Wunderlich BMW GS Bolt-Ons Review
There is some irony involved in riding a heavy adventure tourer offroad that is fitted with scads of bars, plates and screens to prevent damage when you inevitably dump it…rather than just riding a lighter dual-sport or dirt bike in the first place.
Adventure touring usually means connecting long stretches of pavement with dirt, though, and then the heavier adventure-touring bike delivers highway comfort and capability with some offroad ability. If that describes how you ride your BMW GS, Wunderlich America has a seemingly endless selection of stuff you can bolt-on to keep that nasty dirt from jumping up and spanking it.
Our BMW R 1200 GS test platform already had Wunderlich basics such as engine and cylinder guards, so we went after some of its smaller, lightweight items that offer heavyweight protection. Up front a vital piece of kit is the Steering Stops, or Frame Saver. In a hard enough fall, the factory steering stops on the big GS can shear off, causing the handlebar to hit the tank, damaging it and the handlebar switches. These stops bolt-on to the lower fork clamp with longer replacement pinch bolts, holding a rubber bumper in position between the fork leg on each side and the Telelever. Once installed, the front end will hit the bumpers before the factory stops, preventing them from ever shearing off.
You’ll need a Torx bit to take out the original bolts, and a torque wrench and hex bit to properly install the replacement pinch bolts to the specified torque, but the whole job only takes a few minutes. Unless you’re trials riding your R 1200 GS, you will only bump them when pushing it around…or, of course, if it hits the ground. The Steering Stops are aluminum and come in a brushed finish, or anodized blue or black for $119.
Right between where the Steering Stops mount, there’s a front brake line connection on the R 1200 GS bolted to the lower fork clamp. It’s susceptible to damage from rocks roosted up by the rear tire of the considerate fellow riding in front of you, so Wunderlich offers the Brake Line Protector for $45, a triangular aluminum plate that bolts on independently, or right to those Steering Stops you just installed. It looks cool and only takes about five minutes to put on.
Last on the Little Big Protection list is Wunderlich’s Lever Guard, which again only takes minutes to install but is one of those, “Why didn’t BMW think of this?” items. Unbeknownst to most of us, there’s a little hole in the bottom of the R 1200 GS Paralever final drive, into which the steel, polymer-coated Lever Guard ($144) installs with a clamp and single bolt. Crash on- or offroad, and instead of grinding off a considerable amount of aluminum from the final drive and Paralever pivot, the Lever Guard will take the hit instead. The clamp only fits one way, so the toughest part of the job is figuring out which way to turn the bolt holding it on from the bottom (hint: lie on the ground and look up). The Lever Guard’s lines flow nicely with the final drive’s and give it a stock appearance.
Wunderlich America has thousands of accessories for BMWs, all of which are well described with photos and videos on its website. Check it out.
For more information: Call (866) 830-9990 or visit wunderlichamerica.com
(This Gear Lab item was published in the October 2012 issue of Rider magazine.)