[This page is work in progress and will reflect the current state of my GS]

My current ride is a 2020 BMW R1250GS – heavily modified for long distance touring, but easily converted back to "canyon carver mode" (remove luggage, scaffolding, change to smaller windshield and go).

This page here is outlining what I have done to make it a comfortable long distance touring bike. Even though the GS starts out as a supremely capable and comfortable motorcycle, for long distance there are a few things that will help extremely with comfort and less fatigue over a long day of riding. 

Wind Protection

One of the most important parts of making the GS a long distance bike is to optimize the wind protection to personal needs and desires. Since everybody is different, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe, therefore this here is my interpretation of what works for me. 

The parts are:

  • A Wunderlich Ergo Screen Marathon 2 windshield (link)
  • Wunderlich "winglets" (link)
  • Aeroflow Hand Flare Extensions (link)
  • A spoiler blade from a MRA Vario windshield for a camhead R1200R
  • Barkbuster Storm handguards

It's a highly customized and personalized setup that I know works for me. I have some hearing problems already due to my DJ times and maybe also motorcycling in younger years when I wasn't always wearing hearing protection. Today I do, but I also take care that the noise is kept at the lowest possible level. 

This is how it looks (suboptimal crop, I'll get a better photo one day):

Wind Protection on R1250GS

This is a large setup, no question. A lot of people will not like the looks, but for a trip of thousands of miles it provides shelter from noise and elements and is an integral part of the bike setup for me.


BMW stock seats mostly don't work for me. They are too soft and within an hour I have "bum burn" or, even worse, have worked my way through the padding and feel like sitting on the plastic struts underneath. 

My seat of choice for the last three years has been a Bill Mayer Saddle, which I used on my previous bikes (just like the windshield setup above). It provided a comfortable seating position, firm foam and a slightly higher position. I wanted to get a bit lower to have an easier time handling a loaded bike, so this time around I use a Sargent seat (link) for comfort and an Alaska Leather sheepskin (link) on top for temperature regulation. The sheepskin has been a companion for me for years now, I can't imagine not having it. It prevents sweating in the summer, freezing in colder temperatures and keeps everything "just right". This is especially important since my seat isn't a naturally breathable material like leather, but a plastic cover over the foam.

The seat can be seen here:

Nearly complete Touring Setup

Primary Luggage

As with my previous GS Adventure and the GS before that, I'm using the BMW Adventure side cases and a Givi top case. The side cases are the ones I bought in 2014 which have now seen quite a bit of touring use. They are large, not very aerodynamic, but easy to pack and keyed to the same key as the rest of the motorcycle. 

Overall, they do what I want them to do and don't get in the way all too much.

Tank Bag 

Currently I'm using the SW Motech Quicklock tank ring system with a City tank bag. The bag is a good size, it fits most of what I need during the day and has space for a 2L hydration bladder so I can get something to drink while riding. 

SW Motech City as I use it

When I carry less stuff, I switch it out for a smaller SW Motech bag, but for longer trips, this is what it normally looks like.

Camera Case

For my camera gear, I have a Pelican case installed instead of a passenger seat. In there, I have a Tenba camera insert with the camera gear I want to take. 

This is a sample setup:

Tenba Camera Insert in Pelican Case

The case on the bike can be see in the photo in the "protection" area.


For bike protection in case of a tip over I use:

  • Touratech Engine bars (which double as great resting places for my legs when I need to stretch them out during longer freeway runs)
  • MachineArtMoto X-Head tough nylon cylinder protectors
  • Barkbuster Storm Handguards with a solid metal backbone

I haven't tested the bars yet, but I know that the other stuff works from experience with previous bikes. 

This photo shows the setup rather well (also shows the Pelican case I use for my photo gear):

The bike without most of the luggage


I want to be a bit more visible on the road, especially when turning and braking, so I added LED inserts in the normal signal housings, which are much brighter than the normal bulbs, I also added a Clearwater Lights setup which includes:

  • Billie brake light which has a strobe function (California legal, so for strobes, then solid light)
  • Darla front lights which I run low at the forks, you can see them in the photo above as well; they are normally dimmed to 30% (daytime) or 20% (nighttime) and only come on to full brightness when I use highbeams or flash the highs

This setup has been on my bikes since 2015 and I'm super happy with it. So far I haven't had a need for more light since the BMW LED headlight is also very bright and the highbeams have a good reach. Maybe one day ...

Other Comfort Items

Some pieces in no particular order (some of them have multiple purposes and might have been mentioned already):

  • Sheepskin seat pad – one of the best long distance modifications ever. I love it.
  • Adjustable foot pegs – I used to have the height adjustable ones but these moved to Andrea's bike to give her some more legroom as she's using a low seat in low position. Mine can be rotated and have a good rubber insert so reduce vibrations slightly.
  • Barkbuster Storm handguards to keep wind away from my hands. They do this okay-ish, not great but they do help when it gets cold. 
  • Touratech engine bars – these are great to place my legs on from time to time during long stretches, just to sit in a different position for a few minutes (they would be awesome with a backrest, but hey, it's not a Gold Wing yet).
  • Grip Puppies – these are foam covers for the hand grips. The BMW grips are rather thin and I like that the additional foam reduces vibration slightly as well as increasing grip diameter for a more comfortable grip.


Since I'm mainly riding on tarmac, I have Continental Trail Attack 3 tires installed at this time. They are long running, mostly street tires with just a bit deeper tread than the Road Attacks. The downside is that they are rather slow turning, so not the most nimble tires. I might switch back to Road Attacks at some point, but the Trail Attack last longer and for the upcoming trip, this was important.

The good thing regarding their road handling is that they hold a line leaned over very well. Once leaned, they'll just stay at that lean angle and keep it through the turn. Works for me.


This will need more information in probably various blog posts, but a short summary can go here. This is most of my current dash setup:

Dash Setup

This setup has:

  • a Valentine One radar detector on the upper right side,
  • a BMW Navigator VI next to it
  • a Spot 3 Tracker (the orange thingy)
  • and normally a phone mounted to the left of the Spot 3 to act as a relay for the Valentine One audio signals as well as just general control of the radar detector.

The little control on the left side, next to the mirror stalk is a controller for my heated gear. 

I use the radar detector to stay out of trouble where it's legal to use and a "throw away phone" mounted on the handlebar for additional information relayed by an app called V1Driver, which controls the radar detector to auto mute some signals, e.g. blind spot monitors from cars or fixed installed radar for automatic doors and such. It's a good setup that isn't distracting and "just works". 

The Spot 3 tracking device can be used for emergency calls when no cell signal is available and for general tracking of my current location. It has satellite connection for SOS and Help messages if I ever need them, but mostly I use it for tracking my routes.

For point to point navigation I use the BMW Navigator VI, which is nicely integrated into the bike controls. When planning and setting up a route, this is my normal procedure:

  1. Plan route in Rever (a website that highlights nice roads with a color scheme, nice meaning nice to ride).
  2. Export as GPX file
  3. Use a custom written script to add some sorting to the route shaping points.
  4. Import GPX into Garmin Basecamp
  5. Create a new route in Basecamp from the shaping points, make sure they are in proper position, correct if needed, convert them to actual Garmin shaping points. 
  6. When happy with the route, send it to the connected Navigator VI.
  7. Use route during the ride.

This works well for me and has a lot of advantages over other methods I've used before, one day I'll write a full blog post about it.

Radar Detector

I currently use a Valentine One Mark 1 radar detector. It has been good enough to warn me a few times and possible saved me some money, but normally I don't need it. I rarely go fast enough that it would be an actual problem since I avoid the noise of higher speeds, but it's always good to have to not "forget" that I just came into a lower speed area from a long freeway run or such. 

The detector itself is top notch, just a bit old. I have it hardwired to the bike for power and use a Bluetooth dongle to connect it to a phone which then relays sounds to my helmet headset. It works, but is a complicated that I'd like to simplify.

A bit downside of my setup above is that the Valentine is not protected from the elements, mainly rain. When it starts raining, I stop and pull a ziplock back over the detector or remove it from the dash and put it in a bag. Not optimal, but works for me so far.


There are other items on the bike I haven't gone into, like MachineArtMoto mudsling and fender extender, a GS Emotion toolbox mounted to my luggage rack to carry my comprehensive set of tools, etc.

I'll get into some of these either in a blog post or add them here over time.