BMW accessories company Wunderlich has developed an electronic two-wheel-drive system for the R 1200 GS that also gives it a reverse gear.
For all those who have been caught out needing to shift the heavy adventure bike backwards or had trouble in mud or sand, this could be a godsend.
The 2WD GS was displayed by Wunderlich at the Milan motorcycle show but there are no plans yet to sell the device.
The Wunderlich invention is basically a 7.6kW electric hub motor in the front wheel that neatly fits inside the ABS ring.
It also looks like it might fit other models of GS.
The system is powered by a small battery pack under the front fender and it is recharged by kinetic energy from the brakes.
There is a switch on the tank that allows the rider to dial in exactly how much power the motor puts out and the direction – forward or reverse.
It doesn’t operate when the bike is running, only when the engine is switched off, so it’s really only a solution for getting out of a sticky situation.
The motor will run at up to 20km/h, but only 3km/h in reverse.
Ironically it is designed to counter the problems encountered by the weight on the front wheel but actually adds weight to the front. However, Wunderlich doesn’t say how much it weighs.