Jessica is a 2012 BMW G650GS Sertao. I bought her new, with just 5, dealer ridden, test miles on her clock.
The bike is a 650cc single cylinder, enduro or “dual sport” bike. With nearly 10 inches of suspension, simple internals that can be fixed the world over, and BMW’s legendary reliability, the Sertao’s are built to travel the world. Specifically on this bike, the engine is built to survive on low octane gas, and can do over 200 miles between fill ups, and at just 400lbs, she’s a lot lighter than most bikes that people travel the world on.
Like all large single cylinder bikes she vibrates a lot, hence the common nickname for this class of bike: “thumpers”. And from that, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, we get Jessica Rabbit…Jessica.
Although the engine is bulletproof, the rest of the bike wasn’t nearly ready for this trip off the dealer floor, and I’ve spent more on equipment, both for the bike and for me, than I did on the bike itself.
Here’s an overview of the modifications I’ve done to the bike to make it adventure ready:
And here’s a view of the cockpit:
Do I need all that stuff? I am traveling to some extremely remote and rugged places, but here are some pictures of the bike in use, so you can decide for yourself:
Deep mud, which stopped the bike instantly, throwing me off, and necessitating me unpacking the luggage and wheeling the bike through, unladen.
After misjudging the depth of a muddle water crossing. I found out after, that people had thrown cinder blocks into the water to fill in the ruts and make it easier for cars to cross (and conversely a lot harder for bikes)
Stuck in a muddy rut, unable to get traction on the ice to get clear. I had to push the bike over onto its side, fill the rut in with stones, drag the front wheel around 90 degrees, then stand the bike back up and pin the throttle to get out of this
A particularly rocky path. Despite 8” of ground clearance, the bike was bottoming out on the larger rocks.