WRIST: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2013): $19,520 (as tested)
Mods: SW-Motech bar risers and footpegs, Wunderlich adjustable shift lever
Winter can be a blessing or a curse for Midwestern motorcyclists. From where I'm sitting now, cowering under a "polar vortex" that has temperatures here in Milwaukee hovering around -15 degrees Fahrenheit, things are looking a bit cursed. I'm certainly not riding the burly GS that's marooned in my garage. The blessing in this situation, though, is enough downtime to tackle the little wrenching projects I put off this past summer, when I was too busy piling on miles.
One of these latent projects involved some ergonomic adjustments to improve comfort and control when riding standing up. The stock position is perfect for road riding, but the bar sits too low and rearward for easy control when standing for long periods of time, like you do when riding off-road. Bolt-on bar risers are a quick and easy fix.
Earlier this summer I experimented with a set of Wunderlich Ergo bar risers (wunderlichamerica.com; $165) that raised the bar 35mm but also brought the grips 27mm closer to the rider—an improvement for seated riding but even worse when standing up. I've since replaced the Ergos with straight 40mm risers from SW-Motech (twistedthrottle.com; $125) that provide 40mm more height without moving the bar closer to the rider. The improvement is noticeable, even just posting in my garage. Ideally I'd like to go another inch higher for a true dirt bike feel—perhaps with a proper enduro handlebar—but this is as high as I can go without changing the cables and brake lines. There's also some minor interference at full-lock between the mirror stalks and the previously installed, fuller-coverage Wunderlich Ergo Marathon windscreen when that's in its lowest position—another good reason to stop here.
The other off-road-specific ergonomic mod I wanted to make was to install larger footpegs. The stock pegs grip fine (after you remove the vibration-damping rubbers), but they're small and create hot spots on your feet when standing for extended periods. SW-Motech's on/off-road replacement pegs are an inch wider and an inch longer, almost doubling the surface area for surer footing and increased comfort. Made from textured stainless steel paired with a CNC-machined aluminum mount that fits the factory frame brackets, these pegs are also height adjustable, offering an additional mounting position that's 15mm lower than stock for increased legroom.
As long as I was fussing with the foot controls, I also installed Wunderlich's adjustable gear lever ($169), which offers an embarrassment of adjustments, including length, height, and lever travel—three positions on the lower bracket allow you to choose the factory setting or a shorter or longer shift throw depending on your preferences. More importantly, the rubber-covered, roller-mounted shift peg is foldable—essential considering how many times I've dropped this bike off road!
Now, with more room to stand and a better place to stand from, I look forward to getting the GS back in the dirt. I just have to wait for this polar vortex to lift first.