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Old 11-13-2009, 10:25 AM   #16
Max Kool
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Originally Posted by Erik RS
How nice. I'm taking a subscription to this thread
^^ Ditto!
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:44 AM   #17
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Me too
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:55 AM   #18
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:12 AM   #19
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Thank you for the write up.

ed
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:35 AM   #20
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Suspension

During a lunch break at Erik's we went for a drive down to see Erik's friend Bas, who happens to be the man who runs the Hyperpro fitting and service centre in Holland. (think there are two now, but 8 months ago there was only one). Everywhere in Holland is just a short drive away anyway

If there is one thing the Dutch do well, its suspensions. Ok maybe suspensions and cheese. Frequent visitors to Amsterdam might have further ideas, but lets just stick to vehicle suspensions and Gouda cheese. In the same way that the British are very good at building race cars, the Dutch dominate aftermarket suspensions. It all started back in the days of dutch company Koni being at the forefront of automotive racing suspension ... Over the years, the wise guys as Koni began drifting off and starting their own companies, some of them motorcycle related, like WP, Technoflex and Hyperpro. So while I was in Holland, it made sense to talk to a Dutch suspension guru, and that happened to be Bas.

Bas didnt have to try too hard to convince me the airshock would just not work properly with a whole bunch of luggage on board, all day long. So the fully adjustable shock was built up around a purple progressive hyperpro spring, adjustable preload fitted and progressive springs fitted to the forks. There is not much more Bas could do with the basic forks the X-Challenge comes with, but he did put in a thicker fork oil.

Here's the fitting, 2 weeks later:







The old linear (on the left) vs the new progressive springs on the right:


And the verdict after 50,000km? The rear set up is incredibly versatile. Set up correctly it allows the bike to handle like an unladen bike when loaded up. That's a huge asset. I really like the combination of the top class damper with the progressive spring. Its very confidence inspiring on rough roads and at high speeds. I could never go back to stock suspension. I also like the fact that Hyperpro use a 16mm piston rod rather than the 14mm in Ohlins and WP stuff. In Siberia I met a Finnish guy on an Africa Twin with a snapped Ohlins piston rod, waiting for replacement. (check out the beefy piston rod in the top foto above). I am now a Hyperpro convert.

And the front? Well the front does the job. The progressive springs are a cheap way to gain some improvement and certainly enough for general adventure touring, but the quality of the rear set up has now got me thinking (or drooling) about matching it with some sort of fork transplant for the front. Its probably not necessary to do anything to the front, but each change allows for faster, safer, more aggressive, more exciting riding.

I have ridden faster and more aggressively, covering more miles per day on this trip than on previous trips, and that's down mainly to the great rear suspension. Bring on some new front forks!
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch
the quality of the rear set up has now got me thinking (or drooling) about matching it with some sort of fork transplant for the front. Its probably not necessary to do anything to the front, but each change allows for faster, safer, more aggressive, more exciting riding.
Hhhhmmmm.........

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Old 11-13-2009, 11:54 AM   #22
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The Air Box

When the bike got back to Erik's workshop, and while Erik was busy finishing the cockpit, I did MaxKool's airbox mod. I removed the inner airbox cover. (search around ADV rider for a lot more info on Max's airbox mod)

While I was in there, I changed the paper air filter over to a Touratech / Unifilter washable / oilable unit.

Certainly the airbox mod allows for a faster intake of breath, and as Max suggested it would, gave a quicker throttle response and improved torque at low revs. With the new exhaust and the single throttle spring, the engine now had a much sportier feel than stock.

I was not expecting and I doubt I received any benefit in terms of performance from the oilable air filter, but what it did mean what that I wouldnt have to take a bunch of bulky paper filters with me on the road.
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:17 PM   #23
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Cockpit

The final mission in Holland was to put together a cockpit of sorts. The office for the next 7 months on the road.

The Touratech rally fairing comes with a mounting plate for a road book holder. That was something I didnt need, so it went into the scrap bin at Erik's. What I did need was a clipboard to hold maps and a good place to mount a GPS.

Erik made a aluminium clipboard and bolted the GPS ram mount to the back / top of it.

Then the light controls (waterproof marine units sourced from a online boating supplier) were effectively countersunk into the map board.








And the verdict on this stuff?
Cockpit is extremely functional and useable for travelling. I love paper maps, and I like to look at them when riding. If they are in a tankbag, they are generally too low. You have to stop or at least slow considerably to look at them. The map board is up where a road book would be and does the same job ... its navigation on the go.

Having the GPS up on top of the fairing is a double edged sword tho. You dont have to take your eyes off the road to see it, just change focus from far to near. No looking down. On the other hand, the Zumos are a heavy old unit. I will give them credit for durability, but they weigh a ton. Having that heavy lump of a GPS at maximum leverage with respect to how the whole front tower assembly mounts, results in a lot of vibration (or rather a magnification of vibration), and may have contributed to the 'snapped neck' in the front subframe / tower assembly that I mentioned earlier. I will have to rethink the GPS location. Ergonomically its excellent, but for the bike's sake, I might have to find some place better.
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*** New Sibirsky Extreme Trail DVD Trailer HERE ***
Moroccan Extreme 2011 DVD available HERE
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Sibirsky Extreme - The Home of Adventure Motorcycling in Siberia and Mongolia - On Facebook

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Old 11-13-2009, 03:43 PM   #24
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subscribed :)

although not an off road biker or long distance tourer, your RR and this thread are great reading, especialy the modifications you have done. i am a fan of the Hyperpro kit having fitted it to 2 road bikes and impressed with the improvements made.

the bad thing for me is that i am only 5 foot 6 so its almost impossible to ride bikes like the bmw. i'll just read instead ok
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:00 PM   #25
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Nice work Added to the Index thread
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:12 PM   #26
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Great post!

Thanks for taking the time to write this up. I've been reading your thread in the rides section and on your blog. Looking forward to when you reorganize the posts on the blog so I can read it chronologically.

I have an X-Ch also and I'm getting motivated to make some additions thanks to this post.
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:25 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Redbull Addict
Great post!

Thanks for taking the time to write this up. I've been reading your thread in the rides section and on your blog. Looking forward to when you reorganize the posts on the blog so I can read it chronologically.

I have an X-Ch also and I'm getting motivated to make some additions thanks to this post.
Have to agree.

Thanks for the ride report and now this.

Hope BMW are watching this if it is true they are going to start making the XChallenge again in 2010.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Cruz
Have to agree.

Thanks for the ride report and now this.

Hope BMW are watching this if it is true they are going to start making the XChallenge again in 2010.
Probably my bias, due to preferring adventure or rally style riding to straight enduro riding, but for me they can skip the X-Challenge next year and build a straight X-Adventure. The tooling required would be minimal ... they need a bigger plastic tank that extends both rearwards (like on the F650 singles) and forward to the radiator. I think if they really try they can find room for 20 litres. Then a new plastic front fairing and headlight assembly, a new plastic low fender (like the KTM 990 adv), steel rear subframe (which they have now for the X-Country - it would actually save them money over the alloy subframe), an more appropriate seat for adventure touring, a 400w generator (which they have from the old F650 / new G650GS) and a coil over rear shock main suspension unit. A pretty simple project for BMW, which would grab a hell of a lot of attention and be very cheap to manufacture.

The new 20 litre plastic tank would be slightly more expensive due to new tooling (lets call it +50 EUR)
The front rally fairing and light assembly - similar - less call it +100 EUR
Low fender - plus 20 EUR
Steel rear subframe - probably saves them 10 EUR
400w generator - same price
Coil over rear shock - probably the same price since BMW are unlikely to put in a top shelf product like the Hyperpro
Different seat - same price ... well with nicer padding lets call it +10 EUR

I mean would you buy a bike like this new:
for 170 EUR more than a stock X-Challenge? For me its a no-brainer. I think a lot of people would buy it. Making the changes at factory level are very cheap. It costs thousands to make the same changes aftermarket.

It would be the successor to the KTM 640 adventure that half the world seems to be waiting for.
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*** New Sibirsky Extreme Trail DVD Trailer HERE ***
Moroccan Extreme 2011 DVD available HERE
World Motorcycle Altitude Record video HERE
Sibirsky Extreme - The Home of Adventure Motorcycling in Siberia and Mongolia - On Facebook

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Old 11-13-2009, 11:21 PM   #29
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Home straight

Having done all the Dutch stuff, and with about 1 week to go till departure, I rode the bike back to England. With the new seat, suspension and engine / airbox mods, it was like a new bike! I began to think to myself, that this could really work!

First stop was a quick visit to the North, where I stopped in to see Les at HID50 and swapped my 50w HID gear for 35w HID gear to limit stress on the electrical system. While I was swapping that stuff over, Les was prepping Simon Race's bike for a long distance tour through the Americas.

Then it was time for a new colour. I wanted something that looked different. Thanks to ADV rider I had seen a few other colour variations on the X, including a camouflage paint job over a sand coloured base. I like the sand base, but thought riding into Russia or along the Afghan border with a bike painted up in camouflage is going to get me arrested or killed. I decided to stick with sand, highlighted with black. As everything (except the fibreglass front fairing) was plastic, I got a hold of a couple of cans of Krylon plastic spray paint, 2 in sand and one in black. The venue for the respray was the basement garage at webmaster Jon Fox's apartment block. The panels came off the bike, a couple of coats were applied, and we went off to dinner (me riding a naked bike - and a naked rally fairing is an ugly thing indeed. The bike looked like Wall-E and got some very strange looks as we rode 30 minutes to the restaurant of choice.

In the morning, a couple of coats of clear were applied and all was reassembled. It was hardly a professional paint job, but the bike was going to get beaten up pretty bad anyway, so it would do.

The result:

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*** New Sibirsky Extreme Trail DVD Trailer HERE ***
Moroccan Extreme 2011 DVD available HERE
World Motorcycle Altitude Record video HERE
Sibirsky Extreme - The Home of Adventure Motorcycling in Siberia and Mongolia - On Facebook

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Old 11-14-2009, 12:17 AM   #30
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Touratech

With all the painted bits now back on the bike, I rode direct to Touratech UK, where my protection goodies were due.

It was all there, less the engine sump guard / bash plate / skid plate ... whatever people call it.

So round in the fitting bay I installed

- Handguards and spoilers
- Radiator "hard part"
- Chain guide (rear)
- Chain guide (front)
- Front mudguard (the rally fairing is not compatible with the original fender)

I also picked up 20mm bar risers, but to fit them you really need to take the forks out or have a lot more dexterity than me, so I put them in my pocket and fitted them when I had the forks out for servicing while in the Ukraine.

The large Touratech sump guard arrived a couple of days before I left and I fitted it to the bike the day before I departed, from Touratech.

My verdict?
- The handguards and spoilers are very good. Appropriately tough.

- The radiator "hard part" - not sure I needed it ... dont think it has been used at all, but I guess it gives peace of mind knowing its there.


- Chain guides? Absolutely Essential. The rotax engine is shaped so the generator cover is right in front of the front sprocket. I have twice seen 650cc rotax engined bikes I am travelling with (including once on this trip) have major problems and risk breaking open the generator cover when chains come off. I had two chains break on me this trip, and the only thing protecting the engine housing was the front touratech chain guide. It doesnt seem to be listed as a part for the XC anymore, but I got one for an F650 single and modded it slightly to fit.
The back chain guide similarly essential stops the chain coming off the sprocket in rough riding when chain tension is fluctuating wildly. It did the job. No chain came off the sprocket in all the rough miles.
For me, these two little bits are a must.



- Front Acerbis mudguard. It did the job of keeping mud off extremely well - much much better than the stock unit. But with this mudguard, the X can get hot and the fan works alot, further stressing the electrical system. The rally bikes which also use this mudguard use a larger radiator. That's not really necessary for adventure touring and besides, its very expensive. I am going to try a low front fender next year (from KTM 990 adventure) which will allow for better engine cooling and give me a good chance to compare the low vs high front fender.


- Bar Risers ...
awkward to fit. Did the job well enough and inexpensive though I still feel I could use more than the 20mm of rise. Rox make some well recommended risers that give 50mm of rise plus forward back adjustment. These are on my shopping list.

- Bash Plate - cant really say a bad word about it. Did the job very well. I dont believe there is a better alternative on the market so this is the best X-Challenge bash plate out there. The front bolts into threaded aluminium on the bike's frame. Like elsewhere on the bike, dont expect these M6 threads to last. Of the two M6 bolts that hold the plate on, one is now M8 and one is M10. The original M6 bolts have recessed allen key heads, that are not the best. I think swapping them for normal headed bolts is a better idea.




Overall? there is a lot of Touratech stuff out there that is 'bling', but the reality is a lot of their stuff is designed for a purpose and works very well. The standards of machining is suitably German (impressive) and while its not cheap, the overall quality is very good. I wanted to keep weight low, so kept my Touratech bling at a minimum. For me there was no need for radiator stone guards, brake fluid reservoir guards, voltage regulator guards, brake disc guards etc etc ... I didnt get them and didnt need them. I was going to get a sidestand guard but forgot to order it and in the end never needed it. I also forgot to order the Neoprene fork socks. I regretted that and had to pick up a set (of KTM ones) in the Ukraine. The fork sorks have worked though. No blown fork seals in 50,000 Siberian kilometres. I would consider the fork socks a recommended mod.
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*** New Sibirsky Extreme Trail DVD Trailer HERE ***
Moroccan Extreme 2011 DVD available HERE
World Motorcycle Altitude Record video HERE
Sibirsky Extreme - The Home of Adventure Motorcycling in Siberia and Mongolia - On Facebook

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