I nipped back down in the 6°C fog to Vines in Guildford for a first service and to get some parts fitted. They pretty much add up to the essentials I did to the Tenere for its Morocco trip: luggage rack, protection and better tyres. I also asked them to fit a 16T sprocket (I tooth less); riding through London I never got out of second gear, so the gearing is definitely on the tall side for town and trail. Swammping sprockets on this bike is not a simple two-bolt job – a puller is required.
Down at Vines all is efficiency, courteous service and coffee with a biscuit. I’ve never experienced anything like it, not having dealt with a new-bike-from-a-dealer since the late 1970s. In most cases back then, I swore never to buy any bike from that dealer ever again. A few hours later they’d first serviced the bike and done or fitted the following:
- Replaced 17T with 16T sprocket.
- Metal Mule rear rack. This took some time I was told, but then so does fitting the official BM racks for the 650.
- Metal Mule taller screen – a good 8-inches taller than the BM high version.
- Metal Mule radiator guard – recommended by Paul at MM.
- BMW handguards.
- BMW engine bashplate and engine bars.
- Heidenau K60 tyres
Other new bits I’ll be fitting include:
- Enduristan Monsoon panniers.
- Garmin Nuvi SatNav (alongside my Garmin 76) off a CAN bus plug.
- Aerostich sheepskin saddle pad.
Leaving Vines the new K60s felt a squirrely, though that impression wore off by the time I got home some 40 miles later. I’m expecting them to last longer than TKCs, feel as good on the road and be nearly as good on the dirt. Along the M25 motorway, the taller Metal Mule screen was certainly better than the OE effort, but my feeling was it curves back too much at the top, rather than staying upright like the Tenere one – even if that one needed to TTech screen extension to be effective for me. The lowered gearing seems to have gained about 400 rpm/lost 4-5mph, so I’m doing around 7-8mpg at tickover in first now. Better than nothing. With the full-length bash plate and engine bars, I’m hoping this bike won’t suffer the cracked crankcase my Tenere picked up one gnarly evening in Morocco. And the rad guard won’t do any harm, though I’ve not heard they’re vulnerable. The chunky Metal Mule rack built for their tough cases may be OTT too for the Enduristan panniers resting against it.