini popping up and apparently proving extremely effective on loose ground, theres still hope that the offroad market might undergo the same AWD revolution that’s happened in the car world.

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8 Responses to “BMW races a 2-wheel-drive F800 in European Hill Climb Championship”

  1. Tozé Says:

    “The front wheel is driven from the countershaft sprocket, and it’s unclear exactly how this is managed.”

    Seems pretty obvious that it’s a hydraulic system. Didn’t KTM experiment with this?

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  5. Loz Says:

    Tozé:

    Yes KTM and Yamaha used hydraulic systems… I think you’re right that this is a hydraulic system as well. Pity, as the gear and shaft system on the Christini bike is said to be more effective than the hydraulics, which sap a serious amount of horsepower.

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