Status Update:

Current location: Bochum / Germany

50 countries, 1226 days, trip mileage: 124200 km

18 Apr 2008

Final Bike Preparation

For the final bike prep-work, I was recommended to see Alex ('Ibble Engineering' in Croydon). Alex used to teach motorcycle maintenance and has prepared quite a number of bikes for fellow overland motorcyclists. Having spent a whole day together with him in his workshop, I can highly recommend his services.

Things done to the bike:

  • replace head-bearings
  • replace front & rear wheel bearings
  • change engine oil & filter
  • check valve clearances
  • new x-ring chain & sprockets (with the link colour-coded with white paint so it's easier to locate)
  • check & grease swing-arm bearings
  • fix chain adjusters to swingarm (cable ties)
  • fit rear shock protection. Touratech's rear shock protection isn't bad though there are cheaper / DIY options available, for example from the website

Last but not least, we replaced the (useless) original BMW horn with a louder (110 dB) "Stebel Nautilus" one: essential for getting noticed in busy traffic like Italy or India. The Stebel horn is a little taller than the original one, so we took away the bottom bit of the horn enclosure on the front fairing/mudguard (very quick job with a hack-saw).

The bearings inside the sprocket carrier were absolutely knackered, as you can see on the photographs. There was no grease left at all it could well be that the previous owner had cleaned the bike with a pressure hose. Also, the rear shaft sealing spacer showed a groove in two different positions an indicator that it had been turned around during a previous service (when it should have been replaced with a new one, really). The damaged spacer would have knackered the seals and bearings in no time, letting water through into the rear hub. Thanks to Alex, I've now got a stainless steel spacer (custom made within about 20 minutes from a small bit of steel).

Further to Alex's service, I took some sheet steel mesh and made up some protectors for the radiator (put in place with cable ties). And the arms of my old wetsuit (which now is a "longjohn shorty"), combined with some velcro, now serves as a protection for the forks & fork seals. (The velcro wasn't sticky enough. So thanks to my mum for sewing it on â€" quite a painstaking job which had to be done by hand, as the sewing machine didn't get through the neoprene. It's probably easier to just buy readymade protetors).