BMW Xchallenge Tackles 2008 Dakar Rally

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jan. 04, 2008
When rode BMW's new 650cc Single enduro called the Xchallenge, we knew it was a formidable bike able to take on just about any environment a rider could throw at it. But we wouldn't have expected to see it in the Dakar! Good luck, Guido Faber.


A German privateer is taking on the mighty Dakar Rally in January on a BMW G 650 Xchallenge-based rally bike built by Touratech. Forty-two-year-old Guido Faber first attempted the Dakar Rally in 2006 on a KTM and wasn’t able to finish. But when he lines up in Lisbon on 5 January for the start of next year’s rally, Guido will be the first rider to attempt the Dakar on BMW Motorrad’s 650cc single-cylinder 'hard enduro.'

Guido Faber honed his off-road skills by competing in the German Enduro Championship and on the Qatar Baja in 2005 before finally taking his shot at riding in this mythical rally two years ago at the age of 40 – and without assistance! Guido, who is entering as a privateer, explains why he’s going to do it the same way again this time.

The BMW G 650 Xchallenge-based rally bike built by Touratech

“Yes, I am going to do it again this year without assistance. I think this is the best way to experience the Dakar. For me the Dakar is not only about getting to the finish line, there is also the sporting aspect of competing, as well as the organization and preparation of the bike for the rally. Experienced competitors will tell you that it’s not the actual riding that is so difficult, but more the long-distances that have to be covered, the concentration and energy required and the necessity to keep the bike in top condition.”

Guido missed out on the 2007 rally because of the birth of his son Norman, and from the moment he saw the G 650 Xchallenge at a motorcycle show in Germany, he has been mentally and physically planning an assault on the 2008 Dakar.

“Last year at the Cologne show, I met Jochen Schanz (one of the Touratech bosses) and told him that I was looking for a bike to do the 2008 Dakar Rally on. I had already been to the KTM and Yamaha stand but there was nothing there that interested me. I am a tall guy and Jochen told me about this new BMW which was on the stand. When I sat on it I knew that it would be a great bike for me. It felt comfortable, plus it was a German brand and – being German – this was important to me, not to mention the reliability of the BMW engine!”

Prior to competing in his first Dakar, Guido had dreamed about riding in this rally ever since he was a young man and followed the race on TV. Even though he came into off-road riding relatively late (at the age of 30) he still harboured the dream to compete, even though he didn’t have the money to participate. Now that things are a little easier financially, the director of a water treatment company is being sponsored by Touratech, which is preparing the G 650 Xchallenge for one of the world’s toughest motorcycle races.

A rear shot of the G 650 Xchallenge.

The BMW G 650Xchallenge will be fitted with Öhlins suspension and new Wirth fork springs. It will need bigger radiators to cope with the massive temperature variations encountered. It will have stronger front and rear wheels, an additional 4.2-gal. front fuel tank, a Rallye fairing and cockpit with special instruments, and an engine protection system with water reservoir. Further protection for the frame will be incorporated, as will Xenon lights, handlebar risers and a Remus exhaust system.

The bike is currently being given the rally preparation by Touratech, who will be presenting it to Guido after it has been paraded at a dealer conference due to take part in Germany this month. Although he would obviously like to be riding the rally bike, Guido is content to focus on endurance training rather than actual riding, as part of his overall preparations for the forthcoming Dakar.

“It’s always possible to pick up an injury when riding, which would be a disaster with the rally fast approaching, so I have been concentrating more on keeping myself fit for the long days in the saddle. I am walking a lot and also doing triathlon training such as swimming, cycling and running. Keeping energy levels high on the rally is vital, especially when you are doing your own machine preparation in the evenings after a day’s riding. This is another reason why I am pleased to be riding the BMW, as there shouldn’t be too much to do on the G 650 Xchallenge - unlike the KTM I was riding in 2006, which required quite a bit of maintenance. I don’t want to be changing the oil and adjusting the valves every evening, so with the BMW it should just be a case of checking and repairing if necessary.”

German privateer Guido Faber.

Guido is looking forwards to the challenges of the Dakar and doesn’t mind putting up with all the different conditions he will encounter. “I like to ride on the rocky sections as much as in the sand. These terrain changes and the scenery are what I like as well as the lengths of the stages. The first time I did the Dakar, my goal was to finish in the top 50, but this time, it is already hard enough the way it is so my overall objective is just to arrive at the finish line safely!”

For more information on the 2008 Dakar rally, please visit