All Hotels are booked, the basic route is planned. Highlights will include Route Napoleon, east coast of Corsica, a few Swiss Mountain passes and my birthday in Kaysersberg.
Stage1 – Remove stickers that could land me in trouble
Officially a 1977 Kawasaki KZ650B, testament to the fact that if enough people change / customise enough parts over a long enough period it becomes impossible to find an original part.
Stage 2 – Dismantle down to component parts.
Steering head pin cracked! – plan B buy replacement ninja 1995 yoke from ebay. The reason for the crack becomes apparent, modified because the original does not fit the steering headstock. Plan C, fit CB750 yokes with taper roller bearing conversion.
Monday 06/11/2017 saw delivery of a 2012 R1200GS Adventure with 12,000 miles on the clock. The bike is in great condition for the year and is a welcome addition to the stable. The triple black colour scheme fits well, and although the bike looks a bit quirky, it has to be one of the best designed motorcycles of the century. BMW leave no stone unturned in getting the best out of all the components resulting in a combination of handling, performance and comfort which is really second to none.
First job is remove that yellow reflective sticker from around the panniers and topbox, Monday night saw careful use of a hot air gun and the sticker on the topbox was removed. Tuesday 7/11 saw the yellow day-glow stickers removed from the panniers. Starting to look the part now.
Wednesday saw the bike taxed for a year £85 the robbing bastards, put the bike onto the multi-bike policy and thats it legal and ready for the road.
Nice wee trip to France and back and its reached service time again, this is a nice bike to service, simple straight forward. Sourced the parts on Ebay
1 x 164 K&N Oil filter, choose this to get a filter with a nut on the end, makes changing it a breeze
1 x BM1204 Air Filter
4 x MAR8B-JDS NGK Spark Plugs
4 x Litres Motul 15w 50 7100 Engine Oil
1 x Litre Castrol Syntrax 75w 90 Gearbox and back end Oil
I use a BMW Diagnostic tool GS-911 from https://www.hexcode.co.za/ this sets the TPS and allows fault code finding etc
Can also reset the service schedule warning as well
The spring clip mod
The spring clip that holds headlight bulb in fell off its mounting when changing the bulb. There is little space to work and you cannot see when your hands are in the way. Grrrr. Removed the light cluster in order to make a spring clip modification. .
The mod is nothing more that a slightly larger washer to retain the spring clip in its groove when opened. Making stress free road side bulb changes possible.
Wunderlich is Wunderbar
It is fair to say that while the Adventure has a 400 mile tank, it has a 100 mile seat. Why BMW don’t fix this obvious flaw is a mystery. After much deliberation I chose to replace the standard seat with a Wunderlich from Nippy Normans.
Two immediate observations, my feet are now flat on the ground, as the seat height is 20mm lower. So far my seating position is more comfortable and the posture the seat forces is a big improvement.
|General information and specifications:|
|Model:||BMW R 1200 GS Adventure|
|Category:||Enduro / offroad|
|Engine and transmission|
|Displacement:||1170.00 ccm (71.39 cubic inches)|
|Engine type:||Two cylinder boxer, two-stroke|
|Engine details:||Radially aligned valves|
|Power:||48.00 HP (35.0 kW)) @ 7750 RPM|
|Torque:||120.00 Nm (12.2 kgf-m or 88.5 ft.lbs) @ 6000 RPM|
|Bore x stroke:||101.0 x 73.0 mm (4.0 x 2.9 inches)|
|Fuel system:||Injection. Electronic intake pipe injection/BMS-K digital engine management with overrun fuel cut-off, twin spark ignition|
|Fuel control:||Double Overhead Cams/Twin Cam (DOHC)|
|Lubrication system:||Dry sump|
|Cooling system:||Oil & air|
|Shaft drive (cardan)|
|Clutch:||Single dry plate clutch, hydraulically operated|
|Fuel consumption:||4.60 litres/100 km (21.7 km/l or 51.13 mpg)|
|Greenhouse gases:||106.7 CO2 g/km. (CO2 – Carbon dioxide emission)|
|Emission details:||Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter|
|Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels|
|Frame type:||Two-section frame consisting of front and rear sections, load- bearing engine-gearbox unit|
|Rake (fork angle):||24.8°|
|Trail:||89 mm (3.5 inches)|
|Front suspension:||BMW Motorrad Telelever|
|Front wheel travel:||210 mm (8.3 inches)|
|Rear suspension:||Cast aluminium single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever|
|Rear wheel travel:||220 mm (8.7 inches)|
|Front brakes:||Double disc. Optional integral ABS. Can be switched off.|
|Front brakes diameter:||305 mm (12.0 inches)|
|Rear brakes:||Single disc. Optional integral ABS. Can be switched off.|
|Rear brakes diameter:||265 mm (10.4 inches)|
|Seat:||Two section dual seat with variable height rider´s seat|
|Physical measures and capacities|
|Dry weight:||223.0 kg (491.6 pounds)|
|Weight incl. oil, gas, etc:||256.0 kg (564.4 pounds)|
|Power/weight ratio:||0.2152 HP/kg|
|Seat height:||890 mm (35.0 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.|
|Alternate seat height:||765 mm (30.1 inches) If adjustable, highest setting.|
|Overall height:||1,525 mm (60.0 inches)|
|Overall length:||2,240 mm (88.2 inches)|
|Wheelbase:||1,510 mm (59.4 inches)|
|Fuel capacity:||33.00 litres (8.72 gallons)|
|Reserve fuel capacity:||4.00 litres (1.06 gallons)|
|Color option:||Triple Black|
|Electrical:||12 V / 14 Ah, maintenance-free battery.|
|Top Speed:||125 + mph|
|0 – 60:||3.0 seconds|
|Standing Quarter:||11.2 seconds|
Another Epic trip across Europe draws to a close and its time to recap and relive some of those memories. The trip took 23 days and 3000 miles, and took in Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland.
The initial trip to the DFDS ferry in Newcastle is 290 miles and goes past without any problems, everyone is fresh and excited and time flies by. The DFDS Seaways operated ferry is OK , but the parking of bikes along the wall and then filling the place up with cars is pretty naff, People opening car doors onto bikes and pushing past them with bags etc is pretty bloody awful, get a grip DFDS.
Food is good but drink is ridiculously expensive, Magners and a Gin and Tonic are €15, and if you buy any duty free they keep it till the morning – licensed bandits.
Nice early start in Ijmuiden, sunny dry start heading to the Hotel Nord in Rheinbach Germany, it is a 200 mile motorway slog and just needs to get done. Keep speeds down to adjust to riding on the continent. Every country has its own little thing they do that can freak you out, the Dutch are really quite well behaved and no diplomatic episodes to report. We arrive at the Hotel Nord, Hotel has seen better days but the room is clean and we are tired. The restaurant is closed so we book a taxi and go down town to the Brauhaus Rheinbach. This pub brews its own beers and does good solid pub food – Highly recommended Weissbier get a hammering. Taxi back to Hotel and day 1 is over.
Breakfast was good, Germany always does a quality breakfast. Weather is OK we set off headed to the Hotel Altenberg in Baden Baden. The route is 209 miles and is mainly back roads, no spectacular scenery yet but a pleasant run with some nice roads and wee villages. We arrive at the Altenberg. late afternoon and are greeted and show to the garage for the bikes, Hotel is really nice, quite old world and they serve food and beer so a quick clean up and change and down for beer, arrange a table for two and have a cracking meal. Make the big mistake of feeling flush at the beginning of the holiday, not checking prices of beer and food….spent a bloody fortune. Breakfast was another German Epic, the variety is staggering not really recommended stuffing your face for a day in the saddle but what the hell stuffed, packed and on the road by 10 o clock.
Heading to the Hotel Stubai on the Brenner Pass and some proper scenery and some of the best back roads, avoiding all motorways and toll roads is the only way to go. Not entirely sure what happened today we set off early enough on a winding route heading south west through southern Germany, done this many times and its always been ok, but time seemed to slip away from us, we had been riding for 7 hours and getting nowhere. Decided to cut our losses and switch to the motorway as we entered Austria, pulled into the shell station and bought a couple of vignettes and some fuel ,recalc the twat nav to use motorways and take us straight there. Suzi looked done in. So at some speed on the Austrian motorway we blasted to the Hotel Stubai on the Brenner pass. We arrived in time for a shower and dinner, the surprise being the best Goulash Zuppe I have ever had, absolutely fantastic, server in the traditional bowl with bread , it was devoured and a few Franziskaner for good measure. Tomorrow will be better its the Brenner Pass
The Brenner pass is an old friend, never get tired of this road. After a good breakfast we pack the bikes and set off. Weather is OK, cooler than previous years but bright enough. The Harley loves this road, long rolling bends ,roll on roll off cruising effortless. You could ride this road at 130mph plus but what would be the point, you would miss it all. We will be in Faaker See tonight and there are plenty of Harleys on the road in packs, or holed up in roadside cafes. Not enjoying my riding today ,headache is getting worse. We stopped just after the Italian border for fuel and a coffee. Head is banging, take the shark off and it starts to lift. Examine the helmet and discover a rubber pad stuck to the front where my forehead touches the helmet, my other shark does not have this, so ripped it out. wow different helmet ha ha ha. The road through Italy is very busy and its single carriage way so progress is slow ,back into Austria and the traffic and roads improve. Lots of bikes on the road now as we head to Villach then Faak. We arrive at the Finkensteiner Hof mid afternoon and its time for Weiss Beir.
What is it, who does it, why do they do it, it is likely none of these questions will be answered with any real accuracy as it means different things to different people. There are a few facts that are easily understood about the Darkside.
- What is it: The proponent of the darkside will most likely have a car tyre fitted to the rear of their motorcycle.
- Who does it: Free thinkers that can evaluate the facts and reach their own logical decision.
- Why do they do it: A little more subjective, some are driven by cost saving, extended mileage, some like the idea of being different, some just like the look. There are some that consider there are safety advantages.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there on the internet. There are millions of miles being covered all over the USA by Darksiders, and plenty of claims being made on the advantages, it is not my intention to make any claims, or convince anyone of anything regarding tyre choice. The great thing about freedom of choice is just that, you are free to decide/believe anything you want to.
My experience so far is restricted to a Honda Valkyrie and a Michellin Primacy3 205/60/16 W rated on the rear. I had the tyre fitted and balanced and an initial pressure of 32 psi. I made changes to the rear fender and removed the caged nuts, replacing them with coach bolts. I cut the rear fender to give the bike a slightly more modern look.
The first few miles were torture, I could not believe how badly the bike felt, trying to climb into the verges on every bend, although fair to say on straight roads it felt planted, more so than a bike tyre. I decided to experiment with tyre pressure and took it down to 26psi, this was a more comfortable option but felt a bit loose on corners, bit of wiggle here and there. So increased to 28 then 30 then 34 and finally 37psi. There it was suddenly it felt so much better. Have stuck at 37psi as my sweet spot.
Riding style changed slightly putting slightly more body weight into bends, a little more concentration, bit like riding an EVO with a 240 on the rear and the primary kicked out an inch. The rest has just been adjustment, understanding and concentration. Having done a few thousand miles in some testing conditions I have made a few observations. The setup is less forgiving than a bike tyre would be, hustling through twisties requires smooth riding and concentration. This is something you naturally adjust to and at the moment the bike feels fine in wet or dry roads. It is a cruiser, it was built for cruising, Although it is one of the better handling cruisers, it does not have the ground clearance to be a hero with knee sliders.
The economics of the choice are clearly understood. A rear Metzeler tyre is about £170 fitted and balanced. This tyre lasts me between 5 and 6k being slightly heavy handed and doing a lot of riding loaded up with camping gear. The Michellin Primacy 3 cost me £90 fitted and balanced. The anecdotal opinions vary on tyre life but 20 to 25k is generally being bandied around. That is £680 worth of Metzeler against £90 of Michelin, that is a huge saving.
The choice of tyre was dictated by a number of factors. It rains a lot in Scotland so wet weather performance was important. The Michelin had good write ups and reviews. The speed rating is W rated, 168mph which is well outside the bikes top speed. Inside the carcass of the Primacy 3, Michelin have used twin steel belts to better reinforce the integrity of the tyre – aiding in a balanced ride quality and long life performance.
The tyre had a nice profile , lots of bends in Scotland 🙂
Interesting update the tyre must wear in, as handling has improved as the miles clock up. It is actually getting to the point where i cannot tell the difference. Very stable on long journeys fully loaded with camping gear.
Links to Darkside information:
If you have accidentally stumbled across these pitiful dribblings, you join me a few days before the Scottish Motorcycle show. The kick off to the biking world in Scotland. Its been a long hard winter and the weather has taken its toll on me and the black pig.
Let me introduce you to the black pig, a G650GS single cylinder trail type bike. They are a cheap bike only £5000 new, and while the design is OK they are built from cheaply manufactured components that will not stand up to wear and tear. It has become a constant struggle to keep running, the list of parts requiring replacement is extensive. However a small fire has solved all the problems.
Well the black pig lives again, new wiring loom was close to £1000 so looked unlikely it would fixed. Say hello to Ebay and a wiring loom from USA , did not fit!!!. Got one from UK and it went up in smoke. Finally got one from Australia, it was for an ABS model but had all the right connections. Fitted tested and working. SO time for an Oil and filter change and a check over for the MOT
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