Maintenance on the R1200GS LC

So it’s time for servicing on the BMW R1200GS wethead again. As I’m preparing for a major trip in December, thought it would be prudent to get this out of the way. This round, it’s air filter, spark plugs, and final drive gear oil on top of the usual engine oil replacement.

Removing the ignition coil to access the spark plug.
Spark plug removal.

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Hex ezCAN Installation on my R1200GS LC

The Hex ezCAN has quite a reputation in the BMW R1200GS world. It’s a (relatively) inexpensive accessories manager for the BMW R1200LC, R1200, K1600 & F800 that hooks up directly to the CAN bus of the bike and does quite a number of neat tricks – all WITHOUT having to splice any wires on the bike, and thus (as Hex claims) maintains your warranty.

Personally, I wasn’t too concerned with the warranty part as my 2014 GS is already way past its warranty stage. But the neat tricks that the little device has up its sleeves was what attracted me to purchase it.

Here’s Hex own commercial on what it does for the bike:

I placed an online order and received it in my mail within a week or so. It comes in a cute little package that somewhat resembles a pack of army rations.

The cute package that arrived in my mail.

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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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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”

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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V-Sys M2F DVR install on the BMW R1200GS LC

One of the must-have electronic accessories on a motorcycle these days is an onboard digital video recorder, or DVR. A DVR hooked up to the bike not only helps capture those amazing biking moments, but also serves as a faithful witness in the event of an accident. And since I had some time on a Saturday morning, I decided to go DVR shopping.

I had eyes on the V-Sys M2F dual full-HD Wifi DVR for some time now. I did a little research on Carousell, and found a local seller that goes by the name of “apexmotorcycle”. Headed down to their shop along Changi Road with the intention of picking up the unit and installing it myself.

Boy! Was I in for a rude shock!

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LED Fog Lights install on the R1200GS LC

With my $5 relay-switched power setup installed, I can now go ahead and slap on some fog lights / aux lights on the BMW R1200GS LC.

Some inexpensive high-quality Chinese waterproof motorcycle LED fog lights. Not everything on the BMW has to be an expensive Denali, Clearwater, SW-Motech or Wunderlich.

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