Come & Go – The Transition

The so called XC, the story that shifted me in dimensions has now left and it is the time to warm up to something new for the next level.
Not that I know much about it yet but shall know in the times to come.

My beloved G650 XCountry has been dispatched to the new owner and my next lady the G650 XCountry is in the making.

It was a hard decision to part away from one to let the next one come in. Never thought this would be the case that I would let this go but due to the fact that LB07 has left the marks that needs to let me build myself all again. I hate to say but sometimes the memories haunt you that you spend so much time with your objects to create moments with them and then you have to part away. Atleast our objects are better than the most human relationships.

All is well and good, in the world as long as I keep riding. Sometimes I just ride to get rid of what was in the past, like a roadsign that you just crossed and it only deserved to be spotted once and never to be seen again.

I was after a 21″ front and that is where it all began… where it ended – well, that is an unsaid story for now but like my dearest friend Wolf says – rider of the dark cloud*, must live in the dark. So I tried to get rid of one dark cloud to enter into another one.

Transitions from one XCo to the next XCo would take me some getting used, for I have to understand a lots of unknowns, yet to make a bond and then finally get myself in the grips of it under my bum. I welcome you shortly to the next level of where this life goes, MarlenkaZ is coming or call it DarkCloud2.

BMW G650 XCountry – Axle Nuts Upgrade

The never ending tiny little collection of changes one needs and wants to keep doing as long as they have this old lady with them. I have not really thought much about these things but over period of time, these small little things have become a gradual progress and big help in the times of travels.

Not quite sure what the BMW was thinking when they want to put everything on their bikes to the non-standard availability of what is out there in the market. Call it monopoly but I do not like it that each time I want to open something small, it gets restrictive with how much non standard items one has to clear out of the way. Although should be simple but it isn’t if you are out of tools or a proper workshop. Just under a tenner for both these nuts, so quick picks and now over to getting them on.

Impromptu pickup

A bit of reference also, pointed by Matt at his blogs here : I managed to grab the KTM 27mm Axle nuts reference.
I dropped an email to the KTM Vienna and they were lightning fast to reply back that they have axle nuts – 50310099000 (x2) in stock.
Collected the same day, and there I was.

Front Axle
Rear Axle

Although, in the Matt’s blog, he mentions about the spacer on the rear of his ’07 Xcountry but is interesting that there isn’t any issue to have my rear nut modified or to be shimmed a bit on the lathe. It fits in fine, as seen in the picture above and there has been no issues so far with it.

Now I can grab the 27mm wheel nut wrench with an ease, so I am able to adjust my wheel chain whenever far and away from places. Thinking of the lighter T6-Almunium CNC keys, with the functionality of being able to also fix the punctures on the move. I will share that once I grab the pair of keys but lighter is my choice.

BMW G650 XCountry – Rear disk and pads replacement

Here is how it starts, my rear disk is slightly getting a warp of thick and thin on the rear and is nowhere near a point of concern but I want this to be well looked after since I only own this bike since half of its life. While the first half it has lived, it has seen some usage but not by me. I prefer to my things, in my order of knowledge knowing, what, when and where in terms of their maintenance.

It so happens that there was an on-going discount on the parts and I managed to find a matching disk to my specifications for this G650 Xcountry and supported by my friend to lend his expert help, this couldn’t get any better. Double whammy, for the perfect timings. Brembo’s were double the price and then alternatively TRW LUCAS has a matching disk as per the retailer, with a part number 10043491.

The present state before replacement

Being a self-novice at these things, it was good to get my act together getting my hands dirty and self rolled into the grease and grime. Lovely part, if this can turn you happy, even a bonus.

I replaced my both front and rear axle nuts to 27mm after reading lots of other riders comments about how hard it could be to find 26mm when in the middle of nowhere and also the fact that the original 26mm hex nut ends up losing its shape and the grip on its shape not being long enough and rough edges makes it harder over period of time. More on this here.

Loosened up the rear Axle nut and let the side screws on the chain loosened up all the way to the front as in the pic below to allow the Axle block become free. Pushing the axle rod out was easy enough job with gentle push from the right side with gentle boot tap on it.

Axle rod and wheel removed. Note, that the Axle block holding the Axle also comes off.

Keep an eye on the spacers, and keep them separate as both sides differ. You will notice that they are not same and generally I do not see how you mix them up but still, try to keep them separately. Left to the left, and right to the right. Will help you in the later stage to run them back in easily.

When removing the rear sprocket, keep an eye on the rubber grommets holding inside the hub of the wheel and their directional weights. The ligher(smaller) side of the grommet runs in the direction of the wheel while the bigger part of the rubber grommet sits on the back of second block after the lighter one.

Wheel off

Replacing the disk thought was more so triggered by the fact that I was about to replace the rear pads. But then the warp made me re-consider the disk swap too. Previously on my other Fazer, it went on for as far as 70,000miles without a first replacement.

Take care of the ABS ring, the ABS ring shouldn’t get damaged.

As a precautionary note, take care that the disk side of the wheel is always on the top when working, also when replacing any tubes or punctures as well.
When putting the bolts back on, work on them in the bi-directional channel of tightening them up. That ways, you are sure to not mess up anything and also equal distribution of the tightening before putting the final locking pressure on these bolts.

Note: When replacing the disk pads, the rear metal plate on the side of the inner master cyclinder side, needs to be replaced from the older pad. There is only one, on the inner side of the master cyclinder.

Now the reverse procedure to get the wheel back on and the adjustments of the sliders to adjust the bolts to tighten up the chain slacks. There are markers on the both side of the swing arm base, so you should be able to align them equally, leaving them unequal will put your wheel out of balance.

Wheel back in, disk replaced

Well, this was all good and fair up until I rode for 200mtrs and I got the ABS light on. I was wondering what happened.

I had a long ride to get back home so I tried stopping, starting, resetting the bike by nothing changed. It would go away for 2-3seconds when I start riding but as soon as the Picked up the speed, it would come after every 100mtrs. Also, when braking hard, I can instantly feel that there was no ABS in the rear, while the front was untouched and works perfectly fine.

So, the fun part begins, need to get the ABS light and the rear ABS to work again. More on this on my next blog here.

Mileage read out is 37500kms at the time of replacement.

BMW G650 XCountry – Bar Raisers

Story continues…. 
I acquired the bar raisers while I have been digging them around from the people who still have parts or selling parts from their old ineherited X bikes.
On a recent trip to NL, I was lucky to find a donor and it was very interesting, landing up at someone house at the middle of night and going through their stash of X treasure. Is kind of thing, you won’t do at all in normal cases but there is nothing normal in my case ever.

I managed to grab a bit more than just the bar raisers, in this case a much desired a metal bar for the handlebar, and a sensor, if I may ever need it again, who knows, these parts become more of rare ones to find with time. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I bought this bike but this has been ever increasing investment ever since.

BlogRaiser01
Wunderlich Bar Raisers

BlogRaiser02
BMW old treasure

Along the process, of acquiring these parts, I also become friends with the donor, in this case the circle of friendships continue along its journey.

So as my donor(now a new friend), mentioned it to me – I may need adjustment with the routing of the throttle cable, I have not needed it but I plan to do this in future. I was able to add the bar raisers fairly without much struggle.

Photos below: fairly a simply swap, so far

But something that was mentioned above – the re-routing of the throttle cable is required. I realized this only, when the bar was completed turned towards the right side, this increase the throttling on its own. I didn’t experience any issues while riding since, such turns are never possible unless you are in the sad part of unavoidable crash! I leave this to the next time when I will have to completely remove the airbox. I will combine this with the next big work when all plastics needs to come off.

XC ADV – The Story Begins.

The commitment to myself to seek what I have left behind in the time and be myself is back. I want to do what I love and live doing what I love. There will always be challenging along the way but that is what we all have in our lives. We love to live these challenges and challenge ourselves to the goals we want to achieve.

As in my last blog post, I mentioned the about the XC Adv. The story begins – I don’t know how far, how exciting and how boring this will get but this has begun. My long wish to prepare a motorcycle meant for my needs has started its beginning. It has been long search to get started with it in first place. I am athletic build with 1.78m and 70kgs that needs something light to take me across places fast, light and easy to handle. My choice between the motorcycles has been based on lots of help from Walter Colebatch and the likes of other adventure motorcyclist including the rally and world touring peeps.

A very interesting point of view was what I used to have in my life about a decade ago – the lighter you go – the faster you will be. This is not just applicable in one respect of weight but overall planning of your trip. Everything adds up from one to another to the next. The weight of the bike should be something that is reasonably manageable by you in any or most of the conditions you are in without the help of anyone in miles of no human reach. The big adventure bikes never were in my league with pure reason being they are not manageable at any extent in a solo long ride if the terrain is more than rough surface. I wanted a bike to meet my demands that fulfill my needs in terms of weight, reliability and capability of going beyond European tarmac. The list was pretty neat with what my options are – 650cc or 690cc.

The reliability being a big concern with travelling to the far away regions becomes a big issue if your motorcycle is little more than simple and more complicated with advanced technology. They do not make life easier rather hellish if you are stuck in middle of nowhere. KTM690 is an ideal bike but the reliability and few other concerns puts me off where as BMW 650 is tested for its reliability and comparably lot lighter than 690 in long run solo terminology of adventure travels. Although BMW 650 strikes each to each variants available. You can get the F650Gs, Sertao, Fundro 650 and the limited few which were produced as X-series. In the very obvious between the 650cc – the search has been for the lightest and that was none other than G650 Cross Country rather the name came up as XC. With a dry weight of just around 150kgs I know it would be ideal as pointed out the expert Walter himself.

It was not an easy one to begin with. On the first search that is the end of December 2014, I found no XC available in whole of UK be it a dealer or be it a private seller. The search moved on to the next available market – the EU Continent. The search was not an easier one as most common online platforms returned nothing and then few local searches from a help of Austrian friend and Belgian friend pointed me to German\Austria\NL market with few to look at. They all wanted an excess of £3000/- which sure was not my range to begin with. I was looking for a bike that is probably as old as 2007 and not a whole lot of mileage in between all these 7years. None to the point that would interest me as most were over in excess of 30,000kms. I found one in north of Italy with a private seller asking about 3800Eu. with 500kms but he never responded back to the emails or the calls hence it was over.

Two weeks in the hunt, 2015 has clocked itself in the new dates. Happy New Year, the search is still on and not a single one selling in UK. The limited production of these bikes was an interesting point that BMW never focussed on the sales of X series as these were not the market sellers for BMW potential adventure aimed buyers. BMW has made its name for selling the big boxers and not really the low spec 650’s. 650’s have been there since long time and have made its market in lower numbers compared to the 1200’s of big twin boxers. Rather I call them big boobs of BMW in the bike porno language. The first week went on and I was closing on the European market but kept myself on the hold. Not to jump the gun of crossing into the Continent as it would mean more expenses – bringing the bike, changing the currency, transporting the bike and all the paperwork to follow.

Second week on – the casual search back on online platforms – Ebay – None, Gumtree – Hey Hey (someone is selling one). I have located the first BMW G650 X Country in the UK. The seller was asking about the price I was looking for and it was 12000miles on the odometer so it would have equated to the lowest kind of mileage I was able to get compared to EU sellers. I weighed in my options to compare the other and I was well in my reach to find the bike I wanted. This just was the beginning of the whole XC Adv Story now.

BMW G650 Cross Country
Bike Search – After 3 weeks.

I contacted the seller, tried to see if we can reach a lower price than the asking but it was more or less the same as I would have not realised it until late that I ended up buying a bike which added a nearly £450 in terms of the van hire, diesel and simple transfer from A to B. I found the bike in South Devon, Somerset. I gave in the deposit to the guy to ensure that it was already locked to my name before anyone else points a finger on it. It was a long journey to begin with and added to that was the 100mph+ winds. I decided to stop in at Bristol to use it as split stop instead of doing a long 500miles in a single day.

Collection
500 miles return to gather the XC and back to base.

10.01.15 – Hiring an Enterprise Van was not  big deal but I must advice every one of checking the windscreen as I feel I have cheated. Anyways more on that later. I hired the van as they offered to pick me up from the home. It was nearly 10.30am by the time I reached home from sorting out all the paperwork at van hire and I had to take a small bicycle to be offered to a little girl who I knew would love it in her coming years.
Enterprise Van Hire

It was nearly 1100hrs by the time I could hit the road and the scare of 100mph+ winds was slowly calming down. I was all set ready to leave and resetting the trip meter on the van was the first thing that was on my mind to keep the distance tracked.

Odometer
A boring drive basically between A1M, M25, M4 upto Bristol where my first stop came as I have some family so I could have used it to my advantage. Driving a van is no wonder lot more relaxed than riding a small car for longer distances. The sitting posture really defines your change of comfort and alertness level at all times.  140miles – 2hour15mins. Not too bad considering that driving a van is lot relaxed.
Blog03

Destination was still another 110miles or so miles away. The weather was bit calm and the long empty stretches of M5 was like driving into the endless road that won’t come to an end. It was boring as well which eventually led us to A38 and into the South Brent from where the first glimpse of the XC was becoming more and more visible in my mind. Long stretches of M5

Finally, we reached the destination and the first view of the XC was captured. It wasn’t a clear first view but there was not much to it. It has been in the garage for a while and something to do with battery was mentioned. I didn’t took a big note on it but it started so I counted on it at that time.
BMW G650XC

It was a very kind and a warm welcome from Peter, who has kept the bike since number of years and was not very first owner. He had some very interesting bikes for anyone keen on the history of two strokes. I have not seen so many two strokes in the same garage as many he had to share. There was an enthusiasm and the wonderful biker brotherhood going on. He was eager to know what all I am planning to do with the bike. The idea of knowing that an XC can go lot more farther is just a spark for the excitement.
Blog02

There were few that I would have liked to share here a quick note and it was just amazing fun to see them in full working conditions. Impressed is just a small word but the interest that we had in common was a good factor for making this XC story even more exciting – the story from the beginning is a fun if it was more than just a buy and sell deal.
Blog03

Few more wonderful bikes to look at. There is another amazing Yamaha 125 LC two-stroke which was a gem in its wonderful condition. Although I loved the small 50cc Honda which was used by his son when he was learning two wheels.
Blog04
I did find myself excited meeting Peter and no wonder it has a perfect recipe for the excitement. A lot of time spent in talks and sharing what XC is capable of with its power range. Ah well we shall get loading the bike into the van and strapping it down. Peter was really kind in his welcome and his passion is reflected in his love for his wheels.
Blog05

At 12226miles, it has had a new life embedded into its new making. XC that shall see the light of the world from the shades of the garage. This should move itself into a new category among the few others known for what they are. Blog05loaded

All strapped and ready to go.

I was glad to have not attempted this within a day as it would have been a good 24hours through the day making it back to base. Tonight it is a halt in Bristol with a last 140miles to base next morning.

11.01.15 Making it to the base, I rested long as I slept like a baby last night. Morning was an easy one and still lazy to do get back on the road but I knew it was to be done before it gets dark as I rather should make the most of the daylight. Days aren’t long in January added with the bad weather not a good idea.  In all this while, I have been in contact with Erik(Expert at its trade) from NL -to update that I have been on my way. Blog06

A little break at Reading services, M4 – 435miles into the journey of the XC without being added to its own odo has been quite remarkable so far.
Blog07 M4break

Not a cm has moved on the bike 😀 It is well and truly locked into its place. Blog08 lock

Another distance before it can be unleashed and unstrapped into its new base. The journey amounted to a total of 507miles from base to base so it has not been so bad with a day in between.
Blog09 base

The interesting long journey with few stops has finally come to the rest. It was now time to make the face to face introduction between the Fz6 Chini and XC Adv on the outside while the Fz6 waits and watches the unloading of the XC Adv.
Blog10 base
The power of single 650 vs the inline fours of 600 is pretty much incomparable. The 650 shall set an example of unseen and unknown while the 600 has been ruling the roads for the last 63000miles of European smooth terrains.
Blog12 baseThis marks the base to base journey of making the XC Adv limelight of the stories ahead.

Interestingly, as I previously mentioned about the van rentals – I was quite stunned when a chap at the rental mentioned about the chip. It was barely 2cms with a slight 2cm line appearing near the base of the windshield. It just took me by surprise because I am quite sure when the van was given to me – the lady who let it rent to me didn’t check the screen and neither did I – so validly I was at the fault but gobsmacked me doesn’t believe it was me. It became a well in excess of £400 for the van hire and the fuel in total amounting to lot more than expected. There was no fun part in the end as it left me bitter!

Just a learning, that rentals should be more carefully sought out in future if you are to take one. It just was no fun that you return it as you got it and took the hit of more than you expected it to be. Rant over.

Story continues …..