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R1200GS page

This page is a barely-begun work in progress, covering greater detail about my 2005 R1200GS for the amusement of other owners and would-be buyers.

My bike

HID conversionHID headlights
I've got a couple of pages dedicated to my HID conversion for anyone interested in night life. This modification has made a world of difference to my confidence when hurtling along country roads at twilight or later. This modification is a bit on the fiddly side, but should be well within the capabilities of the average punter.

Odyssey high performance batteryOdyssey battery conversion
See my Odyssey battery conversion page for my very own take on electrical insurance for the GS. This is a popular modification among those GS owners who are frustrated by the standard battery's short life and inclination to die at the worst possible moments.


I've thrown away the standard windscreen because I hate the buffeting and strange atmospherics that it produces. In its place I've made my own low screen from tinted perspex (plexiglass). This screen directs smooth air at neck and shoulder level, and is a pleasure to sit behind. It has acquired an odd concave shape because, in its initial form, it sent the airstream a smidgeon too high—at my helmet visor. So I warmed the plastic with a heat gun and bent it down in the middle. This seems to work well in its own perverse way. I don't recommend Perspex (polymethylmethacrylate) for a screen, though, as it's inclined to crack at the mounting points if squeezed too much, as mine has done on one side. If I can get around to it, I'll replicate the screen in a tougher material.

Aftermarket Yoshimura mufflerIn place of the standard muffler, I've substituted a Yoshimura slip-on item together with a section of stainless pipe and a support bracket that together position the can below saddlebag height. So now I can use my trusty throwover bags without having the left one jut out strangely while quietly melting. This modification has reduced the weight hanging high at the rear by around six kilograms, which is a big difference that is bound to assist handling. However, the Yoshimura can sits in close to the wheel, which is good for crash protection, but I have to remove it when changing tyres. Luckily, this is easy: just two bolts. The muffler's lower outlet also means that deep river crossings will be more problematic should I ever be so stupid as to attempt them on this bike. Yoshimura doesn't make anything specific for the GS. I just happened to be able to pick up a muffler that was originally part of a TL1000 kit, and shoe-horned it into place with an odd bit of stainless pipe that had a usable bend. Any brand of slip-on muffler could be made to do the same thing. With the standard headers and catalytic converter in place, the sound is just right: not too loud, but rich and mellow.

Enlarge I have made my own steel rack to replace the original plastic item. My rack is aligned with the level of the luggage platform under the pillion seat, which not only lowers the height of the aftermarket top box when in use, but gives me a huge flat area for carrying large payloads at other times. If I remove the pillion seat, it's almost like having a flat tray truck... I like to carry all sorts of ridiculous things whenever I can to avoid using the car. In the shot at right I've hauled a 19-inch CRT monitor, for example.

GS carrying big TV...Or better yet, our enormous old 68cm CRT television, which I loaded onto the GS for a trip to the recyclers. This thing was really heavy! I was surprised that the side-stand could cope with it. Needless to say, I took it pretty easy on the short trip, resisting the urge to pull wheelies. The bike coped very nicely, though, and the attendant said he'd never seen a TV delivered in such a way.

The rack is powder-coated. It weighs 1.735kg, compared to the standard rack's 0.765kg, so adds about a kilogram. It's vastly stronger and includes a latch for the top box that flips out of the way.

Enlarge Even when I have to keep the pillion seat in place to carry a passenger, I'll have a go at carting almost anything on the back. I've devised a way of carrying boogie boards to the beach. We've even taken them on a 150km round-trip through a gale one day, and they stayed put.

Final drive oil
Out with the bad, in with the goodThe horrible black stuff inside my final drive has been unceremoniously ditched in favour of Castrol SAF-XA, a friction modified 80W-140 synthetic. The earlier model 1200GS's supposedly had lifetime gear oil in them, but failures in some bikes led to a change of plan from the factory. For newer models, BMW now recommends that the final drive oil be changed at least once, early in the bike's life. Owners of earlier models are well advised to change their final drive oil too, rather than chance an expensive mechanical failure. It's not a particularly difficult job, even without the provision of the dedicated drain plug enjoyed by later models. In fact, by exposing the drive shaft splines like this you are reminded to appease them with a smear of moly grease, which is necessary for their longevity. It takes a bit of jiggling and poking to get the splines and shaft lined up again when reassembling everything, but that's about the only tricky part to the operation. Be sure to replace or locktite the top pivot nut, and torque it down correctly.



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