A more detailed look at Gerry's bike

Front of bike

Regarding the modifications perhaps the easiest way to describe them is to go thru them systematically from front to back and cross reference this with the accompanying pictures. Starting at the front end then the tyres are Bridgestone Trailwings very generously given to us at a number of predetermined locations along the route and organized by Peter Dixon the Manager of the Motorcycle Tyre division in Lurgan. Unfortunately Bridgestone don’t do tubeless off road tyre in our size so we’re on tubes certainly.
Tubeless would be preferential but the tyres we’ve got have proved faultless and confidence inspiring even in the couple of hours of wet conditions we encountered between Morogoro and Iringa. The fact that they’re being changed every 5,000 miles or so should also mean less problems. At any rate the present Basic G.S is on a size 18 rear tyre as opposed to the 17 on older models and this is a particularly difficulty tyre to get in tubeless off-road.
Staying on the front of the bike I mounted spots, which have proved useful on the 3 occasions we were forced to drive in the dark. They are Raydots with an integral plastic mesh grill but also a cover over them, which I keep on all the time except on those occasions when I am using them.

Before conversion

After conversion

All my gear!

As you can see from the pictures we left a lower mudguard on a la 1150 G.S. effectively we don’t need the top mudguard at all especially with the conditions we’ve encountered but we reasoned that it was no extra burden should we encounter deep mud that would necessitate removing the lower guard. It remains, however a cosmetic addendum as is the flared end I got fitted to it resplendent as it is colour co-ordinated blue!
The mud flaps we fitted to the lower mudguards got sucked under the wheel as the rubber was too flexible resulting in them being shredded yesterday in Livingstone I managed to find an old secondhand one off a bike in a scrap yard that I cut to size but John had no luck even though we searched the town high and low just for a piece of rubber even.
The brakes or lack thereof on the airhead G.S.s are well documented so we ordered up two 6 pot Harrisons. These were expensive to say the least and have made no huge difference certainly relative to their cost. They are far more suited to the constant use of a sportsbike and a better and cheaper option would have been to adapt the caliper off the K series. John has already had to use up the spare set of pads we bought with us at the service in Nairobi but he had fitted his prior to mine and consequently done more miles on them. Nonetheless we had expected them to last longer than this, and finding a set of pads in South America, as the need will probably arise will prove difficulty.


Underneath the engine we’ve fitted the Touratech bash plate to the main stand while John, with his engineering background in metal fabrication has made up a brilliant set of sump guard which fit perfectly around the base of the engine. From Wiido in Germany we got the leg protector flaps which fit under the cylinder heads, and protect our feet against excessive wet. So as to be able to climb on and off the bikes while on their side stand we fitted heavy duty versions. The original fitted by B.M.W the crash bar mounts are not worthy of the name. My side stand differs slightly from John’s which is more heavy duty again and is I believe the original pattern designed by Nigel Huish. Both of these stands we got from Bracken though at present they are not available. Unquestionably though they are worthy trying to locate so perhaps Nigel who can be contacted thru the B.M.W journal might make up one should you require it.

Naked Bike


Naked Bike 2

As I’ve said John has a background in Metal Fabrication and based on what he considered the good points of other designs he saw, he fabricated his own panniers and top box which are again a first class piece of engineering. Powdercoated with the Touratech locking system they are waterproof and capacious. Inside them we use Touratech pannier bags which means we can leave the panniers in place on the bike and simply remove the inner bags when we arrive at our hotel. To accommodate our top box which is elongated and not unlike a child’s coffin in design, we fitted a single seat. This necessitated a small modification to the rear rack as its design differs slightly from the 100GS model.

Back of |Bike

Behind the number plate we have fitted Abus U locks given to us by Heir Gericke in Belfast. These are far more convenient than chains and we feel they provide adequate security: we have further fitted an Abus wire lock to the frame to secure our helmets to the bike when walking around. Behind the single seat, to which I’ve fitted a sheepskin cover from Aerostitch, we have fitted the chrome grab rail. This is useful when manhandling the bike and is a B.M.W. catalogue item not many people know about. Another Touratech part I’ve fitted is the rear brake lever which rotates back up into the rear hub and thus leaves it less exposed to being broken.


Back end of bike

Throttle rest

We fitted the G.S. screen over our headlamp assembly and mounted a French Secdem screen to this, which we got in Moto Bins. Initially I had just the headlamp assembly minus the G.S. Bikini fairing with Givi Screen mounted but found that this vibrated too much. This is the unit as fitted on the web site picture incidentally. For cold weather we’ve fitted heated grips and I also mounted a rev. counter and voltmeter. On the handlebars we put the large Touratech hand guards and on my bike there is also a cruise control fitted which is very useful for resting your wrist on long deserted stretches of road. I also put on bar risers on mine which are more comfortable to use if riding standing up but do date outside of posing I’ve had very little cause to do this. We both have fitted multi functional bike computers, which are both cheap and very useful. John’s uses a wire pick up while mine is wireless with a light for night reading. Our main computers are Touratech IOM 300 which are literally brilliant and they perform every possible function you can think of for the same price as the B.M.W. RID system and they are infinitely superior. John has a Mark 5 Garmin G.P.S mounted to supplement our maps and we have an additional 12 volts pick up point mounted on the handlebars also. Our tanks are 43 litres H.P.N / Acerbis long range which are perhaps the most useful modification of all, we also fitted heavy duty progressive front forks as the standard units are totally inadequate. On our tanks we have Touratech tank bags in John’s case it is the unit for carrying cameras. Also mounted on the tanks we have Aerostitch tank panniers, which we got, from Rider Warehouse in the States and I also have the waterproof bags that fit inside them. On the engine front we’ve fitted the T.U.V approved 1000 cc conversion by Falhart, which we reasoned we needed for the torque as well as their reportedly better fuel consumption. These units are reputed to be superior to B.M.W.’s own 1000cc conversion giving even better fuel consumption. To date we are more than please with them. They sing along at a steady 4,000 revs and feel unburstable under stressed, as they are. Our petrol consumption works out at about 10 miles per litre with no great apparent saving by going slowly.
The final modification we have made concern the electrical side. Because of our need for heated grips etc… we felt there was a need for a more powerful alternator than the standard 200 watt unit. Consequently we fitted the 400 watt unit as made by a Taiwanese gentleman and you can get more information on this from Dick Boyd or Dave Bertram thru’ the B.M.W. club. This unit is also sold in the States by Moto Electric but there they also sell it with a compatible 400 regulator as opposed to leaving standard 270 unit which we have. In light of our experience we would suggest fitting the stronger regulator is advisable. All this extra capacity gives us plenty of power with the engine making 13 volts as early as 12 to 16 revs. This is more than adequate for our electrical equipment i.e, grips, computer, spotlights, heated jackets and our autocom communication system which is invaluable for keeping in contact especially in city traffic. All in all these modifications have cost, along with the initial price of the bikes the equivalent of a new 1150 adventurer. They are perhaps though as definitive a Basic as is out there at present and have definitely served us well to date.

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