The On-Going Adventures of
BMW GS1200 Farkles
Farkles is simply another term for accessories - things to spend money on. Although my list of farkles is growing, the wish list also keeps getting bigger all the time.
This was my first farkle. Actually, I felt the stock seat did a pretty good job. For rides of less than 200 miles, it was just fine. It was comfortable enough, and firm enough to suit me. However, after about 200 miles in a day, my posterior would begin to ache and I'd find myself squirming in the seat to adjust riding positions. Since I'm often inclined to ride 400 miles or more in a day, I decided to purchase an after-market seat that would increase the comfort level on long rides.
After-market seats basically come in two flavors. The first option is to choose a completely custom seat. These are custom built to your specific measurements, riding style, etc. You typically need to send in your seat pan, and the vendor fabricates a seat custom built for you. This does mean that you may be without a seat for awhile. This is usually a more expensive way to go, but most of the people that I've met that have taken this route would do the same thing again - they simply love their seats and tend to think their particular seat fabricator is the very best.
The second option is to choose a "stock" after-market seat. These are less expensive than the custom fabricated seats, but still offer improved comfort over the stock GS seat. Since you don't need to send in your seat pan, you can continue riding after placing the order, and simply wait for the seat to arrive. This is the option that I chose. After carefully reading the reviews of many different GS riders, I chose to go with the Sargent Seats. It was delivered to my house just about two weeks after the order was placed.
So far, I'm very happy with it. It provides more surface area that the stock GS seat, and actually helps to keep me from sliding forward towards the as tank. I'm still breaking it in, but already it feels better on long rides.
I didn't bother purchasing the Sargent pillion seat, as I do very little 2-up riding, but they do offer one. Sargent provides a few choices in materials, and colors.
Vendor: Sargent Cycle Products
Hammerhead Shift Lever:
I saw this shift lever being talked about on the Adventure Rider Forum, and had to have one. Quite honestly, the stock lever was probably just fine, but this lever does offer some improvements.
First, it has a folding tip. I'm hoping not to have to rely on this feature, but it's important for those rare occasions when you might drop the bike on off-road excursions. Second, you can order the shift lever in different lengths. Since I wear a size 12-1/2 boot, I could use just a little more length over the stock shift lever, and ordered mine 15mm longer. Third, the tip itself can be adjusted up or down by the use of shims, allowing a little more flexibility in positioning the lever. And fourth, the lever has an ergonomic bend to it, and just looks better (IMO).
I'm not sure if it's just in my mind, or if the bend in the lever actually makes a difference, but shifting has a more positive feel to it with this lever - especially when standing on the pegs for off-road riding. I know the extra length feels a little more comfortable, especially with boots on.
Here are some comparison shots between the Hammerhead Shift Lever and the stock lever (click on the picture to enlarge):
Vendor: Adventurer's Workshop
I discovered this skidplate on the Adventure Rider Forum. It's manufactured by an member on the forum known as Twinlight Ernie. It provides much more protection than the original, and I believe it's an important enhancement if you are going to be riding offroad. I also purchased the guard that attaches to the centerstand for even added protection.
For comparison to the stock skidplate, click on the following:
Vendor: Twinlight Ernie (Ernie Bell)
Headlight and Oil Cooler Guard:
Another good accessory for offroad riding is this combination headlight and oil cooler guard. One of the last things you want to happen when riding offroad is to have a bike in front of you throw up a rock that breaks your headlight; or even worse, damages your oil cooler. There are a lot of guards on the market to protect each separately. Rather than buying two different guards, I liked this one that protects both at the same time.
The plexiglass headlight guard provides protection for the headlight assembly. It also comes with a shroud that helps to prevent reflection against the windscreen and instrument cluster. The headlight guard then extends down to also provide protection to the oil cooler. Once the brackets are installed, it's easy to remove the headlight and oil cooler guard for cleaning.
Here's the pieces that make up the headlight and oil cooler guard (click on the picture to enlarge).
Vendor: Adventurer's Workshop
Rear Shock Splashguard:
In order to protect the rear shock from dirt and rocks thrown up by the rear wheel, I ended up purchasing this Wunderlich Splashguard. It's an expensive piece of plastic, but it sure does work well. The plastic guard fits perfectly, and is extremely easy to install using just zip ties.
Vendor: BMW of Santa Cruz
I bought my bike with cast wheels. They were fine for the pavement, but as I started riding more and more offroad, I knew that I would eventually have to buy some spoked wheels. Well, the day came sooner than I thought when I basically destroyed my front cast wheel on a ride in Death Valley in March 2009.
I decided to buy a set of supertrick spoked wheels from Woody's Wheel Works in Denver. Woody produces a superlight and superstrong billet aluminum hub, uses his own cross-lace pattern with heavy duty spokes, and then matches that to a set of Excel rims.
I also switched to a 21" front wheel, which would provide better performance offroad. The 21" front runs a tube, but Woody can make the 17" rear tubeless, which is what I did. Woody produces the hubs in various colors - I went with gunmetal grey, matched with black rims.
Vendor: Woody's Wheel Works