Converting my DRZ400 into a utility vehicle

One of the BEST mods to make to a motorcycle is to add luggage carrying capability to it. A simple rack / box / bag combo instantly converts the motorcycle from a toy to a utility machine.

While I use my DRZ mostly for dirt riding, I generally dislike the idea of carrying stuff in a backpack. I prefer the freedom of not having something cling onto my back. So I went scouting for a nice rack for the DRZ so that I could find a platform to mount my Ogio tail bag.

Adding the SW-Motech Steel Rack to the DRZ.
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SW-Motech Crash Bars on the BMW G650GS Sertao

I was resisting installing a set of crash bars on my Sertao. Reason being, the R1200GS used to be my primary bike, and the Sertao – my “dirt bike”. And I wanted to keep the weight low on the Sertao.

Now that I no longer own the R1200GS, the BMW G650GS Sertao is now my “primary bike”. For dirt fun? I have my DR(e)Z! (More on that another time…)

The SW-Motech crash bars installed on my BMW G650GS Sertao. Now I’m ready to tour!

I loved the looks of the SW-Motech crash bars! I’ve looked at AltRider’s, looked at Touratech’s, considered the cheap Chinese-made “Touratech lookalikes” sold on AliExpress, and even bought the Givi ones some time back (sold them away later). I think there’s something real beautiful about the SW-Motech’s design.

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Pledge – The Amazing Helmet Polish and Cleaner?

I’ve been using Meguair’s Quik Wax on my vehicles and motorcycle helmets with excellent results. Easy on, easy off application. Smells great too! However, I do find Quik Wax to be a little on the pricey side.

So since I had a can of Lemon Pledge laying around my house (I use it regularly to clean and polish home furniture), thought I’d give it a go on my motorcycle helmet.

Lemon Pledge works excellent as a CLEANER wax!
Giving my Scorpion ADX-1 a Pledge snow-wash treatment.

I realised that one major ability that Pledge had that Quik Wax and most of the other waxes I previously used did not have was a very deep cleaning ability. Areas on my all-white helmet that started showing black’ish stains were easily removed using Pledge.

Inexpensive, effective, and so readily available – Pledge is now my newfound favourite helmet cleaner and polish!

Kaoko Throttle Control on the G650GS Sertao

I missed the cruise control on my R1200GS. Now with the 1200 gone, and the G650GS being my primary bike, I was searching for ways to introduce a cruise control-like feature on the otherwise low-tech bike. Until I came across the Kaoko Throttle Stabilizer!

The Kaoko Throttle Stabilizer comes in a really cute package!

The Kaoko isn’t a real cruise control. It simply adds some adjustable friction to the throttle to keep it in place. The solution is simple and elegant. And dare I say, not as “dangerous” as it sounds. It doesn’t lock the throttle at all, but merely introduces friction to hold it in place. Even with the additional friction employed (ie, cruise control ON), it was still relatively easy to ease off on the throttle merely by twisting it forward. Granted that it won’t “spring back”, but nothing a little twist of the wrist can’t handle.

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Practiced repairing a tire tube

Since I had accidentally pinched the inner tube on my DRZ while self-installing tires for the first time, I thought I’d use the opportunity to attempt a patch repair. Good to pick up a useful skill during this Covid Circuit Breaker season.

Hole in the tire tube.

1. First, look for the puncture site. 
2. Then scuff it up with a rasp file or some sandpaper. 
3. Apply a generous coat of rubber cement / vulcanising paste. 
4. Wait for at least 5mins to allow the rubber cement to dry.
5. Peel off the aluminium foil backing of the patch and apply patch onto puncture site.
6. Stitch the patch by rolling some blunt tool over it.
7. The patched tube is now ready for use!

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Covid Lockdown – Brake Fluid Flush

Since I had to stay home due to the Covid-19 circuit breaker measures in place, and that I couldn’t ride, I decided to do a little bit of bike maintenance. I’ve not replaced the brake fluids on my G650GS Sertao since I purchased it about a year ago. And now with the DRZ in my stable, I thought I’d take the time to get the brake fluids replaced.

The brake fluid in the reservoir looks a little dark.
Brake bleeder connected and ready to bleed!

Since it was easier on the DRZ as there’s no ABS pump to deal with, I started with the Zee. Connected the bleeder valve kit to the brake bleed valve and started pumping away.

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DRZ400SM to Dirt Conversion

Got myself a DR-Z400! It’s torquey motor, light weight, and Japanese reliability makes it the perfect fun bike! And what better way to enjoy a fun bike than to make some modifications to take it to the dirt!

The DRZ400 in supermoto config – very light, very flickable, very fun!

The first step to making it dirt-friendly is to get a set of larger dirt wheels. The DRZ400 comes in 3 configurations – DRZ400SM, DRZ400S and DRZ400E. The S and E versions come with dirt-friendly 21″ front and 18″ rear wheels, while the SM version has 17″ wheels. So I bought myself a set of S / E 21″ & 18″ wheels for my SM.

Guess what just arrived in the mail? =)
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Doubletake Mirrors – The Best Motorcycle Mirrors?

Off-roading is tough. No, and I’m not referring to just the skills required. But it’s tough on the machine too. I’ve had expected this to happen sooner or later – a bike drop, and a mirror breaks.

But what I wasn’t counting on was a broken mirror mount. Yup! I broke the mirror mount on my G650GS Sertao when I took it off-road motocamping last weekend.

Yipes – wasn’t counting on the mirror mount breaking!

And so I went on a quest to search for some off-road worthy mirror replacement. And in the midst of my research, one name kept popping up – the indestructible Doubletake Mirrors.

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DIY Heat Shield on the BMW G650GS Sertao

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!

Automotive heat shields!

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.

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Brake Caliper Servicing on my BMW G650GS Sertao

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!

With the front brake caliper off, the piggy 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!

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