Postponing life - RTW on R80GS

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by JakobDK, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. JakobDK

    JakobDK Been here awhile

    Mar 14, 2015
    Hello Airheaders.

    I'm going to travel around the world going east trough the Middle East, the -stan's, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, USA, and from there I dont know. The departure date is set sometime late this summer.

    This will be a build thread of my 1993 BMW R80GS, that I chose for the trip - I have a lot of modifications I want to execute, but more of that later.

    Introduction to myself, the project and how it has evolved:
    I am 23 years old Danish guy, I travel a lot, make documentary and fiction films as well as photographies and I try to avoid education just yet since I'm not too sure of what to do anyways...
    I grew up riding motorbikes and bikes since I was three years old; mx, roadracing, BMX and mountainbike primarily. Got my bike license at the age of 20 and have developed a big passion for airheads together with my dad.

    I have traveled around Scandinavia and germany on my 90/6 and around Asia on Royal Enfield's, Honda's and Chinese copy bikes - the bike is a great traveling vessel!!
    After having a long time relationship to a girl with Iranian roots I got drawn to the idea of traveling to this part of the world on my motorbike. The idea of going to the Middle East was to go somewhere more remote than I have managed previously - trying to be more of a traveller than a tourist which I always feel like when I go abroad (probably because I will inevitably always be one, but you get the idea?? :hmmmmm)

    Little photobreak from previous travels.
    It's nice with some visual to rest the eyes amongst all these small grey letters:
    [​IMG]_MG_2190 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_2334 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_3136 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_2989 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_4378 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_4419 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_4046 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_7053 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_6569 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_6841 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_6606 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    [​IMG]_MG_6037 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    Anyways, the plan was originally; go to Iran - make films for 6 months (They have an incredible film culture) - apply to filmschool in Denmark and Germany - get in - get back - study...
    Great plan actually, but I needed a plan B in case of not being taken into any of the filmschools, which after seeing the tv program "The Long Way Round" would be - GO EAST.

    After some time dealing with the possibility of heading east trough Mongolia, Siberia etc. the thought got more and more appealing, and I soon found myself wondering if my 90/6 would be able to make such a trip?? I had no doubt it could go to Iran and back, and probably also the whole way around, but it would be a lot of suffering for the old roadbike and require modifications I didn't want to spoil the bike with...
    So I kind of felt I had to take a choice now, if to go all the way or not, so I would be able to prepare the right bike. Anyways, filmschools will always be around, my time and possibilities of travelling around the world will NOT - SO EAST WE GO!!

    Now to the actual subject - the bike:
    I spend 6 months scouting for a proper GS, and had my eyes in Germany since they are very few here in Denmark. I saw a 1993 R80GS early in the process but it was a long drive and something seemed off, to good to be true kind of, so I skipped it. Then after long time with nothing excited coming up I decided to drive south and have a look anyways.
    The bike turned out to be exactly as described, a flawless one owner bike with 49.000km on the clock, newly installed Siebenrock 1000cc kit, newly overhauled heads, balanced crank shaft, new bearings and seal all around the engine and newly renovated gearbox - the guy only rode it 1200km's since the modifications and figured it was time to sell..

    Here you go:
    [​IMG]_MG_7872 by JVM Photos, on Flickr
    [​IMG]_MG_7894 by JVM Photos, on Flickr
    [​IMG]_MG_7881 by JVM Photos, on Flickr
    [​IMG]_MG_7917 by JVM Photos, on Flickr
    [​IMG]_MG_7921 by JVM Photos, on Flickr
    [​IMG]_MG_7902 by JVM Photos, on Flickr

    As far as plans goes, the following is what is on my mind:
    - DRZ 400 forks + Prutsters triples
    - Tube type rims front and rear (I'm thinking 18" rear for tyre availability) (non bmw front hub)
    Haven't checked out prices for this modification but fear it will be VERY expensive...:shog
    - Front brake set up that will suit whatever front hub I end up going with (Hopefully will be able to use my current caliper)
    - Frame bracing (Either I will attempt to make a rig to fixate the frame myself or find a shop in Denmark to help me out - The braces I will fabricate myself, inspired by the HPN / SWT Sports styled)
    - Decide what type of ignition + alternator setup to go with (I have breindl electronic ignition mounted to the original alternator at the moment but O have the original available).
    - Reinforce rear subframe + builder a wider rear rag
    - Reinforce pannier rags or fabricating new.
    - Fabricate over the cylinders luggage-rags
    - Lowered footpegs (KTM steel type - will attempt to fabricate myself)
    - Fabricate front light housing in metal utilizing a screen, inspired by the 80G/S plastic housing)
    - Fabricate batteri tray for smaller batter (gel type) + tool box using the space available)
    - Either fabricate or purchase Y-pipe
    - Bigger fuel tank - trying to figure out how I can avoid paying 1000+ Euroes for this!!
    - Mount oil cooler (R1100 / R1200 type - maybe thermostat)
    - Fabricate metal type Diodeboard mounts
    - Maybe fabricate proper sidestand (Current is an updates one from a GS Basic - works well but still sits very far forward...)
    - Prep the bike for river crossings
    - Rebuildable driveshaft
    - New Valeo starter (non glue type)
    - LED spots
    - Krauser engine guards
    - New style valve covers for strength
    - BMW Voltmeter for monitoring charging output
    - Heidenau K60 tyres
    - Luggage: Either hardcase Hepco Becker Junior or Magadan soft panniers
    (atm I like the idea of hard case panniers better...:hmmmmm)
    - Swap out seals and bearings all around so everything is 100% fresh

    A big part of why I have decided to run this thread is to receive inputs, troughs and advice upon my plans, since I'm in doubt about a ton.
    Right now I'm especially looking for input and advice on:
    - Frame bracing (fixating the frame)
    - Wheel choice (17" or 18" - spend the money on none tube type or or go with the standard??? :confused)

    - Ignition + alternator choice (Standard, Breindl, point breaker type or a fourth option?)

    What a lot of writing, I hope it's not too much to swallow. Now I just need to find a smart title to catch everybody's attention and then I can say HIT ME!
  2. Heipaal

    Heipaal Always the hard way

    Mar 8, 2009
    Following along!:clap
  3. toecutta

    toecutta Been here awhile

    Oct 13, 2009
    Sydney, East Au
  4. workhorse

    workhorse Motorcycle as a medium of travel

    Jul 26, 2015
    The mountains of the mid north coast NSW
    My friend, that IS NOT postponing life!
    That's LIVING life.
    Safe travels.
    We will all travel with you
  5. Mouse

    Mouse I'm only smelly

    Nov 1, 2005
    Byron Bay
    Engine guards.

    Looked at hard head guards? Don't know anything about them myself but seem logical.
  6. antonijn

    antonijn Single, as always

    Jul 22, 2015
    Im in
  7. antonijn

    antonijn Single, as always

    Jul 22, 2015
    First tip. Im planning a similar trip and went for the magadan soft panniers since I've heard quite some stories about people breaking their legs on hard panniers in soft sand. Good motorcross boots could prevent this but it's up to you, hard cases are more convenient I think...

    Just something to considder
    dmikefamifama likes this.
  8. JakobDK

    JakobDK Been here awhile

    Mar 14, 2015
    I've got these on a shelf that will do a good job I believe.

    Attached Files:

  9. JakobDK

    JakobDK Been here awhile

    Mar 14, 2015
    You are very right.
    I'm actually doing a short film about this subject this summer, before I start the trip. Many people consider life to start as soon as career is in place, and if you don't have career in sight, you are in trouble...
  10. IdahoAirhead

    IdahoAirhead Been here awhile Supporter

    Sep 9, 2016
    S/E Idaho
    Your adventure sounds like an awesome experience.
    I sure wish they had imported those later year R80 G/S models to the USA.
  11. JakobDK

    JakobDK Been here awhile

    Mar 14, 2015
    I've read about those stories too, which is also why I am not hooked on the otherwise widely used aluminium panniers. The Hepco Becker Junior model does though sit quite high and have more "round" edges, making them less "anglebreaking". Of course, when in deep sand the higher maybe doesn't matter so much.
    On top of that - The Juniors are cheap to buy second hand
  12. oldgsbob

    oldgsbob Adventurer Supporter

    Jul 20, 2011
    Surrey, England
    my advice is get a lighter bike.
    I love GS bikes and have 4 of them but the terrain you are planning it would be better with a lighter bike.G650X Country or similar.
  13. JakobDK

    JakobDK Been here awhile

    Mar 14, 2015
    Hey Bob. Thanks for the advice. There kind of is no doubt that I will take the GS. If it's not suitable for this trip I don't see a point in ever owning one.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Uke likes this.
  14. nmalozzi

    nmalozzi airheaded

    May 4, 2013
    Denver, CO
    "Postponing life" is an impossibility. Time does not stop, it relentlessly charges forward. You're not postponing anything, you are in fact living life and I commend you for it. Jealously following along, safe travels.
    airhead_irl and Uke like this.
  15. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Long timer

    Jan 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Not sure about need for frame bracing. That usually just moves the stress to another location. Having a steel frame it is easily welded if the need arises. I also go along with the soft bags crowd for this type of trip. Wheels - go with the size that is the easiest to get tires for. You are building something that is going to be practicable, reliable and durable.

    Sounds like the engine has been looked after, but check it out, I would also check and redo the wheel, steering bearings and swing arm bearings. That will take care of any issues for you trip in those areas. Charging systems. That is a personal choice and really boils down to how much juice you are going to need/want. The stock stuff is fine if you aren't going to overload it with gadgets ( lights etc ). Take the front off, check everything over, I would replace the brushes if you stay with the stock system.

    With respect to ignition. Upgrade the coil, wires ( if old ), and the newest ignition module. The stock bean can works fine and has been reliable over the years and the only real issue that surfaces is with the advance weights ( they have a tendency to stick - lubrication dries out ). So they could be serviced. There are several different aftermarket ones out there, so do some research if you are going that route.

    Make three lists. One titled spare parts. You will have to work through this, but I would I would likely take a good spare bean can, some carb parts including diaphrams, spare headlight bulb and so on. The second list should be titled 1. Item, 2. Pro, 3. Con. Go through everything and make a decision as to which column it should be in. The third list is must take, ie: passport, old drivers licence & throw away wallet etc. There are some really good posts of others that have done the round the world thing so read and do all the research now, so you are prepared.

    And to close just a couple of general tips that might help keep you alive. Always be aware of what is going on around you, if your gut tells you not to stop then listen to it. Don't take anything for granted and develop a suspicious nature. Have a plan, play the what if game as you ride along. Enjoy your trip and we'll likely read about it in the ride reports. Take care.
  16. globalt38

    globalt38 "A Fist Full of Throttle" Super Supporter

    Apr 10, 2013
    Looking forward to your adventure! If you're familiar with Prutzer you may be aware of his Sibirsky trip (LINK) - if not check this out and talk to him on his experience and what he recommends etc.!
  17. groop

    groop So much to ponder

    Jun 5, 2007
    oc, ca
    Sounds like the build/trip of a lifetime
  18. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing Supporter

    Mar 16, 2004
    Shoreline, WA
    Check out the ride report by roadsacallin - he took an R80G/S round the work, and did document the bike prep and equipment failures.
  19. JakobDK

    JakobDK Been here awhile

    Mar 14, 2015
    I've already read all his writing, here and on his personal blog - A lot of good reading!
  20. Warin

    Warin Retired

    Aug 30, 2012
    My thoughts

    The usual on any old bike;
    change fluids and filters
    steering head bearings and wheel bearings
    cables - throttle, clutch
    brakes - pads, flexible lines, clean pistons
    ignition HT cables, spark plug caps and spark plugs
    Generally a good look over

    Essentials (failures that happen) - new about 2 months before you leave ;
    alternator rotor
    hall effect sensor in the bean can

    Essentials (failures that happen) - overhaul/modify before you leave ;
    rear shock
    rear sub frame and pannier rack

    Optional - probably good things to do;
    larger fuel tank
    over cylinder racks
    heated grips
    electrically heated vest with controller

    Waste of time and money;
    added lights (don't ride at night)
    alternator change
    ignition change

    Go read and join the Horizons Unlimited site ...
    Mouse likes this.