I posted this over on The Chain Gang forum
I was looking for some good info on upgrades to the XChallenge and really didn't find much info about gearing, heated grips, etc. so I thought I'd post my experiences for others.
I ended up going with the cheapo $25 snowmobile sticky heated elements. A couple issues came to light.
1) There is no good place to mount the switch so I ended up fabbing a bent metal piece to bolt onto the upper left instrument cluster bolt.
2) The accelerator tube under right grip has a crazy contour to and hence the heated element doesn't adhere smoothly.
3) The left grip has much thicker rubber than the right grip AND I ended up placing the heated element right on the aluminum bar. The result is a less hot left grip. I have a KTM friend who did similar grips and used insulated tubing on the metal of the bar and adhered the heated element to that. He says that makes the grip much hotter due to the insulated metal.
The bottom line: For $25 and some time it could be worse :) All in all I think that insulating the left bar and using different equal thickness grips would make the install work perfectly. Right now it's just okay.
I decided to lower the gearing to get a little more squirt and a lower first gear for the slow tight stuff. I ended up buying the 14T front sprocket from Touratech-USA. The installation is easy to do if you have the few necessary tools. (3) bolts to remove the front pinion cover, a breaker bar or big ratchet to remove the front pinion bolt, a smooth screwdriver or hub puller to ease off the front sprocket, and a couple wrenches to loosen/adjust the rear wheel. It took about 20 minutes of futzing and thinking about it as I had no instructions as to the exact process. Easy.
The results are just as I expected. Generally quicker feeling, nicely lowered gearing for slower speeds down hills. My only negative thoughts on it is that the bike of course is a little more wound up at 75-80 mph on the freeway, and that my TKC 80 Continentals may not have enough grip in the loose and muddy stuff to warrant lower gearing. All in all I'm happy with the upgrade and it's easy enough to swap back and forth that I'd recommend it for anybody that wants a little 'more'.
2007 BMW XChallenge
2007 Ducati GT1000
2006 BMW K1200R
2006 Aprilia SR50