New steering head bearings

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I got stuck in, replacing the steering head bearings on my BMW f800gs today, which went better than i was expecting. The old bearings are out and the new outer races are in. Just got to fit the inner bearing races tomorrow and rebuild the front end and the jobs done.

I’d been on youtube looking for a tutorial on how to change the bearings on the BMW f800gs but couldn’t find one so i’ve made a video myself on how i did it.  I don’t have any specialist tools like bearing pullers and heat guns etc, its was all done using basic tools.

bike repairbike repair1

Morocco here we come…

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imagesI’ve decided to get some sun and sand without the sea, or the Mrs.  I’ve booked a last minute trip to Morocco to chill out, relax and get some experience riding on sand.  This is a present to myself for eighteen months of save, save, save.   So Neil (a biking mate) and I will fly into Marrakesh on 21 November and  spend five days on our hired BMW f650gs’.  The bit I’m really looking forward to is seven days in the desert. We’ll be based in the town of Ouarzazate with Motoaventures, where we swap over to KTM 450’s and from here head out towards the Algerian border towards Erg Chebbi and the famous Red Dunes at Merzouga, which has some of the highest sand dunes in Morocco, reaching over 150 metres in height. We will attempt to reach the top of the highest “cathedral” dune.  We’ll also spend a night camping in a bedouin style camp which we will have to ride over the dunes to reach. It should be better than 5 star as we will be sleeping under one million stars!  Will post a full trip report when I’m back in the UK.

This is a video of things to come, from


Steering head bearings shot on the BMW F800gs

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Steering head bearing
Steering head bearing

Great, the steering head bearings are shot on my BMW f800gs, which was pointed out to me by a mate (Chris) and come to think of it, I’ve noticed that the handle bars have started to vibrate back and forth when I take my hands off them at slow speed.  There is a definite notch when the bars are moved slowly either side of the straight ahead position.  What’s so annoying  is that the bike has only done 10,500 miles, should bearings go after this amount of mileage? They will need to be changed before our big trip. I’ll be replacing the bearings myself,  which is something I’ve never done before but I’m sure it’s within my capabilities.  From the research I’ve done, the trick to fitting new ones is to heat the frame and put the new bearing in the fridge, apparently it makes the job easier – the old, heat expends, cold contracts thingy!  Well, I’ll be doing the job in the next week or two so will let you know how successful I get on.

May 2012: Touratech Travel Event

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May 2012: Touratech Travel Event

Lisa with Graham Hoskins and our old friend Andy
Me, Nick Sanders, Lisa and our friend Andy
Lisa and Andy cooking lunch by the side of the road
Lisa, Nathan Millward, our friend Andy
Sam Manicom and Lisa

4 July 2013: The Stella Alpina on the R1200GSA

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4 July 2013: The Stella Alpina on the R1200GSA

This bike was eventually sold because it was too damn heavy, great bike for touring but i wanted something that i could ride off road and be able to pick up again fully loaded if it went over, which it did twice.  I had to take all the luggage off to pick it up again so it had to go… great bike, was sad to see it go.

Below is a collection of picture from our trip plus a film of our trip made by our friend Andy Cole.

Time for a rest
Through the French Alps
Chilling at base camp
How much stuff?
Stella Alpina 2012
The dirty dozen and Lisa
The end of the road
Stella Alpina 2012
The Stelvio Pass
Stella Alpina 2012
Two up in Germany
Chilling out


31 March-1 April 2013: BMW Off Road Skills, South Wales with Simon Pavey & Jenny Huntley

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31 March-1 April: BMW Off Road Skills, South Wales with Simon Pavey

Simon Pavey awarding Lisa her Level 1 certificate
Fiona Madden, Instructors – Simon Pavey, Jenny Huntley, Lisa and me
Lisa, Jenny Huntley and Fiona Madden

So the pair of us have just finished our levels I (me) & III (Jase) BMW Off Road Skills 2 day courses in South Wales. You should see my inner forearms, I’ve developed pumped up little muscles that are aching a gooden today.

Had such a blast once I got the hang of it, which took no less than a full morning I hasten to add. Got my confidence up thanks to Jenny Huntley and really started to enjoy handling a shiny new G650GS – went up and down lots of steep gravelly hills full of loose rock, sloshed my way over a stream, practiced my slow speed manoeuvres and momentum skills in order to tackle whizzing over a crazy little hill. Mostly just outside the comfort zone but awesome adrenaline-fuelled fun. I even took the 2013 R1200 GS model for a spin a few times around a rocky trail just to show the boys – good times.

Luckily, we’re unscathed although Jase may have done one too many power slides and sprained his thumb by high-siding! We both got commended by our instructors at the end, me for showing the most improvement (started at rock bottom to be fair with my toys out of the pram) and Jase for his steely determination and high skill attained with only 6 days off-roading under his belt…that’s my boy. Rounded our Easter off with Jenny, her family and a few from the course at one of Wales’ finest curry houses, Tiffin for some tasty nosh, Tigers and talk.

Would recommend anyone brand new to riding that wants to feel comfortable both on and off-road to seriously consider booking onto an off-roading course.  I did the Level 1 Off Road Skills course with BMW school in South Wales.  I was amazed that it transformed my riding overnight – such good value for money too.  Would particularly endorse Simon Pavey’s courses, you’ll be mentally and physically spent but the buzz, skill and confidence that comes is more than worth it.

18 May 2013: The British Motorcyclists’ Federation event, Peterborough

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18 May 2013: The British Motorcyclists’ Federation event, Peterborough

Superb day spent at the BMF event in Peterborough amongst thousands of bikers – explored the site from sliding my head in and out of every flip-face helmet imaginable to meeting Jack at Compass Expeditions and Chris at Unchained Tours -forthcoming chaps happy to furnish us with invaluable info. Cheers fellas.

Picked up with Nicky Plumb who got the enthusiasm levels right up, loved meeting Maggie for the first time (half of the Leprechaun in Latin America duo) – she’s a hoot and a half that one and finally got acquainted with Sam Manicom‘s Birgit, putting a friendly face to a much talked about name was a pleasure. All that coupled with picking up with Graham Hoskins and Tom, fully-fledged freelance film maker made for a full and thoroughly interesting day. Oh and rode back from Cambridgeshire in partial pitch black without throwing my toys out of the pram. Cracking Saturday into the wee hours, oh yeah!