There’s plenty of discussion and information on the xChallenge and xCountry bikes, so this is more of a reference for myself. It’s surprisingly easy to lose track of all your mods and accessories over time.
BMW OEM rear rack
This one came with the bike. The rack is complete with pillion grab rails (small though they may be), and attaches via 4 M6 bolts to the subframe. It’s a decent bit of kit, but the actual plate could do with being 50% larger, and shaped more like the Touratech one (now discontinued). That being said it would be easy enough to buy a sheet of 4mm aluminium and craft a new top plate.
The main issue with the rack, and this will affect all racks on the xCountry is the aluminium subframe. Screwing hard stainless steel into soft aluminium never fills me with confidence. Some have been known to use helicoil inserts to provide a little more reassurance, and the totally paranoid have drilled straight through the subframe, inserted a steel sleeve and used a longer bolt and nut on the other side.
My current thinking is that I might keep the mounts but buy some 4mm aluminium sheet and have the mounted instead. I’ll look for a local workshop to do the cutting/bending as required.
Hepco & Becker crash bars
These bars are another mod that came with the bike when I bought it. I’ve never bothered with crash bars before, as i’ve always been of the opinion of “why add the extra weight?” but since these were essentially free, I see no point in removing them.
Wunderlich fender extender
In the UK it rains a lot, and I always find that standard bike fenders do a great job of protecting the rider from spray (as I found out when mine went missing in France) but fail miserably at protecting the lower engine and radiator from dirty water and general road crud. The Wunderlich extender takes care of this. It costs around £30 and weighs less than 200g.
Dirtbagz pannier frames
I’d been looking for some pannier frames for the bike for a while when I came across a picture of an xChallenge with the Dirtbagz frames on. The only other frames available are the Hepco & Becker ones, and the set that Eric at Hot Rod Welding has created.
I hate pannier frames almost as much as I hate crash bars. One thing sports bikes, and other bikes with low hung exhausts have going for them is that you can throw over a set of cheap panniers with no additional hardware. Try that on the G650x range or even the F650 and the luggage will end up a molten mess.
The Dirtbagz frames work out at about £150 shipped, and weigh less than 1.5kg. Of course that means that they aren’t as strong as some, and don’t offer a traditional mount, but I like the low profile look of them, and I’m not a crazy off-roader so I’d expect them to hold up.
Dirtbagz also sell two different types of bags for these frames but I find the capacity of both to be woefully inadequate, so I’m looking for a different solution when it comes to bags.
Ram mount and X-grip
I’ve used a mobile phone for navigation since my trusty Nokia N80 back in 2007. I currently have a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a cracked screen (should deter thieves). To mount the phone I’m using a Ram Mount 1″ ball that replaces one of the handle bar clamp screws, combined with a 2″ arm, and X-Grip. The system is sturdy, and while it vibrates like hell at idle, it’s easily visible once on the move.
To finish it off I’d like to add a locking knob for the arm, and find a slim wireless charging matt to sit in the X-Grip under my phone.
Symtec heated grips
To keep my hands nice and toasty on long rides, my girlfriend bought me a set of Symtec heated grip inserts. I actually had them when I still owned the Dakar but never fitted them as I knew I’d be selling the bike. I’ll create a new post detailing my electrical setup at a later date, but for now all you need to know is that they work. Boy do they work. In fact they work so well that I actually burned my hand on a trip back from Luton Airport.
I mounted the rocker switch on handlebars using the wing mirror clamp screws.
- Matt Snook’s (aka Snooker) website – Great resource containing Matt’s xCountry mods and experiences
- Drone’s BMW G650 XCountry Mods – Another ADVRider member with some nice mods
- ADVRider – The xCountry mega thread. If it’s not in here you don’t need to know it