Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Thumpers
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-18-2014, 05:22 PM   #1
Bli55 OP
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Russia, N56 E49.
Oddometer: 398
Talking "Russification" of BMW G650X.

... isn't just a made up word to describe the modifications necessary to tackle Russian roads - plentiful and...different.
It also signifies a deeper meaning of this thread, and the purpose of my project. Hopefully, it shall become apparent at a later date.


27th May 2015 edit.

It's time!

The why and how this all started to brew...with a little bit of history mixed in.

It was in 2008 when I was pretty much unaware that motorcycles can be ridden off-road, unaware of ADVrider, of knobby tyres and water-crossings, of the feeling how a bikes dances underneath you searching for grip on an open gravel highway...that I set off on my first big trip.

Inspired by (use Google translate), I rode as part of this "Wave of Rememberance" from Kazan to Ulan-Ude, to lake Baikal and back - it was a country-wide bikers' trip as a tribute to all fallen travellers who did not return home after an unbelievable act of cruelty ended the life of a great man from Nizhniy Novgorod, Scutt, on his way BACK HOME from Vladivostok....His quote is now the motto of this movement:

"God decides duration of one's life - you decide its broadness..."

Riding itself was mostly boring Trans-Siberian alphalt, perfect and straight all but a few km's of twisties hugging lake Baikal...and even less of eventfull gravelly roadworks!
It was then I felt a powerful urge to turn off, to head into the fields, to take that buttery smooth double-track meandering through hills and lush pastures; to wander on a cool sandy forest track shadowed from the full-on July sun.

This road at the entry to Tunkin valley in particular, was a revelation (near Mondi, very near Mongolian border).:

Standing on the pegs (well, sort of ) had to be doing 100 kph+ to stay on top of the corrugation. The bellowing dust, drifting in the corners, the now familiar "dancing" - it was pure joy!! Oh how I wish to get back there on the X and see where the road actually goes on to!

It was also the first time I saw many touring enduros, loaded to the brim with bags, equipment, metal boxes etc. etc.. Tenere's, Africa's, KTM 950/990's making an especially strong impression on a mind very open at that point led me down this a path, a path I had no idea about, no idea where it will lead...And THAT was it, I was hooked well and proper.



- "Hello, how's Moscow going? I hear you and your girl are enjoying new home, huh?" - cell phone in hand, standing at the ticket office.
- "Oh yeah, it's great! Back in Kazan yet, what's up?" - my friend's happy with their move. Shame we haven't met since...
- "Ummmm...Can I come stay over for a day or two?"
- "No problem. How can I help?"
- "I'm going to buy a bike..."

A few weeks later I take it on a Eurotrip. I ride it to UK.

Fully loaded, of course!

Needless to say, lots of time and sweat was spent laying it down in mud, picking up and pushing on...It was not only a heavy bike, but a very TOP-heavy beast, and that took time to sink in. Every drop, every slide planted a seed of doubt in my mind.

Meanwhile, the CB400 had to go...

This was extremely hard for me, I really really got attached to that bike. For numerous reasons I cannot even begin to materialise in text...

I prepped the AT, with regard to my overloading experience, and set off back to Russia. To travel this light, it felt absolutely divine !!

PS. Oh, the guy who took it away was from a neighbouring town and worked on telemetry for the Kamaz-Master Dakar team!


As you can imagine, the above were not all that quick and simple. Tinkering with bikes, spending time in the garage, making mods and riding the hell out of them - gave time to read. ADVrider, UKGSer, Horizons Unlimited, and to name a few.

And to sell bikes. 3 of them, to be precise.
Right, there's one I hadn't yet mentioned. Even now the Suzuki SV650 is sort of a dark horse. It always has been. 5 years I had it for, bought not by the heart but by the mind. Never a hiccup, doing job commutes, supermarket runs, cruising round town and countryside rides, going about regular business - the SV gave a younger me the much needed freedom.
It also taught me heaps about bike control, being on the limit of grip and brakes, about just WHAT it was capable of - after meeting, and riding with, a brilliant guy, a good friend, a fellow SV rider (RIP, brother).

The SV taught me heaps, and I can't help but feel guilty for under-appreciating it, as it sometimes seems now. The first lowside, the first stoppie, wheelie and footpeg scrapes, the intoxicating V-twin, perfect rumble - it had it all. In return, I did essential service, only the simplest tiny mods, and rode, rode, rode!!!

Good time, will be remembered with nostalgia!


The search continued, and soon I knew exactly what is needed.

No need to tell you what it was, I just HAD to get my hands on an X-Challenge. There's a saying, "He who searches, always finds."
I did, a beautifully preserved stocker (one of 3760 made, as I recently found out!) with less than 2000 km on the odo. Win!

And the rest, as they say, is history.

But wait!!!
Why "russification"???

In the back of my mind, I had a plan spark up -

1) Build bike. ............0%

You know more about this than me now, for sure!



2) Prepare heaps of documents for customs, spend days "banging your head against a wall".
Sort out taxes, insurances, registrations etc...


Let me tell you, it's no good sign when customs personnel begins to recognise you.

3) Finish all loose ends, pack bags and ride back to Russia (again!).


4) Prepare for when it all goes to crap!!!

Not a good sight, huh???


5) After clearance, enjoy a little bit of legal plate-less freedom!! Who-hoooo!!!


6) Beware!! Biker aliens in town!!!!

I shall gloss over this, but the fairing had to come off for a little while... Using "shit and twigs" to slap everything in place.


Not bad actually, I quite liked this look. What you think?

7) Mount new plates, boasting a proud "RUS". Yes, they are truly HUGE!!!

8) Russification...100% complete!


F-ing in Iceland and Faroe Islands, 2013.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Detailed BMW X-Challenge build thread.

Bli55 screwed with this post 05-27-2015 at 08:45 AM Reason: About time to!
Bli55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #2
Gnarly Adventurer
lobolator's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Corner of Kanc and Bear Notch
Oddometer: 272
Nice nav tower

Nice ride report as well.
Thanks for sharing.
lobolator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2014, 05:56 PM   #3
Bli55 OP
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Russia, N56 E49.
Oddometer: 398
OK, finally, RR is filled and filed.

Time to get hands dirty!

(Note: this build is not real time!)

Not yet, anyway. This is the goal - get it to A current stage before next riding season!!
Prob not too difficult considering the "to do list" and how slowly the crosses are appearing!
However, I will now try not to fall down a trap of posting too many pics and too many general details.

Instead, I will concentrate on custom solutions, on fabrications, doing things alternative way, basically, whilst keeping details of maintenance and standart bolt-ons to a minimum.

Let's go!!!!

First addition was these Rox offset risers.

Don't generally like logos, so they go on the inside.

Next, another standart issue. So I got a used (very used!) Funduro gear lever.

Bike must have been standing neglected for years. I mean, 1700 km in 6 years is not what I'd call sympathetic.
As a result, violent condensation inside airbox and crankcase breather.

For peace of mind, right cover was removed and cleaned religiously.

Then it was time for valve check. Whilst in there, fresh NGK's went in.

All in spec, but the tightest inlet at 0.05mm has prompted me to do another one now, 10000km later.
I found it really cool how there were numbers scribed by hand! And they matched!

I'm a fan of Dimple magnetic oil bolts. They are f---ng strong!!! I just didn't have anything heavier than this axe.

For comparison, stock bolt struggled even with some pliers or something. Another bonus to the Dimple is a more standart and manageable hex size.

Part of preparation to front end lighting and instruments, I wanted to monitor voltage and temperature.
Being not quite ready to mess with the oil tank, I decided to go the simpler route (read = bodge job) and cut into the oil return pipe. I figured it would be easier and cheaper to replace if I screwed up bigtime.

You can see a potential problem, which left me worried for some time - much reduced cross section, albeit at only a small section. (stock=right)

Part of profilactic work on the clutch, I installed heavier springs (on left). Both to prolong it's life and help cope with slippier SN rated oil.

Getting a little desperate on time, I hacked into the oil pipe in situ, cutting as much as I dared to try and keep it clear from hitting swingarm at compression, whilst not cutting too much to avoid clamping the hose on a bend.

Meanwhile, box of goodies was growing!

Gear lever was scraped, bent and painted. Yep, it was time to get at least a vice and G clamps!

Eventually, oil probe was installed. Clearance was very tight and I didn't like how it looked. Luckily, no leaks (loctite 648 lol!).

There was no way back now though. I just hoped it wouldn't get destroyed by the swingarm - it looked further out than before and now had extra thickness from hose and clamp.

(Harder off roading revealed this to be a problem. Swingarm was abraded and hose showing signs of developing cracks.
Apart from that, it worked OK until the wire broke due to being pushed around together with rear brake hose. My mistake)

Hated the stock bashplate, especially for exposed oil pipe - in my opinion, THE most vulnerable part of entire underbody.

Had a tap lying about, so that went on airbox drain. Very useful!!

Weight shedding to compensate for all to come!


F-ing in Iceland and Faroe Islands, 2013.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Detailed BMW X-Challenge build thread.
Bli55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2014, 08:05 AM   #4
Bli55 OP
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Russia, N56 E49.
Oddometer: 398
Next, I turned my attention to radiator. I wanted more protection and hated the original design blocking airflow head on. Maybe it was because of high fender?
But X-countrys have a low fender and also this stupid design.

Colebatch and Terry once reported their fix -

I cut mine out.

Then got some stainless mesh wire and ziptied it with some edge trim to the rad shroud. It went on the outside despite an already small clerance between front fender (soon to be low) and radiator, primarily for better protection.
It also fits flush as before and I like the look.

Toys arriving from the states...

Out of interest, I would weigh parts being replaced.

1890 g for standart grips, mirrors and optional BMW hand guards.

2870 g for HDB setup, double take mirrors, heated grips and a pair of chinese switches.

Smoothed out the lower clamps.

I asked Paul to send spacers with the handguards to provide a bit more freedom on the controls. Downside is they were very heavy, over 200 g ...

Later I added an extension to handlebars to make more room for extra switches before the taper starts.

Bought a bike lift and did some general cleaning and inspecting, replacing many original bolts with stainless and proper hex sizes (BMW insists on having hex sizes as you'd find on threads one size smaller...)

Glad to have checked and regreased steering bearings.

Note where the fork is resting on! Story about the seat will come shortly.

Unfortunately, something happened when the forks were removed and I gouged big scratches in the clamp...

More goodies came in from Germany!

Scheffelmeier's wheel spacers, oil cooler and sprocket guard.

His bashplate, a true work af art!!

Also ordered some real clever tire irons to cut down on number and weight of tools.

This must be the coolest packaging for a sprocket!

Got some KTM wheel nuts (26mm hex? BMW, WTF????) and took it to my mate to get the outer ring turned down to match original nuts. See also the handlebar extensions.

With just over 2000 km, original wheel spacers ALREADY showing signs of wear (stainless on left).

Now, remember the oil pipe??

Scheffelmeier's bashplate is comparable in size even to a stock Africa twin huge beast of a plate, IMHO the best factory fitted bashplate to any bike to date.
Except that Sch's one is a lot thicker, tougher and uses premium grade alloy.

Comparing it to stock bashplate really puts things in perspective.
As you can imagine, it is a lot heavier though. 4.8 kg vs 800 g.
A whole 4 kg of extra metal!!

Partially this is due to toolbox option I opted for, but the benefits outweigh the extra weight (pun intended?):
heavy tools and spares can be moved down there during long trips.
Tools can also be kept on the bike at all times so no need to take an extra bag when just going for a short ride out.
It is also carried very low and centrally, so you shouldn't feel it too much.

Had to grind a little off a weld on the frame section.

There's one stick I have and it is with the mounting proposition.
Itis supposed to be "rubber-mounted" but there's no hard metal to metal contact so you can't get a good preload on the bolt and therefore no clamp force. All you are meant to rely on is loctite.
Even when tightened real far...still not happy.

Next, goodies from Zwaanshoek!

Erik has been a real star to help with my obsessive need to change every little thing to make it as best as I can imagine.
Eventually, we found a solution to how I could have a lockable cap but have it vented externally (read - higher) and not through the lock barrel.

So I found a company in UK where the owner was very helpful in contacting their factory in Italy to come up with a model that used some standart thread. I then ordered 2 such caps to be sent directly to Erik, where he received them and did his magic to create this:

I later measured it to contain 9.7 litres, which is actually larger than stock tank holds (9.3)!!!!!

Also ordered his clamp on solution for front subframes.

And side hard parts.

So, with the clamp on bracked installed, now I had a baseline to work from and build my own "subframe".
To keep it simple, decided to do it by hand and use steel in case emergancy welding would be needed.
Had to buy few more tools, jigsaw and clamps, for a start...
Picked out a few sheets of scrap steel, judging by eye and feel of the weight, from a local supplier and measured later at 1.2 mm.

Lots of inspiration came from Erik's own work on other X-challenges, as well as this huge "Rallye navigation bracket photo thread":

F-ing in Iceland and Faroe Islands, 2013.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Detailed BMW X-Challenge build thread.
Bli55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2014, 08:33 AM   #5
Norcal Moto Nut
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Modesto CA
Oddometer: 289
Looks like a fun project!
Calikatoom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2014, 12:30 PM   #6
Gnarly Adventurer
casperghst42's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands (in exile)
Oddometer: 216
Just one suggestion, change the clutch cover, and the clutch puller... if the current clutch cover is the one which is all aluminium then you'll wish you'd done it at some point ....

casperghst42 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2014, 06:38 PM   #7
Bike Nomad
Gnarly Adventurer
Bike Nomad's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Central Newfoundland, Canada
Oddometer: 321
Dude. You had impressed the heck out of me with your picture heavy RR on Iceland where you must have covered the vast majority of every road and rideable track in the country. Now this most excellent build thread for dessert! Thank you again. I've got a question on the toolbox on your bash plate. I went over to their website for a bit and had a look around. I know the tool box is advertised as water proof when new, otherwise weather resistant--and I can see the sheet of black rubber sealing yours in your pictures. My questions are--how water proof was the design in heavy rain? In immersion crossing streams? If you got water in there, how hard was it to drain out? Did you seal items in there in zip-loc bags, small dry bags or similar? Any other comments on the toolbox?
Bike Nomad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2014, 12:21 AM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Oddometer: 1,063
Great work
So many roads...........So little time..!!!

2005 BMW R1150GS Adv - Black
2005 BMW R1150GS Adv - Silver
2007 BMW G650 XCountry - Black
Johnnyboxer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 07:16 AM   #9
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Moscow, Russia
Oddometer: 1,265
Just found this thread...I've got a G650X in Moscow, let me know if you pass through.

What can you tell us about that Scheffelmeier oil cooler? I thought I had all of his toys but hadn't seen that one.

I've just picked up a throttle booster and a steering dampner for mine, have you considered those options?
Adventure is just another word for poor planning.
motoreiter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 09:07 AM   #10
Bli55 OP
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Russia, N56 E49.
Oddometer: 398
Calikatoom, very much so!

casperghst42, somewhat ahead of you here, but thanks for the suggestion!
I want to keep this in chronological order, but my mission on that clutch cover has just finished (wait and see why, enough to say it would've not been much more expensive to get brand new cover from the dealer and a lot quicker!)

Bike Nomad, I can see why it would be advertised dry when new, but not necessarily when used. You would expect it to only lose seal if the structure itself got bent. Unlikely!
Now, matter of fact is that this type of design should be possible to make 100% waterproof, 100% of the time (hopefully, we can disregard possible structural damage). The lid is solid, the hinges are solid and the clasps are solid.

In my opinion, it is missing a good thick sheet of rubber and that is what I'm considering to upgrade to in the future.

It seems that the supplied "seal" is a foam and might actually get wet itself, although that's hard to tell. But it definitely felt damp inside, that is the actual sheet of black sealing material.

Johnnyboxer, not without some help from UKGSER!

motoreiter, Moscow? X-challenge? I think I know! =))

No doubt, cooler adds useful oil capacity.
Again, for the purpose of chronologicity (?), I will postpone to go into details about the effectiveness of actual cooling.
Hopefully, once the oil temperature can be monitored reliably, I will do some km's with and without to test it.

As for degisn and fitment, this is probably the best post:

Throttle booster - is that what plugs between intake air temperature sensor??
Steering dampener, I don't know.
I'm not fast or hard enough of a rider to decide on it's need at this time (didn't even bend stock rims!!).

F-ing in Iceland and Faroe Islands, 2013.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Detailed BMW X-Challenge build thread.
Bli55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 01:03 PM   #11
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Moscow, Russia
Oddometer: 1,265
I just noticed you're in Kazan...watcha doing there, I know some people there...

I haven't seen your full build thread, but what did you do for a luggage rack? I designed a pretty nice one for my XC, but had to order two from the cutter so I have an extra one if you are looking for a rack.
Adventure is just another word for poor planning.
motoreiter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 01:02 PM   #12
Bli55 OP
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Russia, N56 E49.
Oddometer: 398
Trial and error metalwork began.

Mocked up brackets for low fender from cardboard, then 1.6 mm steel.

Not perfect, but something to work with.

Then mocked up a bracket for proper horns, as well as relocating the rear brake reservoir to clear space for that oil cooler.

In preparation with work on the front tower, I experimented with this set of hole saws I ebayed and how weight could be saved without weakening the structure.

I redid it and used the lower bracket subsequently, also adding a strip to tie it together with another mounting point on the frame (all from 2 mm aluminium).

Stub secured for convenient mounting of the reservoir with just a nut.

12-cell Antigravity (6.9 real Ah) weighed with full hardware vs. OEM battery:
1242 g against 3120 g, or a 60% weight saving.

Main feed wire for auxilaries (2.5 mm sq.), fused, all joints soldered and sealed and protected inside plastiс conduit.

Got the fuse block ready.

Had another one to play around with, but it was too bulky and with only 6 outlets.

Reluctantly, ordered 2 items from Touratech....One needed machining work, the other was outright ridiculous!
This was also a good oppotunity to install side parts since the brake pedal was to be removed.

To lower the pedal enough, needed to cut extra thread on the shaft, make a larger eccentric and see the spacer which in the picture above is what this pedal pivots on? (btw, stock has bearings inside that!!!)
Well, is was not deep enough, so it wouldn't protrude enough through the pedal and, when tightened, the washer would catch on the pedal and bind it...despite that it's a bent spring type washer. So the spacer also needed work on the lathe!

2nd disappointment: compare "Touratech" chain guide with a stock KTM item above (hint: partnumbers match =))) )

All would be well at least if they bothered to cut it smoothly or at least run a brush through to clean the swarfs, or better yet not sell you a KTM part with a few bits of metal at a huge mark-up...

Grrr!! Used my own bolts and washers too.

Taking shape here!

70 g and future headache saved with sidestand switch!

Plugged the axles, now that the nuts are closed and won't let water out when parked.

Then, Erik's headstock bracket went on after removing headlight, instruments and laying through new wiring.
That includes the main earth wire and main +ve feed to all auxiliaries, +ve feed for the horns as well as some other bits.

Top panel needed cutting to clear new bracket and wiring loom.

Now starts the interesting bit - the making of a tower!
It all started with a mental experiment - you just need to imagine a ravaging desert, or an endless steppe, or lava-ladden desert, replace the table background with that and see how this dash arrangement works.
For me, this was it:


F-ing in Iceland and Faroe Islands, 2013.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Detailed BMW X-Challenge build thread.
Bli55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2014, 01:12 AM   #13
Just hanging around
craigincali's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: A town called Hell
Oddometer: 2,174
I like what you are doing, looks great!! I have to ask, why didn't you go with the Touratec Rally Fairing? I got the hint you aren't crazy about TT but just wondering why you built your own.
I am usually drunk when I post so dont take it personally !
2010 KTM 990
craigincali is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2014, 05:15 AM   #14
Bike Nomad
Gnarly Adventurer
Bike Nomad's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Central Newfoundland, Canada
Oddometer: 321
Originally Posted by craigincali View Post
just wondering why you built your own.
The fancy rally style fairing he had got discombobulated shortly after arriving in Iceland, so he quickly fabricated the one in the picture above. You should go read his ride report it is exceptional.

EDIT: Correction. The side panels had to be removed in post#19 of the RR--I had mis-remembered it and thought the 2mm polycarbonate had been added then which is what I meant by quickly fabricated--which it had not, it was remaining from the original design. Sorry about the bad info.

Bike Nomad screwed with this post 02-03-2014 at 03:51 AM
Bike Nomad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2014, 09:13 AM   #15
Just hanging around
craigincali's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: A town called Hell
Oddometer: 2,174
I have read it. THE best RR I have ever seen.
I am usually drunk when I post so dont take it personally !
2010 KTM 990
craigincali is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 03:02 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015