Congratulations with your recent purchase of a RE 2004. That makes two of us. The difference is that i have not yet seen my RE, and I will not for another two months or so. Therefore it is nice to receive you good report about the welding that year etc...
Leigh is the better man to ask (indeed, he is a R/RE encyclopedia on two wheels). However, I've had an R for quite some time and received answers about the RE from many helpful people here, so let me begin:
The usual problems:
Rain makes the bike run poorly/makes it stop (sollution 1: Use isolation tape or something equivalent around the rear end of the coil where the spark plug lead enter. Or wait a few minutes to let the water evaporate)
(sollution 2: If very heavy rain it might be the spark plug well that is "drowned", and the sollution is again to wait a few minutes letting the hot engine evaporate the water)
The fuel filter inside the carburetor gets clogged by dirt (sollution: Take it out, throw it away, and use an inline filter instead. It might be wise to do this modification before going on a long trip). This happend to me in the Iranian desert. I had no idea what the problem was, but the mastermind Aukeboss further up this page saved my day. Thanks again Auke!
Broken decompression wire on R's (though I believe the RE has a wireless patent. If it is a better patent is another question)
The fifth gear wears out after 30.000km, though it has yet to happen to my R (sollution: Replacement)
Another common gadget to bring along on a long trip is a back-up CDI unit (then again, I have had no need for such replacement so far)
Wonky the adventurer further up this page (hello Wonky!) experienced that the oil hose between the Ohlins rear shock and the oil reservoir to the right of the carburettor ruptured. Resourceful as he is, he found a mechanic - somewhere in Cambodia I believe - that were able to seal the hose. (However, is this the type of Ohlins you have? Photos of the RE 2004 shows no shock oil reservoir to the right of the carburettor)
Otherwise, take a search around the HUBB here where you can read more about these issues. Also, I'm sure the other guys here have a few things to add.
For long trips the smartest thing, in my experience, is to keep your bike simple and free of fancy unoriginal gadgets and sollutions. However, these are exceptions:
The 20 liter Acerbis tank has good reputation among the R/RE people. It is simple, easy to repair, and need no fuel pump (that might fall apart and ruin your trip) as gravity will assist in emptying the tank to the last drop. A safe and smart purchase.
Acerbis does also supply some purposeful neoprene stockings for your front fork (protects the fork seals from sand and dust)
Then you might want a luggage system. My experience with the rack from Hepco & Becker has been nothing but good (although some bikers worry it might not be strong enough). Another supplier which seems to be good is Metal Mule in the UK.
Germany has some good suppliers of R/RE stuff, such as www.kedo.de
(which supplies the Acerbis tank, the H&B rack, and a LOT more). Their catalogue can be downloaded (30MB or so, so you might wanna make some coffee before you bet started).
Then you have the not-so-recommended suppliers (and this I cannot emphasise enough) you might wanna think twice before giving these boys a call:
(scroll down to the grim tank photos)
Finally - and this is very nice indeed - you can download the complete RE 2004 workshop manual at www.tt600r.de
(click the technik-link).
[This message has been edited by Eriks (edited 13 February 2006).]