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 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.
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!
At 67,000km, my BMW R1200GS clutch switch failed. Symptoms include 1) not being able to start the bike while in gear and 2) not being able to switch riding modes while the bike is in motion.
You see, for either of the above 2 to work, the ECU must know that the clutch lever is FULLY pulled in. The R1200GS that comes with cruise control and/or shift assist pro use a set of dual microswitch instead of the typical single microswitch. The first part of the switch senses that the clutch lever is being slightly pulled in, and the second part senses if the clutch lever is fully pulled in.
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!
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.
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 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!
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.