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  #1  
Old 7 Aug 2021
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Preparing a BMW R1200GS Adventure Liquid cooled model

I appreciate everyone has their views on what to do, but below is what I am doing in preparation of taking my bike to Africa on my LC GSA;


Why my own bike?: I have a September 2016 BMW R1200GS Adventure sitting in my garage and it has not ventured further than Spain and has under 11,000 miles on the clock. I am fortunate to have other bikes to ride for touring in Europe. I been to Morocco twice on my previous BMW’s ...

(1200GS 2011 model and I nearly ran out of fuel hence the switch to the Adventure model, then on a 1200GSA LC 2014 model which kept jumping out of gear under hard-load off-road. I understand that the pre-2016.5 (aka September 2016) liquid cooled engine gearboxes were weak and were subject to a recall which mine subsequently had. This recall was for a software update which protected the gearbox, or so I was lead to believe. BMW revised the gear box selector etc for the 2016.5 + models)

... and apart from gearbox issue I was very happy with the capability of the BMW's on and off the tarmac.

So my driver is to take my own bike is to get some use out of it and I do not want to buy another bike. This is what I have already done or intend to do in preparation is as follows:

Already on the bike/completed:
- BMW Recall to fork tubes – collars to fork tube tops fitted by dealer
- Full under body bash plate
- Bracing strut added to lower engine bars
- Plate added to lower crash bar to help prevent any penetration to the cylinders
- Steel stone grills added to radiators
- Side stand switch stone guard
- Rear drive shaft vent extender (waste of money I think)
- Machineart fender extender front and rear
- Foldable gear shift lever
- Frame rubbing guards around boot areas

To do:
- Add clutch and brake lever aluminium protection bars
- Head light guard
- Fit a TCK80 tyre to the front and a Mitas E07+ Dakar to the rear. I wanted a Motoz Tractionator GPS for the rear but not readily available.
- Get the rear shock absorber overhauled… The internet is full of reports of the standard LC (only?) shocks failing from anywhere from 11,000 – 20,000 miles. I have a local contact who can overhaul and upgrade the existing shock internals for under £200 and fully dynamically test the units on the bench… I may do this for the front as well as insurance.
- Fully service bike and do the valve clearances so it is good for another 12,000 miles. I have done all the maintenance myself on my BMW's once out of warranty.
- Add bladder filter inside the fuel tank to add a second layer of protection to the fuel pump.
So apart from the shock overhaul which is a pain to remove, all easy stuff.

I will also take;
- Soft panniers (I will not use the aluminium ones)
- TomTom Rider 550 GPS – Garmin are absolute rubbish (my opinion as a owner of one) but I will use it for displaying engine data and as a back-up.
- I will take my MotoScan Ultimate software and associated connection for fault diagnosis etc.


Any BMW 1200/1250 Liquid Cooled Adventure riders who have any additional advice or comments on these models, welcomed


Last edited by RedZed; 11 Aug 2021 at 02:17.
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  #2  
Old 7 Aug 2021
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Red face You probably do not want to hear this but

Could you change a fried clutch out there and would you have the tools and parts and know how to do so alone?
That was a question I was asked once. and one which made think really hard and conclude I'd be best to take my F650 Dakar instead.

I did own R1200GS and these images speak for themselves when my clutch fried.

My 2 pence- select another moto or prepare to have a) parts sent to you by Motorworks, put lots of money readily available on a card and do your homework as to where there maybe a few mechanics capable of helping you- they are few are far apart so your moto could spend a large part of its trip in the back of one or more lorries (if you have enough strong strap/rope)

So I was VERY glad I left the 1200 in my garage back home- Best decision ever- I never missed anything about it on my trip.A simpler motorcycle and accessible like an F650 Dakar is good for Africa- my own experience.

I know of an excellent independant BMW mechanic (to prepare your moto properly) in north Kent.
He changed my clutch on the 1200 - and he will even lend you a loan bike for you to get back home and back to him- get in touch if interested

Last edited by Toyark; 10 Nov 2021 at 10:31.
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  #3  
Old 7 Aug 2021
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Toyark, thanks for your view.

As already explained and for the reasons stated, I plan to go on my R1200GSA there is no way I wish to buy another bike. I am not shy on the mechanical side so I am not fazed even if I had to change a piston, tools and parts would be the issue however. I will do a complete service on the bike before I go.

What would your mechanic in Kent be able to offer?

One member on this site had the F650 Dakar and sold it in Botswana due to reliability issues and got a brand new Yamaha 250cc bike... however she was not mechanically minded.

Fried clutches are generally due to inexperience of desert riding, wrong tyres and an overloaded bike. I have no idea of your circumstances/skills etc so no offence meant and I appreciated you are offering advice with best intentions.

Last edited by RedZed; 8 Aug 2021 at 03:32.
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Old 7 Aug 2021
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Smile

''twas just my 2p!
Glad to read you have the skills. Happy trails
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  #5  
Old 7 Aug 2021
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No problem, thanks for the good wishes.

I have also had several years of desert riding experience which included a international 5 day desert enduro event during which I finished in a very respectable position, so I am fairly comfortable riding off road. However I appreciate a 1200 adventure bike is ‘slightly’ heavier than a 450cc enduro bike, lol.

Anyway it will be interesting for me to experience riding a GSA in an environment that it was supposedly designed to cope with. If the bike gets destroyed, then at least it has been used but I think it is going to be more than capable.

Last edited by RedZed; 8 Aug 2021 at 03:31.
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  #6  
Old 8 Aug 2021
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Hi RedZed.
The rear shock went on my wife’s 1200LC with 30K miles on the clock. She too got it overhauled (possibly by the same chap, who was excellent). I will get mine done over the next year, even though it’s fine at the moment - it’s a twin cam with 50K on the clock. The only thing I will do is get a heavier weight spring for my weight (100K stripped) and luggage.

Good luck with the trip - which bike to take is a difficult decision but I sometimes wonder if one is just better off taking the bike you know.

Keep us posted when you go
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Old 9 Aug 2021
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My advice as a BMW Technician and someone who has ridden to Capetown would be to leave the BMW at home and pick a much lighter and simple bike.

However, I sense you mind is made up on this so I won't go down that route. Plenty of people take R1200GS's all over Africa. Even the more fragile LC models.

You are correct. Get rid of that rear shock ASAP. The chances of it letting you down in Africa are 60-80%. They're crap.

Buy the MOTOSCAN android app and get a Bluetooth adaptor (Link LX etc). This will help you diagnose any faults you may develop. Although it's very unlikely anyone in Africa can fix them for you.

Get a brand new and high quality battery before you leave. Such as an Odyssey.

If you have RDC sensors in your wheels, remove them and have standard rubber valves fitted. These RDC stalks are very brittle aluminium and they snap easily.

BMW Spokes on LC's are well known to come loose. There have been various recalls for this. Check your spokes are all tight and correctly tensioned. You can do this easily by tapping them with a spanner or screwdriver. They should "ping". Not "Pong". You can tighten any loose spokes you find using a T30 and a set of pliers to hold the spoke. But only do this the minimum amount required. And if you have more than 5 or 6 lose spokes, you need the wheel re-built.

Learn how to plug your tyres. I prefer plugs over using stuff like Slime or other sealants. If the hole is bigger than the sealant can cope with, the sealant will prevent a plug from sealing too. Then you need a new tyre.

I would suggest you remove and grease up your drive shaft. They seize in place. Add Optimol TA paste to the splines of the shaft and also to to the universal joints with a small brush.

Apart from that have an independent specialist scrutinise the bike. Don't use a BMW dealer. They generally don't know feck all about anything.
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Old 9 Aug 2021
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Thanks for the advice Ted.

I am going predominately for the ‘ride on my GSA’ and the travels is secondary. I did part of my secondary education in Windhoek and I am fairly comfortable in this part of the world. I have been back to Namibia and Botswana three times in the last 8-years and twice was touring around in a Ford Ranger. Each time I have felt the urge to do it one of my bikes. Several local people that I have met on my revisits have turned out to have gone to the same school and some at the same time! This because there was only one main school anyway… but very useful



Back to the technical advice

I will get the rear shock overhauled and upgraded within the next few weeks. I was going to do the front as well but this shock is showing no sighs of any issues and I will have to dismantale half of the bike to get to it. The ‘risk-reward’ is something I can live with as the bike has only done 11,000 miles from new anyway! I have felt a slight wallow to the rear and hence my subsequent investigations. So I will get this done ASAP as planned

I already have the Motoscan Ultimate software on a Samsung tablet with bluetooth adapter, which I have been using for the service interval resets. This was on my list of items I will certainly be taking with me. I will also use this to recalibrate the rear shock once refitted.

New battery.. good advice I will follow your suggestion. The bike is already on its second one, the first was replaced under warranty.

Standard RDS sensors, another good suggestion, I will look to having these removed when I have the ‘Africa’ tyres fitted and leave the sensors in the UK. I will refit these on my return.

Spokes: I do check these yearly, but I will have a close look at these again before the trip.

Tyre kits: I have used the repair kits on road bikes, but will practice again on the tyres I remove, plus ensure I have a ‘fresh’ kit with me.

I have the Touratech tool box that fits inside the rear frame on the non-exhaust side. I keep a quality mini air compressor, the BMW tool kit that is not supplied with the bike, plus a tyre repair kit permanently in there.

Drive shaft splines: I did that a few months ago so that is good.

I am happy with my skills to check the bike over after getting tips from others, if anything fails then I only have myself to blame. I have had the bike from new and it has been well looked after. You can only prepare so far, then it is time to get moving. Lol

Thanks again for the tips Ted.


Last edited by RedZed; 19 Aug 2021 at 21:01.
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Old 9 Aug 2021
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You're welcome.

I would advise just ditching that ESA Sachs rear shock. They just let go for no apparent reason. ESA one's are worse.

It's the most common mechanical failure on a 1200GS/GSA LC.

Seems like you have everything covered. Just go ride now
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Old 19 Aug 2021
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I have proceeded for the rear shock overhaul and upgrade route at £195… I will post some reviews when I get the shock back.

I just need to fully service the bike; check the valve clearances, change the oil and oil filter, drive shaft oil change, air filter change, spark plug change.. then a good check over the bike (spokes, bearings etc),,,,, after which I will get the ‘africa tyres’ fitted and pressure sensors removed, battery upgrade and the bike should be ready to go.
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Old 20 Aug 2021
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For me, there is no point in sinking more money into aftermarket shocks, the rear is the one that generally fails on the LC GSA and this has been overhauled and upgraded.

I have nitrogen and all the kit for overhauling Kawasaki OEM shocks (showa?) and have done about 12 of them so far. In my experience there is no need to buy aftermarkets shocks as a ‘refresh’ of the originals, new spring, seals, oil and nitrogen recharge has them as good as new. I have never found any difference from a ‘quality’ aftermarket shock in my experience. Shocks after 10,000 miles need to have their oil changed to keep them in top form.

I went to someone else to do my BMW shock as I do not have the tools, parts, upgraded piston etc for this unit. I went around to the guys house to drop the shock off and he certainly knows his stuff and I was happy to have him do the work for me. The shock should be with me on Monday/Tuesday next week. I will post the review after fitting and testing.

Last edited by RedZed; 20 Aug 2021 at 19:46.
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Old 20 Aug 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedZed View Post
Fow me, there is no point in sinking more money into aftermarket shocks, the rear is the one that generally fails on the LC GSA and this has been overhauled and upgraded.

I have nitrogen and all the kit for overhauling Kawasaki OEM shocks (showa?) and have done about 12 of them so far. In my experience there is no need to buy aftermarkets shocks as a ‘refresh’ of the originals, new spring, seals, oil and nitrogen recharge has them as good as new. I have never found any difference from a ‘quality’ aftermarket shock in my experience. Shocks after 10,000 miles need to have their oil changed to keep them in top form.

I went to someone else to do not BMW shock as I do not have the tools, parts, upgraded piston etc for this unit. I went around to the guys house to drop the shock off and he certainly knows his stuff and I was happy to have him do the work for me. The shock should be with me on Monday/Tuesday next week. I will post the veview after fitting and testing.
Had this very conversation with a friend this afternoon and we both had the same sentiments. Wilber require an overhaul every 15K miles for the warranty - you might as well stick with the originals and overhaul them every 30K miles.

One piece of advice a mechanic gave me was to regularly change the setting on your ESA. Whether you need to or not, so I play with mine every other ride - it only takes a minute or 2. He reckons that riders stick to the same setting all year then try and change it when they go on holiday and it’s stuck - not sure how true that is but I do it anyway.
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Old 20 Aug 2021
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Totally agree flipflop, also changing the preload settings certainly a ‘must do’.
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Old 22 Aug 2021
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The LC models have a wet clutch at the front of the engine, so easy(ier) access.
Splitting engine and gearbox isthe method required for older model photographed - oil cooled, dry clutch.
I don't think replacing the clutch on the trip need be your primary concern - bring a set of clutch plates? fit a new kit before you leave?
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Old 22 Aug 2021
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I am not concerned about the clutch I was just responding to an earlier comment regarding ‘a generic large mechanical task’. The LC has a wet clutch and no separate gearbox oil to change also. I believe it also does not have a alternator belt, so overall maybe more reliable and a more modern design (lol, stand by for all the reactions to those comments lol).

The biggest risk in my opinion is the complex electronics, but I am armed with the necessary reader and software so I may know what is wrong, however I may not have immediate access to the solution.

Apart from an air and oil filter, associated crush washers and tools, I am not intending to take any spares with me. The bike has only done 10,500 miles from new and I am the original owner. I am hopeful that it will perform as required… watch this space!


Last edited by RedZed; 22 Aug 2021 at 16:10.
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