In 2000, at age 46 I started a BMW Motorrad dealership in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. As offroad riding and rally-sport had always been my passion, I soon came up with the idea to build my own rally-team, planning to ride the Transdanubia rally in 2001. Unfortunately this event did not take place, so we focussed on the new Alto Turia Rally in 2002, Valencia Spain.
Inspired by the success of the mighty R 900 RR Dakar boxer, I wanted to ride these amateur rallies on a boxer myself too. Unfortunately a R 900 RR replica was not for sale, so I started to think about building one myself. Of course at that time I was not aware of BMW planning to develop the HP2 Enduro!
The main challenge for me was :
- replace the Telelever by an UPSD fork to gain more frontwheel travel
- get the weight down to approx 200 kg (down from 255 kg!)
- Move the CoG (centre of gravity) down and to the rear
I developed some ideas and made some sketches how it could be done. These ideas were shared with Nico Bakker, the world famous frame builder. After a lot of brainstorming, and building prototypes, we finally came up with a frame, that would suit my needs.
The new bike was tested for the first time in the Alto Turia rally of 2002. Ideal circumstances for this bike, long winding gravel roads where boxers can really fly. To our surprise, the bike also did really well on steep, rocky single tracks, both uphill and downhill. This is because the 1150 boxer engine is very smooth at low revs, has lots of torque, especially below 3000 rpm. In order to further improve low speed handling, I mounted a final drive of the R 850 R, with an almost 20% lower gearing. Now I could do tricky river crossings and “trial” sections without extensive use of the clutch.
The bike has undergone quite some changes over the years, but in 2005 the bike got its final design, as in the pictures. The frame has not been changed, it has survived many rallies and has proved to be robust. Unlike the HP2 enduro, this bike has the same wheelbase, forkangle etc as the original R 1150 GS. Handling is very good, both in tight corners as in fast sweeps. Braking performance and stability is also excellent.
The bike has been build up with parts of several BMW models:
- Fueltank R 1150R
- HP2 Enduro style
- Frontfender G 450 X
- Headlight G 450 X
- Handlebar HP2 enduro
- Handlebar switches G650Xchallenge
The weight is 210 kg, with fuel, battery etc, just a little bit more than the HP2 enduro. Centre of gravity has moved to the rear substantially, so the front wheel weight is a lot less (95 kg, 115 kg rear))
In a direct comparison with the HP2 enduro, the bike excels in low rev torque and smoothness. Due to the lower gearing it is much easier to ride in trials sections, which are common in many amateur rallies.
In 2009 I sold my dealership, and now I am certified BMW off-road instructor and finally have time to supply the parts and to build R 1150 enduros for customers!