BMW F650GS DAKAR suspension upgrade

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Phoenician, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. Phoenician

    Phoenician Been here awhile

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    Hey all out there! I'm starting this thread to get some ideas on what i can do to put some seriously nice forks and shock on my 2003 BMW DAKAR. I've done all the searching for information that I can and i'm still not happy with the options. I've seen 2 things that i can do:

    1. Have someone rework the stock suspension.

    This seems like most are happy with that, but 8.3 inches of travel are just not enough for me and for the riding i do with it, and no matter what you do with the stock forks they are still way under par for an adventure bike.

    2. Buy the WP suspension set up from Touratech.

    This is a cool set up no doubt but I heard its still just under 10 inches of travel and for $3200, that is kinda rediculous. What I am looking for is about 12 inches of travel with a WP or Ohlins set up. I measured a KTM bike that my buddy had and almost all the measurements are exactly the same. The only problem I saw was that my Dakar only has 8 inches of ground clearance when the KTM had about 12 inches. With long travel suspension on my Dakar, it may result in some bottoming out. I dont see this as a big problem as a good skid plate will help and the fact that i just wont be airing it out like a MX bike. I've also heard a lot of things like I shouldn't mess with the suspension because you would be changing the geometry of the bike. The thing is thats what im trying to do! I want it to be better on the trail! ...and im not getting another bike just for trails, i love the Dakar and it just needs a few upgrades to make it perfect.

    Any input would be great from anyone who has done some suspension mods to their Dakar... Thanks
    #1
  2. Van Isle

    Van Isle Been here awhile

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    Have you really done ALL the searching? Use the search function on this forum. Please.

    Examine www.f650.com in detail. Please.

    Peace

    VI
    #2
  3. Phoenician

    Phoenician Been here awhile

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    I've been through F650.com 100 times.... I've read it all, multiple times. The rear ohlins shock sounds okay but not modifying the stcok forks to go with it.... Any other suggestions?
    #3
  4. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    If Mr. Flux Capacitor allows me, I'll jump in here. :D

    I have a Dakar BMW that has the Touratech kit. One word: plush! So far the suspension took more than I expected. Big holes, ruts, etc. The higher the speeds, the better it seems to work (the front subframe of the bike can hardly keep up I'm afraid). One advantage of this kit is that the back of the bike sits much higher than stock. Somehow this seems to work making the bike steer quicker. It also makes the bike much more nervous. This can be a downside if you're not used to it. At higher speeds on gravel or sandy roads (over 60-70 mph) you can feel the bars twitch like they do on a DRZ.

    I bought this bike however with the kit already installed (and many more goodies), I think I wouldn't spend that much money solely on upgrading a bike. I'd rather buy a 640 Adventure in that case. This BMW was just an opportunity for me.

    [​IMG]

    Downsides? Yes there are. Now that the suspension part is sorted, I run into other things that annoy me. When the going gets rough the front subframe wobbles and shakes. Could really do with some reinforcement. But that would make it heavier as well, would it? This could also be because of the extra weight of the TT roadbookholder and IMO.

    Once I fix that (if I ever do that is) I should make some trickery to be able to switch the ABS off (and on??) on the go. On the road I like it, but sometimes I forget to switch it off when I go offroad. Eeeeekkk!!

    Next: the weight.....

    Aaahhh this bike is never finished....:huh

    Cheers,

    Max
    #4
  5. DA KLIXTER

    DA KLIXTER Been here awhile

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    I also have the TT setup,with a few other mods,on an 01 Dakar.I paid full pop 3 or 4 years ago,and would do it again in a heartbeat.I ride it like a dirtbike( a really heavy dirt bike) and then rock on the highway.It's more money than a KTM,but I think the motor's smoother,and the FI gives great gas mileage.

    Max-Check your steering head bearings for proper adjustment.Then figure a way to put on a Scott's damper and fat bars-You'll be lovin' life. :D
    #5
  6. dakariste

    dakariste Over and over the hill...

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    I have the starter set. The Ohlins rear shock and TT's harder fork spring.

    I've only gone over the handle bars once, on an ohv corridor in a surprise waist deep crosss rut at 25 or 30mph. It's the only rut the suspension has not handled. I may have bottomed out a few times but I have learned to take it a little bit easier...

    My stock bash plate works fine btw I did a low speed pirohouette on a boulder hidden by a bush. Bent but not broken, never bothered to fix it!

    I would like to see pix of the Idaho bike, Klixter. Are you the rider I met in Garbarville, heading up Alderpoint Road on the way back to Idaho from Clear Lake? If so you had a number of cool mods to both the exhaust and bike.
    You were on the 1200, so I didn't get to see the Dakar...

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. JimC

    JimC Long timer

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    Hi Chris,

    I was going to tell Max the same thing. When I put my WP forks on we didn't torque the steering head bearings tight enough and the bike felt very nervous and super sensitive compared to the stock setup. After a few hundred unnerving miles I retorqued the steering head and it transformed it into a new bike. It now tracks like it is glued to the road.

    I also agree with Chris on the WP suspension (forks and shock) on the Dakar. I think it turns the Dakar into the perfect Adventure Touring bike. It is the only bike I know of that I can ride 1000 miles on pavement, then ride for hundreds of miles in the dirt including some moderate single track and difficult 2 track, then turn around and ride home 1000 miles, and SMILE all the time. I think it is the equal of the KTM Adventure in the dirt and far, far superior to it on the highway. The fact it gets 60mpg is icing on the cake.

    Jim in Sacramento
    #7
  8. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    Hmmmm, I did have to retorque the steering head a few weeks ago, but I didn't check how tight it was supposed to be. Being a former bicycle repairman I'm quite anal about steering head play. So I am 100% sure there isn't any. But there's a chance it's still too loose?
    #8
  9. Phoenician

    Phoenician Been here awhile

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    Hmmmmm.. I like what you have to say... how would an XR650R compare to the Dakar and 640 Adventure on the road?:ear
    #9
  10. Phoenician

    Phoenician Been here awhile

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    We must see some pictures of your bike... Lots of them!
    #10
  11. tslewisz

    tslewisz Long timer

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    In fact, we need pics of both Da Klixter and JimC's rides. Until we get 'em, and maybe even thereafter, Max's shall remain the Koolest!:D

    BTW, I'm really digging this thread, being an '03 Dak owner.
    #11
  12. DA KLIXTER

    DA KLIXTER Been here awhile

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    Sorry,folks.I have no problem fabbing trick parts from scratch,But I find it impossible to figure out digital photography OR computers.There are pics of my bike on adv threads about last years Idaho City Rally and the NRE.Can one of you search and link???It's way past my abilities.

    My bike's cool-but not as cool as Jim's. :D


    Chris
    #12
  13. DA KLIXTER

    DA KLIXTER Been here awhile

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    Dakariste,yeah,that was me.Thanks for the directions.Through no fault of yours I got lost a couple of times.It was great.Way more fun than the next day when I got lost AND almost ran out of gas.

    Thanks,again, for the help on the road.

    Chris
    #13
  14. DA KLIXTER

    DA KLIXTER Been here awhile

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    Max,Check the bearings and races-my bike was acting like yours.I found some hammering in the races.It was very slight.I tightened mine til it felt right.They are oem parts,so the stock specs should work.

    By the way,if you lengthen the chain,you can move your rear wheel back over an inch.The "longer" bike is a lot more stable.You have to extend the threads on the adjusting bolts per the Touratech instructions for putting on an 18" rear wheel.

    Don't forget the fat bars and steering damper
    #14
  15. JimC

    JimC Long timer

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    Not True! Chris's bike like Max's looks kind of stock, but they are far from it. I had a chance to ride Chris's bike and it must be one the best running Dakar's around.

    Here is a picture of my bike, it is a work in progress as I will be turning it into a TT39 bike because I discovered a 700 mile range and nowhere to carry luggage is not a good combination.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of the cockpit of Chris's bike to give you and idea of what he has done. Everyone at TouraTech USA know Chris on a first name basis!
    [​IMG]

    Jim in Sacramento
    #15
  16. JimC

    JimC Long timer

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    I have about 30 minutes time on an XR650R, and my initial impression was that the bike was very smooth for a big dirtbike. Is it, or a 640 Adventure a better road bike than a Dakar? I personally don't think so.

    You will see it mentioned here many times, "what are you going to use the bike for?" If a long day is a couple of hundreds miles of carving up the canyons with some technical 2 track thrown in for fun, than the XR may be your bike. If you plan on doing some long distance touring you will not be happy with one. Look at your XR650 thread, lots of people ride them on the street, I don't see anyone claiming to tour on them. I can't tell you how many people I know who bought and XR650 or LC4 or DRZ400, thinking that they were going to do a lot of dirt riding and found out that it wasn't their cup of tea. Remove the dirt from the equation and these are not the most fun bikes to pound the pavement on.

    If you want to have fun in the dirt go buy an old XR250 it will have you grinning from ear to ear.

    Jim in Sacramento
    #16
  17. Phoenician

    Phoenician Been here awhile

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    Dude, that is one nice bike... Can you tell me more about the front fork set up you have?
    #17
  18. tslewisz

    tslewisz Long timer

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    Both bikes are sporting some really nice goodies. Makes me have TT envy!
    #18
  19. User Name

    User Name Dobeck Performance

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    Apparently some are swearing there will be a H1. If I were going to spend all the dough on a new suspension for my Dakar I might wait and trade on an H1 if it shows signs of coming. Seems like if you want an off road 650 thats gonna to be the one to have.
    #19
  20. JimC

    JimC Long timer

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    My understanding is the H1 is going to be a Supermotard bike, 17 in wheels, small gas tank, 350 lbs etc. I don't think it is going to be a dirt/dual sport bike, nor will it be easily converted into one if so delivered.

    Jim in Sacramento
    #20