Off-Road Training – Level 2

I think some of the best money spent is on training. After doing the Off Road Level 1 training 2 weeks back, I’m back for the Level 2 course this weekend.

Braking drills.
Riding down the big slope.

During Level 1, we went through drills such bike balancing, braking, u-turns, and hill descents. My biggest fear was in that steep downhill descent. And I’m back this week to greet it face on – at Level 2 training.

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Day Trip to Air Terjun Harimau Berjemu

What better way to use my new-found off-road riding skills than to go for an actual off-road ride?

Today, I head in to Air Terjun Harimau Berjermu – or Tiger Waterfall. It’s an approximately 100km of off-roading for a round trip into the waterfall and back out.

Taking my first break after completing some distance on the trail.
Riding through some scenic palm plantations.
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Off-Road Training – Level 1

The bike is only as good as the rider on it. And the kind of adventure one does on a large adventure motorcycle is usually limited by rider, and very seldom by the machine.

For this weekend, I decided to sign up for some off-road training with BMW-certified off-road instructor Tommy Lee from Route 55 Enduro Park!

Going through the theory before the practice.
Walking the bike, engine running and with just one hand was part of the training.
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Failed Drive Shaft and Final Drive on my BMW R1200GS LC

My R1200GS left me stranded.

I was on my way to office on morning, merrily rolling along the usual morning traffic when I suddenly felt my rear wheel disengaged from the motor. Blipping the throttle only produced a cringe-worthy rattle with no power transfer to the wheel. And so I pulled to the side of the road and called BMW Assist.

I had to tow.

Grounded splines on the drive shaft mating surface.
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G650GS Sertao Fork Servicing

My Sertao is 6.5yrs old and have seen almost 60,000km. I don’t think the fork oil has ever been replaced. Not only the front suspension is beginning to feel like a pogo stick – bouncing around during brake dives, but my left fork has started developing a leak.

Yipes!

In fact, when it first started weeping, I didn’t even realise it. So much that fork oil dripped down the fork and ended up on the brakes, causing the brakes to squeal and the calliper to bind slightly. Not cool!

Forks removed!
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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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