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Reviews of motorcycle and adventure related stuff

BMW F800GS

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.

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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.

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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

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.