Beemer Beemer chicken deener! (Ride report) - Page 9 - BMW G310 R/GS Forum
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post #81 of 86 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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So I suppose you're expecting some sort of summary now?

Well, ok then - let's crunch some numbers first:


First up, I've now ridden the best part of 17,500 miles on this bike - over what was only 64 actual riding days - so that is an average of over 270 miles per day, and pretty much day-in and day-out.

There were of course some days that were significantly longer than that - a couple of 650 mile days back to back, followed by a trip maximum of 750 miles in a single day. There were also plenty of occasions where I would be riding in the high 300s or even 400+ miles each day - particularly while crossing through the mid-west earlier in the summer.

Wear and tear

Even when I'd been ragging this bike on the highway for hours on end - other than an increase in fuel consumption at higher speeds (70+mph), it never seemed to complain at all. Nothing mechanical broke, nor seems to have worn prematurely either. It's solid (well, at least my example seems to be).

In fact the only 'failure' has been the headlight bulb connector wiring - possibly due to vibration, causing the earth terminal to come loose and arc, melting the plastic connector plug. Even then, I have been able to crimp the spade connector tight[er] again, and continue - although it still seems to be an issue the dealer will need to sort out under warranty.

The only other 'wear' issue has been the cush-drive rubbers. I've had three sets now, and they have all worn what I consider to be prematurely - they were very loose at around 5000 miles (the first change, in Las Vegas), complete shot again by 12,000 miles, although I persevered until I got a new rear tyre fitted in Idaho (14,000 miles) - by which time the sprocket carrier bearing also showed signs of side-to-side play. The final set have not lasted more than a week (1,500 miles) before significant play was showing again - they are rubbish.

It doesn't seem to have used any oil so far, nor boiled any coolant away... and I would say you seem to get slightly better mpg using higher octane (or non ethanol) fuel - although equally keeping the speed down below 60mph sees your fuel range increase significantly - I've been regularly seeing a potential range of over 200 miles from the tank when I've filled it up recently, although I always end up filling up somewhere between about 150-175 miles typically.


I've changed the oil and filter four times so far - the first (600 mile service) in Virginia; and again at 4,500 miles once I got to California; then again at the MOA rally in Des Moines (10,500 miles), and finally in Idaho (14,000 miles) as a precaution - since there would be little opportunity to do it again before I'd been up to Canada and back to California.

I checked/cleaned the air filter at 4,500 miles, and replaced it at 10,500 in Des Moines.

I had the valves checked/serviced at 14,000 miles in Idaho.

I've been through two front and thee rear tyres so far - all Continental TKC80s. note. Initially I fitted a 110/80x19 front and 150/70x19 rear, but changed to the more narrow 140/80x17 rear in Moab, and a 100/90x19 front in Des Moines, plus a replacement 140/80x17 rear again in Idaho.

I also fitted a fresh set of rear brake pads (I like to trail-brake into corners, particularly off-road) in Idaho.

In Moab, I changed the OEM 40T rear sprocket for a 43T version, complete with new X-ring chain. Then in Idaho I refitted the OEM rear sprocket and a 15T front instead (shortening that existing x-ring chain to suit). The current chain and sprocket set-up continues to wear well with little need for adjustment.


Initially the basic bike cost me $6,250 (ex. tax and registration - as I bought it in Virginia, but would register & pay the sales tax back in California, which cost another $700 or thereabouts) including the custom colour-matching paintwork on the fairing and seat panels, and swapping the rear rack for the R model grab-handles and tail-trim from a bike they had in the showroom.

The Rally-Raid and other upgraded parts and accessories I fitted were as follows:

RR LEVEL 1 rear shock with remote preload adjuster

RR LEVEL 1 fork kit

RR Tubed spoked wheel kit (black rims)

RR engine guard (pre-production, but basically the same as the one you can buy now)

RR/Scorpion exhaust system (the non-cat version, ahem California)

R&G tail-tidy

R&G side-stand shoe

R&G radiator guard

RR Fat-bar risers

Renthal RC High bend bars

Double Take ADV mirrors (pair)

Barkbuster Storm hand-guards

I've just totted that lot up [based on the current exchange rate] and it is pretty substantial: $3,550 USD if you're buying everything at once... although if you're taking about just the RR spoked wheels and LEVEL 1 suspension kit (and you choose your own/alternative accessories or use stuff you already have), that package is going to be a far more palatable $1,876 - or $2,100 if you want the hydraulic remote preload adjuster like I fitted.

What else you decide is actually important is up to you of course. I would say the engine guard is essential if you're going to take this bike seriously off-road, and you always need to budget for a set of tyres when building up a bike beyond factory spec. - but otherwise, the brands and specification of those additional parts is really down to you...

Me, I wanted something that looked bad-ass - hence the added expense of the tail-tidy and the Scorpion exhaust; and ergonomically, I knew I'd be riding a lot of miles day-in and day-out, so the RR bar-risers and Renthal fat-bars were a significant upgrade over stock, and similarly I already use Bark-Busters and Double-Take mirrors on my other bikes - so indulged in those high-end/higher priced components as I feel they are worth spending the money on - particularly if you're in the habit of throwing your bike on the ground a lot ;o)

So there you go - all told, it was the best part of $10,000... so was it money well spent?

I think so. As I've punctuated this report from time to time - the basic bike (well, what I'd left of it) impressed me. For a small capacity single cylinder engine it feels smooth and refined - and overall the bike feels more like a low-powered 'adventure' bike [that just happens to have a single rather than multi-cylinder engine] - than a traditional dual-sport, and certainly the little GS is quite capable of eating up long distances far more comfortably than a traditional small capacity trail-bike would. There are a few shortcomings to the overall design (which I'll list below in my 'long-term likes and dislikes'), but on the whole, the packaging is pretty much perfect for the solo rider travelling with minimalist luggage - which is pretty much exactly what attracted me to it in the first place of course.

However, while I'm sure the stock bike is more than adequate for a large number of owners for the odd foray off paved highways, personally speaking - for the kind of riding I like to do, and have hopefully illustrated over this summer - I would not want to ride/own this bike without the Rally-Raid suspension fitted, and ideally the spoked wheels too.

Certainly a regular 'criticism' of the stock bike [in the press] is that it's not sure what it wants to be... it's not light and small enough to be a 'proper' trail bike, but it's not meaty or powerful enough to be a genuine 'adventure' bike (although I would respectfully disagree with that assumption, other than if you want to cruise endless highways at high speed, and carry a passenger and/or a lot of luggage perhaps).

Basically, it's fair to say the bike is effectively a compromise between the two [existing categories] - but I'd suggest that is not necessarily a bad thing - after all, 'adventure' bikes by their very nature need a degree of compromise on either side if they are going to be capable both on and off-road.

What I feel adding the Rally-Raid parts does, is actually give this bike focus. Once you've upgraded the suspension to something that can actually handle more aggressive off-road riding, then it starts to make a lot more sense. It effectively becomes a lighter-weight 'adventure' bike with an off-road bias - something that, should you wish, can be ridden much harder and faster off-road than anything bigger and heavier might allow you to do comfortably, or not without a lot more input and corresponding fatigue at least.

Sure my example still only has 7" of travel overall (for those unfamiliar, the LEVEL 1 suspension kit retains the original travel and ride/seat height), but it is very good quality and well-damped suspension, which makes the most of the travel available. I'd go as far as to suggest you'd have to be really clumsy to bottom out this bike with any regularity - and if you're really riding hard enough for it to start doing so, then as the saying goes: "check yourself before you wreck yourself!" - this is designed to be an all-terrain adventure machine, not an out-and-out enduro weapon after all!

So leaving any performance comparison with a competition enduro bike aside, what I've found is that when riding pretty much as hard as is prudent - particularly solo and with luggage, this bike can rip pretty hard if you want it to - especially if you're prepared to rev it into the top half of the rpm range and throw the bike around a bit more - it rewards you with plenty of feedback and [once I'd got it dialled in] plenty of grip and predictable handling - from both the front and rear end...

No of course it's not going to [ultimately] keep up with the EXC and CRF 450s of this world - but if you're simply out play-riding with your buddies, you ought not be all that far behind, unless they are on an absolute mission to lose you... ;o)

But again, we are still talking about a hybrid bike here - something that you can rag around on at the weekend with your dual-sport friends, but fundamentally, something you can then hop on and ride half-way (or even the whole way ;o) across the country to explore some new riding territory - and that is where this bike offers more than a typical small-capacity traillie, never mind a dedicated street-legal enduro.

Yes, as I built it, it costs significantly more than a 250cc class dual-sport - indeed getting close to the price of a dedicated competition enduro - but I'd suggest neither of those are able to offer the same sort of versatility as this particular GS is...? At the end of the day, I think it's just great to have another choice in the mix - and that being able to choose a solid platform as the basis for a personal 'adventure' build with the help of the aftermarket is really what our hobby has always been about?

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post #82 of 86 (permalink) Old 10-22-2018, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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But that is enough pontificating for now... here is my summary of the good and bad points, updated from my initial appraisal once I reached California the first time, way back in May.

Things I liked, and still like (and don't like, or have even grown to hate!)

1. Generally speaking, all you need to strip the bike [bodywork] down is a 5mm allen key, which is great. However, the design of the bodywork [the way it all interlocks with a bazzilion screws) is tedious. It ought to be much easier to get to the air-filter (if only to check it) on a bike designed to be used in the dirt - and similarly, it would be nice to have had easier access to 12v auxiliary power tails, without having to remove the whole front end just to get behind the headlight mask. As I mentioned previously, I also take issue with BMW using spring clip style riv-nuts on plastic tabs, rather than proper welded captive nuts on the frame itself.

2. Despite smacking the crap out of it in Moab, Colorado and during a good number of other occasions throughout the summer, it would appear that my side stand is particularly resilient to damage. Yes the design itself is poor, hanging down the way it does directly under the left-hand foot-peg, and well below the otherwise high and smooth engine guard - but I've been able to lift the bike using just the side-stand and a prop on the far side - and even strike a silly pose standing on the seat (see Horizons Unlimited in Nakusp recently ;o) That said, the stand leg itself has started to wobble a bit on it's mount now (although the mounting plate itself seems fine), so I wonder whether BMW will consider it a potential failure point, or just fair wear and tear now. I'll let you know after it's been in for the headlight wiring and yet another set of cush-rubbers under warranty...

photo. Side-stand has had a hammering, but seems to have stood up well after all. note. I removed the cut-out switch as a precaution, once I got back to CA initially.

3. The fuel economy is good. Originally I was going by what the dash/range read-out was saying - and dismayed that I was getting as low as 40mpg in some circumstances. Now it may just be that I'm riding a little slower - both due to lowering the gearing, plus taking more backroads and unpaved routes during the second part of my trip - but the mpg seems to have improved as the miles have piled on. I regularly see a potential range of 200 miles or more when I fill up - although I still tend to fill up between 150-175 miles (as soon as possible after the light comes on), when I get around 2.5 US gallons in the tank - so that's typically anywhere between 60-70mpg US, on TKC80s, with around 30lbs of luggage onboard.

4. The headlight low beam I thought was very good - and it turns out (after a couple of suggestions on this thread) that the High-beam is much better once the headlight is adjusted down slightly. Overall I'd say it's perfectly adequate for the kind of riding/speeds this bike was designed to do - and appreciably better than my Honda CB500X headlight is as stock. However, the headlight bouncing is still irritating (although not particularly to oncoming traffic it would seem), and may well have influenced the faulty bulb connector/melt-down.

5. I do like the comprehensive dash display - even though the screen layout is a little fussy, and indeed it felt odd riding my CB500X recently without a gear indicator, which I now take for granted... Turns out the single button [to both step through displays and program] is fine in practice. The only thing I've found is it's hard to see the green turn-signal warning light in daylight - well, that is my excuse for often leaving my indicator on anyway ;o)

6. Access to the battery and fuses is straightforward, and under-seat storage is small, but useful. The side cheek panels under the edge of the seat are great for stowing extra tools and spares in, but they do look a bit tatty now my Coyote has rubbed them for so many thousands of miles. Some call it patina of course.

7. As I've mentioned previously, there are some nice 'off-road' details, such as the frame protectors for your boots, the fact the low front fender comes off quickly with the minimum of tools if required (while the brake hose and ABS sensor wire remain in place), and similarly the chain-guard and shock protector and other matt plastics all seem to be well thought out.

photo. this was odd though - at some point it appears the heel guard loop for the left hand passenger peg snapped off somewhere?!

8. The stock footpegs. They are still not great, but I've got used to them - particularly once I got some new boots with much more rigid soles. They would still be much better if they were both wider and longer though.

9. I've bent (and bent back) the rear brake pedal so many times now, that actually the tip is pretty much where I'd want it to be:

However, as with the side-stand, it still hangs way too low and reduces the otherwise excellent ground-clearance (around 10") under the RR engine guard. As with the gear shifter, being made of mild steel has proved beneficial, in that I've been able to bend them straight again using a tyre-iron at the side of the trail. Worth noting is that the potentially vulnerable 'feather' brake light switch seems to be much more resilient than John imagined - although I've not been riding in really filthy muddy conditions like you often get in the UK of course.

10. Rally-Raid engine guard. What can I say, it's proved it's worth time and again this trip - with only the odd scar. I honestly don't thing you need any other protection on this bike, other than some decent [aluminium backbone style] hand-guards.

11. Tank covers/side panels. As with the skinny foot-pegs, I've kind of got used to them now... and I don't tend to ride standing up all that often (in trail/travel mode) anyway. I would still prefer the plastic panels to be either more narrow between the knees, or at least have the space filled with an actual fuel tank. Where are you Safari or IMS?

12. The seat (OEM standard hight on my bike). I've found it comfortable enough [often for many hundreds of miles at a time], but increasingly I am aware of the step in it, and how you are essentially held in one position. If you have the inseam for it, I would certainly suggest you consider a taller or re-shaped seat foam for improved all-day comfort.

So there you have it... a quick wash, and I feel it's stood up to an intense summer of all-terrain adventure riding pretty well don't you think?

photo. One careful lady owner etc. - never raced or rallied... yet ;o)

Do feel free to ask any specific questions I may have missed, or elaborate on any element above...

Toot toot for now!

Jenny x
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post #83 of 86 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Just picked my bike up from the dealer (San Jose BMW) this morning, having had the frame changed under warranty for the side-stand recall... for info. a few photos showing the changes:

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post #84 of 86 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 09:50 AM
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Brilliant read..
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post #85 of 86 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tukemeister View Post
Brilliant read..
Thank you Tukemeister! I have to say, it was a lot of fun putting it all together - building up the bike itself, planning the trip; and ultimately I was inspired by all the new places (and revisiting some of my favourite) I visited last summer... I'm itching to get out there again this year, especially up into Idaho and Montana again - they really are wonderful Adventure-riding destinations!

Jenny xx
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post #86 of 86 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Just a quick head-up for anyone within striking distance of Mariposa California this weekend - I'll be presenting two seminars at the Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting - the first is my latest Packing Light show-and-tell/Q&A session, scheduled for Friday morning at 11am. I'll be sharing my experience and suggestions for packing light for a typical extended adventure ride with an off-road and trail bias.

The second is a science fiction double feature - Part 1 and [the debut of] Part 2 of my huge trip last summer on the G310GS, featuring highlights of some of the best dual-sport and adventure riding in North America - including sections of the Trans-America Trail, the Moab trail network, some of the best Colorado high passes, and sections of the various BDR routes all over the west and north west. A particular highlight is also my cross country blast to Toronto and back for some off-road riding in Ontario, plus my own exploration route/s through Wyoming and Montana. This audio-visual double bill is scheduled to start at 10am on Saturday 28th September.

As another treat, Juan Browne (Blancolirio on Youtube) will also be attending, and we're planning a couple of afternoon trail rides in the local area.

So if you're already planning on attending, or simply fancy a last minute weekend away in some awesome scenery together with some equally awesome people, do check out the Horizons Unlimited website/forum for details (note that online registration is now closed), but if you contact them via email I'm sure you'll be able to sign up on the day.

Hope to see you there!

Jenny x
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