G310GS Adventure kit - build hints and tips - BMW G310 R/GS Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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G310GS Adventure kit - build hints and tips


I thought I'd get the ball rolling with regard to the build of my own personal G310GS Adventure kitted bike - and much as I've done with the CB500X over the past few years, hopefully pass on a few useful hints and tips that ought to compliment the official fitting instructions from Rally Raid Products.

To clarify, I'll be fitting exactly the same parts that you can buy direct from Rally Raid to my own bike - and their instructions are designed to make that process as straight-forward as possible of course; so this thread will be more about how I've incorporated a few of my own personal touches and additions/modifications to the base bike - to make it more appropriate for my own needs...

Certainly the primary reason for me choosing to buy/ride a G310GS this year, is to see how a lighter weight ADV bike might further enhance (or at least give me even more margin for messing around) my exploration of more technical off-road riding than is perhaps prudent on my existing CB500X.

Now don't get me wrong, the Honda CB500X (with the LEVEL 2 Rally Raid kit fitted) is an exceptionally good all-terrain long-distance travel bike - and rightly so, as I worked closely with John at Rally Raid Products to make sure it was everything you might want for a genuine 'round-the-world' style all-terrain bike - something it has gone on to prove comprehensively now in the hands of many owners, as far as UK to India, the length of Africa, all around South America, the Australian outback, and from Alaska to Argentina too...

But while the twin-cylinder Honda makes short work of most 'adventure' riding conditions (and even some much more extreme riding, in the right hands of course), it does still weight in around 200Kg full of fuel - and once you add some luggage too, then you do have to start to be careful once the more established trail starts to run out...

Therefore the G310GS 'Adventure' project was designed to fit in just underneath the CB [in the Rally Raid range], to compliment that bike with a slight bias towards more off-road riding - not least in being a useful 25+Kg lighter in weight, and with more conventional dirt-bike ergonomics/geometry - albeit this does inevitably come at the expense of slightly less on-road performance due to it's lower-powered single-cylinder engine.

A long-distance real world test

My intention this year is to see how it directly compares to the sort of riding I do/have done on my CB500X - including a cross-country ride right across the USA, together with a series of more technical trail and off-road riding challenges which ought to make up for any comparative lack-lustre performance on the highway - in other words, I intend to take the road less travelled, time my time, and enjoy the benefits of a [even] smaller more nimble machine.

In that regard I'll be running a dedicated ride-report/blog here for you all on G310Rforum.com once I get start on my travels this year - focusing on how the bike performs, and all the interesting places and people I encounter along the way - so rather than fill that up with too much technical info and/or questions and answers, I thought it made sense to focus on the bike and my modifications here in a separate thread.

So, after that rather longwinded intro... you probably want to see some photos, right?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Some of you may already be aware that I've paid a deposit on a bike on the east coast (Virginia), and will be flying over there next week to collect the bike, and to start the 'Adventure' build with the Rally Raid parts:

photo. what's going on here then?

While I've always bought my bikes on spec (and only ever because I primarily liked the look of them, yes, I'm that superficial), this is the first time I've bought a bike without actually seeing one first - in fact to ensure there would be one available for me at this time of year on the east coast, I committed to buying one at the beginning of the year - before I'd even ridden the Rally Raid demo bike!

It's been mentioned elsewhere on this forum already, but since the issue of weight is always a hot topic these days (despite it basically being negated by how many pies you've eaten or how much crap you intend to lug with you), the idea with the Rally Raid G310GS Adventure project was to try and ensure that the core upgrades would be 'weight neutral' - in other words, even with the spoked wheels and suspension fitted, the bike still weighs around the same as the stock machine, which it does!

Of course if you then start to add other accessories (eg. even more aggressive/knobbly tread tyres will weigh more than the OEM rubber don't forget) then the weight will start to creep up; but conversely when you consider that swapping out the stock exhaust for the Scorpion system saves a very useful 2.6Kg - this immediately helps to off-set any additions such as the engine guard and Barkbusters etc.

Outline specification

So keeping that in mind, the spec of my bike has been designed to keep added weight to a minimum... I'll be fitting the LEVEL 1 suspension (note. the aluminium-bodied and adjustable shock is actually 1.5Kg lighter than the OEM shock already!), and spoked wheel kit (+0.85Kg in total) - plus the Adventure engine guard, R&G radiator guard and Barkbusters which I consider essential protection for this kind of bike and the riding I plan to do.

I have made a couple of concessions for convenience and ergonomics: I'll be swapping out the stock handlebars for Renthal Fat-bars (and the Rally Raid riser/fitting kit) - not only for additional strength, but for better control and cockpit ergonomics when riding off-road; plus have specced the remote preload adjuster for the LEVEL 1 shock, as it's possible that proportionally the laden [luggage] weight vs. unladen weight will be more pronounced on this lighter bike.

Otherwise, my own 'personal' mods have focused on reducing weight, and improving the looks - because yes, I am that superficial...

The first thing that HAS to go is that big wanger tail fender extension - fortunately R&G offer a tail-tidy kit that moves the light and licence plate up under the rear of the seat, and allows the OEM (or aftermarket if you prefer) turn-signals to be retained.

However, since I plan to use my tried and trusts Giant Loop Coyote luggage bag over the back seat of this bike too, I also have no real need for a rear rack - so I've elected to replace that with the grab-handles of the G310R model, saving a further weight and really neatening up the back end of the bike I feel?

I will also fit the Scorpion exhaust system too, which as I highlight above - ought to go a long way to offset the additional weight of the engine guard and the more aggress tyres.

Ultimately I will also be fitting the Rally Raid heavy-duty foot-pegs and shorty adjustable brake and clutch levers, once they are available.

So, standby for some further updates (and maybe even some video) of the build very soon, once it begins next week...

More soon,

Jenny x

ps. Yep, those silver fork/radiator shrouds are being painted too - Batman will be so proud.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Just got a photo from my dealer... the silver panels are back from paint, and the Rally Raid parts have arrived... I can't wait to get my hands on it now!

More soon!

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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The bike is finished!

Stand by for a detailled report with my observations and hints & tips for consideration soon!

Jenny x
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-12-2018, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Apologies for not getting the initial build photos up just yet - they will follow soon I promise!

In the meantime... if anyone is interested in how easy it is to access the air-box/filter, and or remove the front bodywork of the bike, it's not... dozens of sodding bolts (although most are the same size/shape at least) to get all the bitty panels off - and you do need to remove the tank cover and grey side panels as one piece to get the air-box:

Once the panels are off, you can remove the snorkel pretty easily - just two clips on the top and it pivots forward to access the paper filer element inside:

The coolant bottle is much easier to access with the tank/side covers off too, although the handbook does say you can top it up with the fairing in place...

A handy hint that some of you may wish to incorporate, is to remove the side-stand cut-out switch - that way it cannot fail at an inopportune moment (of if it does, at least you'll know which wires to join together to bypass it):

photo. basically join these two: the black/green and yellow/blue wires - leaving the red/green wire free.

photo. with these two wires joined together, the bike will start and run in gear, even with the side-stand switch disconnected, and with no warning light on the dash - result!

Another thing I've incorporated this weekend, which again a number of you may wish to replicate is to wire in a USB socket to the switched Auxiliary connecters next to the headlight:

I bought a pair of female connectors from an ebay seller in Canada that connect directly to the connectors by the side of the headlight. One was wired to my USB socket, the other powers my Garmin GPS cradle, and both are switched with the ignition, which I personally prefer.

photo. plenty of room in the wings of the dash panel for a USB socket and/or a 12v/powerlet socket if you prefer.

photo. plenty of space on top of the headlight for the connectors.

Hope that helps anyone planning something similar...

More soon!

Jenny x
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ah, I thought I'd started this thread a while ago!

So, in no particular order, a few hints and tips I've incorporated into my own personal bike build, that you may wish to utilise during a similar bike build.

I'll try to keep the wording reasonably brief as extended photo captions, but feel free to ask me to elaborate on any elements of course...

So to recap from the previous posts, as most of you will now be aware from the Beemer Beemer chicken deener ride-report thread, I bought a new G310GS from a dealer [Frontline Eurosports] in Virginia back in April, and immediately fitted a LEVEL 1 suspension kit, together with tubed spoked wheels (the tubeless version were not available at the time), plus a number of other key accessories such as the engine guard (pre-production on my bike), Scorpion exhaust and fat-bar risers and Renthal bars. I also fitted the R&G tail tidy, radiator guard and side-stand foot - plus Double take ADV mirrors and Barkbusters with Storm shields.

You'll also notice I deleted the rear rack, and fitted G310R grab handles in it's place.

Finally, there were a few sundry RAM mounts (for my GPS, plus camera and phone etc.) and some custom colour-matched paintwork on the lower front fairing panels and under-seat side panels.


So, in no particular order, a few observations and recommendations I made initially, and during my summer of riding all over a big chunk of North America...

1. R&G Tail Tidy.

The kit comes complete with a replacement under-tray section - although technically that is the same moulding as the R version kit, with a couple of add-on metal filler panels you bolt in. I didn't bother and just left them off... In that regard, note that in really wet conditions, dirt can work it's way up inside the side panels around the exposed frame rails, but in practice it's not really been an issue.

2. R model grab handles.

Along with the tail-tidy, I think this dramatically alters the way the bike looks - for the better. It is certainly a lot more 'aggressive' and dirt-bike looking I trust you'll agree?

The handles bolt straight on with the original GS side panels, although you do need a couple of M8 washers on each bolt to space the handles down enough so they don't rub on the plastic panels - this is because the GS has slightly different shaped side cowls to the R model, even though the rack itself is the same part number for both bikes.

It's not essential, but to complete the conversion it's also worth ordering the plastic blanking/trim panel from the R model that covers where the rack bolts to the subframe [above the new tail-light].

It's worth noting that with both the rear fender extension and rack deleted, you will end up with a stripe of dirt/water up your back in bad weather conditions.

Ultimately with the Scorpion exhaust and rack deleted, you are saving a good 10lbs in weight over stock.

3. Removing the chain guard (and shock shield).

This is very easy to do with just a 5mm allen key. I left the chain guard off for the whole trip as it made it easier to inspect and lube the chain. Initially I had to remove the shock shield too (as I had the hydraulic preload adjuster fitted to my shock) but later refitted it once I'd been able to trim it with a Dremel (below).

4. Modifying the OEM shock shield (with the hydraulic preload adjuster fitted).

If you spec the hydraulic preload adjuster on either the LEVEL or LEVEL 2 shock, you will need to cut a small crescent out of the plastic shield to refit it. I did this once I got to Arizona (and got hold of a Dremel to do a neat job) and I have to say the plastic shield works very well to keep the dirt of the shock shaft.

note. alternatively you could fit a neoprene 'shock sock' boot instead if you wanted of course.

5. Fat-bar clamps and risers.

I specced the Rally-Raid billet [Fat] bar risers and Renthal RC High bend alloy bars - much tougher, and ergonomically more 'trail/dirt-bike' too. Together with using one 10mm spacer/packer, this gave an overall rise of around 45mm to the grips when compared to stock, and also meant that at the angle I like my bars, the Barkbusters fitted very neatly into the recess in the stock screen too:

6. The 20mm Barkbuster mod.

Following on from above, I find that drilling a new hole 20mm inboard of the original hole in the universal Fat-bar Barkbuster spines helps to keep the guards tucked in neatly around the controls (the brake master cylinder particularly), and also parallel to the ground - offering maximum protection.

7. DoubleTake Mirrors (and RAM accessories).

I fitted a pair of the DoubleTake mirrors straight away - these use a 10mm threaded RAM ball in each mirror mount (which comes as part of the kit), although be aware that the right hand mirror mount on GS has a left-hand [reverse] thread, so you'll either need the Rally-Raid adaptor, or purchase another clutch side clamp with a traditional right-hand thread (ultimately I bought an aftermarket one from a local motorcycle store, since they are pretty universal).

Along with the two RAM balls for my mirrors, I had another [bolt-through style] on the bar clamp to mount my GPS cradle, one other on a tab on the left-hand mirror stalk for my phone bracket or GoPro, and finally a clamp style one on the left hand side of the engine guard for those 'Top Gear' style video clips:


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2018, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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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!

Jenny x

Last edited by JMo; 10-25-2018 at 01:07 PM.
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