I bought my R1150GS - about my twentieth bike, my sixth BMW and my fifth boxer twin - in February 2007, trading in my 1997 BMW K1200RS. The GS had covered just over 16000 miles in the first five and a half years of its life - in the past fiveyears I have added another 70000 miles, to bring the odometer up to nearly 90000 miles. In that time it has been used for daily commuting, thirty-six long distance rides or rallies, and several touring holidays. The longest single ride I have done on it was 2040 miles in 42 hours. It has been to Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Morocco, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway - and (I am touching wood here!) never had a single problem, or needed anything spending on it apart from service items (oils, filters, plugs, brake pads and tyres) and one broken speedo cable. Apart from changing tyres and getting the brakes bled (a real pain with the ABS) and fuel injection balanced I have done all the work to it myself. I use Metzeler Tourance tyres and have been getting about 11k miles from the rear tyre, and 13k from the front.
In a quest to make the GS as good as I can for me to use in rallies I have made quite a number of modifications - mainly in order to make the bike 'fit me'. Most of these mods are listed below:
Modifications made to my BMW R1150GS
1. GS Adventure Beak 2. MRA Vario Screen, tinted 3. HID headlights 4. Touratech headlight protector 5. Touratech handguard extenders 6. Garmin 2610, RAM mount, homemade tether 7. Garmin Streetpilot, RAM mount 8. Deer whistle 9. PIAA spotlights 10. PIAA foglights (both on NN lightbar) 11. Airhawk seat pad 12. Sheepskin seat covers 13. Touratech rack extender 14. Migsel handlebar risers 15. Migsel footpeg lowering kit 16. Crud catcher 17. SW Motech engine bars 18. Mudguard extender 19. Silencer removed & stubby exhaust fitted 20. RT pannier fitted to homemade bracket (lh side) 21. K&N air filter 22. Inforad speed camera detector 23. Digital thermometer 24. Rear fog light 25. Heated clothing connector
On rallies I also add a home made route book to the bars, an Oxford magnetic tankbag and an Ortliebs waterproof bag to the rear rack, containing a Mountain Equipment down sleeping bag, self-inflating sleeping mat and Mountain Equipment bivvy bag.
1. Shock absorbers removed and sent to MCt Suspension in Stowmarket for rebuilding.
2. Seats removed and taken to Melvyn Hunter in Coventry for rebuilding.
3. Crashbars removed and repainted.
4. Winglets made using a sheet of 3mm lexan, dremel cutter and hot air paint stripper.
5. RAM mount for Garmin Streetpilot GPS fitted.
6. Tank removed and BMW QR connectors fitted.
7. Temperature gauge removed (broken) and combined temperature gauge/voltmeter fitted.
8. Inforad speed camera detector replaced (under warranty as had stopped working a couple of months ago).
9. Final drive seal and outer bearing replaced.
10. LED daylights fitted to handguards and panniers.
11. Isotta leg guards fitted.
12. Centech fuse box and leads fitted - all electrics rejigged to take to fusebox (fitted in place of toolbox, modified to fit it, under pillion seat)
13. Neoprene leg protectors fitted to front fork tubes.
January 2010 - have always thought could do with slightly longer range from the GS. With the standard (22 litre) tank it generally does between 175 and 195 miles before the fuel reserve light comes on (although over 200 with Stacey on the back - do I rid more slowly then?!), and then probably around 30 miles or so before running out - the most I have manage on a tank without running dry is 235 miles. While this is usually fine, there have ben a few times, especially in Scotland and Ireland when I have had to deviate from a route to find petrol, and you do not really want to have to do this on a rally. Plus the fact that a longer range means fewer fuel stops which in turn means time saved. I had looked at the various tank options available for the GS, including the larger BMW Adventure tank (31 litres), the Kaoko aftermarket tank (34 litres), or even the huge 41 litreTouratech tank. Three things stopped me getting one - the cost of them new (anything between £600 and £1000); the cost of them secondhand and difficulty of finding one anyway; and the way in which the only Adventure I have ever ridden handled with a full tank. So, having read a few articles about auxiliary tanks I started looking at websites which either supplied them or had ideas about how to fit one. When I got to the bit about drilling a hole in the tank I decided that a DIY job was probably beyond my self-confidence and, fortunately, then came across a guy called Little Toe (Shaun) on the IBA forum who had built a few auxiliary tanks for himself and other riders. What is more he only lives in Derby, just 40 miles away. Before Christmas I rode over to see him and he sketched out his plans for creating a tank to fulfil my needs, which mainly resolved around the necessity of still being able to get on the bike without being able to bend my right knee! The story of the creation can be followed here.
December 2010 - decided to fit a pair of Hyperpro springs to the original Showa shocks: link.
January 2012- fitted a heated seat element to the rider's seat: link