An inexpensive, easy-to-install improvement for your bike
The new liquid-cooled R1200GSW is such a great motorcycle that you never want to stop riding. However, sooner or later you will have to stop. When that happens, you'll deploy your sidestand, get off the bike, and go about your business.
This being a GS, it means that you could be stopping anywhere from the wilds of Zanzibar to the anarchy and chaos of your local Starbucks parking lot. If you've been a motorcyclist for long, you've probably seen your sidestand sink into hot August asphalt, or start to disappear into sand, dirt, or mud that you didn't realize was so soft. Perhaps you've come back to where you parked and found your bike all the way over on its side because your sidestand sank into ground made soft by rain. What happens if you need to stop in a place where there is just no firm ground to support your sidestand?
What to do? Some of my friends carry a metal or plastic plate on a string that they have to dig out of their tankbag and carefully place under their sidestands every time they park. When they get back, they sit on the bike and pull the string to retrieve the now out-of-reach plate, try to knock all the dirt off of it, and put it back in their tankbags. Some people find a tin can to flatten and use under the sidestand, while others use a flat rock. What a pain! It would be better if we could just deploy our sidestands and walk away unconcerned, without having to do anything else. Well, now you can because the aftermarket offers a simple way to enlarge the sidestand foot.
Several firms offer a plate to attach to the bottom of the sidestand, and I used one from a well-known German company in the past, on my 2005 GS. It was adequate, but I was interested in seeing if there was anything better available for my new GSW. I had helped a friend mount an AltRider Skid Plate and Headlight Guard on a 2010 R1200GS, and had been very impressed with the quality of design and construction, so decided to see what AltRider was offering for a sidestand foot. I discovered that the base of the U.S. made AltRider foot is crafted of 1/8" thick stainless steel, which will certainly withstand more abuse than the aluminum of the other brand. Additionally, the AltRider foot has a top and bottom part to capture the stock sidestand foot, so that it is not held in place merely by bolt heads.
AltRider also designed the foot with some bends and notches. I think this is to provide better grip on a wide variety of surfaces or when stopping on a steep hill. I haven't put that to the test yet, but can see no downside to them.
The printed instructions provided in the package are excellent, with clearly written text and images, even for a simple product like this one. Why do so many other firms struggle to provide clear and easy to follow instructions? These guys get it right.
Installing AltRider's offering is a quick enough job that I decided to do it out in my driveway on a warm sunny day.
AltRider thoughtfully supplies a small tube of threadlocker to use during assembly. I don't know of any other vendor who does that. Use a drop of this on all 5 fasteners. Be careful when you squeeze the tube; a little dab will do ya. Thread locking agent does not start to work until the bolts are threaded into place and not exposed to air, so you don't need to rush your assembly.
The photo shows all five bolts with a single drop of the supplied thread locking agent on each of them. For some reason the center one doesn't look like it has any, but it does.
All you have to do is place the top piece on the top of the stock sidestand foot and then use the supplied bolts and washers to attach the bottom piece.
Conveniently, the tool required is a Torx T25, which is the same size as most of the bodywork fasteners on the bike, so you will probably already have one.
Every so often, a product comes along that just makes sense, and doesn't break the bank in the process. This is one of those rare items. There are a lot of aftermarket goodies for the BMW GS series. Some of them do nothing more than lighten the wallet of the buyer. Others provide real improvement. The AltRiderSidestand Enlarger Foot, available in both black and silver, is one that provides real improvement. I am very happy that I have put this on my bike. Highly recommended.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little review. I will be ordering, installing, and reviewing more accessories as time and budget permit. I have also posted this review on my little corner of the web here.