Lacking other resources, I decided to try the bathroom scales trick; balancing the bike perfectly with the scales under each wheel and then adding up the two figures. Sounds easy.
Initially I tried in a driveway but it was cramped, not totally level and with wet leaves it was all too tricky with the electronic scales we have. With old fashioned analogue dial scales it would have been simple – it’s probably the same spring system inside, just with a ‘space age’ digital readout. With digitals you have to press to activate and allow to zero – then load the scales smoothly and quickly; otherwise you get an ‘EE’ error code. Either way you keep going until you get the highest reading, ideally with the tyre print centred on the scales.
I gave up trying to balance each wheel without getting an EE so ended up measuring each wheel + sidestand with no balancing required. This is how race cars get weighed – a scale under each wheel. Thing is, as we know from parking on soft surfaces, a little more lean puts a lot more pressure on the sidestand foot. I didn’t do that and got readings of 66.1kg rear; 42.5 front and 57.6kg sidestand, total about 166 kilos which sounded on the light side. I’d read a regular GS500 weighs some 186kg wet and it was unlikely my GS500 has lost 20 kilos by becoming an R.
I Googled and came across this old thread on Adv with the usual mix of sneering, humour, muddled thinking and logic. Read to the end and you’ll see the single bathroom scales technique does work and has been proved to vary at just 1% over other methods like recycling weigh stations or hanging scales. Also, the need to horizontally level one wheel to match the height of the other resting on the scales has proved not to be significant.
Knowing all this I went to a car park with more space as well as better horizontality for another go. As mentioned, using our electronic scales is a pain – analogue would be so much simpler – but after several attempts and retries to check consistency I got a reading for balancing each wheel:
Total 190kg with half a tank of fuel – or about the same as a BMW Sertao.
That is about what I expected: a few kilos added over the 186kg claimed stock weigh following the addition of a DR650 fork, crash bars, the pipe rack, SV shock, screen, bigger bars and a handful of other bits. Don’t know how the 19-inch SM Pro wheels with Tubliss compare to stock GS500 casts. Perhaps a small weight saving?
Since then we got a better set of scales – the Salter Razor (right), just 20 quid off ebay. Who knows about actual accuracy but this scale is much more consistent than the previous round one and much easier to use – no EE readings.
BMW X Country ABS, full tank, plastic handguards
Front wheel 73kg
Rear wheel 90kg
Total 163kg – a very good weight for a pokey 650, if I may say so myself.