January 3rd. 2014. Winter. Cold outside. Wanted to write about something related. Something related and badass.

    There are quite a few crazy winter projects that were being built over the years around the world. Some are really outrageous, some are kinda stupid. Most of them, if not all of them; were prototypes. But not all of them are remembered and brought back in the people's eyes by keybord bike freak-detectives; like myself. I decided to take a closer look at one of these winter dwrenched projects.

    It's called BMW Schneekrad and it was built in 1936. And I think it was the first motorcycle-snowmobile ever put together. There is close to none good intel about this project. So it was very difficult for me to get to the bottom of it's real story and history. Among the whole bucket of crap that I read (...) some say that this was an experimental BMW-powered snowmobile. Built by Riemerschmidt, a BMW engineer as a personal project. Others say that this was an experiment ordered by the Wehrmacht (to the same person). Personal project or not, one this is for sure. The (nazi) germans needed to move troops efficiently and fast in all kinds of weather and terrain. So they had to be prepared for the Alps and winter. And not only snow but also mud. Schneekrad name stands for Schnee-Snow and krad-caterpillars.

     Another sure thing is the fact that Schneekrad was powered by a R12 engine. The original R 12 motorcycle (pictured below) started to be produced in 1936. The production ended in 1942. A number of 36.000 units were produced. The four stroke two cylinder flat twin  745 cc was producing 20 hp at 4.000 rpm's.
 Although built only in a single copy, the Schneekrad got a Steib TR-500 sidecar at some point.

The motorcycle had a track running right around the bike itself, as you can see in the first ''scan'' picture. All the body mounted above had the role of protecting the rider from the massive track while moving forward.

   One big flaw of the whole design was the cornering issue. Being a single huge track mounted around the whole bike, I'm guessing it was near to impossible to steer the Schneekrad. Probably that's why there was only one built. The experiment wasn't a full succes and thus, abbandoned.

Practical or not, these kinds of experiments makes us push the limits in searching and finding better ways for the new-future human race to adapt and live better. Wow... that sounded so ''Discovery'' ! ... :)

In 2006, a group of german designers Hyanide and Baal, came up with something similar in look and design but with a new-futuristic look. Their designs are for sure inspired by the old BMW Schneekrad. Their work was left in the stage of ideas/drawings.

    And for our personal pleasure, here are some other cool winter addapted vehicles. A winter hot rod ?! Yes please !!!

Snow Freighter-snow vehicle conversions from the 1910s and 1920s
from here

 1931 half-track Ford Model A
from here

1923 Ford Model T
from here

1929 Ford Model A Sedan Snow Vehicles
from here

Mercier prototype built in 1937 by the French military
from here

And of course...this one ! The snowmobile built by mechanics Bob Sawicki and Toby Weisser at McMurdo Station. Story here

    Photo credit & sources for the main article :  Kurt Worner / Dark Roasted Blend / Bmw Motorcycle Tech / Illicit Snowboarding / Bar hopper Challenge / Moto ru live journal


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