Preparing the Bikes
The majority of the work on the bikes was done by Arno, he is more mechanically minded and has lots of experience from his first trip. I helped where possible and tried to learn more about my bike where I could.
Arno’s BMW R100GS PD Classic (Black Betty)
Arno’s bike had had a complete overhaul recently, as she had about 120,000km’s on the clock and has already completed the overland route to Australia. In addition the drive shaft and the cam shaft chain had been replaced at 100,000km.
The Engine was taken apart, the cylinders checked and found to be ok, the piston rings were still within their limits but exchanged anyway. The valves and guides were worn but had no play (amazingly good for 120000km). Willi Wegramf took a look at the gearbox and the drive unit, a few seal rings and one big bearing needed replacing and that’s it! Again surprisingly good for 120000km. The clutch plate we exchanged too, as we had the gearbox out anyway and it doesn‘t cost much.
A little welding and painting followed by a new rear shock absorber and she was ready to go again.
Black Betty was already equipped with aluminium boxes made by Arno’s brother, each with a capacity of around 45 litres and an aluminium plate fixed to the centre stand to protect the gear box. A single seat replaced the normal seat, providing more secure storage space behind the rider. Last but not least a medium size tank bag complete with side pouches, great for keeping water bags in.
Just before the bike had to be shipped, the gearbox had to come out again, as the gearbox exit gasket leaked. Why? who knows. The spark plug cable had a few cracks in the insulation and let water in occasionally, No big deal, but to find the problem took some time. Finally the Carburettor gaskets were replaced, as they go hard after a while.
Sian’s XT600E needed a bit more work !!
The first decision was about luggage, should it be soft (Ortlieb bags) or hard (Alu boxes). After lots of discussion, research and sleepless nights - well OK, night, I plumped for alu boxes, mainly as they offer more security and also more protection for me and the bike when I end up dropping it for the nth time!! I was lucky that a friend had recently sold his XT, but still had a pair of Därr boxes and a carrier system lying around in his garage. Arno got it fitted onto my XT with a bit of adjustment, so saving him the job of having to build a carrier. (Thanks Phillip!!)
Next job was to make a windshield, we had a look at a few bikes, to get some ideas, then drew a template and cut a shape out of a sheet of Perspex. We had to shape it, to fit the bike and make it somewhat aerodynamic, so made it hot over our new Primus multi fuel cooker and bent and shaped it to the right size. We filed it a little and added a rubber rim, (to satisfy the boys in blue - or green) then bolted it on and Voila!! Not a bad result, a bit more wind noise, but a lot less wind (and rain) to my body.
The biggest problem was finding a second hand Acerbis tank to fit, we have already tried 4 :- ( Two of which were long shots anyway, but the other 2 were bought from people who should know better!! Luckily we had made sure that we could return the tanks if they didn’t fit. It Looked like I was going to have to shell out 200 Euros for a new one……………
Well I got away with 180 Euros but the tank came without a fixing kit. Just the excuse Arno needed to go off and get himself a thread cutting kit!! He fixed up the tank, also mounting petrol filters in between the petrol taps and the carb. Now with a few extra spare parts to fill my alu boxes, and a new tank bag, the bike is ready to go!
Posted by Sian Mackenzie at August 30, 2002 10:16 PM GMT