Gloves: AXO Comp
Helmet: Fox Racing
Goggles: Scott USA No Sweat
Pants: Alpinestars Highland
Jacket: Alpinestars Venture
Boots: Alpinestars Tech 6. (Click image to enlarge)
For the rear, a modified and lengthened Paralever system similar to that used on the GS is employed for increased stability in the rough. A unique (industry-first) adjustable air bladder shock was designed specifically for the HP2 with spring preload and damping adjusted solely with air pressure. The shock modulates nearly ten inches of rear-wheel travel with a plush ride on the street and easy trails. Still, it is fully capable of soaking up serious hits in severe terrain and landing from airborne sojourns.All of that suspension travel comes at a cost. The HP2 is extremely tall and will catch some potential new owners off-guard with a saddle height of 36.2 inches. Anyone under six feet tall will have to stretch to touch the ground. Some of this height can be bled off with the adjustable air shock and tailored to the individual rider by using the bubble-level zip tied to the frame.As with any off-road machine, saving weight was a high priority and BMW engineers managed to get the HP2 down to a remarkable 386 pounds dry. To reach that mark, the engine’s vibration-reducing balance shaft was jettisoned, and it’s not missed on this serious enduro machine. The frame is sturdy steel tubing with plenty of heavy-duty gussets at critical, load-bearing junctures. Wide, aggressive footpegs with jagged-edges for boot grip are direct carryovers from the enduro/dual sport world and are designed to reduce fatigue by spreading the rider’s weight over a large area.In contrast to the BMW GS series—road-going motorcycles built with an off-road capability—the HP2 is bred with the reverse approach: one of a serious off-road machine that can handle pavement. Whereas the R 1200 GS and its brother, the Adventure, travel down the highway content in the knowledge they can handle the occasional fire road snaking off into the hills. The HP2 goes hunting for rutted, rock-strewn single-track trails and dried-out riverbeds and, though you cannot disregard the fact that you’re not on a 225-pound off-road-only bike, in general, the rougher the better. Although quite capable on a variety of paved roads, canyons, freeways, and surface streets, the HP2 is happiest cutting loose in the backcountry. And when it is cut loose, the rider had best be paying attention. With a 1200cc Boxer-twin powerplant situated between knobby tires and serious suspension, the HP2—though quite manageable and well-mannered—can very quickly get the less-experienced rider into trouble. (Click image to enlarge)The tall seat height of the HP2 results in potentially awkward situations on failed hillclimbs or getting stuck in choppy terrain. Very quickly, you can find yourself frantically flailing your legs looking for a foothold that is a critical few inches beneath your boot. Fortunately, BMW built the HP2 to shake off low-speed tip-overs with nary a scratch and riders planning to test the HP2’s off-road worthiness are well advised to bolt-on the BMW accessory plastic hand and engine valve cover guards before you even start the bike.
With the increasing popularity of adventure bikes, Jim Hyde saw a need to provide instruction in the various nuances of off-road riding encountered with larger, heavier machines. Getting some basic instruction can make the difference between an enjoyable day on the trails or a ruinous calamity of mishaps. Knowing how to stay out of—as well as get out of—the many challenging situations that can arise in the wilds of the off-road can be learned at Rawhyde Adventures.