BMW S1000XR Project Bike Gets Brighter Lights, Improved Luggage Mount

The Long-Term XR gets a few minor tweaks before the 18K service.

Long-term BMW S1000XR project bike
Because the Givi B33 isn’t a very large top case, the XR doesn’t look terribly geeky in this, the urban commuter configuration.©Motorcyclist

Wrist: Marc Cook
MSRP (2016): $19,790 (as tested)
Miles: 18,112
MPG: 38
Mods: Denali D2 lights, Givi top rack mount

As much as I take pride in recycling parts or coming up with non-commerical solutions, I eventually realized that reworking a top-rack mount meant for another bike wasn't the ideal solution for my long-term S1000XR. While the SW-Motech Steel Toprack for a Yamaha FJR1300 could be made to work, it placed the top box relatively far forward. No problem for solo work, but less than ideal when riding two up.

That’s when I turned to Givi and its SRA5119 mount. There’s something elegant about the Givi platform, which is meant to support its own Monokey top cases. I like how it bolts to all six of the existing threaded screw holes in the BMW’s rack; six has to be better than four for strength. And I like the natural-finish aluminum. For $200, it comes with the pegs, rubber bumpers, and latch mechanism to carry a Monokey case.

Givi rack for the S1000XR
Givi’s rack is a nicely built piece, stamped from aluminum and featuring flush fasteners and well-done cutouts that mimic the shape of the rack below. Very sturdy, too.©Motorcyclist

Installation was very easy, and the fit is right on. For some reason, Givi feels compelled to use locking nuts on the portion of the screws that extend beyond the bottom of the BMW’s luggage rack, perhaps from an overabundance of caution. I never had the screws loosen with the other racks I’ve tried, but aside from the miniscule amount of additional weight, there’s probably no downside.

As you can see from the side-on shot of the XR, with the B33 Monokey case fitted, there’s plenty of room between the front of the top case and the passenger space. It’s actually a good compromise; tight enough that the rack doesn’t unduly hang the top box off the back of the bike, but still enough room for a passenger. The XR is wheelie prone enough as it is; no need to dangle the top box well aft of the tail light.

Denali D2 lights
With custom mounts, the Denali D2 lights are tucked in and solidly attached to the low fork legs. It’s no hardship that you can’t angle them laterally with this setup.©Motorcyclist

Moving on. I’m a big believer in auxiliary lighting, especially with all the urban riding I do. The BMW’s stock headlights are fine, but having a few extra lumens out there to awaken drowsy or distracted drivers is always a good thing.

So I mounted a set of Twisted Throttle's Denali D2 LED driving lights (twistedthrottle.com) to the XR. This $380 set uses a pair of housings 2 inches in diameter and 2.4 inches long, so they're quite compact. The original plan was to mount them using one of Twisted's hardware kits meant to pick up one of the BMW's fender mounts. (Twisted Throttle is in the process of building a model-specific mount for the XR.)

Brackets for Denali lights
The brackets are made from aircraft aluminum, 2024T6, 0.63-inches thick, from scraps found in my shop. In truth, any hardware-store aluminum sheet will do.©Motorcyclist

But I got a little nervous hanging a sturdy little light from a 5mm thread and decided to improvise. For this installation, I cut out a pair of thin aluminum plates with holes spaced to join up to the two fender mounts on each side. A third hole, just forward (to clear the sweep of the fender itself), is where the light mounts. My main goal was to distribute the weight of the light across two fender mounts, not just one. (The thought of shearing one off and having to buy a replacement lower fork leg sends shivers…)

There are 13mm-thick spacers between the aluminum piece and the fender mounts, in turn necessitating 5x25mm button-head screws, which, as ever, came from McMaster-Carr (mcmaster.com). It's true that this arrangement does not permit lateral aiming of the lights, but I find they work fine pointed straight ahead.

Bracket spacers for Denali lights
The head-on shot shows the spacers between the bracket and the fender mounts, and another small spacer between the Denali light and the bracket. The inner diameter of the Denali perch is a teeny bit smaller than 8mm, so you’ll need to ream it out.©Motorcyclist

The rest of the installation was simple enough. I brought the wiring up the front-brake lines and tied everything off just above the top center of the radiator. There’s enough room along the right side bodywork and the main frame to run the Denali harness rearward. I carried it back to the battery and picked up the 12-volt “sense” line from the brake light to turn the whole mess on. (The system connects directly to the battery and uses the other 12-volt line only to turn the relay on. So far, the XR has not “thrown a code” indicating that the I’ve asked too much of the brake-light circuit.)

RELATED LONG-TERM UPDATE:

Normally, the Denalis can be run in low or high intensity, as long as you have some way to sense when the high beams are on. But the BMW’s wiring around the fairing is tightly wrapped, and getting the whole of the bodywork off is so fussy that I decided to leave the lights in the high mode only. This means combining the aforementioned sense line and the blue wire from the Denali harness. I also used one of Twisted’s switch mounts on the right side because there’s already a lot going on over on the left handlebar. The switch is conveniently small but the indicator lights are hard to read during the day.

As has been the case on every other bike I’ve fitted aux lights to, I definitely feel like cars give me a second look now. It’s not enough that I dress brightly and ride assuming everyone else is brain dead, now I have a little extra to aid the cause.

Right now, I'm eager to get the XR back from Mamba Motorsports (mambamotorsports,com), who just completed the 18K service. It'll be interesting to see what they found.