Farkling the F650GS

Farkling the F650GS has been an exercise in procrastination. I’ve had the initial main parts (fuse box, grip heater kit) sitting in my garage for weeks now, but haven’t quite gotten around to doing the installation.

With the winter cold that Houston has been experiencing, this has led to a decreased desire to actually Ride the bike.

I resolved to spend this weekend taking care of it, finally. After work on Friday I ran around to a couple of hardware and auto parts stores, stocking up on stuff for my install. I bought an automotive relay, an inline fuse, 12 and 18 ga. wire in red and black, and various electrical connectors. I have acquired a good sized collection of crimp-on electrical connectors through the years, but I’ve also learned that when doing an install, I always seem to have insufficient quantities of the connectors I need most.

My first order of business on Saturday morning (after feeding Cali and giving Sorscha her dried cranberries) was to pull the existing grips off the F650GS. I’ve helped with heated grip installs on 3 bikes at this point, so I had the grips off quickly and prepped the surface for the stick on heaters.

Note: Heated grip kits are often available locally from stores like Cyclegear, but I’ve always preferred the Symtec kit with attractive OEM-looking round rocker switch offered by CAsporttouring.

Some people swear by insulating the clutch side with duct tape or even insulation, but the Symtec kit is specifically made to not require that measure. I stuck it right onto the painted metal of the handlebar, confident that it would provide the right amount of heat. The throttle side was a little harder, with little ridges on the moveable tube. I wound some electrical tape around the sticker to hold it in place and pushed the OEM grip back on.

An air compressor hose stuck under the grips is supposed to make it easier to get the grips back on, but I found that my little electric tire inflator did next to nothing. Elbow grease got the job done. I routed the wires to the desired switch location with some small black zip ties.

Next I needed to provide a power source. I had bought a 6 circuit Blue Seas fuse box at Academy Sports (~$28) a few weeks earlier. Now I needed to find a place to put it. Rooting around in my under-seat area, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my GS had in fact come with the OEM tool roll. The previous owner said that it he didn’t have it! Apparently the very complete tool roll hadn’t been used in the life of the bike! I relocated it to the locking compartment under the rear *rack* and fit my fuse box into the tool roll slot.

The F650GS is unique in that the gas tank is under the seat and the battery is up inside the faux *tank*. The FAQ at F650.com gives easy instructions for removing the center tank panel to access the battery without having to remove all the fairings (as is described by the BMW owner’s manual).

Using my 12 ga. wire and yellow connectors, I created a harness running from the battery back to the fuse box. The ground wire is black, with a ring connector at each end. The hot wire is red, with an inline 30 amp fuse and female spade connector on one end to plug into the relay. Another 12 ga wire goes from the relay to the fuse box. I tucked the wires away under the *gas tank* fairings. To switch the relay, I used a scissors to scrape away at the electrical tape around the tail light wires and put a *vampire* connector onto the gray/black wire of the tail light. I ran a red wire from the tail light to the relay. Another black wire to the fuse box grounded my switched connection.

My fuse box ready to go, I ran a red/black pair of wires to the heated grips switch location, put a 5 amp fuse on the circuit, and hooked everything up for a test. The grips quickly heated up, so I buttoned up the bike.

Early Sunday morning I drove to the hardware store to pick up a 13/16″ drill bit to make a hole for the switch, but the store wasn’t open. In hindsight, I’m not even sure that my little 9-volt Makita could handle such a large bit. I might have to run the bike over to my parent’s house to drill the hole. Dad will definitely have everything needed.

The grip heater switch is duct-taped in place for now. The fuse box is ready to go for easy install of additional electrical farkles. A heated vest connection and XM radio will probably come soon.

I also have a ZTeknik windshield on order and am waffling over which luggage rack to go with.

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