Hybrid. It is a word that has most recently attached itself to the automobile world, currently defining a vehicle motivated by both electric and internal combustion powerplants in an effort to improve fuel economy. As laudable as that goal may be, we are not yet ready to abandon the term to such mundane machinery. For example, this GG Quad is a hybrid vehicle; it has motor-cycles and all-terrain vehicles in its genetic instructions, and is clearly anything but ordinary.
Quite successful as a hybrid, the GG Quad is a new life form that builds on the success of each forebearer. The genesis of the GG Quad can be found in 1983, when Grüter + Gut Motorradtechnik got its start in Ballwil, Switzerland, modifying motorcycles from BMW (a sidecar version was quite noteworthy) and Moto Guzzi (the Sport 1100 was turned into a cruiser!). Given GG’s history of creative modifications to two- and three-wheeled BMWs, the idea that GG owner Walter Grüter would design a four-wheeled BMW-powered vehicle that has little in common with an automobile, should come as no surprise.
“Surprise” is a versatile term when associated with the GG Quad. Any public appearance of the machine provokes aggressive inquiries from interested parties. Not so much interested in the cost of acquiring the unique vehicle, onlookers are initially fixated on determining exactly what it is they have come across, while simultaneously focusing on both the macro (the futuristic aerodynamic styling of the body work) and the micro (Swiss watch-like workmanship on details such as the A-arms). Possessing four-wheels, handlebars and a seat your legs straddle, observations ping-pong between motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, shifter kart and trike. Like the elephant to the group of blind men, each person’s perspective informs his perception of the machine. Riding the machine is the only effective avenue to divining the true nature of the GG Quad. (Click image to enlarge)
Sitting on the GG Quad, one immediately feels at home as a motorcyclist; the controls and ergonomics are straight from a two-wheeled machine. At the same time, the four-wheel-derived stability at a standstill is noted, freeing the rider from satisfying the requirements of balance. The start button fires the fuel-injected 1130cc boxer motor instantly, and the BMW motor’s reassuring vibration informs the rider that it is time to engage the six-speed manual transmission.
Although it is capable of 100 mph in a straight line, the GG Quad is made for more sporting roads. The combination of an extremely low center of gravity, restricted suspension travel, high-performance low-profile Dunlop SP Sport 9000 automobile tires shod on tall automotive OZ rims, and a limited slip rear differential, results in a machine that handles like a shift kart on steroids. (Click image to enlarge)
Unlike three-wheeled vehicles, which are unwieldy in aggressive cornering due to the inability of a single narrow front tire to completely counteract the forward inertia of two wide rear tires, the GG Quad has excluded the word “push” from its descriptive vocabulary. No matter how hard the GG Quad is asked to execute a turn, the front end grasps the pavement with an uninterruptible tenacity. This translates into inarguably heavy steering effort, with a desirable side effect of reassuring the rider that nothing will happen without his direct and unambiguous input. Negotiate a turn with enough throttle and engine speed, and the rear end can be made to drift, though this happens exclusively at the blunt direction of the rider.
Items such as aluminum panniers, a BMW navigation system, a windshield, a slide-inducing locked rear differential, and a high-performance exhaust can further the practicality, or impracticality, of the GG Quad at the owner’s will. Plenty of plastic provides GG Quads owners with a sizable canvas on which to work magic with paint.
The only hurdle the GG Quad has in America is bureaucratic in nature. The importers at GG Quad North America are working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make our country’s highways receptive to this new type of vehicle. The American importer argues that the GG Quad is more fuel-efficient than automobiles and takes up less space on the highway, as well as offering more stability and flexibility than either two- or three-wheeled vehicles. With such practical arguments supporting it, maybe it fits the modern definition of “hybrid” vehicle after all.
www.gg-quad-northamerica.com | 214.559.4597
Air-cooled, horizontally opposed, 4-valves-per-cylinder, 1130cc twin manufactured by BMW
Fully manual; six forward speeds, one reverse
95 hp @ 7,250 rpm
72 ft lbs @ 5,500 rpm
Four-wheel independent with aluminum double A-arms and Wilbers shock absorbers
Dunlop SP Sport 9000 automobile tires on OZ aluminum wheels (16-inch front, 17-inch rear)