Labour of Love

Keeping occupied during lock-down was/is a big thing for many. Getting my hands dirty is an act of sanity and more often than not the rewards very satisfying.

My first motorcycle in over three years and so delighted I managed to pick one up for reasonable money that didn’t required too much TLC. Got it just after Christmas with the idea that in my free time this year I will spend it among other things making this old girl pretty again. “Lock-down” however sped up my reconditioning plans severely. It’s just about all done now 🙁

Last year I spent my time transforming “000” into something a true enthusiast can be proud of. It is my sponsored ‘desert tour’ vehicle, a menacing 5.4L Chevy V8 powered Nissan Patrol pick-up making around 300kW.

As usual I ended up doing much more, as some tasty used performance parts popped up in the smalls close-by. So, by pleasant coincidence, I’ve now managed to complete all cosmetic work plus planned future upgrades all in one go. Problem is what to do next…? Maybe I’ll get another one to tinker on further. Quite like this old flying brick. For the technically inclined, here is a list of the upgrades:

Remus header


K&N high flow air filter

Wunderlich big bore intake snout

Booster Plug

My dear friend Freddi Stafford at Ravenol South-Africa also helped me out again with the best oil recommendations at competitive prices. Lubrication is the one area I’ve never cut corners. Only the very best oil will do, no matter how severe the over-kill.

This R1200 GS Adventure is an ’07 model with 60,000km originating from the North-West. The bike was in overall good condition, meaning the stuff that matter were all there and importantly, in good shape. No expensive replacement parts, mechanical or cosmetic, were required. The bike however appeared as if it had never been washed before. Everything had a tough reddish, brown staining, typical of the soil types up North and some surfaces especially the galvanized bolts and metal parts all needed refinishing.

The day I fetched her from the previous owner. Boxing Day 2019. It was cold and rainy in parts, but excited to be riding again we went on a little introductory road trip. Those Mitas tyres were shockingly bad in the wet. The rear-end stepped out with just a little twist of the grip in 2nd and 3rd. Since I’m doing mainly road riding, I replaced them with Michelin Anakee Adventures at the first opportunity.

The rims were a grayish brown from years of baked-on brake dust and dirt. I’ve not kept logs of the hours spent, but some evenings I had to stop rubbing because my fingers were turning painfully tender and somewhat raw. I finished two full tubes of Autozol metal polish. Here are some pictures of the finished product:

I removed every single lens, cleaned them on the inside with a toothbrush dipped in a soapy solution and polished the outside surfaces with Brasso. While at it bulbs and bulb sockets were cleaned and lubricated also. No more random canbus warning light.
Note the Stainless button cap screws holding the number plate down.
Brake disc bolts were polished with the wire brush wheel. Others were refinished using cold galvanizing paint after a quick brush on the wheel. Perfectly resistant to the high pressure washer.
I can spend more time on the headers, but considering they looked like this, I’m quite satisfied (for now at least).
Refinished protective engine covers and while there I replaced the main ignition coil sticks and repainted their covers red. Seen it on a Facebook GSA group and liked the idea. Picks up the theme on the seat a little. New uprated coil sticks from BMW is a MUST! Huge performance gains.
The bike came with two sets of spotlights. One set above and these aftermarket LED types below the bar. I prefer these ones. Less bulky, but lighting in the dark is superb. I spent a good few hours cleaning up the brackets and installing new bolts. The old ones were scrappy rusted mild steel.
Foot pegs and leavers all finished in raw cold galvanizing.
A keen eye will spot the spoke bolts on the front wheel not yet refinished. I have something more to do after all.
Every bracket have been removed and polished up before re-fitment.
Resprayed light/oil cooler protective cover and replaced all the bolts holding the lens in place. Also installed amber parking light.
Check out this cool key ring tool for undoing the oil filler cap on the older BMW R1200GS range
Just had to slip out for a quick round-trip 😉
Polished titanuim pipe discoloration. Keep the throttle pegged for about 400km in 39C ambient and it looks like this. My built-in mechanical sympathy however wont allow this torture without the assurance of knowing the the entire machine is running the best lubricants available .
Life ten days before Covid-19 ‘Lock-down’. Thanks to the unknown German tourist on his bicycle who took this picture for me. May we all stand united in the hope to once more live life freely in freedom.