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  #1  
Old 21 Aug 2007
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What do i need todo to my 1200gsa for a rtw trip

Just wondering what can or should be done to prepare my bike for my rtw trip?
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Old 21 Aug 2007
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Lots you can do...

I´d start with lighting. The stock lighting isn´t good. Throw on an HID kit on the stock low and high beam, or add some decent foglights. If not, bring an extra H7 bulb, they tend to burn frequently.

The stock Showa shocks dont last long either, less if you´re loaded. Look into Ohlins or Wilbers.

The 12GSA uses up at least two rear brake pads for every front. Expect to change rear brake pads at 20,000 kms, 12,000 miles or so. Maybe double that for fronts.

A washable air filter is probably a good idea.

Will you be riding in places with leaded gasoline? if so, replace your header/y-pipe and get rid of the catalytic converter.

Get a comfortable seat if you´ll be doing long days on the saddle. The stocker is torture after a few hundred kms/miles.
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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Bike preperation .. something not in the FAQ yet ..

There are the generic answers .. things you do for all bikes .. and specific stuff for an individual bike ..

For your bike look at the serviceing requirements .. and work to those.

The genric stuff...
Well I'd not worry about lights .. you should plan not to ride at night.. so improving the lights is not required. I'd look at a good horn though.

Go for weight reduction where possible.

Go for making life easy - things that are minor anoyances now will be major frustrations when you have been riding for 80 days ...

The longer you sit and look at the bike thinking of making it simpler the better it will be .. Less is More.
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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Build up a proper toolkit! Very important! Here's a link:
http://www.r1200gs.info/misc/toolkit.html
Also, learn how to maintain the bike yourself. Be one with your bike!
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=217899
http://www.advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=3

BTW...my '05 1200 GS has stock WP shocks. Did they put Showa's on the new bikes or the GSA's? Anyways, it doesn't hurt to have new shocks, but i haven't YET heared of any miserable failures with the stock shocks. I got a set of Wilburs for mine, but i also got a good deal on a used set...major bling!
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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Yup, Showas on my 06 12GSA, go figure...

I understood the Sheikabooty's question to be specific to this bike. Therefore I mentioned only what I've found to be wrong with it. Plan as much as you like, you will find yourself riding at night at some point, as not everything goes as planned. When you do, you'll find the 12GSA lights are junk.

Depending on what kind of riding you'll do, a better bash plate might be in order too.
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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Sorry I should have been more specific in my question, it was in regard to my 1200 gsa, seeing as it has alot of the bits i would have bought on it already, I was wondering what anyone else has done with this specific bike to make it ready.

Thanks for the help guys
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheikyabooty View Post
Just wondering what can or should be done to prepare my bike for my rtw trip?
Sell it and buy a KTM?
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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why a KTM ??
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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Ktm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arno vaassen View Post
why a KTM ??
Just because I like them!

Seriously? Because the big BM's are too heavy.
I'm in India at the moment and If I did the trip again it would be on a bike half the size.

I Like the KTM's but a TransAlp/XT600/650 BM, etc. would also be adequate.
I'm talking about a solo bike here.

John
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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ok John

but now your talking about the weight,and thats true the bmadventure is heavy.What aboit the weight from the KTM ??
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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Think about changing the battery - it seems that flat battery problems are rampant with the 1200's .Leaving the lights on for just a few minutes can leave you stranded. Get a good quality dry cell battery that won't leak.
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  #12  
Old 22 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheikyabooty View Post
Sorry I should have been more specific in my question, it was in regard to my 1200 gsa, seeing as it has alot of the bits i would have bought on it already, I was wondering what anyone else has done with this specific bike to make it ready.

Thanks for the help guys
From what i can tell, the only diference between the GS and the GSA is taller suspension, extra lights, large fuel tank, protection bars and tubular pannier racks. Engine, transmition and drivetrain are all the same, and the Adventure comes with spoked wheels. I still advise you make up a toolkit and learn how to use it. The stock toolkit doesn't even give you a tool to remove the tires!
...oh yah! And get one of those foot pads attached to your sidestand, so your bike won't fall over in the dirt or hot pavement.
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Old 22 Aug 2007
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To see a broader view of mods to the GS I'd do some reading on ADV G-Spot
and other GS specific forums....there are many. Ask around. Shed loads of info and direct experience mostly from riders who never leave the USA but do ride a lot nonetheless.

If you are a good rider, pretty big and strong, then you could do RTW on the
GS-A. You have seen Long Way Round, eh? (Disclaimer!!)

But if you stay on highway or good dirt roads it should go OK. It's important to ride a bike that provides a certain level of inspiration. The GS-A wouldn't be my choice but it's still a great bike. Learn it well and take care of it and it will treat you well.

KTM's are great but tend to have just as many mechanical probs as BMW, if not more. But KTM's are getting better and better with fewer problems every year. I will seriously consider the new 690 dual sport when it finally comes to the USA. But I won't be a pioneer or Beta tester for KTM. I'll wait until a few
riders have done RTW on one first.

For now, I'll stick with my DR650. Cheap, cheerful, stone reliable and about 150 lbs. lighter weight than the R-GS-A. It's even got a great headlight!
On my dirt bike, I can feel the difference from adding just 10 lbs. Can you
imagine what 150 lbs. will do to your confidence in technical riding?

Patrick
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  #14  
Old 22 Aug 2007
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Sell it and buy an R80GS ! Just think of all those extra funds for your RTW.
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Old 23 Aug 2007
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Ok.. specific to the big (presently .. might be a 1300 next revision !)

Replace the alternator belt .. new one should be good for 20,000 miles ..
Learn all you can about how the bike electric work .. the mechanics in the remote areas are great with mechanical stuff so they can do that for you .. but the electrics are unknown to them so you'll have to handle any problems there!!!

---------------------
This is a first draft .. my ideas on bike preparation (generic). I'm not covering those things you'll find in the bikes workshop manual - maintenance, repairs etc. As they have already been addressed this is on the preparation for a long trip.
I've probably left some stuff out. And you may have different views ..edit and I'm still modifying it !!!

Please;
a) add to it
b) be critical of it and suggest how it can be changed
c) ?

Bike Preparation

This document assumes you are already performing the regular maintenance of the bike - changing oil and filters (oil, air and fuel). And that you can change tyres. All these things and more can be found in a workshop manual for your bike. The other things you should be doing are washing and polishing your bike and gear. You will find out more about your bike (and gear) if you do these things yourself. This is a guide only! Ues it it hone your ideas, not follow as a rule.

Individual models of bikes all have there strengths and weaknesses, the longer the bike has been around the more that will be known about its failings, however the longer it has been around the more millage it probably has. One of the reasons seasoned travelers tend to buy models with long production runs - the problems are known and the bike has few miles so you can plan on replacing things before they fail.

What you should consider well before you leave on your tip are;
Making life easy on the road,
Preventing or minimizing failures and
What fails?

The easy life.
Things that are inconvenient now may well to frustration that spoils your holiday. Anything that is concerning you now is something to be fixed, changed or modified so it performs so well you are happy as can be with it. An example is the side stand .. most (all?) bikes will sink in sand when placed on the side stand. The 'foot' needs to be about twice the area to keep the bike up!

Give the bike a full comprehensive service. Grease the swing arm bearings, steering head bearings. Change the fork oil, check for oil misting on the seals, gasket joints etc. Anything that is slightly off should be fixed now. It is much easier to do 'at home' rather than on the road.

Any spares you carry should be placed along side the part in use if possible. An exception to this is if the part is being carried for accident damage where the part should be carried in a location where it is not likely to be damaged if the working part is damaged.

Carrying luggage with the weight as low as possible makes the bike easier to pick up when it does fall over.

There is a good guide on minimizing your work load by using some techniques employed by people of shorter stature. Parking on a flat surface, with the bike pointing in the direction you will leave in all make sense but are not things most people consider due to the small amount of power required to over come the difficulty. But at the end of a long tiring cold/hot day you will be pleased by using these methods to keep a little energy . Linky to short bikers list.

YOU should be able to remove all major components on the bike using the tool kit you intend traveling with. If you cannot think about different tools and/or fasteners.

Suspension. One word that leads to lots more words. Good suspension will reduce the strain on the bike, you, your luggage and the wheels. There are a few articles on the web about setting up your suspension. Do not get confused - there are many different kinds of set ups - racing on a road circuit is completely different from doing the Paris-Dakar!! So look for a set up to match what kind of bike you have, and the riding you'll be doing. Remember you are touring with luggage. Road bikes settings are for around 10% stationary sag, trail bike around 30%. And sag is simply the amount of suspension travel used with you and your luggage on the bike .. Compared to having the wheels off the ground. Then you get into dampening .. Go read the article on the web. Linky to ohlins , wp?

Fashion dictates that mudguards are slim and small. All nice to look at but larger ones keep more dirt off you and the bike. In particular the rear part of the mudguard tends to be high off the ground .. Lower is better particularly on the front wheel where it will keep mud off the engine. Mud on the engine leads to over heating - reducing the engine life and oil life too. Good large plastic mudguards can be had – much cheaper than the originals and you can cut cooling slots in them to match the originals.

Preventing trouble.
Most travelers problems tend to be related to the weight carried. As most of the weight is on the rear, rear wheels, shocks and/or rear frame tend to be the problem areas. Reducing your luggage weight is very helpful. If the rear shock has not been serviced in the last year then I'd have it serviced. Actually I'd have it serviced before the trip anyways, unless it is fairly new or serviced in the last 3 months. Some replace the rear shock with an after market one. The rear frame should be looked at in terms of stress points caused by the luggage. Consider strengthening it. These areas need to be monitored while on the road too. Weight reduction can also be had by removing bits on the bike you don't need or replacing heavy parts with lighter parts. Rear vision mirrors on small trail bikes tend to be plastic - light and cheap. Some people use bicycle mirrors .. bit too small for me.

Some people obtain different wheel rims, spokes even hubs in an effort to obtain components that won't fail. This opens the possibility to change wheel sizes. Some say that 18 inch rear tyres are more readily available in remoter places. Probably true .. but the tyres are probably meant for light weight 125 or 250 cc machines ... I've used one on a R80G/S .. had to pump it up to 45psi to stop it weaving down the tar road. Think I'd rather wait a day or two for the right tyre .. and then you can get the right size too .. say a 17inch ..

You probably have made some electrical connections. Hopefully you have the fuse in close proximity to the battery positive terminal to minimize the unprotected lengths of wire. If an electrical fire does occur you need to disconnect the battery quickly. Most batteries are under the seat and can be hard to get too. Most have a single wire from the battery negative terminal. This single wire is an ideal disconnection method as it usually leads to (or can be made to lead to) an easily accessed point that you can use to disconnect the battery with out too much trouble. If you slot the end of the wire so all you need to do is loosen the bolt and slide the terminal out you can save some seconds off the disconnections time.

If you have an oil cooler or radiator it is liable to damage by rocks or sticks. A guard at the front can help, and if you look at the motocross bikes you can see the plastic guards used here. These are designed to stop the cooler being coated in dirt and mud and they also do a good job at stopping sticks and rocks. They can reduce the cooling power so watch that. The alternative after market aluminum guards also tend to reduce the cooling power, weigh about the same and don't do as good a job at stopping mud and dirt. Any guard may be forced back into the radiator .. I like the plastic ones for that reason. Buy them at a wreckers.. cheap and you will not be so troubled putting new holes in it.

At some time the bike is going to fall over. Barkbuster fitted to the handlebars can prevent damage to the leavers and switches. You should also see what 'hits' the ground when the bike has fallen over. Gently laying the bike over on the lawn can assist in finding out what will be first to the ground.

What fails
Of course flat tyres are probably the most prolific thing ..but we all expect those and get well practiced at them.

Well the rest depends on the bike model (and luck). But in general...

New things and old things tend to fail. This is know as the 'bath tub curve'. Insert curve here... Manufactures warranty is designed to take care of the early failures ... Old things are left to you and me to deal with. The message is - don't trust new stuff, run it before you go away for say a month at least. When does something become old? That depends on luck and usage.

Rear shock absorbers are popular for failing, as are batteries. Rear shocks fail by losing there oil and providing no damping, the spring still holds the bike up but it is like riding a pogo stick. The battery fails by not having enough energy to start the bike, sometimes it will fail to run the bike even if jump started. You can rig some wires up between two bike and ride them side by side to get to a place where you can get a battery. A car battery will do, bit heavy and large but fitted to the rear rack it will get you to a place where a bike battery can be had easily.

Bearings can fail - they usually complain loudly well before they collapse but a front wheel bearing can be quick and dangerous.

Electrical problems tend to be connections, clean these and coat them with grease. Check the 'back' of the connectors too- where the wires come in, this can collect water and be a flexing point. Switches are connectors too, have them clean before you leave. In some parts of the main wiring loom there will be connections from one to a few other wires .. sometimes these are in places where water collects and that connection will corrode over time. Try to keep the wiring looms sealed at least where they are exposed to rain.

Spares.
Rather than the stuff you think may fail, here I'm thinking of the consumables e.g. oil filters, air filters, oil, crush washers, spark plugs, tyres, tubes (if you use them), brake pads, fuses. You may like to include a fork seal, counter shaft seal ... etc etc.. Remember that weight statement made earlier?
The only stuff you should be carrying is the stuff

a) you KNOW you will want between now and the next place you can reliably get these parts.
b) you will need to fix ware and tear items - like flat tyres, that cannot be fixed now.

Ok.. that will keep your weight to a minimum. But it will mean you have to wait to get any parts you may need. The amount for weight in a fork seal is little, so up to you as to what you do. Personally one fork seal, a spark plug with cap, lead, a clutch cable, brake pads are all things I'd take. Brake pads? These can wear out in mud really quickly! Some carry parts that if the fail will stop you. Probably because that part has failed on them before and they think it will fail again. Their choice. I do this too, but only when the part is smal and light.

Buy a lottery ticket a month before you leave. Good Luck.
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Last edited by Frank Warner; 23 Aug 2007 at 01:39.
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