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'07 BMW G650 XCountry

Mod: Gear Shift Lever

Replace it now before it snaps your shift shaft off!

Note: photos courtesy of posts on

The problem:

The OEM gear shift lever on the XCountry and XChallenge is made of cast alloy and is apparently too strong and not bendy enough, as many riders have gone down on the left side only to find their shifter shaft coming out of the motor has snapped off completely:
...and another one here!

Others have bent their shift shaft or twisted it from an upward hit, both severely weakening it.
This is perhaps the number one potential problem with this bike and the most urgent thing to replace, so find a nice bendy steel replacement now!
More Sources:
- Here is how Colebatch clearly describes it.
- The Adv XChallenge Thread Index has more information.
- Also this thread on the venerable F650 shift lever issues.

Temporary solution:

A temporary workaround is to drill holes into the OEM shift lever so that it will be the sacrifice and bend or break off rather than transfer the energy to the shift shaft.
Many people have done this and posted their results when the shift lever broke off, including myself. Here are before and after pictures when mine hit a rock hidden in some grass on a singletrack on a left turn. Luckily I had a quality pair of small needle nose vise grips with me!

One big problem with this is if you get a strong upward hit, the shift lever is still strong and will try to twist the shift shaft after it hits its upward stop: (example from Niedz)

Best solutions:

There seems to be some consensus on the best solution being to install a nice bendy steel shift lever. Here are 5 choices:
  1. Touratech F650 lever, steel with folding tip, #041-0702 for $51. More on this later.

    (They also make an adjustable one #049-0127 but personally I tried it and didn't like it because the arm was so wide that when standing up I would accidentally step on the shift arm and downshift).

  2. A BMW F650GS or Dakar steel lever, without a folding tip, like Johnnyboxer shows here:

    Either this one (or the next one (Funduro)) is part number 23417652942 like Colebatch said.

  3. A BMW 650 Funduro steel lever with a folding tip, like this 1998 one I got off of eBay, shown here installed after I bent it to my liking:

    I like the big rubber pad and the folding tip (not to mention the cheap used price)... but my only complaint about it is that the bolt goes into it from the top, which is safer (won't fall out) but there is little clearance so you must use an L-shaped allen wrench on it, and it was slow going and difficult to get tight on the shaft. We'll see how it works but in trying it awhile, it seems like it is too bendy for normal use and bends for me on normal downshifts. I don't know if I weakened it too much when bending it to shape it, (I did NOT use heat) but I don't think so - it is pretty bendy!

  4. A Moose steel lever for a Honda XR650L will fit, according to Gaspipe. (Read his full thread too!).

  5. Others have used Yamaha YZ250 / YZ450 levers, either a Moose steel one like Bert Fox has used, or the solid aluminum MSR 34-2148 like toofast4uu has used.
    However, I tried the aluminum MSR one and felt it sticks out way too far to the side, AND it is way too difficult to bend - I tried to bend it in a vise and it was way too beefy. Here's pics of it:

Lever height comparisons

The TT lever vs. the Funduro levers that I have, will present different heights at the tip because the splines fit onto the shaft at slightly different angles, so it is difficult to compare to the OEM lever.
In addition I like my lever to be a bit below the footpeg height, so that is how I set it up for these pics below. I show 2 different mounting positions for the Funduro lever.
Here are side views of the OEM, TT and Funduro levers respectively (note I bent the Funduro lever a LOT to give it a lot more clearance from the case):

Lever side clearance comparisons

Here are the OEM, TT and Funduro levers respectively. The footpegs are not shown on the OEM picture but these other 2 levers are definitely a little longer than the OEM one:

Modification to the TT lever

I didn't like how the nut extended on the bottom of the foldable tip and would scrape into my street shoes when I used the bike for commuting:

I could have just inserted the screw from the bottom, but instead I found a perfect solution. For a whopping 21 cents I went to Ace hardware and got a solid rivet, 1/4" diameter x 1" long. Made of steel.
I found a drill press to use and drilled a hole in the end then took a hammer and punch then a ball peen hammer and pounded it out flat.
Shown here is an extra rivet I didn't drill out - I put it in as I pulled the screw out to keep it all together, then put the drilled out rivet in from the top side and flared it out. 10 minutes.

It might look thin where I pounded it but it's not bad and I'm confident it's not gonna fall out. If I were to do it again I'd drill a smaller hole and not quite as deep.

Tightening Torques

To get to the gear shift lever you must (unfortunately!!!) loosen the top and bottom M10 allen wrench screws that hold the footpegs on. When re-installing them, use blue loctite and torque to 26 ft/lbs (35 Nm).
Note to self: This is something you should double check that you have tools on for the trail! Because the top one is hard to access as the footpeg gets in the way - if you use an allen socket bit on a socket you will need an extension at the very least, and in my case I grinded down some of the inner teeth on the footpeg so the socket bit would fit!

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