BMW Motorrad Spezial

1986 HPN BMW Paris Dakar

BMW Paris Dakar
Right now, the 2011 Dakar Rally racers are somewhere near Córdoba in Argentina. These days the motorcycle class is dominated by KTM, but in the 80s it was BMW all the way. The bike you’re looking at here is one of BMW’s three entries from 1986, built by race preparation specialist HPN-Motorradtechnik; it was designed to survive 15,000km of brutal conditions over three weeks. The pilot was the diminutive Gaston Rahier, and after two consecutive wins in previous years, BMW’s hopes were high. HPN based their racer on the R80G/S, but fitted a 1043cc boxer motor rated at 75hp @ 7,000rpm. (Although the capacity is larger than the similar R100RS motor, the new cylinders actually reduce engine width by around an inch.) The frame is heavily strengthened, and the swingarm extended by 100mm. An Acerbis bikini fairing is attached to the forks, which are 42mm Marzocchi M1 Paris-Dakar units with up to 300mm of travel. Those monster rear shocks are 280mm WP units, and the brakes are Brembo. HPN put the dry battery under the gearbox, and attached a toolkit to the center stand. Loaded with 60 liters of fuel, the bike weighed 230kg—which must have made slow-speed maneuvering a handful for the 5’4” Rahier, who finished a disappointing 14th. It would be 13 years before BMW scored another Dakar victory—when Richard Sainct triumphed on a F650RR. Gaston Rahier died in 2005 after a long battle against cancer, aged 58.

[HPN built ten replicas of the 1985 Dakar-winning bikes; Matz Rosenquist has given a detailed account of what it’s like to own one. BMW fans will also love the book BMW GS: Adventure Motorcycle: A 30 Year Catalog, by Hans-Jugen Schneider. Available on Amazon.]

BMW Paris Dakar

  • tq

    love the marlboro ad placement!

    • elven

      “Death on 2 Wheels” !

      • Ken

        Just shows you how much advertising has changed. Gone are the days when tabacco and alcohol were the major sponsors. Now, its energy drinks! Like those are good for you!

        • elven

          here in Spain 156 people a day die from the results of tobacco addiction, another 4 from passive smoking. Alcohol is the second biggest killer here.
          I haven’t seen the mortality figures for energy drinks yet.

          • All those Red Bull drinkers… crashing into the ground when their wings wear off. Very sad.

            (I know, it’s nothing to joke about – cigarettes are damn evil crap, there ought to be an outright ban.)

  • Chimenti

    Love it!

  • iRivas

    South America?? What happened? I thought this took place on the other side of the pond.

    • 2at018

      Dakar Rally is in South America now….Africa was not safe or stable enough…

      • Ken

        Maybe an X-Games Dakkar Rally could be held there?

  • AC

    thing of beauty,
    I have always loved this bike….

  • Now we’re talking! A factory-built racer, even an unsuccessful one, is still a fascinating piece of engineering.

  • Septic the Sceptic

    Race was moved as a result of extremist threats. South America is just as good if not better than Africa after they dropped the Euro components.
    Don’t agree with the 450cc limit at all. Engine rebuilds every night and they still have problems going the distance. The days of the Malle Moto seems limited.

    • Cprey

      The 450 limit is to put some variety back into the race. For the past couple of years the only currently produced large displacement bikes that are able to handle this sort of duty were made by KTM and they have dominated.

  • Papa Bear

    After to agree about the displacement limit. Ridiculous to expect that small a motor to take on that much work and hold up for as long as it has to. Been watching highlights on Versus network. Far prettier and better terrain than Africa. A lot safer for the teams, too, with no one threatening to kill them.

    • Papa Bear

      WOW, I can’t write today! After to agree????

  • Harry Farquhar

    I’m pretty sure the mighty Belgian was the first non-French winner of the Dakar in ’84 and again in ’85 both on the BMW.

    • Correct, Henry: the Dakar started in 1979, and was dominated by Cyril Neveu and Hubert Auriol until Rahier appeared on the scene.

  • Kerry

    Finally . . . a rideable bike!

  • Micah

    That thing kinda makes me wish I didn’t despise BMWs. I’d want to build a replica! Pretty cool nonetheless

  • Frodo

    Every time I see that elf logo now I think “Lord of the Rings”.

  • KIK

    sweet bike,

  • BMW does make a good looking offroad bike. Hell, they’ve just been making good, and good looking bikes for years. I’m happy to have one myself (F650) It might not be a beast on the road, but it’s a great bike.

  • Owen A Lloyd

    YES!! This bike despite is function over form, is gorgeous. Its just one of those bikes that you just look at and you know what it does and how it does it.

  • The Phantom

    Have loved this thing since I saw it in my ‘Art Of The Motorcycle’ catalog… I want!

  • Mingh

    Rahier on this bike was my childhood here, even if he could hardly look over the tank when next to the bike,

    • Mingh

      hero that is.

  • PeteP