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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Wiring up for power on the BMW R1200GS LC

I would love to install some electronic accessories such as fog lamps, USB power and DVR camera (just to name a few) to my newly acquired BMW R1200GS LC. As I was researching on how to wire up to supply power to these components, I’ve come across a diverse range of opinions from the “unlike the Japanese bikes, you should never mess with the CAN-bus system of the BMW” to the really expensive solutions such as Fuzeblocks (USD90) and Hex ezCan (USD170).

While the above gadgets have some additional fanciful features to justify their price tags, in reality, I was searching for a simple, elegant, inexpensive solution to power my electronics without interfering with the CAN-bus on the BMW and must also not fry the onboard electronics of the R1200GS should any of the add-on electronics decide to turn rogue.

I was pretty impressed by the BMW R1200GS LC under-seat super-neat layout.

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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.

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