08.09.2011: Arrived safe and sound in New Delhi!
I arrived sound and safe in New Delhi! Customs at the airport wanted to charge duties for my BMW spareparts and the front wheel, but after 30 min of discussions they waived the € 80 charge. Fortunately, they haven’t found the Austrian food which I brought for my friend Lavleen. ;) It feels so great to be back in Delhi! The smell is so familiar, the noise and all the animals on the street, too. It took me an afternoon to get an Airtel 3G card and dataplan for my iPhone, but I seem to be up and running if this post is successful. Tomorrow is a big day as BigBertha will be uncovered. Please cross your fingers that her battery is not flat and the engine will start. I have some service work to do, re-mount the front wheel and do some upgrades. She will also get a set of new knobby tires, as our next adventure in Northern India (Leh, Ladakh) will be on gravel and muddy roads.
Location:Mehrauli Gurgaon Marg,Gurgaon,India
10.09.2011: BigBertha is back to life!
The moment of truth: I left my motorcycle, a BMW R1200GS Adventure a.k.a “BigBertha” in Delhi after my first overland trip from Austria to India. She was securely parked and covered in a garage. There was the monsoon season for the last few months in Delhi, so I was a bit worried if everything is OK with her and the engine would start.
First I had to re-mount the front wheel, which I had taken to Vienna for a service. The front wheel had an unpleasant wobbling, especially at speeds about 80-90 km/h, which is about the average speed you can ride in India. I got the spokes of the rim fixed at Wheels&Bikes in Germany as I couldn’t find anyone adjusting BMW rims in Austria. Mounting the front wheel back to the bike was easy as I have done that a few times already.
Next I re-connected the battery. Good sign – the lights went on, so the battery was still in good order. After a quick check of the oil, I gave it the first attempt to start the engine. Nope, it wouldn’t jump on. I started to worry! In order to save the battery, I just tried it a second time before I remembered the issue that my friend Thierry had, when he tried to start his bike after 4 months in India. He ran into the same problem, thought the worst things had happened, checked literally everything on the bike, before he figured out that the Indian petrol turns bad within such a period. He resolved it by refilling the tank with fresh petrol. It was that easy!
So I went ahead and bought some 3l of fresh Premium Petrol off a nearby gas station. As I had some old petrol left in the tank, I went ahead and added some Octan booster as well as the 3 liters of fresh stuff. Just on the second click, BigBertha was back to life. I couldn’t resist and took her out for a test-run. Yeah, what a great feeling! As I only rode a 250ccm scooter for the time in Vienna, I realized what a monster bike BigBertha is!
Next up: Service and Upgrades for BigBertha.
12.09.2011: BigBertha Service and Upgrades
I brought a few replacement parts and upgrades from Vienna and was much looking forward to fix them on my bike.
First, I took care of the hand protector, which broke when I dropped BigBertha in Chilas, Pakistan.
I had a used protector back home with a few scratches, but it will do the job:
Cleaning up my garage, I also found a topcase, which I had used previously. My mind was wandering … watertight, lockable, light … hmm, maybe I should give it a go. I decided against a topcase for my first overland trip, but I’ll give it a chance this time.
Here is a picture of the setup I had so far. The original rack with an Touratech Luggage rack support/extension plate (Part# 01-044-0790-0). Once I had this removed, I was very surprised how heavy this is. Durable stuff indeed, as this is stainless steal (the TT extention plate is aluminum).
All in all, I think the original BMW Adventure rack along with Touratech’s luggage plate is about the same weight as the solution BMW offers for the normal R1200GS including the topcase! That’s the passenger handles and the plate for the topcase mounted:
Here we go: The topcase mounted. I was a bit worried if my Touratech Rag Tail bag (Part# 01-055-1292-0) would still fit in that combination, but it did just perfectly.
I came across the PivotPegz (Part# 01-040-5500-0) and read very good things about them. As I’m planning to do much dirt roads on my second journey again, I thought this might be a good upgrade. Here are the original BMW foot rests next to the PivotPegz.
Mounting the PivotPegz was very easy and they really look cool. I’m looking forward to take advantage of them on the bumpy gravel roads in Northern India, Laos and Cambodia. Eventually, they’ll do a good job in the desert of Australia, too.
I did the last major service on my bike back in Goa, India. As I drove just a couple of thousand kilometers since then, I was not going to do a full service. However, at least the airfilter needed to be checked. A wise decision, as it turned out. It was really dirty! Not as clogged as after the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan, but certainly at a state which required some maintenance.
I’m using a K&N Replacement airfilter (Part# BM-1204) and feel that the investment was worth it. I do not carry K/N’s Care Service Kit with me, as I was able to find it in motorcycle/car repair shops at various places in the world already. The maintenance is easy: Use the cleaning spray – rinse the filter with low pressure water – let it dry – oil it – done. E voilá, the filter is clean again.
In one of the BMW R1200GS maintenance videos that I watched, I saw a recommendation for the Unifilter prefilter for the air-intake,(Touratech Part# 01-044-0875-0). I brought it with me for my second overland adventure and hope it will do a great job on the dirt roads.
This is how the prefilter looks like mounted to the air-intake.
That’s it for now. Next up will be the maintenance of my panniers and mounting my new stickers.