The big ol’ BMW R 1200 GS is certainly a tuff-nuff adventure-touring bike when your adventures are paved or mostly paved, and can even handle 75% of the places you’re likely to ride a dirt bike, given you slow down some. Until you drop it, that is. You don’t have to crash–just drop it. A stick-your-foot-out-and-find-air kind of tipover, or the sidestand sinks in with the bike parked and it goes ker-plop over on its side. Unless you make a few small changes and bolt on a few things, a lot of nicely finished expensive stuff makes contact with terra firma, or terra rocka, or treea stumpa when that happens, so most GS owners bolt on a bevy of cylinder and engine guards to take the hit instead. After all, scratches on these guards are more bragging rights than bothers.
An important guard that is usually left off the BMW bolt-on bike armor shopping list is for the oh-so vulnerable potentiometer, or throttle position sensor, on the left throttle body. This little guy tells the R 1200 GS electronic fuel injection the position of the throttle plate. When your feet and ankles are flailing around down there trying to paddle the bike out of the mud before that alligator gets you, it’s pretty easy to catch your chrome-buckled wilderness dominator boots on the TPS and move it suddenly enough to change the settings. Or, in the previously mentioned stupid tipover, to find the one tree branch or rock perfectly shaped and positioned to whack the TPS hard enough to scramble it’s fragile digital innards, or worse, pop it off like a bottle cap. Without a functioning one the bike won’t run, and SNAP, the alligator wins.
The solution is one of these simple 3.2mm-thick aluminum potentiometer guard covers from Alt Rider, www.altrider.com. It costs $55 and earns kudos for its shape, which is a little more tucked in than some and shouldn’t come in contact with your boots unless you’re falling off the bike at the time, or you’re so big that with a little green makeup and an attitude you could star in a comic book. The Alt Rider guard covers the TPS completely and spreads the force of any impacts over solid points of contact with the bike through its three mounting screws. It screws on (or off for TPS adjustments) in minutes, and comes with everything you need (except the two metric hex wrenches), including a little reusable tube of thread locker. You could even have one shipped to you General Delivery at the Fairbanks, Alaska post office and bolt it on in the parking lot before tackling the Dalton Highway haul road to Deadhorse. But even if your riding plans don’t involve anything tougher than the parking lot, the Alt Rider TPS Guard looks really cool and makes you at least feel ready to conquer the Dalton. It comes in anodized black or silver.
Alt Rider has tons of cool products for adventure touring bikes like the BMW GS models, Suzukis, Kawasakis, KTMs and Ducati Multistradas, and has an active online adventure-touring community and blog based on its website. Set aside some time and check it out at www.altrider.com.