German BMW Motorrad after-market accessories firm Wunderlich has developed a hybrid two-wheel drive system for the R1200 GS. The system utilises a 13.6 hp electric motor embedded in the front wheel to provide “more propulsion on the ground and also draw the GS through curves on the road more quickly.”

Wunderlich says the bike, called the “Wunderlich X2”, is still at concept stage, and chief executive officer Frank Hoffman only added, “we want to show what is going on and establish standards.” A 2WD motorcycle would be easier to handle in the dirt, especially in arresting impending front-end washouts and help pull the bike through turns.

The motor, developed in collaboration with Italian firm Evolt, is able to pull the GS along at 20 km/h, even with the bike’s engine off. It is also capable of going in reverse at 3 km/h to help low-speed and parking lot maneuvers, while regenerative braking charges a battery that powers the system.

Two-wheel drive motorcycles are not new, with several firms producing prototypes over the years, including Yamaha and KTM. Rokon has been producing 2WD off-road bikes for decades, as has Christini. The designs use mechanical or hydraulic drive, and thus add weight and complexity to the front-end.