All posts by versys

Reefton Spur

Reefton Spur

After riding backroads around Emerald and Gembrook on Friday after work Greg and I met with Kee and all decided to ride Reefton Spur early Saturday morning. Kee is going to be the camera man and STIG 2 in 1, racing his BMW 135i coupe with GoPro mounted on the bonnet ,filming us.
We decided to meet at Gembrook for a morning coffee at 8am and then head to Reefton.
Andrew SMSed at the right time last night asI had almost forgotten to send him the invite.
Everyone arrived at Gembrook around 8am but cafe was closed and we decided to go to Warburton and have coffee there.

Gembrook Cafe, Vic
Gembrook Cafe, Vic

Greg also called Wooly while at Gembrook and told him we were doing Reefton this morning. Wooly got ready within minutes and caught up with us in Warburton. Now we had 4 bikes and car: that is 2.5 BMW bikes 800GS, 1200GS and Husqvarna TR650 Strada(its probably 80% BMW) and Suzuki DR400. All of us had a knobby tyre set on the bike.
We had a cup of coffee with choice of pies and cakes . I had a carrot cake so now fully energized we headed down to Reefton.

Warburton Bakery, Vic
Warburton Bakery, Vic

I have started off a little bit slower and in first corners I was decelerating harder before entering a corner, then I got into a rhythm and started to hold throttle at a more constant position just slightly slowing down before a sharper corner and then accelerating gently out of the corner.
By the middle of the Reefton Spur probably 20 minutes from the start of the twisty road I was a lot smoother on the throttle , though in two corners went a little bit wider and touched the middle line. I didn’t want to lean further as I was worried I’m going to run out of the rubber on the front tyre.
Through those turns I used up all of the front rubber and the side chicken strips started disappearing completely and I am not a footpeg scrapper. The rear tyre still had probably another 5mm of the usable rubber you can see it by different color and texture of the rubber surface on the edge to the color of the rest of the tyre after the ride.So you can still lean a bit more on the rear tyres but i didn’t want to have the front wash out.
With other less knobby or a more rounded tyre you can probably lean further safer but these ones I better be a bit more careful.

Reefton Spur
Reefton Spur

We stopped half way through at the intersection with the Woods Point road for a bit of rest. Regrouped and took off again. Kee was now filming with camera mounted at the back of the car on the boot facing forward, filming himself and bikes through the windscreen
After that we stopped for a rest at Marysville.

Marysville, Vic
Marysville, Vic

After Marysville we rode Black Spur the road going to Healsville. Andrew went straight home. I refueled at Healsvile and we went further to Kinglake,
One stretch of road near Kinglake was really narrow and corners were even tighter.Cars could barely fit into the lane. Good thing that the speed limit was only 60 and upcoming traffic was not going too fast.I was getting a bit tired with cramps in the shoulders started to appear when we passed St.Andrews and got to Warrandyte. After that we all went home.
Overall it was a good day and lots of fun riding those twisties. It was my second time on Reefton. First time I went there last year on my back then Suzuki GS500 with “L” plates on.That would have been only 1-2 months of riding that I have done since getting the license. That time I was really stressed, every corner was making me use a lot of energy and concentration. It was taking me longer to process all the information, I was paying too much attention to whats in front of me instead of whats around the corner. Didn’t know what line to take, how to lean etc.
I am still learning now, but I think some of the things are being automatic now and I dont have to think to much about it. Its still not natural but its getting a bit more fluid now, at moderate speeds I can go from corner to corner a lot smoother then before and sometimes not even using brakes.
I was avoiding Reefton Spur over the last year as I thought it was too hard and I need more practice before next attempt. Now I think I can go there more often to practice those cornering skills.

Riding gravel roads in Gembrook

On one of the weekends we decided to meet with Greg(on Husky) and Andrew (on BMW R1200GSA) at Gembrook for coffee and go a for a ride after that.
I thought we were just gonna do the local twisties but Andrew wanted to do the gravel. I didn’t even put the adventure boots on and was not really prepared to do the off-road today and Greg was in the same boat saying he would have brought the tool-bag just in case.
Oh well we decided to still do it.
The gravel roads were moist from the rain that was going on for the last few days.Some patches were reasonably dry but the ones in the shade were really moist with few puddles of water.
All was good until we took a left turn I think towards the Power lines section in that area. It was slowly going uphill and one section on the right had all the trees chopped, some sort of logging track.
That is where I had my first slide which is not in the picture. I was trying to go around the puddles went closer to the curb side and then turn left but front washed away and I slide into the curb , it was soft and at walking speed so no issues.
I looked at the surface and it was wet slippery clay stuff not much of the gravel in the section.
Andrew had TKC80s on his 1200GS with traction control and ABS ON Greg still had knobby Pirelli Rally in the front and Mitas 09 at the back they felt some wobbles but it was not as much issue as it was for me on my new Pirelli Scorpion Trails.
They were holding fine on gravel and on drier stuff but on the wet clay they were just like skates on ice. They felt and looked like slicks after mud filled up the thread groves in the tyre.
They asked me if we should turn around and go back to the main gravel track I said I will try again and went first now.

taking a nap
taking a nap

hand brake u-turn
hand brake u-turn

Only managed to do another 100 meters before another slip.This time rear was caught in the little rut and washed out coming around towards the front so the whole bike went sideways to the road and slid from left side of the road to the right side while still being upright and then fell again into a soft stuff mostly leaves and grass so there were no issues. It happened so quickly that the guys didn’t even see how it happened. It was similar to a police stunt u-turn using the handbrake to do a 180degree u-turn.

This time we decided to turn around and take another route.The other section was alright it was more gravely and bike was staying upright.
Andrew let me test ride his 1200GSA, it was my first time on 1200GS.First I could not even take it of the side stand, his seat is high and he dialed his electronic suspension to the highest mode too.So I was barely touching ground.If I am touching ground with my right foot I can’t reach the side stand.So he removed it for me and switched into the 1st gear and then I went.It was so heavy at standstill that I couldn’t move it but as it started moving it felt very light.
The gears felt lower then Versys and sound coming from the engine was interesting too. But i was surprised how clunky the gearbox was I was expecting the opposite from the German engineers. Anyway the standing on the foot pegs and riding in the saddle both were comfortable for me on 1200. The only issue would be the height and the weight of the bike. I also always liked the look of the 1200GS bikes and I got the GS bug again now.

Fallen tree
Fallen tree

Few minutes later we swapped the bikes back and got to a section where a big fallen tree blocked the road. First thought was to turn around as we are not in 4WD and not carrying chainsaws with us. Then decided to ride around the tree through the high grass, ferns and bushes. When I road the bike through that stuff it felt like it was suspended in the air while riding over the brunches grass and other soft debris.

Apart from injured pride, it was a great day out overall, lots of fresh air and emotions.


Got myself a used BMW F800GS last month

bike came with aluminium panniers , engine crash bar, bash plate, hand guards.

I added since :

  • a top box/luggage plate
  • BMW soft bag to go with it. Its quite handy for commuting, very spacious bag and quick to attach and remove.

The things I want to add in the future:

  1. upper crash bar extension to protect the radiator and plastics in case of fall.
  2. driving lights
  3. motorcycle GPS
  4. maybe aluminium top box if I’m going to be riding with pillion a lot, they could lean on it and use it as a backrest.
  5. camel bag type of fuel container probably 2×10 litres  capacity to extend the range

When I taken the bike for test ride at the dealership as I was turning into the street the first feeling was that the front tyre was wobbling and moving about 1cm side to side. I could feel the side knobs on the tyre were compressing, decompressing and bending side to side.

Front suspension felt little bit softer or bit more movement then Versys had for obvious reasons as F800GS had a longer travel suspension.

Bike felt taller but slimmer. Acceleration felt quicker at first. I taken it to the freeway to check how  it feels at highway speeds.

at 100km/h I noticed quite a bit of buffeting to compare to my Versys.I now use moulded earplugs that helps a lot with reducing noise.  Also the front felt a bit light and front tyre was walking a little (bike came with TKC80 tyres) to compare to Versys with 17″ wheels and Scorpion Trail almost road tyres.

another thing i had noticed is that the handlebars were moving side to side shaken by the wind buffeting and also from wind hitting my shoulders which was adding to that.

I have heard about all those issues before and was prepared for them so that wasn’t deterring me away. I thought I just get used to them.

You do notice the weight distribution difference slightly when you do slow corners/turns because of the under the seat fuel tank.

After test ride I jumped on my Versys and it felt stiffer, tighter and revvier. It felt similar in comparing sport coupe with lowered stiffer suspension with a softer SUV.

I bought the BMW on that day.

now i have done more then 2000kms in about a month. I quite enjoy it so far, I like the panniers they are quite big, can carry almost everything i need for the camping trip, heated grips are quite good on cold wet morning commutes. Because bike is quite slim filtering is not too difficult, the mirror and handlebars are still wider and taller then sports bikes , they go over a lot of sedans but at the height of the most SUVs.

center stand is handy for cleaning, lubing  and adjusting the chain, checking oil level etc.

I have taken it for an overnight camping trip to the friend farm just to test all the gear and see if I’m missing anything in the setup.

I am trying not to do too much off road until i get upper crash bars.

so far I’m quite happy with it.


BMW Dealer Service Doncaster

I have just bought a used BMW F800GS  from Doncaster dealership.
The bike was serviced at their workshop before it was sold. It was serviced couple of days before the sale according to the stamp in the book.

I was trying to familiarise with the bike straight away and first thing was to check the oil level when I got it. When I did I could not tell whether oil level was correct or not as dipstick was all oily all the time. Checked the manual and forums on how to do it , tried every method, I have tried measuring it with the centre stand /sidestand on or without, still without any luck.
So to be on the safe side and to remove any doubts I have decided to drain and replace oil.

I have drained 3.5 litres of oil from the sump which was supposed to be only 2.9 according to the manual.
I have put 2.9 litres of new oil and changed the oil filter. Checked again and dipstick is showing now between middle and maximum mark just after the change and after short ride which I was expecting to see during my first check. On the hot day after long ride its showing 3 quarters full on centre stand.

That is 600ml over the oil capacity stated in the book. I have sent a letter to the dealer describing the issue and they said that they put only 3 litters there according to their invoices.

Must have been an apprentice performing the oil change job or someone topped it up just before bike was sold during the pre-sales check.

That was very disappointing experience for me and very poor quality of service on the dealer side.
I don’t know if I can trust their workshop to service my BMW car or BMW bike in the future.

My recommendation is to do the service yourself or rely on unreliable workmanship at the dealerships. I have heard similar stories about services at Peter Stevens workshops too. You have been warned now.


Kawasaki Versys

had a question on YouTube regarding my Versys:

what do you think about that bike? Would you recomend it to a beginner in that class over 600cc?

my thoughts about the bike:

i think its quite good(especially for the money you can’t find many alternatives), its capable of doing a lot. its good on road and not bad off road, especially with good tyres.
you can see from other YouTube members , other people scraping foot pegs on Versys and take it to the tracks so bike can do it all, its up to the riders ability.I am not a foot peg scraper.
I got this bike last year sep-oct just 6 months after i got my learners(never been on the bike before). so I was still a beginner(i think I still need to learn a lot of on and off road skills)
i bought Suzuki GS500  first , brand new and sold it in 6 months after i test rode Versys as I had found Suzuki was uncomfortable on long trips, because of the posture setup( too leaned forward and cramps in the knees), maybe for smaller , shorter rider it would be better fit. It was still great around the city for all the rides under 1 hour.
Versys is very upright and very comfortable. I have done 11 day (4-5000kms) trip through the outback in june(videos are still coming) and never found it uncomfortable or limited in any way. I find the stock Versys seat is more comfortable then my new BMW F800GS stock seat. My friend says I got spoiled by the Versys comfort.
some stretches were 1000-2000kms of continuous gravel/dirt road. Versys performed flawlessly.I had Pirelli MT60 tyres on the trip, very grippy, little knobies ,capable of doing REALLY high speeds on gravel with the load. It soaked up all the uneven surfaces like it was butter. On Suzuki GS500 for example I was getting scared every time I hit a little pot hole or something similar and suspension would bottom out especially was scary in the corners so in that way Versys is better for beginner. Now I’m running Pirelli Scorpion Trails , less knobbly more round shape, leans quicker and still does dry dirt roads or gravel fine

I think Its ok for learners, just don’t rev from day one, get used to it first. Also depends on your size , how tall you are.
If you have never been on the bike before maybe find/borrow a 250cc to practice for few weeks before jumping on Versys, as I was intimidated by the seat height at the start, I’m not tall and tip toe on it. My understanding was you need to flat foot on the bike. but after riding for few months I find its fine now. and i always stop with left foot on the ground and right on the rear brake. After riding BMW F800GS for 1 month I want an even taller seat on it to have more leg room and that seat is a bit higher then Versys seat. I have now done 18000kms on Versys in a year and still finding it good for commuting, weekend riding, camping etc.  Although i want to try other bikes too 🙂 (KTMs,BMWs, Triumphs, Ducaties etc)
Install engine crash bars to protect the plastics and the engine.
I guess you can even start on a 1000cc bike straight away if you control your throttle , it just takes longer to learn stuff on the bigger bike.

I got a month ago BMW F800GS quite happy with that too, I only bought it as I wanted bigger front wheel and bigger tyre choice for dual sport.

good luck
and happy to answer any other questions


Dainese leather pelle jacket and pants review

Dainese leather 2 piece suit review

The quality:
I have recently bought a Dainese 2 piece leather suit touring style(pants don’t have the knee sliders).
I have worn it for 2 days and seams started to come apart in some areas and threads sticking out both on the pants and the jacket as can be seen in the photos.
I had taken it back to the shop (Peter Stevens) they didn’t want to exchange it for another one.
They told me they will send the suit to their supplier and let them decide if they going to repair it or replace.
I was quite unhappy , paid close to 1500$ for the set and that gear is supposed to withstand and hold up to strong abrasion during accident etc and still not come apart.
Was not expecting it to come apart from half an hour commute and was expecting a full replacement or full refund on the spot as it was within couple of days of the purchase date.
Eventually after sending them few emails , make few phone-calls etc I got it replaced after about a week.The jacket is made in Ukraine and pants are made in Romania.
Not sure if the country of origin lets down on the quality of the stitches, the leather itself feels quite nice and of good quality.
How it felt:
I tried it on a 25 degree Celsius day , In the morning it was still fresh so I didnt notice any discomfort. On the way back from work it was very humid, was about to start raining and I put the rain over coat on.
It got quite sweaty very quickly. it started to drizzle, the leather pants were exposed to rain, but didn’t get soaked or even wet at all,
Also in the rain my butt was sliding in the seat back and forward during breaking and acceleration because the leather material on the pants is smooth all around.
My textile suits don’t do that, my RST Outlast pants have faux nubuk patch in that area that prevents from sliding in the seat
and RST Ventilator suit has some rough vinyl anti-slip patches sewed on at the back too.
In the last 5 minutes before home, when the rain stopped they dried up pretty quickly so when I got home and taken them off
they were more damp inside from sweating rather then outside from rain.
as I got home and swapped into RST outlast textile and went to visit a friend , it was still around 22 Celsius when it started to rain heavier.
you could feel the jacket started to cool down a little from all the water robbing off some heat , and working as the evaporative cooler
So both textile and leather suits felt similar in such temperature but you get hotter in leather suit when it rains and you have to wear rain coat on top of it.


this morning was around 12 Celsius. It felt a little bit cold, so decided to use thermals under the leather
thermal pants and thermal shirt from ALDI no other layers .
it felt good , I didn’t feel too cold or too hot,was about right,
I only felt light breeze around the armpits, where jacket has fabric/textile patches instead of leather.
It also an area which is less or not protected by the windscreen and all the buffeting and turbulence hits right around the shoulder area.
the speeds I was doing up to 80kms/h sprints between traffic lights for 14kms and then sprints up to 40-60kmh for another 6kms with couple of minutes stops at few traffic lights
I also used a neckwarmer, which kept my neck warm and reduced wind buffeting noise in my ears
I think if temperature drops by another 5 degrees I would need to wear another layer under my jacket a merino thin jumper
or at these temps 12-14 but at speeds 100-110kmh I think I would wear merino jumper or wind proof thin layer also from ALDI
also depends if its a sunny day or not, on a sunny day it feel 3-5 degrees warmer.
another day another morning it was about 16-17 Celsius I was wearing just synthetic t-shirt under the leathers.
in 45-50 minutes riding in stop and go traffic, the back got a bit sweaty, t-shirt was moist but not soaked as yesterdays cotton t-shirt.
at continues speeds of 80kmh and above there should be enough ventilation not to get cooked , but as soon as you stop for couple of minutes you start sweating.

lately I have been using the leather suit at morning temperatures 9-11celcius with a thermal shirt or normal synthetic t-shirt and
it felt fresh but not too cold. Maybe I got used to it now.







Muffler dent repair

During last road trip I dented the muffler in one of the big long pot hole at high speed. Suspension got compressed and clearance got reduced. There was a bit of noise but I didn’t even notice the dint until few days later. So my speculation is it was the pothole.
I thought I would need a new muffler or need to take it to a specialist to fix but after talking to one of the guys at bike shop he said that you can do it yourself. So I decided to try it.
First I have drilled out all the rivets from the muffler. You need a corded drill to make it easier. Cordless drill battery will die after one rivet and it takes a lot longer to drill one, so save time and borrow corded drill from someone. Then removed all the internals, the cone shaped mesh pipe and  insulator thing which I think is similar to pink bats insulator and has some sort of crushed glass or something similar, makes your skin and eyes itchy. So beware and wear the gloves probably tough rubber gloves which you could through away later. I had to wash the leather gloves in soap to get rid of the itchy dust.

Also try not to inhale that dust either might not be very healthy.

You need to open the can from both ends to make working on it easier. You don’t have to cut it in the middle. I was using thicker pipes and small heavy items to roll and bang it into the proper shape.

After it was more or less of a desired shape. I sanded it with the coarse sandpaper first longwise not across and finished with the finer sandpaper in the end. It worked out to be even better color then it was before. I prefer the brushed aluminum color more then shiny reflective stainless steel.

When assembling it back try to distribute the insulator evenly around the mesh pipe.

After you put both caps on both ends of the muffler on you can rivet it back. I have ran out of the correct size rivets half way. I  was at the Bunnings Warehouse today and didn’t know that the other rivets I had were too small. Now I have to install it so that I can ride it to work in the morning and then take it off again tomorrow and finish riveting.
I have assembled everything late in the evening and decided to test it. Sounds a little different , it’s leaking air in connection to the main pipe, not sitting all the way in,  sounds more like Harley now :). Wellwill fix it tommorrow after I get more rivets .

Next day I removed it again, installed the missing rivets and reinstalled it back on the bike. Made sure all the connections to the main pipe were tight so that it didn’t leak any exhaust. As during  the morning ride I have noticed its not that its making more noise but also stinks when you sit at the intersection. So that was in my best interest to make it proper.

Next day test rode again and all was good.







BMW R1200GS 2004 test ride

I had taken a 2004 model of R1200GS for test ride, It looked nice and I wanted to buy it.

it felt heavy, gearbox clunkier. it has dry clutch so have to switch to neutral all the time as you  cannot hold clutch in otherwise it can burn clutch quickly

And gear shifting 1st to neutral not accurate and sitting in traffic or stop and go traffic too difficult to gear shift all the time .

  1. when you are stopped already you need to shift Neutral into 1st,
  2. then switch position to have right foot on the break ,
  3. ride for 3 meters then stop . With left foot on the ground , right foot on the rear break to have control of the bike , if you use front break that’s too aggressive for low speed stops
  4. then switch position right foot on the ground left on the gear lever and right arm on front break.
  5.  shift 1st into N again.

where with wet clutch you can leave your right foot on foot break and in 1st gear no need to shift back and forward into 1-N and just hold clutch in. might need to test the water cooled GS as it has wet clutch.

on the  highway it was very buffety even with very large tall screen it had.
It’s ok bike very different but not better to switch from versys
And my versys accelerates quicker I think

You can feel 1200 has a lot more moving metal parts
When I accelerated on fwy It felt like you are sitting on big coffee grinder or a bag of spanners.

Also when you rev bike leans to the right a little, which you can get used to, can be used as a party trick.

people say it has character. yes i does have some character but for commuting i think its too much of a hassle especially on Nepean Hwy in Melbourne and stop and go traffic. It would be all right if you spend 90% of the time on highways.

I was bit disappointed with that example, I had higher expectations from it. Maybe it was just old.

Day 1 Melbourne to Horsham

First day of the trip
Finally packed all the gear: cloth,food, tent,sleeping mat, sleeping bag and other camping gear.
I was a sunny warm day with temperature floating just below +20C.
Finally we took off i think it was around 5-6pm .
After we left home just couple of blocks down the road I have noticed one of my mirrors was getting lose, I would straighten it and with a bit of wind and acceleration it would fold back so we needed to stop and make a quick fix. We probably spent good 10 minutes searching for the right size allen key, I was almost ready to go back home to get it when Greg finally found it. Removing the spring washer and re-tightening it again seemed to have worked.
Next stop was in South Melbourne servo on Kings Way to get some gas,as Greg was turning into it, his front washed out, he barely saved it by putting a foot down. He had a new Pirelli Scorpion Rally knobby tyre installed on the front for the trip and haven’t scrubbed it in yet.
Next fill up was in Ballarat, temperature dropped significantly ,we were freezing , the hands and the whole body was freezing.
I went around the back of the servo and put the the thermals on. The servo assistant started cracking up some jokes about Horsham as soon as he found out we are heading that way.
Next hour and half was reasonably boring ride in the dark to Horsham.
We got there probably around 9-10pm. We stopped overnight at my brother in-law’s home. Had some food , drink and went to sleep. That was the end of the first day with total distance covered only around 316kms (technically i think we only rode for an hour in daylight).


Luggage pannier rack

Worked for 2 weekends on these pannier racks with my dad. Its taken about 10 hours of welding and grinding in total  and 4 hours of priming and painting.

On first attempt we used the tube bender from Bunnings. We spent couple of hours bending the pipes to match the Ventura rack but the handles of the tool were bending before the pipes would. So i have returned it to Bunnings after an hour of use, with both handles fallen off, bolts and nuts come of too. That pipe bender is only capable of bending garden hoses i think.While it would be nice to have a pipe bender at home hydraulic or similar, we still had to go and make rack just by bending all the pipes around the knees.

On the night before the long trip ,not perfectly shaped but close enough we got the rack ready. We tried to follow the shape of the Ventura rack, but It came out bit wider near the seat and the brackets that we welded on to go under the seat into the same spot where Ventura racks were appeared to have a lot more flex then original Ventura. so we decided to add another set of brackets as there was another set of holes  we could use on both ends of the pillion grab handles. 

That gave it a lot more stability and rack was flexing a lot less. we then added side pannier frames ,rectangular loops, it was now getting more solid. Tested with the heavy rear bag and tried to shake it. It could still flex a little bit, I didnt want to have a tired metal in those places where we bent the brackets so we welded little plates to the side of the brackets to stop them from flexing. Now its very solid.

I sanded it and used a round file at place where joints were.
It was already around 8-9pm when i started applying the first layers of prime coat and being in a hurry and having to leave around lunch time next day I had little time to spare so I was applying more layers of primer every 20-30 mins as soon as it touch dry.
Then started sparying with black paint and primer started to float above the paint in multiple places. I guess it wasnt set yet.
I have applied probably 2-3 layers of paint on top and started installing the rack around midnight.

even next day when we left to horsham when i taken the bag off the rack the paint still wasnt set properly in some places as touching the bottom of the bag was leaving stain marks.

After the trip a lot of the paint got stripped at the places where bags were rubbing it and playwood that supported the bags also was like abrasive to the paint.
now i might take it of again and do it properly this time spray and dry for few days before recoating and leave to set for few days idealy in the sun


Trying the rack on the bike