Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres and the BMW R 1300 GS: from 0 to 6000 metres above sea level in less than 24 hours

The scene of the expedition, which represented an extreme challenge for motorbikes, tyres and riders, was El Circuito de los Seis Miles, in the Atacama Desert, Chile, the highest chain of active volcanoes in the world, which includes the Nevado Ojos del Salado and the Nevado de Incahuasi.

Stock motorbikes and standard tyres took on an extreme challenge. A team representing the METZELER brand and BMW Motorrad, riding a fleet of BMW R 1300 GS equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres, reached, and surpassed 6000 metres above sea level, starting from the sea, in less than 24 hours. A very difficult ascent for riders, motorbikes, and tyres, culminated on the notorious North face of Nevado Ojos del Salado, where the expedition reached 6006 metres in just 19 hours and 22 minutes, ultimately reaching a maximum altitude of 6027 metres.

The expedition involved an acclimatisation route ascending the Circuito de los Seis Miles, on the slopes of
Nevado Ojos del Salado, located exactly on the border between Argentina and Chile. At 6891 metres, it is the
highest active volcano in the world, and its twin, the Nevado de Incahuasi, 6610 metres high. The BMW R
1300 GS equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres then descended to sea level on the shores of the Pacific Ocean,
in Bahia Inglesa. They departed at 3:00 PM local time on December 6th, crossing the Atacama Desert to reach
Nevado Ojos Del Salado, successfully surpassing 6000 metres above sea level in less than 24 hours. The
goal was achieved at 10:22 AM on December 7th.

The riders who were onboard entirely stock BMW R 1300 GS’s with Metzeler tyres were Salvatore Pennisi, Metzeler Testing and Technical Relation Director, Christof Lischka, Head of BMW Motorrad Development, Michele Pradelli, Italian extreme enduro champion and tester for the Italian magazine InMoto plus Karsten Schwers, tester and journalist for the German magazine Motorrad.

Salvatore Pennisi, Director of Testing and Technical Relations at Metzeler, stated: “This expedition has
allowed us to confirm the strong relationship between Metzeler and BMW Motorrad but above all to demonstrate the value of two strictly standard products that anyone can purchase and use even in the most challenging conditions. The ascent to 6000 metres was extremely tough, especially for our crew who had to undergo a demanding physical preparation before getting on the bikes. So, even before expressing our joy for the effectiveness of our tyres, congratulations to the riders are a must.”

The new BMW R 1300 GS, in the sizes 120/70 R19 front and 170/60 R17 rear, uses Metzeler Tourance Next 2 tyres as original equipment on all versions, while Metzeler Karoo 4 are offered as an optional fitment for the off-road use. With the Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres the BMW R 1300 GS expresses perfect riding characteristics in off-road use and in the search for adventure.

These tyres, created to be multi-purpose, are in fact able to offer exemplary off-road traction, from sand or desert tracks to the deepest mud, while at the same time guaranteeing excellent resistance to abrasion, cuts, and tears so frequent in off-road use. All this together with excellent handling on asphalt, and very incisive wet performance thanks to the ability to interact in perfect synergy with the highly advanced riding assistance systems of the BMW R 1300 GS.

A peculiarity of the expedition was in fact the decision to tackle it with standard bikes and tyres, counting on the certainty of benchmark combined performance. It should be underlined, among other things, that this result was accomplished with 19-inch front and 17-inch rear sizes, which opens a new era in the adventure riding world.

An extreme challenge from both a technological and human point of view. The Nevado Ojos del Salado in fact
subjected motorbikes, tyres and riders to a very tough test in extreme conditions. From over five thousand metres above sea level, to the cold and reduced atmospheric pressure, which required perfect electronic management of fuel-air mix as well as the reliability of each vehicle component. Metzeler tyres, on the other hand, had to cross terrains of all types, stoney ground, dirt roads, endless expanses of sand and with the unknown of discovering snow and ice on the route.

The participants in the expedition were required to make considerable physical and mental effort. Not only because the climb, which started from Bahia Inglesa, a town located near the port of Caldera on the Pacific Ocean, in the Atacama region, was completed in less than 24 hours, therefore requiring careful and tiring acclimatisation in the various base camps at different altitudes in the days preceding the undertaking before descending back to sea level for the departure. Above 5.000 metres you enter an inhospitable environment for humans. Temperatures are very low, around -10° C during the day with temperatures that could reach -20° C at night, and oxygen levels are rarefied.

The preparation of the expedition participants was treated with the utmost attention: all the riders underwent
targeted medical tests and checks at the Kore University of Enna, in collaboration with the Provincial Health
Authority of Enna. A simulation of the undertaking was also carried out in Sicily having as its backdrop Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, in a symbolic twinning of this high-altitude simulation.

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