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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The 60cents DIY BMW G650GS Oil Fill Cap Removal Tool

The BMW G650GS has a dry oil sump design and has its oil reservoir situated where the fuel tank typically resides. And in typical BMW fashion, it requires a speciality tool to remove the oil cap. Yes, the bike’s accompanying tool kit does contain a multi-use wrench that would also open the oil fill cap. But accessing the tool pouch was an inconvenient 4-step process – top box removal, panel removal (using key), seat removal, then tool pouch removal (which is a pain due to the really tight space the tool pouch is situated).

Speciality tool sold on eBay.

So, for garage maintenance, and to encourage periodic checking of engine oil levels, I’d prefer to have a tool readily available.

The ones on eBay cost easily over $20. Just for a dumb piece of plastic – $20?!! So in true DIY fashion, after some measuring, I realised that any 22-23mm hexagonal tool should do the job. I dumped the idea of 3D-printing it – as it’ll likely cost as much as the $20 eBay tool for such a low-volume production.

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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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First Post Lockdown Sunday Morning Ride

Skirting around the border of a restricted area.

It’s been almost 3 months since we’ve all been virtually imprisoned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And I’ve not met my riding buddies in that same period of time. And since this was the first weekend since the Singapore government lifted the lockdown measures preventing social gathering, we took the chance to go for a ride!

Siu Hon practicing sliding around on the low traction environment

We all desperately needed a ride. Of course, being good citizens and residents of Singapore, we kept the group size to a maximum of 5.

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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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DRZ400 – A very capable off-road machine

Took the dirt-ready Zee for a spin and – boy! What a surprise! The 21″/18″ wheels and the Dunlop’s handled the dirt beautifully! Yeah – I know, I could have gotten a proper dirt bike. But since I managed to get the Zee at a great price, thought I’d just spruce it up a little for some dirt fun!

The dirt(y) gang – 2 BMW F800GS’es and 2 Suzuki DRZ’s. Off to the trails!
Paddling through the rock garden.
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