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Offline LuckyStriker

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LuckyStriker's R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« on: August 14, 2006, 09:09:45 am »


Nearly 1000km behind me and time to share my impressions with you fine folks of the cyber sphere.
As most of you know I previously owned a R1200GS before I got the 1200Adventure. Therefore I will base all comparisons on that bike and the 1150GS which I recently had the pleasure of spending time on.



Modifications: Before I continue I should mention some of the modifications made to the bike. I have been collecting several items of bling-bling over the past 4 months and installed most of them on the first day! Please see my posts on pimping up your GSA further down this thread. Here are some to consider:
I fitted a diff cover from Hyde Products to protect the disc, calliper and diff.
I also installed a Scott steering damper because I foolishly thought it could stop me from falling over.
I attached an oil cooler protector from Touratech as well as hand guard spoilers, handlebar risers and a steering stop.
For better sound I recently fitted an Akrapovic silencer.
All these things will have some bearing on my report as you will soon see.

The Tank: When first I saw a GSA, I was surprised by how large the tank was. It is much bigger than I expected. It holds 33 litres without the fuel filler mod which should add at least 1 more litre.
Range is claimed at a theoretical 750km but thus far I have managed only 18.6km for every litre in stead of the promised 22.7km.
The tank is made of a thick plastic which in turn is protected by those very obvious crashbars. Below the tank are the air box and a cavity for the ABS brick (missing in my case).
The fuel tank leaked on the very first day! My dealer was kind enough (or perhaps obliged) to open his workshop on a Saturday to sort out the problem. We found a pinched seal which was quickly repaired. Kudos to Chris Hamman and Gareth of ye olde worke shoppe for their excellent service. Their free coffee dispenser should also receive a medal when machines get the vote?



Wheelbase: The next thing that struck me was the compactness of the GSA. It reminds me of a Crusading war horse?all muscle, anger and size.
(The KTM 990 reminds me a bit of an Arabian stallion?all jump, dash and flash. Katoom riders should not take this as criticism, merely the ramblings of a bias reviewer.)
I mentioned this apparent compactness to the dealer and we took a tape measure to the bike. Lo and behold, from axle to axle the GSA is almost 4cm shorter than the 12GS! I don?t know if they shortened the shaft or increased the rake or both but the shorter wheelbase is obvious. I suppose the simplest explanation for the shorter track is due to the increased suspension height (steeper swingarm angle), the wheels are drawn closer together.

Height: The bike is also taller than the 12GS. It stands 2cm higher at rest and with the suspension cranked up all the way, even more.
The width vs. height makes the bike a little intimidating when you view it in the privacy of your own garage. But once it is parked amongst other bikes you realize it is just an illusion. The bike may be taller than anything else around it but not by much really. I should mention that my upswept handlebars together with the risers add to the illusion.

Speed & Power: When it comes to speed I am afraid I cannot yet comment. This bike must serve me for a long time yet, so I took it easy on the top end for now. I have not taken it past 130km/h as per factory recommendations.
On the power front I can however comment? She attempts to please just like the 1200GS. She just feels right.
More power than you need and always available. Not as much low-end torque as some other competitors but immensely rider friendly over the full power range.

The rides thus far: So far I have been to a farm near Darling (much of it on a slippery muddy coastal road), I also partook in a decent dirt road mixed with one river crossing and plenty tar roads. The past week saw me commuting to work every single day despite the miserable August rains. I feel that I have done an honest dissection of DS roads.

Handling: If you don?t look down you probably won?t notice that you are not riding a 1200GS. It turns just as quick and easily but the weight of tank on the front suspension delivers a pleasant surprise. Gone is the ?light? feel of the 12GSs front wheel. The GSA suffers no nervousness on gravel nor on tar and reminds me of that solid feel the 1150 has. The 12GS never placed you life in danger but that front wheel always felt a little loose?not so with the GSA.
The telelever suspension deals remarkably well with the extra weight and no trace of nose diving is discernable.
The steering damper no doubt had an effect but even turned off the bike handled superbly. I am loath to admit that a R2500 riding course will benefit you more than a R5500 steering damper.



Pillion: Lifting a passenger is also easier. We love it when the pillions come with but secretly dread having to lug them around. Unless I turned up my 12GSs rear suspension, the front felt a little jelly-ish. The GSA is better in this regard since the rear shock does not compress as much and remains stiff under load.

Comfort: The rider seat is much improved. I have a broken tailbone that never mended properly and combined with my almost constant aching back (thanks to one thumping crash a few years ago and my reluctance to join a gym), I seldom last for more than 200km before I have to take a smoke break. The new rider seat is more comfortable and the ability to set it low at the front and high at the back improves my posture no end.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the pillion seat. My dearest wife has been dragged along on most of my trips but this time she seems almost resentful. The back seat is thinner than on the 12GS and the foam is softer, which makes it fine for the first 20minutes until your pillion?s bum is bouncing around on the rear sub-frame.
Something needs to be done about this and I suspect I will have to buy a 12GS pillion seat if I ever want to take my wife on extended trips.
Either that or have the thing re-upholstered.


Low position


High position

Weight: Whilst the handling of the GSA may be the same as the 12GS, the weight most certainly is not. Those extra 20odd kilos are very noticeable when you try to pick the bike up. It is even noticeable when you push the bike. The GSA will be a firm favourite in the Special Olympics for the Obese. Perhaps a little like those East German chicks? they run okay but they are best known for their muscles and bushy unibrows.

Parking: The stands have been redesigned since the 2004 12GS. It is now easier to lift the bike onto the centre stand. No longer do you need the pelvic thrust to pop the bike up. Simply step down and up she goes.
The side stand is a bit of a bugger though. Two highly sprung coils fling it into position with a loud takatakadronggggg!!
I stopped at my local hardware store the other day and as I put out the stand, I heard the loud takatakadrongggg. I deftly dismounted and gracelessly fell over with the bike on top of me, much to the amusement of onlookers.
The coils are so tight that the stand did not lock into place as expected and snapped back without me knowing (or looking down to confirm it)

Finishings: The paint job is great and those matt black side panels are easy to re-spray one day when it becomes time to sell your GSA. The ?Alpine White? coat is a fraction of a shade bluer than Appliance White and contains no metallics. It should be perfect to hide those inevitable scratches.
All the panels fit perfectly as can only be expected from BMW. Attention to detail is high making you see exactly where your hard earned cash went.



Spotlights: Kaboef?s claim that it looks like a Harley Davidson aside?the spotlights are quite good. They don?t illuminate further ahead than the regular headlamp, nor do they dispel mist or fog effectively. But they do light up the sides of the road splendidly and draw attention to you on dusty roads. I think I may be scarred by Kaboef?s sharp tongue and will use them sparingly in the future.
Beware: motorists approaching from the front frequently flashed me, probably thinking that I was some kind of low flying, cattle mutilating UFO. I guess that the spots are irritating to cagers?perhaps they need some adjustment (easily done however).

Protection: Unfortunately a small spill on the banks of a narrow river near McGregor caused some damage to the big crashbars. They may appear very strong but looks can be deceiving. They deformed easily because of just a mild tumble. The mechanic and I bent them back to an acceptable position using only our bare hands and my considerable strength?not good.



Brakes: I chose not to have ABS on my bike and I highly recommend the regular hydraulic brakes. They feel sharper and more precise than the servo assisted ones. You can adjust the travel of the lever so it is entirely possible to stop the bike using only one finger ?but then you run the risk of locking up the callipers in a panic.
Since I don?t have Samwise Gamgee?s stubby fingers, I gave the levers a little more travel and can now control exactly how much braking power I put on the wheels to the nearest joule/tau.
I doubt I?ll ever be going back to ABS until they get rid of the servo assist. We the people also demand ABS deactivation/activation ?on the fly?. No more of this reset nonsense thank you very much.
For the record, I was not scared off by rumours of ABS failure, nor did I ever suffer ABS failure aside from that one incident after the near drowning in the Karoo. I just think it?s a drawback when you plan to spend much time on dirt. Besides?those normal brakes are still better than the ones on competitor bikes ;)

Heated grips: Oh woe is me? Unfortunately, if you choose not to have ABS then you can also not have heated grips. A firmware issue prevents this. If the computer detects your grips, it also searches for the ABS status (both features use the same plug to connect to the single wire canbus) and will deliver screaming alerts when it fails to detect them. The HP2 has a heated grip option so it is conceivable to modify those parts for the GSA. But as it stands now, I will have to wait for BMW to bring out a firmware patch so that I can fit heaters without ABS.
At the moment I have hand guard spoilers obtained from Touratech to deflect the wind. I may have gone too far in the pimp department with these puppies. At least there can be no doubt that I hail from Bellville?

Wind Protection: Oh boy, does it have good wind protection! I rode along the West Coast road one dark evening. My helmet has a tinted visor so visibility was really bad especially in the thick, wet fog surrounding me. I flipped it up and accelerated up to 100-120km/h to get a good airflow profile and got not one drop of water in my eyes! The wind did not bother me a bit. The only reason for wearing a helmet on this bike is safety. That screen really keeps the bugs off your mug.

Exhaust Note: She?s pretty quiet as is expected of a proper lady. However, I prefer my women with a slight bark as long as it is not a screaming roar. This is the reasoning behind the Acropovic. As a justification I tried the following on the wife: ?It weighs only 2kg, less than a third of the original pipe, which means you can pack more when we go on trips!?
The Acra has the added benefit of being a genuine BMW approved part so it will not affect your warranty and you can pull out the baffle if you want to annoy your neighbours. I chose to put my baffle back in?it was a wee bit too ombeskof for my liking. It also shines nicely which is a must for the bling factor.



Bike Computer: The onboard computer gives you the following info: Range remaining, Ambient temperature, Average speed, Average fuel consumption, Time, Trip 1, Trip 2, Odometer, and several warning/diagnostic messages.

Attention: Yes you attention seeking whores, I researched this for you perusal as well. So far I have not had a lot of female compliments (only one wimmin) but men go ga-ga and insist on touching and stroking my bike, much to my chagrin.
Girls seem to prefer the silver paint scheme (my wife included) ? ah well, can?t win them all.

Conclusion: It?s too big for some riders, which is a shame. The bike is also so nice looking that if you clean it you could be accused of being a poser.
I like it even though I?m finding it a little harder to adjust to its size than I imagined. It?s hard reversing it when in the saddle and I have to tippy-toe at some traffic lights.
Is it better than a 1200GS? That depends on your application?
Is it better in the dirt? I honestly don?t know, probably not. It?s not worse either, just different.
Why should you buy it? For those long trips and it?s good looks.
Don?t fall for the pictures in the brochure showing daredevils racing up and down sand dunes and power sliding down Mongolian mountain passes? You?ll be sorry? unless you have the skills, the money and the balls to try it.
Pros: Finally a bike that I can pimp up without looking like an ?Arrow van Parow?!
A sweet ride if ever there was one!
Cons: Those crashbars are a big disappointment?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 10:37:39 am by LuckyStriker »
 

Offline GIDEON

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LuckyStriker?s R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2006, 09:11:34 am »
:lol: I CAN SEE you LOVE this BIKE  :D


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Offline LuckyStriker

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Hyde Products Diff Protector
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2006, 09:34:07 am »
Hyde Products Diff Protector:
The reason why I did this is because I have seen what some differentials on some older bikes look like. The diff on my 12GS had some scratches and nicks and I didn?t even do any really bad roads. I have also seen what a stone can do when it gets wedged between the disc and the calliper.

In the kit:
1 Tough plastic diff protector
1 Stainless steel plate
1 Bolt & flat ring washer

This is what it looked before I went to work.


Slip the little stainless steel plate into the cavity underneath the swingarm (between the actual diff and the pivot point). Place the protector securely against the diff. Punch it on with your fist if you have to. It needs to be tight and stay on the diff on its own accord.
Now you need to screw the bolt into the stainless steel plate by passing through the protector. It is extremely tricky but if you place the plate correctly you can get it right first time.


Ta-dah! One protected differential and rear brake?bring on the stones!
 

Offline wino

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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2006, 09:35:05 am »
love your report ls. much, much better than the so-called reports on the bike that were in a few mags the past few months. looking forward to a follow up in a few months' time(?).
btw, you refer to joule & tau - what about 'thaum'?
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Touratech Steering Stop
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2006, 09:35:19 am »
Touratech Steering Stop
The reason why I fitted this is because I am told a hectic crash can crack your telelever. I guess that after such a crash I would probably not be in any state to continue my journey anyway, but hey?I bought it on this forum for cheapo so it had to go on the bike!
This could very well be the most useless piece of bling I have?

In the kit:
1 Aluminium Steering Stop
4 Bolts
4 Plastic Bushes
4 Lock nuts and flat ring washers



This is what it looked like before I got started:


Place the steering stop snugly over the telelever. Place nuts, bolts, bushes and washers and tighten alternatively until the unit is secure.


And that?s it! Those rubber bungs should (in theory) bleed off some of the energy when your forks decide to do a 360?
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Touratech Hand Guard Spoilers
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2006, 09:36:43 am »
Touratech Hand Guard Spoilers
The reason why I fitted these is because I don?t have heated grips. They?re not pretty but they do seem to work. Surprisingly well actually.
The wind gets deflected away from your hands and thus? oh dear lord? I am rolling my eyes as I type this?what am I doing to my poor bike?
No!?Must?continue?to add?more?bling?

In the kit:
2 Plastic spoilers
4 Bolts
4 Lock nuts and flat ring washers

You will need to remove the hand guards for this.


Find the correct placement by holding the spoilers against the guards. Hold tight and drill one hole. One hole only.


Push the bolt through the hole and tighten using the washer and nut.


Only now should you drill the second hole. Continue the process.
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Touratech Oil Cooler Protector
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2006, 09:37:50 am »
Touratech Oil Cooler Protector
A very handy piece of bling this. Just imagine what a bird or flying rock can do to your precious oil cooler. Oh the horror!


In the kit:
1 Anodised Aluminium guard
2 Cable Ties

Possibly the most difficult piece of bling I installed that whole day. Purely because of all the preparation. Begin by removing all the panels around the tank plus the beak.






Don?t lose the bolts. By this stage you should have several of them and of various lengths.

Getting the protector around the oil cooler is no easy thing. Good luck?use a hammer if you have to. I won?t blame you.
When you are done, secure it with the cable ties.


There you go. Looking good. The best thing about this kind of bling is that you can spend your money, protect your bike, and not have too many people realise that you did some customizing. Now that?s true style Undercover Brother!
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Akrapovic Silencer
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2006, 09:38:57 am »
Akrapovic Silencer
A favourite of every KTM owner on the planet! Why should they have all the fun? I decided to join the noisy ones?

In the kit:
1 Silencer
1 Manual in several languages (some I suspect no longer spoken)
1 Carbon fibre hanger (genuine carbon fibre?now we?re styling!)
1 Tube of copper slip
1 Bolt and washer

Look at that nasty ol? pipe. So heavy and quiet. Naw man?let?s pimp this ride!


Remove the heat shield first. Did you ride before you started? It?s probably best if you wait a while for it to cool down?


Now loosen the clamp with a spanner or socket/ratchet. Then loosen the bracket from the sub-frame. Wiggle the old pipe loose and bin it.
Now smear the header with some copper slip and slip on the new pipe. Tighten everything you loosened earlier.

You may remove the baffle if you so choose. Your neighbours will either hate you or love you, depending on the type of neighbourhood you live in.
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Scotts Steering Damper
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2006, 09:39:47 am »
Scotts Steering Damper
I?m sure many of you have been waiting eagerly for this one. The bling factor alone is enough to force your fellow riders on their knees and worship you like a god.
Either that or be the butt of jokes and much ridicule. Again?it depends on your neighbourhood.

In the kit:
1 Sheet of stickers!
1 Steering damper
1 Stainless steel pin
1 Aluminium handlebar mount
1 Steel bracket
1 Booklet with 1 instruction page
4 Bolts
2 Metal bushes
Did I mention you get stickers? Yeah muthafracker! You know it!



Loosen the bolts and push away the handlebars


Now slide in the bracket to just below that plate that shows your bike?s VIN number. Easy does it. Don?t scratch the paintwork.


Tap the bracket into position if you have to. It?s a tight fit.


That?s were it has to sit. Be sure you did not pinch any wires or cables.


Replace handlebars by substituting the OEM clamps with the aluminium handlebar mount. Alternate the tightening of the bolts until secure.


Slip the pin down the tube and attach the steering damper. And you?re done!
 

Offline JourneyMan

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LuckyStriker?s R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2006, 09:40:19 am »
Stunning write up LS!  8) This should go to all the bike mags out there.
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Offline droffarc

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LuckyStriker?s R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2006, 09:42:06 am »
Nice!  8)

Saw one just like it in front of putt putt at three anchor bay yesterday.
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It is far easier to destroy than to create.
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Offline LuckyStriker

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Various
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2006, 09:42:44 am »
There are three other pieces of bling that I have not covered here.
One is the HP2 engine protectors. They are easy enough to fit without instructions.
Just look how they protect the injectors and cables. Brilliant!


Another is the 30mm Touratech handlebar risers. They are also quite easy to fit and need no introduction to you lot. The steering damper pin was too short though and I had to have a longer one made at my nearest engineering shop (R100.00 including materials ? cheap!)




Thirdly I installed a Stebel Nautilus Air Horn. No it does not play La Cucaracha? It is apparently incredibly loud and the blast wave can overturn small vehicles when used in traffic. Unfortunately my installation was less than successful. Everything went really well until I pressed the button. All that came out was ?click?. I spent the remainder of Woman?s day on the problem while my wife still waited for breakfast in bed. I didn?t miss her until lunchtime when I became a bit peckish.
To make a long story short. I uninstalled the Air horn again and replaced it in it?s box. I will try again one day when I have the time and report back to you guys.


Lastly, I eagerly await my Touratech Steel Headlight protector. It resembles a braai grid and will fit over the headlights as you can no doubt surmise. That should make my bike look even more gnarly!

Laugh if you will but just remember: I do these things so you don?t have to. Think of me in your prayers tonight.
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Ram Mount
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2006, 09:43:39 am »
Oh, I almost forgot? I also fitted a Ram Mount.

Now I can film and ride at the same time!




Of course I can fit it almost anywhere on the bike for some really cool MotoGP footage ?as long as I can aim the remote control at the camera to activate it.

That?s all for now. Watch this space for more amazing bling-bling on my pimped up biaatch! ?err, I mean bike

Any questions?
 

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LuckyStriker?s R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2006, 09:47:43 am »
Nice write-up LS. I am surprised the engine / tank / crash bars are so soft. Damn. One thing you omitted from your report: The stealth technology that hides your numberplate from being photographed! :wink: No worries about spead cameras then! :lol:
 

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LuckyStriker?s R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2006, 09:55:48 am »
Way to go Cyril Naidoo !
Hey man, that bling is blinging man.

Best writeup I have read on the GSA to date.
 

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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2006, 10:13:06 am »
Excellent write up Cyril. Consider bike journalism, I believe you have talent for it.

What does that bring the total of the vehicle too? Looks like you spent a total of just under R145-50 000 minus panniers?

Huge investement, but I am deadly sure you will enjoy her to no end.

Hope you can get better crashbars.
 

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LuckyStriker?s R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2006, 10:26:45 am »
Wonderful writing, LS. Love your comparisons eg. crusading war horse & East German chicks. Very informative too and I agree with the others that it is the best review I've seen anywhere on the GSA.

Very (extremely) pretty bike as well. Now let me think, I am a short-arse and always under financial strain and I don't want to get rid of the KLR but maybe, ah, decisions decisions. Would be lovely to have two red beasties in the stable. Let me go and play the Lotto.

Enjoy the bike and may you have lots of dirty time with her.
 

Offline BlouVark

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LuckyStriker?s R1200GS Adventure Report and Pimp Guide
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2006, 10:47:33 am »
Thanks LS, verrry nice write up. She looks purty.

I'm only disappointed with the crash bars, Maybe somebody will come up with something stronger. A work friend is friends with Hannes Grobelaar(racing driver) & on a recent trip, both dropped their bikes & broke the spots(1200GSA), maybe this was due to the crash bars not absorbing the impact.

Many happy miles.
You can always rinse the surface
but the stain will remain.
 

Offline greenmamba

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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2006, 12:17:26 pm »
Excellent report - you certainly set a very high standard indeed
quot;Nothing worthwhile is easy"
 

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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2006, 12:19:48 pm »
Could it be that the bars are made soft for a purpose?
Maybe a rigid bar will rip things out the engine like the skid plate does.

Crumple zones, like cars.