Dakar modifications

  I thought I needed a place to highlight some of the mods I'm tinkering with on my '05 BMW Dakar   

Some of the sound files run 250 to 300 Kb so a speedy connection is a plus.

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original port side muffler
drilled out port side muffler
simple toold required

Here's a muffler mod I picked up on the Chain Gang. I just had to try it. I've been wanting to go to a better sounding aftermarket muffler like an Adventure Pipe or a Remus. I don't expect much of a performance increase, but I might be interesting to compare the stock Dakar exhaust noise level to the the modified.

The full size pics only run about 75 Kb, but the sound files are 250 to 300 Kb and may take awhile to download with a slow connection.


I just hooked a 1" hole saw to my 18 volt DeWalt drill motor and it required very little effort to go through the thin metal. This is a pic of the hole that remains and the plug that is easily removed with needle nose pliers. Note that there are actually two metal walls about 1-1/4 apart that must be drilled through. So what does the modified Dakar exhaust sound like? Not a huge difference, a little more bass, nothing obnoxious. So what tools are required? I purchased a 1" Bi Metal hole saw at Home Depot. It has no center mandrel, but if your hole saw has a drill bit in the center, is should not be a problem...although the drilling might require a bit more effort. You can see that the two walls that must be drilled through are about 1-1/4" apart and the Ridgid hole saw is about 1-1/2 " deep, so things worked perfectly. There is a little fine steel wool in the hole that can be picked out with a bit of patience. Conclusion: easy mod, why not? I don't know about F-650s other than the 2005 model year, however.

So my neighbor, Bill McAvan, calls me up a couple of weeks ago and says he needs my bike to fab up a custom part for a customer in another State. Guess what ultra-cool stuff he's working on now. Well....here is what's hot off the press.

First up is a beefy tail rack for '05 and newer F-650s. Beautiful and stout. This is the prototype. The production run will be black powder coat.

Tail rack for '05 and newer F-650 '05 and newer F-650 Tail Rack
But wait, there's more...next up is a sweet Datel voltmeter, in a custom housing that looks like it should be a factory option. There is no question about voltage, it reads right to the 1/10th of a volt. Nothing will make a fuel injected F-650 behave more erratically than an uncharged or failing battery. A good voltmeter should have been a factory stock item on these machines....even more necessary if you add heated clothing or auxillary lighting. Datel voltmeter in custom housing Datel voltmeter in a custom housing
eclipse 30 Watt HID and 35 Watt PIAA solitaire Eclipse 30 Watt HID on a custom bracket with a PIAA 35 Watt solitaire Eclipse 30 Watt HID: top view...and the Datel voltmeter

Did I mention auxillary lighting? Well I had a set of 35 Watt PIAA Solitaires on Brad Green brackets that I had not got around to wiring up. So Bill not only wires up the PIAA solitaires.....

(Incidentally, Brad Green is still around, and his Web Site is up, he's just not doing F-650 mods right now.)

but he goes a quantum leap further. He whips out a nice little heavy duty custom bracket and then proceeds to mount up a set of Eclipse 30 Watt HID torches. I mean Holy Candlepower, Batman. These bad boys are BRIGHT !!! There is no question of overdriving the HID lights. They produce 1850 Lumens, with a 30 watt draw they pump out 100 Watts of halogen equivalent output (200 Watts/pair) In the Datel pics, above, you can see the toggle that swithches between the HIDs and the PIAAs. You can also see the On/Off button, right below the turn signal switch.
HID and high beams factory stock high beam Factory stock low beam

So here is what 30 Watts of HID power combined with the factory high beams looks like on a garage door at about 50 feet distance.

I'll try to get some better comparison pics, but this was all I could put together quickly.


Here is the Factory high beam by itself.

Generally the headlight on the '05 and newer F-650s get high praise compared to other bikes and compared to older F-650s.

You can contact Bill regarding these or other mods by using the form on his website:


Here is the Factory low beam by itself.

Compared to other dualsports I have ridden with the F-650 has great lighting. The 30 Watt HID lights outshine everything by miles. The PIAAs are a nice little units, maybe they will make me a bit more visible to oncoming traffic, but if you really want to SEE what is out front.....they are not even worth comparing.

2005 Dakar Stout and stylish skid plate BLM skidplate and Fastway F3 footpegs
BLM skidplate 1.5 gallon aux. tank with matching storage box BLM tailrack
Eclipse 30 Watt HID aux. lights

I think the mods are starting to come together nicely. The lighting is superb, the BLM skidplate is beautifully made and long on stout. It compliments the Touratech footpeg relocation kit and the Fastway F3 pegs very well. I really love the 1.5 gallon auxillary fuel tank and the lockable storage box mounted inboard of the Moto-Sport pannier racks. There is the Holtam centerstand (no longer made, but I think the Holtam Bros. are still Chain Gang members) There are alot of Brad Green's (BGstuff) accessories on the bike that Brad is no longer making now that he's back into computer's full time. There are also alot of Touratech pieces: bar risers, GPS mount, engine and faring guards, heavy duty front springs, and front fender. There are also the front fork boots and the BMW auxillary taillight and a Hawkeoiler that is tucked away in the aft glove compartment with the reservoir behind the license plate. And there may be a few farkles I'm forgetting.

Big Dunlop knobs and lower gearing and she's an offroad rocket....stock gears and less wicked tires and she's a long distance pavement burner. In my dictionary, that is the definition of Dual-Sport.

A Chain Gang member from Australia asked to see more pics of the BLM Bash Plate and how it protects the brake and gearshift levers. In addition to the BLM Bash Plate, the pics show the Touratech peg relocation kit and the Touratech gearshift and brake levers that are part of tha kit. Also shown are the Fastway F3 footpegs. BLM Bah Plate - Starboard - front view BLM Bash Plate - Starboard - side view
BLM Bash Plate - Port side view BLM Bash Plate - Starboard view So....in an ongoing attempt to describe the amazing difference that auxillary lighting makes.....especially the 30 Watt HID Eclipse....here are a few pics. My truck is positioned exactly 255 feet away from my '05 Dakar down a dark, one lane private drive. The first pic is just the plain old stock headlight and using no flash on the camera to try and give a better comparison.
255 feet 30 watt HID 35 watt halogen

The second pic is the 30 watt Eclipse HID spots....major brightness difference....but blinding to oncoming traffic.

The third pic is the 35 watt PIAA solitares. A great inexpensive driving light; wonderful to light up the edges and make you a little more visible to others. I doubt that oncoming traffic would find them blinding and obnoxious. I think you could run them all the time without a problem.

low beam at 255 feet low beam plus 35 watt halogen

The next pic is of the low beam and the 30 Watt Eclipse HID at 255 feet.....the final pic is the high beam plus the 30 Watt Eclipse HID at 255 feet.

The HID lights are definitely blinding even at a didtance of 255 feet. I could not look directly at them.....kinda like looking into a welders arc. Amazing visibility, I love 'em...and I won't leave home without 'em !!

low beam plus HID high beam plus HID
So, last evening I went over to Bill's place with a little early Christmas present. And I just had to see the production version of the tail rack. Much to my surprise, there are two production versions: The "whale tail" and the "flat tail". They sure look good in their black powder coat. I took a pic of my Pelican 1500 on top of the "flat tail"....it's a perfect fit on either rack. Nice !!! Whale Tail (1) Whale Tail (2)
Flat Tail (1) Flat Tail (2) Pelican 1500 on tail rack
Well, Happy New Year, it is now 2007. In the greater Seattle area it is major monsoon time. Since riding is not as fun (or safe) as we would like it....it's probably time for more lighting mods. Bill has some nice black powder coated and very stout brackets and since my 35 watt PIAAs were just too much electrical draw for too little light (my opinion)...the PIAAs were removed in favor of the 13 watt HIDs. The ideas is that I will have max light for the situation and minimum draw down on the electrical system, allowing the use of heated grips and heated clothing with no worries. 13 watt HID below 30 Watt HID Side view of dual HID setup
Here's another pic of th Pelican 1500 case being used as a top box along with the BLM flat tail. It's bolted securely to the tailrack and being lockable and well padded....it's a pretty nice setup for a laptop of camera gear. I usually buy Pelican units from Cases4less. Pelican 1500 The next interesting addition is a cool little hinge setup that makes your windscreen adjustable. It adjusts the 4 bolt screens up or down about 1.25 inches.....essentially giving the windscreen more rake (kinda like the stock angle) or less rake for a more upright position. It should help with finding the ideal windscreen position for riders of different heights. It uses the stock mounting holes; nothing additional to drill and even on the low position there is clearance for the stock bars using the TT bar risers.
adjustable windscreen rake adjustment hinge I have been wanting to get a few more lighting pics since the 35 watt PIAAs hve been replaced with the 13 watt HIDs. The 13 watt HIDs outshine their halogen cousins by about triple. I will run them as driving lights but I will point them with consideration for oncoming drivers. The 13 watt HIDs eat maybe 2 tenths of a volt and that's really nice. The same photo setup as last time, 255 feet to the truck in the distance, dark rainy night, no Photoshop tricks or brightness adjustments. Just trying to do a reasonable comparison....as you can see, my amateur status in the photography world has not been compromised.
low beam going low beam oncoming So there you have the stock low beam, which by all reports is a darn good stock motorcycle headlight.
13-watt HIDs going 13-watt HIDs oncoming The little 13 watt HIDs do an amazing job for their size. And no appreciable voltage draw means the ability to run heated clothing with less chance of draining the battery. The little 13 watt units are small and inobtrusive and have a much better chance of surviving an unplanned "get-off" than almost any other setup I have seen.
30 watt HIDs going 30 watt HIDs oncoming

As you can see the evening was a bit soggy...but hey....it's Seattle. If ya don't play in the rain......ya can get mighty lonesome.

Well that's the HID lighting test. I love the HIDs, and I'm sure you can see why....rainy, foggy, soggy....HIDs rock. If you are looking at auxillary lighting, go the HID route. You won't be dissappointed. I got both HID setups and the brackets from Bill McAvan...when he's not working his day job or riding he runs BLM-accessories.com. Check it out.

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