That the BMW Motorrad R1200 GS is designed to cross rough terrain in comfort and control, much like a Range Rover, cannot be denied. Unfortunately, like the Range Rover, way too many GS-series machines never actually see any surface rougher that the road shoulder.

BMW Motorrad Australia has a completely different view to this, and will be entering the 2017 R1200 GS Rallye X in the Finke Desert Race this June in Australia. Piloted by BMW Motorrad Australia’s marketing manager, Miles Davis, the R1200 GS Rallye X is the most off-road focused of the GS-series machines, with long-travel suspension designed for going fast on dirt.

The Rallye X version of the GS is basically an R1200 GS with an updated “Sports Suspension” package that is a current option in the BMW Motorrad catalogue. The Rallye X comes with 190 mm and 200 mm of suspension travel front and rear, respectively, and uses the 124 hp liquid-cooled boxer engine found in the rest of the big GS bikes.

Held in Australia’s Northern Territory, the Finke Desert Race is considered to be one of the toughest off-road races in the world. Covering 226 km each way, the “Fink”, as it is popularly called, runs from Alice Springs to the desert community of Aputula – known as Finke till the 80s.

Around 500 entries were received for the 2017 edition of the race, with most riding 250 cc to 450 cc lightweight motocross bikes, thus making the big GS something of an outlier. “Riding a 200 kg R1200 GS is definitely a bit different. The pre-run went about as well as I could have hoped for,” said Davis.

GALLERY: 2017 BMW Motorrad R1200 GS Rallye