25 December 2010

Making the R1200GS More Off-Road Worthy

One of the things I found when riding in Southern California, being on some non-paved stretches, is that a bike needs good "tummy protection", especially when the ground clearance is not dirt bike like and when sand gets deep and there are ruts and rocks around.

The R1200GS has a not too bad ground clearance of roughly 19cm ( 7.5 inches). That's not too bad, but also not really good. The GS Adventure has quite a bit more but as I have the standard GS, it's something to be aware off.

When I was riding through the deeper sand in SoCal I didn't hit anything and I was pretty careful, but nevertheless, I was thinking of protecting the Catalytic Converter a bit more (sits right behind the standard bash plate and also to protect the side exhaust pipes. Wasn't very high on my list until we started looking into doing some off-road training next year. Even then this special part wasn't high on my list as the R1200GS has some not too bad protection underneath. You'd have to get unlucky to damage something badly.

But over Thanksgiving, BestRest had some nice discounts on their stuff (at least 30%, more on some items) and they have an affordable and larger bash plate.

Here it is in comparison to the original:

BestRest Left, Original Right

The BestRest plate protects the front and side much better, is longer and stronger and has rubber mounts to take the force out of hard hits.

Better Exhaust Protection

The actual bash plate mounted fairly easily, fit and finish is decent, the provided instructions good enough for anybody with the tools to do it. Now, the story was slightly different for the part that mounted to the centerstand to protect the catalytic converter there. This has about the most idiotic, stupid, bad, you name it mount I have ever seen for a farkle on a bike. I was really disappointed by this one. The plate itself again is decent, has the right size, fits well, but the mounting was a royal PITA.

Here are some more shots:

Front Shot

Rear Protection

In the shot above you can see the part I was referring to as hard to mount. It mounts with rubbered clamps (think hose clamp) to the centerstand. The problem is that you need to pre-bend those in the right form, which is pretty much impossible as they are flexible and spring just back.

Took me a while to figure out a good way to mount them: use a vise clip to bend the ends together, use a cable tie to get the ends fixed together, don't pull it too tight as the small one you need will easily tear and you can hit your thumb very painfully (don't ask how I know), then use a screwdriver to push everything in place, push really hard, get a washer over the too short screw, use the lock nut, swear the hell out of it, get it to grip finally. Repeat three more times to get all the mount points done.

You can see the final result in the pictures above. If we are really going for an off-road training and if I use my own bike, I'll also add some more engine protection in the form of engine protection bars like these.


  1. The new bash plate looks like a nice upgrade. It looks like it's made of aluminum alloy. Is it pretty sturdy?


  2. Yes, it is aluminum and feels very sturdy. I haven't tried it though.