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Bike Talk With Jennifer O'Grady: BMW G650 XCountry

May 01, 2020 4 Comments

Hey guys!

I get quite a few questions about my motorcycle (Beastie) so I thought it would be a good idea to explain the details about why for me, it is the perfect travel bike. 

jennifer ogrady ride unlimited

Beastie began life as a standard 2007 BMW G650 XCountry. At the time I was working as the digtial marketing manager for the UK’s biggest motorcycle buying website, so I was lucky in that I could have my pick of the bikes being picked up and brought to the warehouse. Dave and I had spent many nights discussing which bike would be the best for our off-road trip from the UK to New Zealand. We settled on the G650X after spending hours reading the exploits of Walter Colebatch and his Sibirsky Extreme project, in which he rode from Europe into deep Siberia, through the countries we wanted to visit.

Walter's bike is a BMW G650 XChallenge with many of his own specialist modifications, we used his bike as a guide to work out what we wanted to add. The problem was that I’m just not keen on the full enduro or rally look and the X Challenge is not really my style. However the BMW G650 XCountry, with its more classic looks and round headlight was much more for me. Luckily one day a nice black, low mileage XCountry came into the warehouse and I bought it immediately! It must not have been used for a while as it had sticking brakes, rusty bolts and some paint was peeling but overall it was in good condition. Above all else it had an easy life, which meant we has some faith in the engine. 

First look at Beastie:

Although both mine and Dave's visual style differed, we still needed the same list of extras and modifications. 

These included:

  • Extended fuel range
  • Strong luggage carrying capacity (rack)
  • Improved lighting
  • Improved oil capacity and cooling
  • Strengthening
  • Suspension
  • Addition of steering dampener
  • Wheel size increase to 21/18 combo on the X country
  • Stronger wheel rims
  • Radiator protection
  • More exciting exhaust
  • Chain flap limiter
  • Hand guards
  • Windscreen
  • Navigation and Music

Beastie had her fuel range increased by 20 litres using extra front and rear fuel tanks, which we made from aluminium in the garage. We built new luggage racks for both bikes, upgraded with TFX Suspension and fitted new wheel rims. Months were spent buying and making parts so we could complete the list on time.

I also got to work painting everything either black or silver.. I'm not big on colours if you hadnt guessed! Beastie looked so good after the paint job especially on the plastic air box cover that had silver sides. We used black truck bed liner paint and after two years it still hasn't come off.

Ultimateaddons waterproof shockproof dustproof smartphone case BMW

Of course we had to add a stainless steel exhaust, the big single sounds great and really cracks when you open the throttle!

On our 10 month trip the bike did really well with only a failed fuel pump and some front wheel bearings needed. However on the road back to our house in Italy from the shipping port, the waterpump oil seal failed and let water into the oil. This meant we had to take the engine out and split the gearbox to replace the seals and the waterpump. I think this attention was well deserved though.


Navigation Systems

For navigation we did lots of research and only a smartphone based navigation system made sense for what we needed. We wanted not only turn by turn on road navigation but the ability to run gpx files for our offroad sections. Also by using our phones we could make use of the huge range of cheap or free navigation apps.

Ultimateaddons waterproof shockproof dustproof smartphone case iphone motorcycle

I personally really like iPhones and used an iPhone 6s for the trip so an Ultimateaddons iPhone 6s waterproof and shockproof case was the ideal partner. We made use of their M6 handlebar clamp bolt system for mounting and added a 3” extender so I could position the phone case exactly where I wanted, which was very good for both road riding and offroad as I could quickly change the viewing angle and orientation to my liking. The Ultimateaddons smartphone case for iPhone was also ridiculously tough as I would tend to crash quite often offroad in the sand.. as well as having the smartphone case fully submerged in rivers with no issues.

Sand crash..

Don't have a iPhone 6s?

If you are interested in our Waterproof, Dustproof and Shockproof motorcycle smartphone cases for both Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone please follow the links below to your specific smartphone model.

 Apple Samsung
iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S10 / S10+
iPhone 11 Galaxy S9 / S9+
iPhone XR Galaxy S8 / S8+
iPhone XS Max Galaxy Note Series
iPhone XS / X Galaxy S7
iPhone 6 7 8


I hope you found this blog useful, any questions just let me know and Ill get back to you!



IG: @jonpogrady 

4 Responses

Kamil Starikiewicz
Kamil Starikiewicz

May 19, 2021

Hi, I’m working on my xcountry and have to say thet your engine guard/gas tank is awsome idea! any possibility to see somewhere how it was done or some better pics of it?

Dave Logan
Dave Logan

May 08, 2020

Hi Gerard! Those are just the stock G650X instrument pod. We moved them on both bikes though as they both had new front ends. We also have Garmin Etrex GPS devices which are the little device on the dashboard as well as using our Ultimateaddons smartphone cases for all of our navigation.

Hi Stephen! good to see the BMW G650X community is alive and well!

gerard cawley
gerard cawley

May 08, 2020

I’m interested in the speedometer you both use please. I’ve just watched both Bartang videos. Fantastic.


May 08, 2020

Hi, been following you 2 forever, thanks for this post. I have a country in Ireland and a challenge here in the USA. They just keep achuggin. Have a safe and joyous year, ya’ll…

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