Adventurizing my F800GS

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Camel ADV, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    I bought my F8 last April for the sole purpose of a last minute RTW trip (left 60 days after saying, "Hey we should ride around the world"). For the most part I was thrilled with the F8 on the trip but there were a few things I wanted to change before the next trip which is coming up this October.
    These changes break down to 3 sections:

    A) It failed me last time and caused me a ton of grief
    B) It worked OK but I'd like to upgrade for next time
    C) I like blingy sh*t, am single and have no kids so I'm going to spend my money where I like:1drink

    First things first, here's what I broke:

    Chain (replaced with DID VM2 @3000km). DID is now worn out (@33,000km)but the BMW chain and sprocket recall letter just arrived and they are going to replace my DID because my CZ broke in Siberia and there were no BMW Motorrad dealers for several thousand miles.

    Battery sh*t the bed. Solution: Upgrade to DEKA. I'm currently still using the tiny Russian battery.

    Bent the hell out of the rims (front especially). Solution: Replace with Excels from Woody's but am undecided on rear rim dimensions and whether to reuse the stock hubs or upgrade to Eagle/RAD.

    Rox Risers kept twisting. If you have them you likely know what I mean. I'm 6'3" and went with the 3.5" tall version. Despite the eBay auction being for 1 1/8"x 1 1/8" risers, when they arrived they were 1 1/8" x 7/8". Apparently Rox doesn't make a double 1 1/8" version in the 3.5". They give you stupid "C" shells to shim up the difference...what a nightmare. The wheel was pointed straight ahead but the bars were way off to one side...no problem, I'll just crank on the bars and correct it, oops, went way too far... dammit, these things suck:puke1 not to mention are pretty dangerous.

    Bent upper shock bolt. Solution: added RalleMoto brace and bumped up a bolt grade...and will carry a spare.

    No other "breaks" really. Some annoying things:

    The suspension was a bit soft and under valved for me (240lbs) and my gear. I didn't realize how bad it was until I had a chance to ride a few other bikes recently. The front definitely needs upgrading. Solution: Hybrid F8GS/Shiver 45s and upgrade to an Elka on the rear.

    Despite kick ass fuel mileage the 16 litre tank is a hassle in areas lacking regular/reliable fuel stations. Also annoying once on the fast autobahn type highways @130-140km/h and having to stop every 1 1/2-2hrs for gas. Solution: Will be adding a Tourtech "Tanker".

    I have the Pelican top loader cases which I LOVE! I can't believe how durable these things are. I had 2 huge crashes in Mongolia and the Pelicans were unscathed. What I don't like is the Hepco Becker racks. They move and sway a ton and the left case sticks out over 3" farther than the right. It looks stupid and is WAY too wide. Of course with plastic panniers it's not as simple as just cutting out around the muffler and welding new bits in to balance things out. Solution: New exhaust and modified/rebuild/reinforced racks.

    The beginning of the mods:

    I started with the ROX Riser issue. I tossed the "C" shims and had a local inmate (Wrekluse) turn an adapter tube up with an ID of just under 7/8" and an OD of 1 1/8" out of 6061 aluminum. He then knurled the 1 1/8" section for a bit more bite.

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    This tube solved 2 issues; it tied the 2 risers together which helps with the twisting issue and it also gets rid of the 7/8" to 1 1/8" shims. After pressing the risers into the tube I had a welder friend TIG the 3 pieces together. I also bought a bridged upper bar clamp from Highway Dirt Bikes to help control the twist. All the mounting holes in the upper clamp are useful too.

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    I know 3.5" risers look ridiculous but 2 1/4" aren't quite tall enough. Finished package:

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    #1
  2. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    Upper Shock Bolt

    Not that this forum really needs more pics and talk about upper shock bolts but heres mine:

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    No pics of the brace but I'm sure you all know it.

    Exhaust

    I don't have any belief that changing the muffler will give me better mileage or more power. The two reasons I did it was the ability to have balanced panniers and the weight loss.

    I couldn't justify the $$ for the Akrapovic. $700 + for a slip-on...can't do it! In the past with other bikes and quads I've just jumped on eBay and looked for a slip on from a bike with a similar size motor and I just make the mount and mid pipe. That's exactly what I did this time. $120 got me a brand new, in box, never opened Leo Vince Titanium pipe from a ZX10R Ninja with all the hardware. They had aluminum and carbon-fiber too.

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    The first thing I noticed was the weight difference, wow! That stock stainless can is heavy, infact well over twice the weight. The LV is a tad longer and roughly 1/2 the width which is exactly what I needed to make room for my new pannier racks.

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    I started working on making a mid pipe but pulled out the calipers and noticed the stock pipe welded to the muffler was EXACTLY the diameter I needed. I hmmmed and huuuued about cutting up the stocker but decided to not be a puss and just pulled the trigger so I clamped it in the bandsaw and cut the pipe off.

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    Cleaned it up on the bench grinder and viola! instant adapter:

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    Fits like a dream:

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    Stuff it in the stock location, attach springs and use supplied mounting hardware, 30min from start to finish and I have a $120 Titanium Leo Vince for my effort.

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    Looks like it should free up just over 2" to move my rack over:

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    The bike goes in Monday for chain and sprockets. Hopefully by then the Shiver forks have arrived and I can start tearing into that next. If they are delayed getting here I'll start building the new racks.
    #2
  3. Penguin69

    Penguin69 You pay as you go

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    Looks like you´ve got a list of things to do there. I think you should add cleaning the bike to that list though! :D
    #3
  4. CheckerdD

    CheckerdD Long timer

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    Thanks for the info. Like yourself I am skeptical of folks who say a new exhaust improves performance. There are too many psychological factors after one spends the bucks. I look forward to hearing if you notice a difference. Dave
    #4
  5. Nictrolis

    Nictrolis Been here awhile

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    I'm not really into spending the $$$ on a new exhaust, though the size + weight reduction is tempting. But as far as performance - I've seen numerous reports with dyno charts for improvements from putting on a new exhaust, even just a slip-on. Of course, you're still probably right: a couple horse is probably in the realm of a psychological improvement. :pynd
    #5
  6. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    I'm interested that you're unhappy with the Hepco frames (so am I), but are planning to keep them?
    #6
  7. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    The only thing I'll be keeping from the frames is the rectangular hoop that the cases actually clip on to. I like the latching/locking portion of the program but dislike how that section mounts to the bike. There are just too many rotating/flexing mounting points. The system would be great for someone who rarely needs the panniers and likes to pull the racks off when not in use. The 1/4 turn fasteners are handy but lacking for an adventure rider in my experience. I'm just planning on "remounting" the hoops with my own brackets.

    You can see how far out the left Pelican is compared to the right. Also, the cases aren't straight or square to each other.

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    #7
  8. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    Thanks for the reply! My problem is more fundamental than yours, in that I can't get mine to fit at all with the Akro pipe (check out how tight the fit is with your new pipe - the Akro is a bit taller).

    The panniers not sitting parallel to each other is almost a Hepco trademark - my Strom was the same.

    Did you think about a steering damper? Ever feel the need on such a long trip?
    #8
  9. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    Yeah I know what you mean. The rack mount that runs over the pipe just clears. I will be cutting those mounts off and moving them as well. I was going to make the mounts similar to the factory BMW set-up. The only good thing I can say about the HB racks is that they never bent even with the crashes. I'm guessing it is due to all the movement as they can just flex and return to normal after. I keep thinking that if I beef them up I may be risking sub frame damage in the event of a crash. I guess the easiest thing is to not crash!

    A steering damper is definitely on the list. This is my first off road bike (it's all relative) and I've never ridden a bike with a damper but I did have one on my last ATV and it made a HUGE difference in fatigue after a long day. After a few thousand km of sand, ruts and washboard in Mongolia I was wishing I had one on the GS! I'm waiting to see what the price is on the Scotts then decide between it and the RalleMoto.
    #9
  10. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    For what it's worth, hours of forum trawling has led me to conclude the RalleMoto is the way to go. Proven, reliable, reasonably-priced (in a big-picture way).

    You'd think the fact that they're made in Gosford, half an hour from my house, might tip my hand - but no, it's cheaper to buy one from the USA and re-import it than to buy from the manufacturer here!
    #10
  11. Motoriley

    Motoriley Even my posing is virtual

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    Just curios if that exhaust needs occasional repacking?


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    #11
  12. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    This from the Leo Vince site:
    "LeoVince uses the industry's best ceramic composite based packing and typically does not need to be replaced very often, unless exposed to unusual wear conditions. For those rare cases, re-packing material kits are available from LeoVince."

    I have no idea what the timeline of "typically does not need to be replaced very often" is exactly but from what I've read and hear from ppl using the LV it is wears very well.
    #12
  13. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

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    FYI. This bolt isn't really bent. BMW would never allow it. You are the first person we have heard of w/ this problem... You must be jumping your bike off cliffs...

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    #13
  14. Trout

    Trout Been here awhile

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    I have to find the link - there is a guy who makes 'pillows' which replace regular exhaust packing. I have one in the can on my ZRX and it has held up like a dream. Service interval has gone from every couple of months to every couple of years. It also quieted everything down a bit, I'm sure at the cost of power. I like my neighbors and frequently ride early so I'm willing to make that trade off.
    #14
  15. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    The guy I did the RTW trip with has over 30,000km on his Akrapovic and there's no sign it's going to need repacking anytime soon. Hopefully I get the same life out of the LV.
    #15
  16. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    So I had some free time this weekend and decided to tackle the pannier racks. I had a couple ideas in my head, basically combining the way the factory BMW racks mount with the HB set-up up. I had previously yanked the passenger grab bar off to save weight and because I never have a passenger. I was looking at it yesterday and decided it would make a good base for upper rack mounts, I hate starting from scratch.

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    The HB racks with some scabby middle of nowhere emergency welding on it:

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    Quickly hack the old upper mounts off with the plasma cutter:

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    Add the new upper mount tubes:

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    Repeat on the other side...ok that makes it sound too easy. How it really happened was:
    Cut off old mounts on left side and grind clean. Sit on milk crate and scratch head, pondering how I'm going to hold 2 tape measures, a level and tack weld the new tubes in. So I zip tie the hoop in with various bits of junk off garage floor jammed in spots to shim things out to the proper distances, grab the MIG pistol go to tack and have everything fall apart. Swear, wonder why I always have to f%^k with things and can never just leave them alone, try again with the same results, leave the garage, bbq a burger and play fetch with the dogs. Try again an hour later and have slightly better results. I get everything tacked and double check all my measurements before fully welding things up, realize there must have been an earthquake while I was playing with the dogs because what was totally plumb and even a few minutes ago now it completely out. WTF?! Cut all my tacks apart and start over. Get everything bang on again and tacked only to have the same results. Looking closely I realize that the hoops are twisted (assuming from multiply drops) and depending on where put the level things are perfect or total fubar. Decide that even thought the bike is only a year old that it's had a rough life and if FAR from show room condition so I'm not going to spend hours upon hours correcting an 1/16" here and there only to tweak the whole thing when I drop it next.

    Left side pretty good, pulled in over 2 1/2" from stock, only about 1/2" farther than the right side. Total width now 42.5", still wider than I want. I may switch to 1550 Pelican suitcase style which would shave almost 7" off the width and only lose 1 litre of space per side. I didn't quite get things wrapped up as I ran out of time and had to get everything back together so I can get to the chain/sprocket recall appointment tomorrow. They are supposed to be fixing the fuel sender (which reads full until about 1/4 tank then is accurate), the wobbly side stand and something else...drawing a blank.

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    #16
  17. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    I dropped the bike off at the dealer for the chain and sprockets and came home to find the UPS guy had left me a couple presents:

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    I got a pair of slightly used Marzocchi Shiver 45's of eBay for a good price and will be following -w-'s lead and swapping the cartridges into the stock F800 tubes. Shiver Swap

    Since I plan on running the Touratech fuel tank I ordered the HyperPro HD fork springs as well.
    #17
  18. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    I got the bike back this afternoon. Chain and sprocket recall repair complete. I was a bit disappointed to see that they are still using the CZ chain. I'm sure it's a great upgraded unit but I have zero confidence in their product so I'll swap another DID or EK on before the trip.

    They told me the side stand wobble was normal and within spec, I disagree. Apparently the fuel sender is considered a normal wear part and only covered for 15,000km:deal Again I disagree. They are trying to get it replaced as "good will", we'll see.

    I got the Shivers torn down and they look great. I'm always a bit leery about eBay purchases but this one appears to be ok. They came apart very easy and are in great shape.

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    It's seems like a shame to buy complete forks for a few internals. Hopefully I can sell the slider and stanchions to someone who bent theirs to recover some of the cost.

    As noted by -w-, the F800 forks have a ton of over lap which helps with rigidity. Even though the Shivers are 10" travel (F800 is 9.25" stock), the Shivers are about 4" shorter overall which makes it unfeasible to swap the complete units on to the F8. With some relatively minor machining the adjuster valve will fit into the bottom of the stock fork.

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    Hopefully I can get it all wrapped up in time for the MRT Rally in Nelson, BC at the end of the month or I'll have to be lame and take my work van :cry
    #18
  19. v8toilet

    v8toilet Nothing to see here.

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    They told me the same thing. Total BS for a bike's kick stand bushings to go south within 10,000 miles. Oh well... liking the LV pipe might have to steal that idea.
    #19
  20. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV aka Oso Blanco

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    The Leo Vince sounds wicked! Have only ridden about 50km since putting it on have have 3 or 4 ppl comment about it while sitting at stop lights.
    #20