The X is a tall machine. Great offroad, and good onroad with the bars, but it is a challenge (pun intended) to mount and dismount. Fully loaded, it sits lower, but even then. The stock seat is also very uncomfortable if you sit for long periods of time, like a tankfull of miles. There are a few solutions that forums and contacts offered, and I was strongly considering Seat Concepts. Then I called Dave and he had a lowered seat or two in his possession. Deal. The seat is lower, and flatter making it a bit more comfortable as well. The final verdict will be issued once I have a tankfull of riding completed...
2007 BMW G650X Challenge
The rear light is clear and works well, but with full luggage it is less visible than desired. Same for the turn signals. A simple answer is the same kind of license plate frame already used on the GSA. install is not difficult, but it is tedious. In the end, the rear is a bit more conspicuous, and adequate for longer stints on the road. Now to tackle the front....
Well, what better way to test the bike than to take it to a local rally that would involve a fair amount of road riding followed by a significant amount of off-road. Roughly 500 miles round trip not including the off-road while there. Following the maintenance, the machine got loaded with luggage and camping gear. Getting there was via trailer through state and national parks, and B roads. There was no interstate, so it took 7 hours to get there. The Rally itself was in a great spot with great riding nearby. A small selection of quality vendors, but the food options could use improvement. On the way back, it was a mixture of B roads and about 60 miles of interstate. The X handled this surprisingly well, especially laden with rider and full luggage. The Wolfman tail bag was excellent, but I could have really used a tankbag. All in all, an impressive outing for the machine, and the gear.
Another oil change with filter and a second air filter change....The vacuum oil extractor works well and I discover that the oil drain plug is badly rounded. A new one is on order,
The ADV sticker has been awaiting a place to go for some time. The instrument fairing on the X was the right place. The fact that it is reflective helpsas well. Also added was the Wolfman tail bag. The quality of this gear has impressed mightily and it is too bad that the tankbag I have for the GS is way too large and too sloped for this bike. Wolfman soft panniers complete the luggage and now it can travel.
A few essentials are added to the cockpit to prepare the machine for more serious use. The obligatory RAM mount, allows for GPS, Phone, or camera. A USB charger allows for powering said devices. Short work for greater functionality.
The X needed some rubber from the current decade, so off came the wheels. However, they proved more difficult than expected, as two of the front pinch bolts were rounded off. It took penetrant and heat and persuasion to remove them. Being 8mm shoulder bolts, I replaced them with some stainless Allen bolts. This was a good chance to clean up the axles and the chain.
It never rains, it pours. After seeking out the meager offerings for the X-Challenge, a friend offered a set of DirtBagz which was one of the options under consideration. Problem is some Wolfman bags were already on the way. Other options included Hepco Becker and SW-Motech. The Wolfman bags have a bit more capacity, but are really made for a traditional rack like the SW-Motech or the Hepco Becker. The DirtBagz are fine for light loads, and fit their minimal rack. The decision to be made is whether to keep both, or return the Wolfman bags. Hhhhmmm.
A flurry of packages arrive in time for a lengthy initial preparatory and maintenance session. Besides the obligatory oil change, the bike needs an air filter. For some inexplainable reason, the five bolts that hold the air filter housing are 7mm hex head ?!!!? The chain also needed some attention. It had some light corrosion on select links, and needed a thorough cleaning. A messy job, but it looks and feels much better. I took it for a brief ride even though it was still not road legal without the rear turn signals.
The progression from the trail bikes of my youth to a built machine from Munich is one that spans decades. The GS is a very competent dual purpose machine, but if you want to swing the balance toward off-road, the laws of physics begin to assert themselves. The XR650L from Honda cemented that fact, but I saw an X-Challenge for sale and it spoke to me as aesthetically-challenged BMWs sometimes do. This model was only in the US for a year and did not do well, so it is relatively rare here.
However, it is a true dual sport with more HP, more Torque, and the same weight as the Honda. On the road, it is a revelation in comparison. It is also fuel injected, and has slightly better ergos. What it does lack is any significant after-market support !