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Old 12-26-2013, 09:04 PM   #1
meerobus OP
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Lowering the BMW X Challenge - A challenge in peeling, slicing and dicing.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not an expert nor claim to be one. Wish I was one because that would have prevented me from making major mistakes consecutively. Dumb as... And this post is picture intensive.

MISTAKE 1: So I got this new to me X Challenge. Everyone, including you tall folks say it's a tall bike. Ya, whatever... I've ridden dirt bikes all my life, nothing too tall I can't handle. Well, what do you know? It's TALL!

So I got going on some remedying. First up, the air shock everyone loves. Yes it kicks you in the butt when you stop. Teaches you to quit being lazy and use the rear brake. Still, I have to run very low pressures in order to even have a prayer on tip-toeing on both sides.

FAILING TO EVEN TIP-TOE ON BOTH SIDES.



MISTAKE 2: A nice inmate sold me a shorter shock from the X Country. The X Country suppose to have 2 inches less travel so it's got to lower the seat height by 2 inches right?...Right?

OUT COMES THE ORIGINAL AIR SHOCK.


OH oooh... THE NEW SHOCK IS LESS THAN 1/2 INCH SHORTER THAN THE AIR SHOCK. ORIGINAL AIR SHOCK.


SHORTER X COUNTRY SHOCK.


Darn! I was hoping for 2 inches. OK. Can't complain if you're built like a midget and still want to ride dirt bikes. I'll take 1/2 an inches but boy, that was an expensive 1/2 inch.

MISTAKE 3: Put the new shock in and started to celebrate. Here's why.
REAR WHEEL CLEARANCE FROM GROUND WITH ORIGINAL SHOCK IS 2 1/2 INCHES.


REAR WHEEL CLEARANCE FROM GROUND WITH NEW SHOCK. 4 INCHES. YEEHAAA...NOW WE'RE TALKING!


Elated, I jumped back in the saddle and almost fell over! Huh? What just happened? I can't even tip-toe any more! Darn bike is even taller now. Now I have to start believing the posts about the X Challenge. Known fact that if you put in a spring shock, the bike will be taller. Taller? Nah... you guys are just dreaming. I've ridden dirt bikes all my life, nothing too tall I can't handle.

MISTAKE 4: So this bike has only 1300 miles on it. It's the newest bike I have ever owned but what good is it just sitting at home staring at the new bike? Well, like they say, there's more than one way to slice and dice a cat.

I crack out the hack saw and got thinking, maybe I can cut the aluminum sub-frame, bend the rear down a bit then get some angle aluminum pieces, some nuts and bolts and bolt it all back together. You know, Junkyard Wars style.
OR BOB IT. ALWAYS WANTED TO BE Like ARLEN NESS.


Y'all @#%$ crazy? I'm not going to hack up a perfectly new bike. What were you guys thinking?

But still, the hack saw comes out and does this.


BUT FIRST, YOU HAVE TO BLEED IT OF STAPLES.





THEN YOU PEEL THE HIDE BACK. DON'T BE SHY, IT'S NOT THAT BAD.


NOW I MARKED OUT WHERE THE BOTTOM OF THE SEAT PAN IS SO AS NOT TO CUT TOO MUCH AND THE REFERENCE MARKS HELP WITH THE CUTTING OUTLINE. WE DON'T WANT OUR BUTTS TO BE CATTYWAMPUS WHEN WE GET OFF DO WE?





TESTING THE ROCKWELL HARDNESS WHERE MY BUTT IS GOING TO REST.


DECIDED TO NARROW THE NOSE A LITTLE FOR BETTER LEG DEPLOYMENT.


HERE'S THE FUN PART. USING TWO DIFFERENT SANDING APPARATUS FOR PRECISION SANDING. 1. 1X4 PIECE OF WOOD, 2. A ROLLED UP MAGAZINE. DON'T LAUGH, WITH THE MAGAZINE, BY ROLLING IT TIGHTER OR LOOSER, YOU CONTROL THE ACCURACY OF THE SANDING. PIN POINT OR WIDE AND LOOSE.




TAKE YOUR TIME SANDING BECAUSE EVERY BUMP AND PIMPLE WILL SHOW UP FROM UNDER THE SEAT COVER.




NOW WHEN YOU THINK YOU DONE SANDING, SAND SOME MORE UNTIL IT'S AS SMOOTH AS A BABY'S ARSE.


NOW IS TIME TO PUT SOME STAPLES IN. WIDELY SPACED AT FIRST.


WHEN YOU'RE HAPPY WITH THE STRETCH, LAY DOWN MORE STAPLES.


TRIM THE LOOSE SKIN OFF.


ALL DONE. LOOKING NICE AND PURRDY.



So, I managed to score some for the midgets.
ORIGINAL SEAT HEIGHT.


AFTER THE SLICING AND DICING.


Hopping back in the saddle, my prayers are answered and I can now at least tip-toe on both sides. Wait! Wasn't that were I started off?
MISTAKE 5: Should have listened to you folks and never have bought the darn bike.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:16 PM   #2
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I think you will really like the bike now, did much the same things.

I would fix the front forks and refit the air shock though.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:21 PM   #3
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Refit the air shock? Nah... : ) Wasn't it you who told me it's the best seat foam you're seen? Boy the seat is definitely more comfy now.
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:15 AM   #4
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Possibly was, certainly the best foam to shape and put a good finish on to after modifying.

The air shock works pretty good once the crappy forks are fixed to stop their nosediving, which increases the stink bug effect at the rear.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:47 AM   #5
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Glad you're getting to work. But I think there are some clarifications needed.

A new traditional shock will not necessarily be taller. A direct swap Ohlins? Yes, quite a bit. A properly sprung Hyperpro or Yacugar, no. In fact, not only will it not be taller, but you won't have the annoying extension of the air shock when you take your weight off the seat. Moreover, my 1/2" lower Hyperpro is noticeably lower than my airshock was. At 5'8", I can pretty much get the balls of both feet on the ground (or at least close to it).

My guess is that if you found the X-Country shock taller, you likely had the air pressure set way too low in the air shock. (There are also two versions of the X-Country shock, with the earlier version being taller than the 2009?+ version).

I would also suggest lowering your forks 1/2" to match the shock. Again, you will get a little lower and apparently it helps return the geometry closer to stock. (I personally didn't notice a huge difference in handling either way).

It looks like you did a nice job on the seat. I had swapped my stock seat for lower version, but probably gained an inch back when I had it redone by Seat Concepts. I actually think you can feel the improved street handling with a lower COG from a lower seat. But my knees always prefer a greater seat to peg distance.
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Old 12-31-2013, 08:41 AM   #6
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Can you provide some details on the stapler and staples used? We are going to be doing this to a GasGas soon thats too tall!
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:01 AM   #7
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Nice work and entertaining story.
What is the actual seat hight to the ground now?
How bout some riding impressions on your new to you bike. Always wanted one but have yet to pull the trigger.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butters View Post
Glad you're getting to work. But I think there are some clarifications needed.

My guess is that if you found the X-Country shock taller, you likely had the air pressure set way too low in the air shock. (There are also two versions of the X-Country shock, with the earlier version being taller than the 2009?+ version).

I would also suggest lowering your forks 1/2" to match the shock. Again, you will get a little lower and apparently it helps return the geometry closer to stock. (I personally didn't notice a huge difference in handling either way).

It looks like you did a nice job on the seat. I had swapped my stock seat for lower version, but probably gained an inch back when I had it redone by Seat Concepts. I actually think you can feel the improved street handling with a lower COG from a lower seat. But my knees always prefer a greater seat to peg distance.
Thanks. It's always nice to have a bit of seat/peg room but being 5' 1", I don't need a lot.

You're right about the air pressure. I was running 70 lbs. Not ideal by any means but at least I didn't fall over every time I stopped. At 70 lbs, the shock felt severely under sprung.

I got the forks pushed out all the way as far as they will go.

There are 2 versions of the X-Country shock? Now you tell me..
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobfab View Post
Can you provide some details on the stapler and staples used? We are going to be doing this to a GasGas soon thats too tall!
Stapler is a Craftsman model number 968514. It's on sale at Sears for a wooping $14 right now! Linky:
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-all-p...p-00968514000P




Staples are Craftsman 974414 Heavy Duty Narrow Crown 5/16-in.

Don't cheap out and buy a smaller stapler especially they can now be had for $14. I went through 2 different other guns and they just didn't have the power. Don't buy the shorter staples as well. Went that route and they just didn't have the penetrating power.

If you are doing a lot of seats, a pneumatic staple gun would be the way to go. I've cut down the seats of every dirt bike I've owned and also for others. I'm sure there are better guns out there but was going cheap and I only do about one seat a year so industrial grade guns were out of the running.

Some seat pans are pretty tough so you may get a few shots that won't go in. Just pull the bent staples out and have a go again at a better angle. If the staples don't go all the way in, just finish them with a flat blade screw driver. Hope that helps.

Terry
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by todd900ss View Post
Nice work and entertaining story.
What is the actual seat hight to the ground now?
How bout some riding impressions on your new to you bike. Always wanted one but have yet to pull the trigger.
Didn't measure the seat height but it's really a subjective term. It all depends on how much sag you're running. Might have a very tall seat height but if you run the static sag on the big end then it'll be much, much lower when you sit on it.

The X Ch is a tall bike. The seat height right now is at 35 inches. I do have very little preload so the bike sags big time when I'm on it so that lowers the seat height by quiet a few more inches. I have a 28" inseam remember?

Well, coming from a BMW 650 Dakar, this bike is much, much lighter in handling because this bike is much, much lighter. I know lots of guys here use these bikes as enduro bikes. I already have a WR450F for that so this is going to be more of an light weight adventure bike for me and that's how I plan to ride it.

As far as real world adventure riding goes, there's too much snow here in CO right now so I can't report. There are lots of reviews here on ADV rider though.

There are lots of options out there like the DR's, KLR's, KTM's, Husky's, etc and all of them are great in one way or another and no one bike is right for everyone. After having owned the Dakar, I just liked the Rotax motor and the 65 - 75 MPG it gives, so the X CH was the choice. Finding a low mileage one at an affordable price point sealed the deal. My last tank was 75.2 MPG and I was flogging it.

Next, building some racks to carry soft panniers. I can't find any that suits what I'm looking for; forward and low.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruz View Post
Possibly was, certainly the best foam to shape and put a good finish on to after modifying.

The air shock works pretty good once the crappy forks are fixed to stop their nosediving, which increases the stink bug effect at the rear.
Anyone tried raising the oil level in the forks to stopping them from diving so much? There are the Shiver mods but I'm going for cheap farkling right now. Working the KLR budget on a BMW.

Nothing wrong with the air shock. Only reason I ditched it was because I was looking for a shorter shock. Would still be running it if I was of average height like everyone else.
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Old 01-02-2014, 01:37 AM   #12
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Great thread @meerobus! I finally found someone I can relate to in the height/inseam issues! I have an XChallenge too and it's silly tall for me... I'm 5'2 and a 28 in inseam, same as you. Although it seems you have much more experience with riding dirt bikes than I do, I hope you won't take it the wrong way if I have lots of questions about how to ride these bikes!

Anyway, my bike is running on 17" rims and tires (supermoto), and I've lowered the front forks 1.2 inches, so that way it helps me get at least one foot down on the ground when I stop.

How much psi did you usually run on your air shock? It's relative, I know, I weigh 75kilos/165pounds, so I rely on the magic bubble to tell me that. I'm not well versed on the preload sag and such yet, so I wouldn't know If I get my pressure correctly. I keep the air on my bike at 98-100psi. At that setting, the bubble sits in the middle and I have to tip-toe on one foot.

Thanks for the ideas on shaving the seat. I hope I can decide to do it, I just worry about a numb bum when going on long rides.

By the way, have you thought about contacting Bas at Hyperpro in the Netherlands for a shorter shock?
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Old 01-02-2014, 12:43 PM   #13
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The magic bubble is wrong and shouldn't be used.

That info would be lost at the beginning of the XCH threads on here somewhere.

There is a sag measurement and procedure to use that works very well and is also located in one of these huge threads on here, hopefully someone can point you to them, or it may be in the front page of the XCH thread with a link.

Here it is.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=287347
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:05 PM   #14
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Oh, it's wrong? Too bad then, I kinda relied on the magic bubble these past few months, LOL! It felt right at times, but I see your point since it's not accurate... Thanks for the link, it's been very helpful! This website is huge and I'd probably be spending a year trying to read all of the threads on the XChallenge...

One thing, I may have read the posts in the link you sent me, but I'm glad you pointed me in the correct direction! Suppose I have to really learn how to measure the sag on my bike...

Cheers, mate!
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:58 PM   #15
meerobus OP
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Originally Posted by keiPHadventure View Post
Great thread @meerobus! I finally found someone I can relate to in the height/inseam issues! I have an XChallenge too and it's silly tall for me... I'm 5'2 and a 28 in inseam, same as you. Although it seems you have much more experience with riding dirt bikes than I do, I hope you won't take it the wrong way if I have lots of questions about how to ride these bikes!

Anyway, my bike is running on 17" rims and tires (supermoto), and I've lowered the front forks 1.2 inches, so that way it helps me get at least one foot down on the ground when I stop.

How much psi did you usually run on your air shock? It's relative, I know, I weigh 75kilos/165pounds, so I rely on the magic bubble to tell me that. I'm not well versed on the preload sag and such yet, so I wouldn't know If I get my pressure correctly. I keep the air on my bike at 98-100psi. At that setting, the bubble sits in the middle and I have to tip-toe on one foot.

Thanks for the ideas on shaving the seat. I hope I can decide to do it, I just worry about a numb bum when going on long rides.

By the way, have you thought about contacting Bas at Hyperpro in the Netherlands for a shorter shock?
Finally, a short arse riding an X CH. Yep, 17" wheels would lower the bike but I ride dirt and that will not do.

Don't go with the bubble like Cruz said. I ran 70 psi in the shock and that was way too soft but at least I didn't fall over. I weigh only 136 lbs. Here's some reading and learn how to set up your suspension. It pays big dividends when done correctly.
http://mattsnook.com/bmw/bmwXCountry/WilbersShock/
http://www.mecadata.com/page_web_htm...ur_anglais.pdf

If you find the fork too stiff, there's a spacer inside that you can try removing. Hey, it's a free mod worth trying. I personally find the forks good so far but haven't bounced them over rocks yet.

The shaved seat is much more comfortable than the stock X CH seat.

I already have a Wilbers shorter shock. I ride dirt so there's a limit to how much travel I'm willing to give up.


How's riding in the Philippines? Rode in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma... but never in the Philippines. Would love to see some pics.

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