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.
Tada! Here’s the result of my amateurish $30 paint job on my new-to-me BMW G650GS Sertao! A quick coat of Rustoleum Universal Metalic paint for the base. Turned out not too bad, but it was obvious that it was an amateur’s work.
So I decided to get a small bottle of metallic copper / gold paint and brushed it on with a rag to give it that “brushed on” look. Also serves to camouflage the imperfections of the spray can job.
The Sertao paintwork now has a “dirty” look to it. And what better way to treat it than to take it out into the dirt trails today!
It’s the weekend! And it’s time to ride! This was my first ride out with my new-to-me BMW G650GS Sertao. Now, Sertao (or more correctly, Sertão) means “outback” or “wilderness” in Portuguese. And there’s no place the Sertao feels more at home than in the dirt and backroads! Even more so with the brand new Shinko 804/805 40-60 (off-on road) tires fitted!
My little GS needs new shoes. The Metzler Tourance Next tires that came with the bike was almost bald. And since I got this bike primarily to take on the trails and fire roads, I decided to get some 50-50 off-road biased tires too!
After some research, and at the recommendation from a friend, I decided to go for the Shinko 804 (front) and 805 (rear) tires. The set cost just below $200 – which I thought was excellent value for tires!