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!

Continue reading “How NOT to Disc Lock Your Motorcycle”

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!”

Honda Motorcycle Starter Relay Safety Recall

Most affected owners *should* know by now that Honda had a massive recall on multiple motorcycle models due to a potential failure in the starter relay switch. A failure could lead to a fire or even the bike suddenly stalling – which is a potential accident risk. The potentially faulty starter relay switch seem to affect multiple Honda motorcycle models manufactured in 2014 and 2015. My CB400X is a 2014 model. *GASP!*

Being the 3rd owner of the vehicle and only recently acquiring it, I have no idea if my bike’s starter relay is affected, or if it had been swapped out. And since this is a SAFETY issue and a possible FIRE HAZARD, I decided to be prudent about it and do some investigation myself.

Location of the starter relay on the CB400X.

The starter relay switch is located on the Continue reading “Honda Motorcycle Starter Relay Safety Recall”

CB400X Speedo and Odometer Inaccuracy

After traveling some 2,000km and taking my 400X on my first road trip to Thailand, I’ve come to realise that the speedometer and odometer (or tripmeter) readings are waaaaaay off.

While I understand that most vehicle manufacturers build the speedometer to overestimate the actual speed, my Honda was actually UNDERESTIMATING instead! As I have my handlebar-mounted GPS turned on throughout the journey, I noticed that while the speedometer was reading approximately 100kmh, my (GPS) actual speed was 106kmh instead!

And to add to the problem, my odometer / tripmeter readings are way off too. While comparing notes with several fellow riders, the distance between 2 refuel stops should have been about 220km apart – my trip meter was reading 197km only. To confirm this irregular phenomenon, I took a mental note on the distance to the next destination on my GPS – approximately 135km. But when I arrived, my bike showed that I have traveled for only 120km!

This odometer / tripmeter under-reading is also causes fuel economy /  mileage mis-calculations. Continue reading “CB400X Speedo and Odometer Inaccuracy”

My poor, poor CB400X…

I don’t trust the previous owner of the bike.

Just before the handover, he had agreed to replace the bike battery (it died while viewing) and perform a once-off engine oil change. I specifically asked if he used a fully-synthetic oil – and he said YES; though he couldn’t recall the oil name (red flag!). So he arranged for tow and got the agreed stuff replaced.

Mobil Super 4T 10W50 mineral oil and the removed Yuasa battery.

Firstly, Mobil Super 4T is a mineral oil – not synthetic. Next, the manual calls for 10W30 viscosity on the CB400X / Continue reading “My poor, poor CB400X…”

Kappa K-Venture Luggage Upgrade on my CB400X

With the recent acquisition of the Honda CB400X, it’s now time to get it tour-ready. The previous owner threw in a a puny 35L top box and that was hardly enough for my needs. I’m a storage hog and I love ample storage space on my motorcycles. I just love the idea of the ability of my mechanical steed to carry me and my luggage to far flung places – adventure on a whim!

So what better way to equip the Honda mid-sized adventure bike with some adventure luggage? A set of adventure aluminum boxes, of course!

The Givi urban tourer look.

I had initially wanted a set of Givi plastic luggage that will give the bike an urban tourer look. But I know of someone who got a set of Givi V35 side boxes and accompanying rack that would have cost as much as a *COMPLETE* Kappa aluminum luggage set – INCLUDING a 48L top box! GASP!

So after much research, I thought that a set of Kappa K-Venture’s from the ever popular Lim Ah Boy gave the most bang-for-the-buck. And I went for the KVE48A top box and a set of KVE37A side cases. Kappa, being Givi’s sister brand, carries a set of aluminum luggage that’s strikingly similar to Givi’s more well known set of Outback Trekkers – only cheaper! Continue reading “Kappa K-Venture Luggage Upgrade on my CB400X”