The Iron Butt Rally can be very hard on a bike. From taking Sport Tourers down goat paths to running an over-loaded dual sport on western interstate the rally offers plenty of opportunities to make a new motorcycle old in only a little over a week.
Fortunately I had no significant mechanical issues during the rally. I used an acceptable amount of motor oil and the only challenge was a weep from a fitting on my auxiliary fuel tank. I addressed this on the ship using some 5-minute epoxy I begged from one of the crew. Sailors care for their own and they were happy to help. My biggest frustration was the fresh chip seal I enjoyed for 20 or so miles in Montana. It got everywhere and made a bike that started the rally with around seven thousand miles look like an old wreck.
The bike is a 2012 BMW R1200 GS Adventure. The Adventure model comes with a little taller suspension, crash bars, aluminum panniers, fog lights, upgraded wind protection and best of all a large (8.9) gallon fuel tank.
This is the bike I love to ride.
That’s important because to enjoy the Iron Butt Rally you have to love your bike. I’ve heard it said that the best rally bike is one you love enough to ride for 11 days but not so much you’re unwilling to take a drill to the fairing. Fortunately I found a way to ride a bike I love too much to butcher *and* the bike is a perfect platform for the rally with very few modifications.
My goals for the bike were reasonably simple and in no particular order.
- Post rally daily rider
For the issues above I addressed comfort with a custom seat from Rocky Mayer. This is actually a seat he made for a previous GS which I would not sell with the bike. It won’t go with this one either. I also added a removable Touratech locking windscreen spoiler. I chose this one because it is removable.
Between the seat I already had and the spoiler I made the bike almost LT like for interstate work *and* I didn’t have to spend a ton of cake!