Brake Fluid Flush on my BMW R1200GS LC

The BMW maintenance schedule calls for a brake fluid replacement every 2 years on the BMW R1200GS wethead. The last brake fluid replacement on my GS was in Dec16. And since I was planning for a long’ish trip later this year, I thought it was a good idea to get this done earlier.

The front brakes were a little easier for a one-man bleed operation – I could reach for the brake lever and the bleed screw simultaneously, applying pressure on the brake lever while I released the bleed screw for the brake fluid to eject. But the rear wasn’t as simple – the rear brake pedal was on the right hand side of the bike, while the brake caliper (and thus the bleed screw) was on the left. If I were to attempt to do it without an assistant, I’ll need to create some negative pressure for suction – that’s where the brake bleeding pump kit comes in handy!

My brake servicing kit
The brake bleed pump assembled.

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Eliminating Brake Squeal on my BMW R1200GS Wethead

Sintered (metal-infused) brake pads generally provide awesome braking power and have great brake life. But the biggest drawback is that it tends to squeal. Shortly after replacing my set of front Brembo pads on my BMW R1200GS LC, my brakes started squealing like a pig being sent to the slaughterhouse every time just before the bike comes to a complete halt. This typically happens when the brakes are cold, and sometimes (only sometimes), it goes away after warming up the pads. And since I’ve got a self-admitted OCD for these kind of things, I decided to do something about it.

Front pads removal.
Front pads removed. Do NOT hit the brake levers and over extend the calliper pistons!

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Difficulty Finding Neutral on BMW R1200GS LC? It Could be This!

I purchased my 2014 BMW R1200GS Wethead pre-owned, and I’ve always accepted the clunkiness of the gearbox. In fact, some owners have described the gearbox of the R1200GS as “very industrial”. Also, from Day-1, I experienced difficulty finding neutral on the bike. When the bike is at complete rest, it would typically take cycling between gears 1 and 2 several times before settling on neutral. Very often, I would have to blip the throttle a little while applying a slight pressure on the gear lever, just to get it to slip into Neutral.

Not cool.

In my recent road trip, I experienced occasional difficulty in changing gears – especially at low’ish speeds. When clutched in, the gear lever would sometimes refuse to shift – seemingly “stuck”. The feeling’s exactly like trying to shift down in gear 1, or trying to shift up in gear 6. It’s only with a slight blip of the throttle would the gear lever then move into the intended gear.

Not cool at all.

And then this – at 55,000km on the odometer, my clutch started exhibiting signs of slippage. I’m very conscious of using only JASO MA / MA2 spec’ed engine oil – so it couldn’t be the oil causing the clutch to slip.  Continue reading “Difficulty Finding Neutral on BMW R1200GS LC? It Could be This!”

R1200GS Wethead Front Brake Pads Replacement

Shortly after my rear brake pads replacement, I noticed that my front brake pads were wearing thin too. Worse, there was one particular pad (the RHS inboard pad) that was wearing out way faster than the rest and is almost worn down to metal! So, it’s time to replace them as a set!

I got myself a set of Brembo SA sintered pads for the front (PN: 07BB38SA). This is supposedly an upgrade to the BMW OEM pads, which, incidentally, are also manufactured by Brembo.

The 4-step procedure to removing brake pads – easy peasy!

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R1200GS LC Rear Brake Pads Replacement @ 10,000km

The R1200GS LC chews up the rear brake pads faster than Cookie Monster gobbling up a jar of cookies. It’s been just over 10,000km and the rear brake pads have been almost completely ground down. Granted, I’ve taken the bike on some serious twisty roads and had a ton of fun. Now, it leaves me thinking if I should get some sintered replacements to last me a little longer before the next necessary replacement, or to stick to organic pads.

Rear mud flap off. Getting the bike ready for rear brake pads replacement.

In the end, I opted for a set of ceramic (organic) pads for 3 reasons: Continue reading “R1200GS LC Rear Brake Pads Replacement @ 10,000km”

R1200GS LC RDC Sensor Replacement

My rear tire pressure sensor has been intermittently acting up for some time now. And of late, it has been occurring more frequently. BMW calls it the RDC system (Reifendruckkontrolle in German, or Tire Pressure Monitor), and from my online research, most sensors on the R1200GS go around the 3-4 year mark.

RDC Sensor (PN:36318532731) – $155 from IGN.

Each sensor contains a non-user-replaceable CR2032 battery sealed within the unit. Replacement, while not impossible, is a rather messy affair which includes digging up potting compound, desoldering, re-soldering and re-sealing the potting – all with no guarantee that the unit will still continue to work. The sole local dealership charges a whopping $270 for replacement! And since I didn’t quite trust the cheap Chinese-made “compatible sensors”, I bought an original BMW replacement sensor and replaced it myself. Continue reading “R1200GS LC RDC Sensor Replacement”

DIY $3.50 Exhaust Header Rust Removal

After quite a bit of use, the once-shiny stainless steel exhaust headers on the BMW R1200GS is beginning to look a little dated. Thick brown-black crud and rust has collected on its surface and looks like it’s slowly eating into the metal. I’ve seen some YouTube videos on an inexpensive homemade solution to rust removal….

$2.50 for the bottle of Harpic, and $1 for the Scotch Brite sponge pad.

Yes – Harpic! That magical toilet cleaner also works great on the stainless steel exhaust headers! Continue reading “DIY $3.50 Exhaust Header Rust Removal”

How NOT to Disc Lock Your Motorcycle

Keeping your motorcycle safe while touring in a foreign land is important. The bike is, after all, not only your primary trip companion, but could be your only transport home too. A simple disc lock may be enough to deter the casual thief from stealing the bike – although it won’t stop the really determined ones from lifting it onto the back of a truck.

But, is there a “wrong” way of doing it?

In my recent 1000 Corner Malaysia ride, a fellow riding buddy had a brilliant idea he picked up from a YouTube video. To make it really difficult for the bad guys to brute force crack the disc lock by drilling it, lock it such that the keyhole opening is facing the INSIDE of the brake disc instead of the usual OUTSIDE.

Secured with disc lock and keyhole facing the INSIDE of the brake disc. Ooh… reminder cable too!

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How to keep your motorcycle boxes fresh

Do you keep your motorcycle helmet in your topbox or side cases? What about your riding jacket and riding gloves? If you do, like me, then you’ll find that the boxes start to smell after awhile. Now here’s a tip…

The odour obliteration device! A handy pouch hanging from the corner of the inside of my top case.
SGD$1.90 for a 2-pack. They last for about a month each – so that’s less than a dollar for every month of topcase freshness!

The added advantage is that this leaves your helmet and riding gear smelling fresh and ready to wear when you return to bike from that lunch / dinner / shopping stop!

Clunky gearshifts? Try this first!

It’s been a tad over 7,000km since my last oil change. And of late, I’ve noticed that gear changing on the 400X seem to have gotten a little clunkier. Definitely not as smooth as I once remembered it to be.  And so there I was contemplating the decision as to whether I should pamper my machine with some fresh engine oil.

But then, this clunky gearshift appears to be rather random too – sometimes shifting from one gear to the next feels like the gearbox of an agricultural tractor; but on other occasions, it could feel as smooth as a well-oiled precision machinery. And so I figured that it shouldn’t be the case of the engine oil approaching end of life.

As the clutch lever is pulled in, the cable pulls on the clutch-release lever of the clutch housing assembly.

Continue reading “Clunky gearshifts? Try this first!”