8. Wiring in auxiliary power and/or a GPS.
There are two switched (with the ignition) power tails tucked up behind the headlight on the GS - fused at 7.5amps. However, getting to the required removing half the front bodywork, so initially I just ran a direct feed for my Garmin cradle from the battery, and only once I had more time back home in California did I wire in the GPS (and an auxiliary USB socket) to the loom, using the proper plug connectors (available on eBay) to the loom.
note. Rally-Raid offer a simple plate to mount a pair of auxiliary sockets, one either side of the ignition barrel, and running the wiring directly back to the battery is the most simple/quickest way of adding some additional 12v power to the cockpit.
However, if all you want is a single socket (as I did), then fortunately the dash panel on the GS has enough room to flush-mount a socket on either side - I chose to fit a waterproof dual USB socket (again supplied by Rally-Raid) to the left hand side, as that is typically where my phone or camera would be mounted on the bars:
The other switched auxiliary tail was connected to my Garmin GPS cradle.
9. Side-stand cut-out switch bypass/removal.
I've already mentioned it in a previous post above, but essentially if you wish to remove the side-stand switch to avoid damage and potential ignition problems when more seriously off-roading, then simply removing the switch itself, then following the wiring [which runs behind the engine] back to the loom connector next to the rear brake master cylinder, allows you to disconnect it entirely. Note however you will need to join the black/green and yellow/blue wires together (leaving the red/green wire free) if you actually want the bike to run! I simply cut the original wiring tail to the switch a few inches along, soldered and sealed the joint/loose end, and ticked the tail up next to the loom connector. This way you could reinstate the switch in future should you ever wish to.
In practice, you can actually just leave the side-stand bolt with a bare end (see below), although you might want to add an M10 nut (note. metric fine thread) for neatness and extra security.
photo. nut added, although this ny-loc was actually a little too deep - you need a more shallow jam/locking nut ideally, or an acorn style perhaps.
10. R&G side-stand foot.
The design of the R&G side-stand foot is generally good, however, the top plate is quite thin and the countersunk screws that hold it on only thread in part of the way - so if you snag it hard on a rock or log, it can ping off - as it finally did in Moab:
My solution is to simply drill through the three holes in the aluminium base, and re-tap them all the way through - then use bolts and penny washers to spread the load better. All you need to do is tighten the bolts [with some blue thread-lock] all the way through, then trim any excess length with a grinder/Dremel so the base of the foot is flat again.
Much stronger, and hasn't dislodged since.
11. Revised gearing.
Once I started to take the GS off-road a bit more seriously (in technical and steep terrain) I felt the stock 16/40 gearing really was too high - forcing you to slip the clutch and typically ride much faster than you might wish too [to maintain traction], to avoid it cough-stalling.
Once I'd finished riding in Moab, I changed the rear sprocket for a 43T version:
Which immediately improved things, to the extent that 2nd gear was no far more useable off-road more of the time, and there was less chance of a cough stall once you were rolling.
However, the downside to this is that you've basically dropped 5mph off your top speed (in top gear) for the same rpms as before, and you also need to fit a longer chain - which I did:
The alternative of course is to fit a 15T front sprocket that offers a pretty similar final drive gear ratio reduction, but allows you to keep your original chain. note. at the time these were not widely available, hence me going the more expensive route.
Therefore, based on the stock gearing being 16/40 - that equals a 2.5 ratio...
15/40 = 2.67 = -6.3%
16/43 = 2.69 = -7.0%
15/41 = 2.73 = -8.5%
15/43 = 2.87 = -12.8%
note. the percentage change is the drop in speed for the same amount of RPM, or conversely the % increase in torque.
So in summary, changing the front sprocket by -1 tooth offers a little less % change than adding +3 teeth to the rear, while going to 15/41 offers more of a drop, and is, as I suspected, probably the best combo for more serious off-road use, while retaining reasonable on-road performance too. Any more than that (eg. 15/43) would be too much of a compromise on road I imagine.
12. Alternative tyre sizes.
Initially I fitted Continental TKC80s in 110/80x19 and 150/70x17 sizes, and ran those up until Moab (approximately 6500 miles). note. the rear still had quite a lot of tread left on it by then, but I'd already arranged to purchase a new tyre - and wanted to try a more narrow profile anyway.
I fitted a 140/80x17 to the rear, and considered that the bike immediately felt more lively, with no obvious detriment to it's on-road handing either.
Similarly, once I got to Des Moines (after 11,500 miles - yes, I'm cheap) it really was time to change the front, and I went for a 100/90x19 instead - again, being around half an inch narrower than previously, which seemed to offer a noticeable improvement when cutting through soft and sandy terrain.
note. the 100/90x19 front TKC80 is a tube-type only, while the other sizes are available tubeless.
In combination to my revised fork settings (see below), I feel the bike is now very sure-footed, and is less likely to 'float' on loose or soft terrain - and has dramatically reduced the propensity for the front to washout - rather cut in and hold a line better.
Personally speaking, I feel this is the ideal tyre size/tread combination for this size and weight of bike - in fact I might even experiment with a 130 width rear tyre next time (note. this would only applicable on the Rally-Raid spoked wheels which have a 3.5" wide rear rim compared to the 4.0" of the cast standard wheels)
13. Fork rake.
When I initially built and tested the bike (with the wider 110/80x19 front tyre) and the suggested 10mm or fork leg showing above the triple-clamp, I felt the front end was slightly ponderous on loose surfaces, and could even wash-out with little provocation - not ideal.
I gave it a few thousand miles for the tyres and suspension to bed-in, but was never 100% happy with it compared to my CB500X on exactly the same tyres for example... Once I got to Moab, I slide the forks through the triple clamps until just a couple of mm was left showing, and immediately the front of the bike felt much more stable, and would carve corners much better.
Personally, I feel (with my suspension set the way I like it - typically a little softer at the rear for traction), that the slightly more relaxed rake [if only by a degree I imagine] is enough to get the front tyre working properly on this bike. I'd say it's even better now I've got the thinner 100/90x19 size on the front too.
note. I feel that BMW over-specced the OEM size tyres on this bike primarily to give as large a choice of brands as possible, and that the bike is rated to carry quite a large load (including two adults if required). However, when riding solo, and especially off-road, I found the OEM sizes [with a knobbly tread at least] can feel ponderous and sluggish.
14. Tool stowage.
Initially I was concerned there may not be much room under the seat (compared to my Honda CB500X) for stowing all my trail-tools and bodge-it spares.
However, I was pleasantly surprised just how much room there is for everthing, including space (in the side panels) for a trio of MotionPro T6 tyre spoon/wrenches. In fact the only thing I've not been able to stow under the seat or on the bike itself is my 12v Bestrest compressor (plus a spare tube that fits inside the fairing panel on the CB500X). note for more info about the tools and spares I carry, see the first page of the Beemer Beemer chicken deener ride report.
15. Ghetto oil change (and centre stand)
Finally for now, a couple of handy hints for life on the road....
First of all, my suggestion for a ghetto oil change (copied from my ride report):
All you need is a US gallon/4L jug of water, and ideally some rag and a large plastic trash bag - plus however much fresh oil you need of course.
The idea here is you first empty the drinking water into your Camel-bak, and any other water bladder you may have (for example I have a 3L bladder in my Camel-bak, plus I carry a 2L Ortlieb bag for extra water around camp) - you then have an empty gallon jug with a spout.
You lay it on it's side and cut an opening in one side of the plastic jug (the gallon ones are usually square/flat sided you see), and now you have a 4L oil pan that should typically fit under your dual-sport/ADV bike.
Once you dumped the oil (using the trash bags to help avoid any spills on the ground of course), you can clean everything up using a rag (initially I looked for a tea-towel, but found a bundle of four face-cloths for just a single dollar in Walmart - result!), and the old oil in the jug can then be poured via the spout into the now empty bottles from your fresh oil.
Finally you can wrap everything up in the trash bag/s and dispose of them appropriately.
The second is how to lift your rear wheel for chain maintenance and/or to remove the rear wheel...
Basically just wait until you spy a handy log [or rock] and use that*, it saves carrying around a hunk of metal slung under your bike the whole time ;o)
*alternatively if you don't want to be quite so ghetto, the Endurostar trail-stand
is a commercial product that does much the same thing, is light weight and easy to stash in your luggage.
Hope that helps... and do feel free to ask any questions of course!