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Current Mileage: 67,821

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Picking up the GS in California

I purchased my 1150GS used, over the internet (sight-unseen) from a fellow in California. It came with a full complement of keyed hard-bags, aftermarket seats, crash-bars, headlight protector and huge PIAA aftermarket lights. Kait and I picked the bike up in Sacramento, CA and rode all the way back to Montana. Other than the RID unit occasionally freezing when the ignition was turned on, it carried us and all our camping gear with grace and aplomb.

The 1150GS is not a pretty motorcycle. No curved fiberglass panels, polished chrome, or other adornments. Every part on the bike has some greater purpose, leaving no room for style and pinache. Even the “beak” that protrudes from under the headlights is more about scooping air over the oil cooler, than making any sort of statement. The entire tail section is essentially a large luggage rack with the option for a pillon seat.  Stout handguards, heated grips, and mirrors that actually give you a view of something other than a blurry visage of your own shoulder.  The stock brakes somehow stop quicker than any of the serving-plate-sized rotors on any of my Ducati’s ever did.

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Camping in Wyoming

What it lacks in style however, it makes up in functionality. Put some dual-purpose tires on, and go for a 9-day cruise around Canada, two-up. When you get back, spoon on some knobbies and go camping through forest roads for a couple days with your buddies.

Maintenance is relatively easy, requiring no druidic rituals or complex engineering degrees to understand.  A virtual library of issues, information and fixes is organized neatly across several websites with step-by-step, illustrated guides for larger maintenance jobs.

Mile after mile it continually proves to be the best motorcycle I’ve ever owned. 

Modifications

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In truth, I have removed more from the bike than I have put on.  By itself it has very few nuances that I feel need correcting.  I have chosen to keep the bike simple, clean, and unburdened with unnecessary trinkets.

  • Braided stainless brake lines. 
  • SMC Universal GPS Mount
  • GS Adventure Suspension
  • GS Adventure Centerstand/Kickstand
  • Quick disconnect fuel tank lines
  • HID Headlight Conversion
  • Touratech rear luggage rack / cat plate
  • MRA “Vario” Windscreen
  • Wolfman Rainer Tankbag

Maintenance (Planned and Unplanned)

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Short of a few things caused by excessive accessories, or neglected maintenance, the GS has been the most trouble-free motorcycle of the fleet as well.

  • Broken fairing-stay
    When the entire front subframe started bouncing around, I removed the heavy auxiliary lights and fabricated a replacement tab for the broken ear of the subframe.  I don’t recommend attaching aux lights to the front subframe.
  • Failed crown wheel bearing
    Discovered axial play in the rear wheel, which ended in me rebuilding the final drive, and replacing the failing crown wheel bearing.  I did a video of the disassembly, replaced the crown wheel bearing and re-shimmed the bearing with the proper preload.  
  • Unexpected impact and consequences.
    After hitting a deer in Idaho at 60mph and seeing how the crash-bars actually caused more damage to the bike, I took them off and never replaced them.
  • Replaced the pivot bearings as preventive maintenance at 42,000 miles. 
  • Noticed some black specks in the brake fluid.  Suspected the OEM rubber lines were starting to fail.  Replaced all rubber lines with a stainless kit from Spiegler.
  • Fixed a a freezing RID issue by relocating the HID ballast to under the dashboard.