My Sertao is 6.5yrs old and have seen almost 60,000km. I don’t think the fork oil has ever been replaced. Not only the front suspension is beginning to feel like a pogo stick – bouncing around during brake dives, but my left fork has started developing a leak.
In fact, when it first started weeping, I didn’t even realise it. So much that fork oil dripped down the fork and ended up on the brakes, causing the brakes to squeal and the calliper to bind slightly. Not cool!
I love my G650GS Sertao. It’s frugal on fuel, lightweight and just about powerful enough for most needs. I take it on short tours and love hitting the off-road trails with this bike.
But… I hate the heat this bike throws out!
Don’t get me wrong. This bike has never overheated. But I think it’s just poor design that the position of the fan is in such a manner that it blows the hot expelled air from the radiator straight into – my legs! Arrrgh! And in the mean time, much of these hot air also gets trapped underneath the plastic fairing panels. So much so that it can sometimes get unbearably hot around plastics where the thighs grip the faux tank.
Immediately after a recent ride through the dirt trails of Ulu Choh, the G650GS started developing a horrible squeal in the front wheel area. This happens even while riding – and is especially notable at lower speeds. My initial fear was that the wheel hub bearing had gone bad. I have been taking the Sertao on some treacherous off-roading trips of late.
Like a resilient little pig that just refuse to die, the squeal was present when spinning the wheel while the bike is on the main stand. If it was the wheel bearings, that would have been not too good news – I’ve never done a bearing replacement before and probably don’t have the correct tools for extraction and, more importantly, proper re-insertion. But out of curiosity, I removed the brake calipers just to assess the damage – spun the wheel, and…. the squeal was gone!
Now that I have ascertained that it was the brakes, but not the bearings that caused the squeal, it was time for some brake caliper servicing!
I was searching for a replacement lightbulb for the G650GS. Now that I’ve been spoilt by the superb LED headlamps of my R1200GS, the stock bulb that came with the bike was a little too dim for my liking. And so I went on to do some research for some replacement lightbulb.
The G650GS use a single H4 55/60W bulb for both dipped and high beams. I wanted something brighter, and I wanted something street legal. And so I immediately dismissed all the high-powered “off-road only” bulbs. And since the road regulations in Singapore are pretty strict with headlamp modifications, I dismissed the HID and LED conversion units too.
I have previously used a set of Ring Automotive’s Xenon Ultima in one of my car which I have since sold. Ring Automotive promises a whopping 120% more light. I recalled that while it was appreciably brighter than the stock headlamp bulb, the longevity of the bulb wasn’t great. It blew way faster than I expected it to.
We couldn’t get enough of dirt riding fun in Ulu Choh, and so we planned to head back there again. This weekend, we decided to attempt some of the trails instead.
I found a GPX trail in Wikiloc called “UCDP Novice Route”. Novice, right? Should be easy peasy… right? We were so wrong!
Arriving at Ulu Choh Dirt Park, we were a quirky bunch of riders that somehow look misplaced in a dirt park. Yes, the G650GS and the Yamaha XTZ with knobbies are somewhat at home here. Then there are the heavy adventure bikes – the R1200GSA and the Tiger 800 XCX. The Diversion with its street tires was obviously not the most appropriate machine here. And then there’s the cutesie bunch – the small, ultra-lightweight class – a 36year-old Vespa, a probably about as old Honda C90, and the midget Honda Grom, all gathered for some off-road trail fun. But what all these bikes have in common, is a rider with an adventure spirit and a can-do attitude.
We loved the dirt so much that we’re back in Ulu Choh! This time, we head there in the morning – while it’s still cool. Last week’s visit in the peak of the noon’s heat was a bad idea. I was overheated, dehydrated and throughly exhausted. And this time round, we went as a bunch of learning noobs and had some really silly fun!
Today, we head to Ulu Choh Dirt Park. I’ve heard a lot about the place, but have never been there. So, it’s pretty exciting. And since my BMW G650GS Sertao had dirt tires fitted, I took that instead of the R1200GS.