General Performance Modifications FAQ
compiled & edited by Kristian #562
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
by DHP #711 et al.
Cut the Airbox Snorkel - $0, free, instructions on the web.
Do a K&N filter - Labor, $0, free, it's as easy to install as a regular filter, price approx $50.
Go with a Staintune Exhaust - $440 approx.
Install the "hotter" cam from Ron woods and piston. Pistons and Gaskets $350. Cam $400. Labor depends if you do it or have a tech do it. (Check with Woods to see if the pistons are GS installable). BMW Rotax.
Fuel Nanny and have it tuned on install with Dyno/CO2
analyzer. The new product (digital) is the TFi-1030. Price $190. Install $0
(easy to do yourself). Tuning $ variable, works best if dyno'd and CO2 gas
analyzed to find low fuel conditions and dial the box in.
What this will give you is a bike which breathes better getting more air into the engine for power as well as better free exhaust flow. The hotter cam is better for high speed applications and doesn't help much on the low end. The fuel nanny is great to fix the stumbling/confused BMW FI system.
You can Modify the OEM Exhaust.
Kitting a Dakar for off-road
by DavidHPark, #711
Instead of getting handlebar risers why don't you do the 'right' thing and replace the wimpy BMW bars with a set of Magura or Renthal bars using a universal mount kit.
You didn't mention the most important mod IMO which is the Touratech footpeg relocation kit. Better brake and clutch levers as well as more room and stronger pegs. This gives the rider the best position sitting or standing.
As far as engine guards go I've gone through the BMW guards and now don't recommend them. I'd go with a Touratech carbon fiber bash plate. This is more expensive up front but gives the best protection and can also be had with an optional compartment for tools or water. You'll need the mounting kit from Touratech as well with this but in the long run you'll be better off as it doesn't catch on rocks like the BMW or Hepco Becker bars.
Countersprocket change - go down one tooth.
Rim locks - cheap and will allow you to modulate pressure on tires. Remember that the BMW rims are not as good as real off-road rims so expect to dent or shake loose spokes if you really hammer the bike in the rocks.
Extra brake and clutch levers - get 'em and carry them in your pack. Drill a hole through the end so that they snap instead of break.
Good tire gauge and pump - need this to modulate tire pressure when off-road. Also good to look at getting a fanny pack for the tools.
What to add to your Bike: DHP
Rear disc protector - good for riding rocks but especially for ruts. You don't want the exposed disc grinding/impacting things along the way. It's not about protecting the breaking of the disc itself it's about overall protection of the critical components of the bike as a complete system. Think of this like handguards but for your rear disc brake. If you've ever ridden some gnarly stuff you'll likely bounce off stuff that you didn't want to get into (no matter what Randy748 says about "cautious riding", with respect sometimes the path you ride is chosen for you not the other way around).
Handlebars - stock BMW ones will bend in a fall, even minor ones. If you're not willing to spend the money to upgrade to real bars like Magura or Renthal then don't ride your BMW off-road (my opinion). Off-road riding increases your parts bill astronomically which includes preparing your machine properly before you go.
Knocking holes in things - sump, engine guard, whatever if you ride hard rocks or rocky areas chances are that you will punch a hole in something - someday. Carry instant steel or similar stuff to fashion a quick fix. The BMW engine guard is nice but IMO too heavy and not protective enough. I'm sold on the carbon fiber bash plates as the way to go - again a bit more up front but lighter and much better protection long term.
Gear levers, brake/clutch levers - sure you can mash these, care replacement brake/clutch levers. Again if you're not willing to buy two extra pairs for each lever - don't ride off-road (one set to carry as a spare and the other set for your shelf for when you use the spare). Upgrade the cheesy BMW foot levers and pegs with real stuff, you stand here all of the time, why ride with inferior pegs and levers. Randy's mentioned the drilling the lever bit which IMO is good advice.
Turn signals - flexible stalks or flush mounted as David Earl says are great, The OEM's suck and you'll break them in an instant. Again if you don't like replacing these then off-road is not for you. Keep your bike shiny and in the driveway. Turn signals are for street legality anyways, I never signal off-road with my blinkers.
Randy748's suggestions about tank panniers and saddlebags work for when you're touring but for everyday use or training I wouldn't ride fully mounted up.
If you ride off-road you'll need a better toolkit including pump, irons, etc. - ask others what to bring as the list can be extensive. Get a good fanny pack like the Acerbis Incas Pack and keep it ready for all rides.
I have one F650 that is an off-road bike. Fully stripped and using twin PIAA driving lights for night dirt training. Had to build the front-end with cartridge emulators and heavier springs. Tried lots of different rear shocks from other bikes and nothing really worked. Finally had a Penske made three inches longer with a much heavier spring and triple dampening circuits ($750). I wanted more swingarm angle to improve traction and get more ground clearance. Had to go to a big rear sprocket to get the chain clearance over the swingarm pivot. As for riding, mostly stand-up and using the pegs to initiate turns. Body weight shifts back for braking to compensate for nose dive. Forward for acceleration and turns. Knees into the tank are sometimes more comfortable but not needed. In a sliding turn I can lift my outside leg off the peg to demonstrate all weigh is on the inside peg. For sand and deep gravel, weight goes back and throttle on. Steering with pegs in critical. Emergency throttle roll-offs better be with weight fully back or you will push the front end and do a high side. Good Luck. Ramey
also The F650 Off-Road
Reducing Weight -
Putting Dakar on a Diet
by Frank Warner et al
Battery - use a hawker - the smallest one - it has a large enough cranking current just a smaller capacity (and half the weight).
Fluids - Run these towards the minimums - every 1 litre saved is 1 kg lost. NOT recommended !
Blinkers - the XR ones are the smallest and lightest.
Mirrors - do you need 2? - get husky ones - mostly plastic.
Headlight - again the smallest one - you don't run at night do you? Nights are for eating, sleeping and ... You get the idea, remove things, replace things with smaller and lighter versions.
But I don't want to buy your bike when your finished with it, prefer a more standard version - with full fluids. Your choice as to how far you go.
Exhaust........... Who makes a light-weight exhaust that would not only save weight but improve performance ? Titanium maybe? The stock exhaust system is surprisingly light. A Staintune will take a little weight off, and some people think it sounds nice.
Wheels............ Excel ?? Is there a substantial weight savings from that swap ? Other brands to consider ? Excel rims are the dog's balls, and well worth doing if you are going to be seeing any rocks, but an a weight per dollar basis I would pass.
That rear fender extension is dead weight, and will break off in rough use anyways. Touratech makes a nice replacement, which weighs next to nothing.
I have not mounted an after-market front fender, but the stocker is heavy.
The real problem is that the Rotax-cum-BMW engine weighs a bit, as does all the wiring to support the engine management system, the steel frame and swing arm, the Showa forks, etc. The good news is that it is all pretty robust.
Modifications - What others have
Note that these are lists of mods. Individual mods like Aftermarket Pipes, Fuel Nanny, Suspension, Seats etc. are under their own respective FAQs
F650 Classic. Touring, commuting, canyon carving, dirt roading. Little or no real off-road stuff on THIS bike. Fiamm horns, Acerbis 7 gallon tank, Bagster tank bag system with three different-sized tank bags, Givi side and top box mounts, two 36 liter and one 45 liter Givi bags (sometimes I run just at topbox of one size or the other), blue highbeam idjit-lite, pitched the clock in favor of a temperature gauge, BMW crash bars (with Arkansas Hiway Pegs), Taipei Taxi beaded seatcover (in cold weather), relocated V-reg, removed snorkle & dropped needles a notch, connector for my electric vest and Garmin 12MAP GPS that is on a Ram Mount, taped edge of windshield so it doesn't glow at night, after-market hot grips, threw away most of the factory tools and expanded the tool kit, reinforced "subframe" under the luggage rack, custom graphics on side covers, /5 fork boots (BUT THE MSR #152303 FORK BOOTS COST HALF AS MUCH AND ARE TWICE AS EASY TO INSTALL), and an Aprilia Pegaso shock guard. Um... I THINK that's everything. OH! I put two pieces of PVC pipe above the tail light under the luggage rack... for carrying a pair of u-locks. This picture lacks the Arkansas Hiway Pegs and the seat cover. It also doesn't have the GPS mounted. But you can't see that anyway. And, no, I don't carry all that crap all the time. I have a stainless steel brake line. And when the pads wore out, I replaced them with aftermarket pads. Flash #412 (CO).
From Touratech, handlebar rises, footpeg relocation kit helped the '01 Dakar fit me better. Bought and subsequently sold the BMW tankbag, added /s fork boots, took off the chainguard/rear tire piece of plastic, added Touratech GPS for a Garmin 3, added Moose rollchart holder (cheapo unit), added John Deere 12-V accessory receptacle, added Jesse bags (purchased used), added Jesse sidestand extension, bent mirrors down, Touratech stainless steel brake hose for the front (will add the rear later), Touratech centerstand on order, will replace stock handguards sooner or later with Touratech...most likely. Would like to add the Touratech sidetanks but they're kind of pricey. Good product though. Added Caterpillar throttle control unit (non-electronic version) and the Touratech dual headlight kit was installed. Taped the bottom of the wind screen also. Just bought a used Corbin seat with blue piping. Looks nice/fits me better than the stock seat. Guess that's it. I'll add a rear shock protector soon too and look for the highway peg kit. Maybe add a 12-v pigtail for jumping the bike. Gerry, #951 01 Dakar PHX AZ USA
Staintune exhaust, snorkel mod, TFi black box, 49T rear hard anodized alum sprocket and DID chain, alternate 15T C/S sprocket for dirt only, Dakar shield (also have a Givi), bar ends, lever guards, Dakar mud flap on front fender, removed metal license plate bracket, Hyper Lites brake lights, Phillips Vision Plus headlight, BMW tank bag, Marsee RM-3030 tail pack, removed rear mud guard (actually it broke off), TKC80 tires, Touratech fork springs, fork boots, Dakar seat (now in for major rework), and a few other minor things to address known problems. I've spent way too much money on this bike but I just can't help myself. Galfer brake pads on the way for instance. Too much fun. Brad, N. CA., 2001 F650GS Inmate #1002
My Bike is commuting for work.... Touratech panniers and topbox...work great for paperwork and light tech tools. .plus laptop.. Heated hand grips...BMW stock.. got them on the classifieds for a steal.. Acerbis handguards ..(Touratech stickers) GPS mound for my street pilot and power feeds...fuel filter.. Galfer Brake pads front and back...(no squeal now) Went synthetic on the oil After market MR Ed's MOTO seat...AWESOME...... PIAA Driving lights...assorted heated clothes etc... Nick #1085 Glenwood NJ 07418
Gee, I'm glad I waited 'til 2002 to buy my Dakar: it's so perfect I didn't need to add anything! Well, almost. I did hide a small push-button switch under the dash that triggers the garage door opener stashed under the seat. I added a set of driving lights that activate with the high beams, and installed a water-proof switch to allow me to turn them off if desired. They mount to the bottom of the horn bracket, so they illuminate wherever the wheel is pointed, which is handy when riding off-road at slow speeds. Recently paid full price for BMW grips, put I like 'em anyways on these cold days. Will definitely add a pigtail for jump-starting, probably today, and probably an accessory plug. Would like an LED voltmeter too. THEN it would be perfect. Scott, ID #1244
Modifications to my classic: Ron Woods Racing Kit Heated Grips Additional DC outlet Bar end weights with throttle lock "Heavy Duty" bash plate, its still just plastic. Scott Oiler And it has had a Canisterectomy as well. What else can we do? Great mods guys I have seen a few great ideas i am likely to implement, those Arkansas pegs are mighty tempting! Will K #1235 Join or Die Red '98 Texas
My stuff is mostly cosmetic... I ride 95% on-road, commute-style. My classic has: Shock boots, flush signals, front sprocket cover is painted black, removed passenger pegs, missing canister, matte black luggage rack, relocated license plate and inspection sticker so that I could trim 8" off of the rear mud flap, Hyperlights, 15t front sprocket, (coming this week) matte black tailpipe/muffler. Robert in TX #959
'02 GS, Corbin seat and Dakar windscreen. Not much yet. On the way are some fork boots, and my Hodger voltmeter. I'm also going to get some bar weights and hand protectors, trying to justify shelling out for nice ones. Mostly I commute with the bike. Sucks to say that, but in reality probably 2000 of the 3000 miles I've put on the bike in the last 2 months has been commuting. The other 1000 has been on various twisties and a little dirt in the Sierras. I'd like to do a lot more dirt as it turns out, but unfortunately this work thing forces me to not be able to ride as much as I'd like. Seacuke #1214
I ride almost
exclusively on the road -- until I move to Arizona. My rides at this point are
mostly one day rides with friends. I wanted to improve the handling of my 02
F650 GS -- and comfort. Modifications: Customized seat from Mr Ed's Dakar
Windscreen Handguards and bar end weights Engine guard Race Tech fork springs,
Gold emulators and Honda rebound adjusters Penske shock 4.25 x 17 rear wheel
with Metzeler Sportec 150/60 tire 3.5 x 17 front wheel with " " 120/70 tire
Galfer floating SS front disc
Galfer Green front pads The suspension was set up by Eric Gray at G.M.D. Computrack in Ft. Lauderdale. It's a very different bike -- great on twisties. The shock was designed to allow me to go back to a 19in front wheel, if I choose to in the future. My next set of tires will probably be the Pirelli MT 60s. Jim #1042
In my opinion one of the great things about a new motorcycle is to slowly find out what is missing or needs to be changed during riding. It is very satisfying to see a flaw, think of a solution and fix it. The only thing I would consider important before starting riding is looking at some sort of fork leg protection. I got a minor scratch in a fork leg because I started riding before I had the time to attend to that :-( This Fork protector FAQ has tips about that. At the same time one should look at the Low front fender FAQ because fork Gaitors, fork brace and low front fender all affect each other. Hot grips are a must-have to me and I also use a GPS in a Touratech mount. This winter I will add a center stand but others may find all those unnecessary. Pelle, F650 GSDA '02, Stockholm, Sweden.
I agree with Pelle. Ride the bike a while and see what works and what doesn't. Fork boots are cheap and easy to install so those may be your only must do. You probably won't think much of the seat after your first long ride but you should try that first too. There are lots of good choices for seats once you know what is most important for your riding style. There are very few reasonable ways to save weight on this bike. Most of the things you could do will hardly be noticed. A new exhaust is a way to save a few pounds of "high" weight. The Staintune is about 7 pounds lighter than the OEM. Otherwise, wear out a set of tires and have fun! Brad, N. CA., 2001 F650GS - Inmate #1002 --- Check the FAQs --- bg's stuff - protect your F650.
I bought a Dakar
almost exactly a year ago and if its any help this are the additions I've made
in the year.
1. Heated Grips
2. Accessory socket
3. BMW crash bars
4. BMW Panniers (Alu skinned)
5. Touratech chain/ABS sensor guard
6. Touratech GPS mount & Garmin EMap GPS
7. Rear carrier rack (from Motorworks in UK)
8. Oil temp dipstick
Only other mod planned is fitting of fork gaiters within next month or so. Mike, London, UK -- '02 Dakar -- '98 DR350
If your bike truly has 00 miles, make sure it is broken in properly. My dealer delivers bikes with at least 15 miles on them. They take them out and pour on some power for a while to help the rings seat properly. I'd also go over it the bike with a wrench and make sure everything is tight. Check your air pressure, and make sure all the fluids are in. If the dealer didn't do a pre-delivery ride, I'd check their work. I'm sure you'll love your bike, and there isn't much that needs to be changed. I'm in complete agreement with adding fork boots. That was my first accessory too. I put on the MSR boots that are listed in the FAQ. The only thing I'd do differently is I would have sprayed WD-40 on the fork tubes before fitting the boots. The other accessories I added are an accessory outlet. Great for keeping the battery charged, I live in Pittsburgh, so my bike gets a good deal of garage time in the winter. Battery Tender keeps my battery up to snuff. I added an engine bar too, but I did the Hepco Becker. They are bigger, and I think will offer some additional protection for low speed drops or slides. Unlike some guards, they allow you to leave them on when doing oil changes. By getting a Dakar you are already ahead with hand guards and a windshield. I like the looks of some of the brake reservoir protectors for the rear brake. It's kind of exposed. Have a great time riding. I've been looking at snow since early January, and I'm itching to get the bike out and have some fun. 2003 GSA, Pittsburgh, PA. stuflinn
Here is what I did to a 2003 Dakar
1. Elec Grips
2. Power socket
3. BMW solo saddle, reworked by Don at Mr Ed's Moto
4. Touratech footpeg system
5. Happy Trails engine guard/hiway pegs, skid plate, alum panniers
7. Wunderlich Touring Windshield
8. Wolfman Explorer Tankbag
9. The Jesse sidestand extender. It is a must to be able to lift the bike straight up after you have it loaded for touring... :-) I want to add a centerstand and forkboots still...
These items either were to help my 34+" inseam and fitting issues, or to make the bike ready to do some long distance touring both on road and offroad here in NV. I have jpgs of all the mods that I would be happy to email to you. Bert Chaingang Member #1131 -- 02 F650GS, (Wife's) -- 03 F650 Dakar.
Springs. First and foremost upgrade the front fork springs. $100. The front spring is weak. Next time you go for a ride hit the front brake real hard and come to a complete stop Do not do this on gravel or slippery surfaces. Notice how much brake dive you get. Then replace the springs and do the same thing again, the brake dive is certainly minimized. Makes the bike much easier to control. K12RSSteve
Springs yes, tires I like the Karoo's, K&N filter, rear disc guard for the rocky stuff , and a larger rear sprocket, maybe a new pipe and fuel nanny, everything else just replace as you break, lots of rs remember this is a ROTAX. Dakar 650
When you go to real knobbies, loose the mud guard thingy in the back and get the Touratech rear fender/tail light bracket that keeps the rear fender from folding under the subframe. Really is a week point that should be addressed by BMW sometime. ShaftEd