The Bike

The bike chosen is the Rotax built BMW F650gs Single, plenty of bikes were considered but it was the Austrian thumper that ticked the majority of boxes for what we needed.

Hopefully I will get around to putting together a post on the reason we settled on the BMW, in brief it was because of it's age, the rotax single cylinder engine, the cost, the availability of spares, as well as it's impressive efi and range per tank. We looked at the DL650 V strom, the new triumph tiger 800xc as well as the africa twin and the new yamaha tenerre. Broadly speaking our wish-list was for something reliable, simple, strog, steel, light and cheap. Each of the aforementioned bikes were eliminated by one or the other of these.

Using the f650gs as a base we made a series of modification to the bike ranging from adding auxillary lights to changing out suspensions springs and rear shocks. You can read more about what we did here...

A rough overview of the extras added are as follows

  • Renthal High Bend Dakar Handlebars
  • Barkbusters Handguards
  • Ram Mount for GPS & Camera
  • BMW High Screen
  • Rewired heated grips to run externally
  • Auxilary LED Running Lights
  • Hella Micro DE Foglights
  • Auxilary Light Mount
  • Wirth Progressive Springs
  • SAE 15 Fork Oil
  • Touratech(TT) Headlight Guard
  • TT Zega Pro Panniers
  • TT Master cylinder cover
  • TT Fork Protectors
  • TT Tank Bag
  • TT Rallee Pegs
  • TT Radiator Guard
  • TT Jerrycan & Mount
  • Datel Voltmeter
  • Unifilter Airfilter

Spares and Tools

Given the obvious limitations of space and weight we have had to limit the number of spares and tools we can carry. Our panniers collectively can carry 160 litres — roughly the size of one large backpack.

Given these restrictions we've had to be very selective about what we choose to carry. Having been forced to ignore Murphy's law we have decided to carry few spares with the exception of a head gaskets and a throttle cable. The simple fact that any number of things can go catastrophically wrong helped cement this decision, we simply can't prepare for every eventuality so we felt a good working mechanical knowledge of the bikes was our best asset. In short, true to the name of the trip we have opted to wing it — only time will tell if we live to regret this decission.

With the limited number of spares we decided to carry a reasonably comprehensive toolkit with the ambition to recondition rather than replace. We were also lucky enough to have Wheelcare ltd. come onboard as one of our sponsors and supply our inventory of puncture repair equipment as well as some other handy bits and bobs.
For the of you that are curious about what's in the toolkit, here's a rundown, undoubtedly I've forgotten a few...
  • 1 Head Gasket
  • 3 spare Tubes
  • 10 Spokes
  • 4 Spark Plugs
  • 3 Mirror mount bolts
  • Spare Chain
  • 5 Chain Links (+ tool)
  • Throttle Cable
  • Misc Nuts & Bolts
  • Instant gasket*
  • Tyre Patches*
  • Tube Patches*
  • Spare Valves*
  • Epoxy Glue
  • Jubilee Clips
  • Small grease & wd40
  • Electrical wire, connectors, plugs
  • Radiator sealant*
  • Wire/ Cable Ties/ Duct tape/ bungee ties
  • Spanners
  • Sockets & Torque Wrench
  • Allen Keys & Screw Drivers
  • Thread Lock
  • Leatherman
  • Spoke Key
  • Bead Breaker*
  • Chain Breaker
  • Wire/ Cable Ties/ Duct tape/ bungee ties
  • Hacksaw
  • 15 tooth pinion & 49 tooth chain wheel
  • Tyre Leavers*
  • 12v tyre pump*
  • reamer & grating tool*

* Items supplied by the very wonderful wheelcare ltd.


Having spent the last five years in New Zealand and camping being practically a national past time over there, Kieran adoptedthe role of camp coordinator, cook, and bear and wildlife protector...

The list of gear was endless. What we would like to bring and what we could pack in terms of space and tie in with our budget. There are some fantastic New Zealand brands that tie in very well with the trip we are undertaking. Icebreaker for thermals, MacPac for tents and outdoor apparel, the list is endless. Weight was a huge part when deciding what to take. The more compact the better. Budget being next. Always better to buy the best gear you can afford, leaky tents, cold sleeping bags and dodgy cookware are not things that you need to find out on the road. It will cost you twice in the long run.

We have planed to camp as much as possible along the way. It is hard to beat a clear sky, tents up, camp fire lit and cooking up a plate of hot food after a long day on the bike. That's how I imagine it in my head, the reality could, and most likely will, be different. Don't get me wrong I love a steak dinner and big bad ass bed as much as the next man, but they will be novelty items for the next 4 months.
Below is a list of what we have agreed to bring. Now I know that some are not necessary but we can fine tune it as we go. The likes of the Bear Grylls knife and survival kit are probably not needed but all boys love there toys and if you can't have a few gadgets on a trip like this then what the hell.
  • MacPac Tent Plateau x 1
  • Macpac Fairy down Sleeping bags
  • Therm a rests
  • MSR cooking stove with fuel bottle.
  • MSR quick two pot set.
  • Fold down plates and mugs.
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Geber Bear Grylls Survival knife.
  • Leather man
  • Mini Bear Grylls Survival kit.
  • Fire flint
  • Rubber patches, (old piece of bicycle tubes, fantastic for fire starting in wet weather.)
  • Zippo lighter
  • Icebreaker thermals
  • Mac Pac rain jackets
  • Mallett
  • Camp Senate seats, very compact
  • Bugspray
  • Sunscreen
  • Lenser LED Headtorches *
* Kindly supplied by the patient and accommodating DETAIL. DESIGN STUDIO