For a time I have been thinking of fitting some sort of luggage system to the BMW. It allows it to be a more practical bike. I am a fan of being able to ditch the bike kit and wander about the shop/town without getting a sweat on because of all the bike clobber.

Having asked a few places about pannier kits for the R100GS PD BMW I found not many sources of new kit. There were offerings from Motorworks but my eye was caught by a firm I saw many years ago at the Dirt Bike Show and that was Metal Mule. They thankfully still sell the pannier kits for both the BMW and the KLR. But I initially was a bit worried that the panniers and rails etc would come close to 2k for what I wanted. But after a bit of searching on the bay, I managed to find a pair of second-hand boxes for less than the cost of one box. Next thing I know, I have some panniers and a new set of rails on the way to me.

Fitting is fairly easy task but I did end up taking more of the bike apart than I wanted. Because the get the RH footpeg off I needed to remove the rear wheel. To get at the LH rear most bolt I needed to remove the mudguard.

In the process, I also managed to find another piece of the puzzle that is the history of this bike. Looks like it’s been down on the LH side hard enough to bend the rear subframe, bend the handlebars (in two directions) and snap part of the original pannier frame. I know this as the pannier frame rails matched up fine on the RH side but LH was a 2cm out of alignment. I managed to get it to work bu using a longer bolt and pulling it together that way.

Bent Bars & More Light


As I have been riding the bike I have taken notice of a few bent parts, especially on the left-hand side. One part is, of course, the handlebars.

Thankfully as a seasoned crasher of off-road bikes I can manage to ride most bikes with bent bars, I just take a few miles to adjust then I am fine. It was strange when I got off the BMW and took the KLR for a spin.

The search began for new bars and a visit to see JimJams down at Gossmotox in Yeovil had me testing handlebars. The closest being some Renthal Classic Desert Racer bars with the part number 666, but they would hit the tank etc. I went back onto the internet and asked about and Colt Self was nice enough to remind me about handlebar risers. So a bit of late-night searching got me a set of cheap 1″ & 2″ (25 & 50mm) to try and because I had already done a trip to Yeovil I ordered a set of bars, sorry Jeffers, I will bring cake down to apologise.

Eventually all the bits arrived and I started to get all the bits off. Which is a faff as there is just one screw that clamps the switch gear on then you need to slide it off. I swore a lot and even had to resort to a strop and a cup of tea. Because the bars I had tried only a week or two beforehand made it a very easy task to swap parts over, this time it was a complete nightmare which ended up with a bit of switch gear snapping.

I assembled the bars and went to start the bike only to find the indicator switch failed and now the light switch wasn’t working properly and was jammed. Some more tea later I decided to take apart the switches and thankfully I managed to rescue the very small ball bearing that had found itself where it shouldn’t be. Not many pictures sadly as I was now on a bit of a mission and I was worried I would lose bits if I stopped to take pictures.


After a late-night ride home from a friends place, I noticed the BMW lights are very similar to my similarly aged KLR. Totally and utterly useless, I felt the Matchless with it 6V electrics built by the king of darkness (Lucas) had better vision. This I think is partly due to a bent headlight unit. An attempt to make some adjustments didn’t go to plan as the threads are rusted into the plastic. But as a stop-gap, for now, I decided to swap out the sidelight bulb for a LED unit, brighter but also less draw so won’t kill the bike if I am trying to get it started. But that had to be modified as for some reason the contacts on the bulb wouldn’t always make a good contact in the holder, so I laced a few strands of copper wire though the circuit board holes and that solved the problem.

The headlight has a H4 LED conversion bulb that I bought ages ago for not a lot of money and I have yet to test it at night but it may fair better than the old H4 that was in there. Otherwise it will end up with a Osram Night Breaker which is my choice of bulb these days.

Let the Shake Down Test Commence

With the bike now running on both cylinders, I have now begun taking it out for short rides to get it warmed up and to make sure it won’t leave me at the side of the road miles from home.

First thoughts are the handlebars are rather bent so I took a trip to see Jeff & JimJams at to see if some Renthals would fit but after a bit of time faffing around we had tried a few different ones with the Classic Desert Racer 666 bars being the closest but sadly not enough height to avoid knocking into the screen and tank. So a bit more thinking is needed on that front.

But I did do a thing I have done to all my bikes, took it on a local byway to get its tyres dirty. This is a local byway near home which is an old Roman Road but its quite tame, enough that I have ridden a CBR600 along the byway with no issues.

Now I have managed to put 100 miles on it so when I got home I took the opportunity to do another oil change, the first being to remove the 8ltrs of petrol/oil mix. No filter change but just another swap with clean oil. But while I was there I decided to change the oils in the Bevel drive and Gearbox, thankfully it is the same oil I use on the Land Rover Defender. But it is horrible oil that has the ability to get on to everything and its stinks.

Now to take it for a longer ride as the weather is nice.

Handguards and Mirrors

One of the items I bought early in this rebuild was a set of genuine BMW Handguards ( 71 60 2 315 860) as I could still buy new ones. These are manufactured by Acrebis and are the same shape as the old original ones so have the same 90s styling. Handguards aren’t required for riding but they do keep the cold air off your hands as well as rain. They also help protect your levers when riding on byways (yes I do plan to Greenlane it) from branches hitting them and causing it to either active the clutch, brake or worse both.

The kit is rather easy to fit and rather basic. But it does require the mirrors to be installed as they partly hold it in. So I bought some copies from M&P as I didn’t have any.

BMW Handguards parts diagram.

The Right Hand Side is held in place by the mirror mount and part 12 covers the brake reservoir and is held in place with two self-tapping screws. The Left Hand Side is held in by the mirror mount plus a bolt with a spacer which prevents it from interfering with the clutch cable.