Bmw F800gs Q&A

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by RTW Motorcycling, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    #21
  2. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Engine tourque at low rpm was fine for me, but I can see how the riders used to really pushing their bikes will wish it was a tad better. For most riders not really an issue.

    Quick comment that in general, I think of the BMW coming at this segment of the dual sport market from the onroad side of things and KTM coming at it from the offroad side. The KTM will certainly outperform it from that perspective, but as a world touring bike, I'm at a bit of a miss as to where it is in the world you need a 1,000 cc dirt bike. Even an 800 is a bit of overkill for many, many regions but it's a bit more acceptable compromise. Having said that I haven't had a chance to ride them both, unladen, in a place like a track setting. I'd guess, not surprisingly, that the KTM would outperform but the discrepancy would be less than you would think.
    #22
  3. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Thanks dado, just trying to help out any fellow riders. I'll expand more on this later, but being in a far away place and being on the receiving end of incredible acts of kindness for no other reason that you own a bike is quite humbling and really makes one much more aware that we are all part of a global bike gang. With membership comes many privileges, but also responsibilities, sticking together and helping each other out is the least we can do.:)
    #23
  4. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    To add to RTW Motorcycling's excellent feedback, I've just finished my first significant trip (Bilbao to Perpignan through the Pyrennes - ride report to follow) on the F800GS and can confirm my own comments on some of these issues.

    The seat is firm but not uncomfortable (for me) but as planned, I got the lower seat and have fitted an Airhawk (cruiser, standard size) for this trip that fits pretty well into the recess. No problems in the derriere!

    I've had one 'stall' in 1200 miles, changing up from 4th to 5th, accelerating at high revs but I realised as I let the clutch out so was able to restart the engine while coasting. I'm a little concerned about a reoccurrence.

    Unlike RTW’, on the gravel roads above Sort in northern Spain I found the bike a real handful; possibly partly my own inexperience but I'm certain the standard-fit Bridgestone Battle Wing tyres contributed significantly to the lack of handling. Kept it upright but made me sweat!
    #24
  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    Add me to the list of people asking, RTW. I haven't settled on which bars (or bash plate) I'm going to mount, so having the benefit of your battle-tested option is a very good thing. But try not to make them too fugly, OK? :D

    Thanks again for your time and effort here. And if you ever get the chance to put up a trip report with pictures, please provide a link here.

    David
    #25
  6. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Thanks Wildman, good to hear that you are riding the bike far and long!

    Quick note in regards to tires, I would highly, highly recommend running a knobby on the front. It's a fairly common approach long distance or RTW touring or anytime you have to ride mixed terrain but with a lot of highway miles that would wear out a rear knobby. The front knobby makes the bike feel a lot more positive in gravel, sand, etc. and on highway you'll barely notice the difference in performance.

    After a while the knobbies will start to wear down on the front of each knob and result in a bit of bumpy ride, some people have been known to reverse the tire to smooth it out. Roughly speaking, you will get close to the same mileage out of a standard rear (Battlewing, Tourance, etc.) and a knobby front (TKC80, MT21, etc.). No exageration, this is by far the best approach I have come across for solving the conundrum of mixed terrain and long miles. This setup is so well suited for the flexibility of this bike that it should almost come stock.

    (And one has to pay attention, but there are small, almost imperceptible signs that your tires need to be changed, like when your steel belts start to show:))

    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

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    RTW -
    Thank you for posting this. Its more helpful frankly than all the other things I've read or seen on this very interesting bike.

    I know the following would help me characterize a bike I have not seen in person, much less touched, and will help a bunch of people like me that have the same reference point. You are familiar with the ugly-but-lovable Weestrom.
    Comparing the two, I can see from some of your remarks the obvious differences: the Weestrom is a roadbike that just happens to be able to do things a roadbike shouldn't quite so well. But would you Contrast the two on a few specific riding points, so we who know the one can understand the other better? For instance:

    1. Contrast the two in terms of loaded handling on Gravel: how would the two, with similar tires, compare on that surface?
    2. Any comments on the performance of the ABS system on the two?
    3. Similar to 1 - on other surfaces such as hardpack or loose rocky
    4. Weight distribution. They are both similar in weight, but looking at how they are made, the GS should FEEL a lot more nimble in the front. I'm betting weight distribution front-tire/rear-tire is remarkably different. It would seem that center of gravity on the GS is lower and shifted a tad to the rear.
    5. My personal issue....[don't ask]... How would you compare the two going down a STEEP downhill grade on a loose dirty/rocky surface? :nod

    It looks like the 800GS has an advantage in engine performance, and the Weestrom has an advantage in Range. Is this right?
    #27
  8. Bucko

    Bucko In a parallel world

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    Great info, RTW. Thanks for taking the time to shed some light on this mysterious machine.

    My question: which size Pelicans did you mount? Were they large enough? Too large? Width a problem? I really like the idea of non-metal bags for durability and for being a little easier on my legs should I find myself beneath them.

    One more: How did the stock handlebar hold up to the many tip-overs you mentioned are inevitable?

    +1 on the request for pics of your machine and mods.

    Thanks!
    #28
  9. TR5ESU

    TR5ESU Been here awhile

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    Hi RTW,

    Thanks for all the info about the bike and congratz on the trip! I have had my 800gs for about 4 weeks now and I am still searching around for crash bars an bash plates, although I have taken it offroad already anyway. I would be very interested on seeing close up of your crash bars too.

    I am particularly interested in the last leg of your trip. This pic on the snow, isn't that Tierra del Fuego, just outside Ushuaia on Route 3? I think I can recognise the area, I was born in Ushuaia but I am now living in the UK. Doing Tierra Del Fuego - Alaska on the 800GS is one of my dreams!.
    If you have more pictures or a website containing more details about the trip itself please let me know.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Ernesto
    #29
  10. blackie

    blackie Still Hibernating

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    RTW
    It looks like you got a interesting windscreen set up, what exactly did you do to it? cheers :1drink
    #30
  11. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Hey Zapp, you are quite correct in your categorization of the two.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    1. Loaded handling on gravel - I ran almost the exact same set up, knobby front with standard non knobby rear, ( I refer to the tire style as opposed to an exact brand and model as IMO for most average riders in average terrain, one would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Some will disagree and for them it is probably different). For long stretches of gravel and off road, I carried a knobby rear (in this case a TKC 80) and would swap back and forth when required for better traction and handling.
    <o:p></o:p>
    With the same equipment, handling becomes dependant on geometry, weight distribution etc. I would say that the 800 handles better, but not as much as you would think by just looking at the bikes side by side. Luggage is a great equalizer, you're carrying a lot of weight and you ride accordingly (or should). Unloaded is when you begin to see separation in regards to the performance advantges. There is a reason that bikes have been optimized to run at the 21/17 or 18 ratio off road, it pretty much works best and given the two, the 800 will feel more natural in gravel and off road There are probably some soft reasons for this as well.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    2. ABS - I actually was riding a DL1000 so no ABS on that model, sorry. But in general comparing the ABS to other bikes, it does get better with every generation. It isn't as fooled by short sections of gravel/debris on highways etc. but is still dangerous when you forget to turn it off in the gravel. Not many will care, but it does get a bit finicky when you start the bike in zero or sub zero conditions and it won't clear when it runs it's start up diagnostic. Not an issue as you are riding with it off (or you should be:)), but you can tell the sensors etc. don't like it too much. Once it warms up a bit, it all comes back online but it sometimes can take a while. Here's a repost of the temperature gauge pic.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>

    3. Weight distribution - as you mention, it is definitely different. Lol, I won't touch the issue of center of gravity as that will no doubt touch off a maelstorm of debate on the definition of center of gravity, but to the average rider, yes it does mostly feel the way you describe. Not sure if you have ridden mountain bikes before but as they are so bare bones with no weight, you get real feedback in regards to how much difference small changes in geometry will make. The best way I can summarize the 800, is that when I sat on it, it feels very natural, almost ergonomically neutral, you will immediately know that you are on an enduro style bike, and it makes you feel more confident when the riding gets a little more nasty.
    <o:p></o:p>
    4. Loose, downhill rocky sections - Lol, sounds like there is story there, care to share it?
    <o:p></o:p>
    5. Engine performance - over Wee, I can't say with certainty but believe so, but the DL1000 has a great motor that goes a long way back to the TL so I would say that on long, fast highway sections, you do notice the 800 has to work just a bit harder.
    <o:p></o:p>
    6. Range - the Wee is so stellar, hard for any bike to beat. The V has the 22 litre tank so the range is great and I did miss the additional 50 -100 km. <o:p></o:p>
    #31
  12. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Hey O, <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    Pics &#8211; I&#8217;ll have a quick look and post a couple when I find some good ones.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Windscreen &#8211; same old refrain, but there was nothing, I mean nothing for the bike in regards to windscreens, So I can't be of much help. An incredibly helpful bike shop helped me pick out a Kappa screen that fit an ST and I cut the bottom out to match the headlight curvature. There were no side tabs on the screen so I had to mount it onto the old screen for stability. That will tell you how little the stock screen does when you look through two pieces of plastic the whole time and don&#8217;t even notice it. The last piece was a laminar lip that I had for my Strom, it made a big difference to get the wind off my face and onto the top of my helmet. I'm a big fan of the laminar lip as I would take it off for long off road sections to improve your visibility, and then throw it back on for long highway sections. More flexibility than just a plain highway screen.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Of course by now I&#8217;m sure that there are a hundred options as they clamour to provide 'middle of the spectrum' products. Some general comments are, you will get a fair bit of wind no matter what you do, especially if you are used to a big bike that has a big fairing. There are many reasons for this, but you don&#8217;t have a lot of room to work with, the screen is very close to the handlebars when you turn them to the max. With my laminar lip on, the handlebars would press against it at their max turning radius. What this means, is the the standard profile is quite narrow, and therefore most setups will allow a bit of wind to come around. Lips, flares, etc. are on their way to make this better, but this is a compromise that you need to put up with if you are want to ride offroad.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Stock gearing - I have heard a couple of people stating that 1st gear is not quite low enough, I didn't notice it so it might be being a bit picky. It was absolutely fine for me, didn't even notice. That is one of the downsides of the internet, there are quite a few "known generalizations" that circulate enough that everyone begins to repeat them and they quickly become "known fact". If you don't read about it, you would likely never notice. For highway use, 6th is perfectly fine and you can run at much higher speeds without thinking twice about it. Yes, the rpm will get up there a bit and the gas mileage will fall, but you will not feel like you are flogging the poor thing like when you wind up your KLR for long periods. As an example, I would ride at 140 if I was trying to make a border and didn't all feel that the bike was the limiting factor, I more so felt the additional wind was the limiting factor, ie. very bearable but for long distance the additional wind and noise begins to wear you down. I'm not sure I ever had the KLR at 140 except maybe to pass some psycho trucker.<o:p></o:p>
    That probably is one of the biggest selling points of this bike, the 800 really is the perfect compromise for engine size to enable you to do offroad and highway riding.<o:p></o:p>
    #32
  13. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Hey Bucko, (always wanted to say that)
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    The Pelicans are the 1550’s. They are a bit narrow for really long trips, it’s hard to get your bulky stuff into them and hold the stuff in while you close it. You eventually get good at it, but it is a bit of a pain when compared to top loaders. The benefit though is that you can access things even when your rear bag is strapped down.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Where they excel though is in dumps and outright crashes. We had made our own aluminum panniers for Russia/Mogolia and I can tell you even though they are tough, a few falls and they go out of square, never to return again. This is true for almost all aluminum panniers, except the most sturdy (ie. Metal Mule). Once they are out of square, they will leak and allow dust in. The Pelicans are almost bombproof, and I can tell you from experience, can slide, oh say, up to 200 feet on the highway and only lose a bit of skinJ<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p>You can buy the Pelican's cases already set up from Caribou, or you can go for his entire set up. He has a very good product for the price, in particular when you compare it to a lot of the much higher priced luggage systems out there. The real die hard do it your selfers can make it all your self, but you should find this enjoyable, otherwise it will be work. I would say though, that doing your own stuff is quite rewarding, I would recommend trying some small projects and if you like it, keep going.</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Stock handlebars are perfectly fine, they are BMW which means the diameter changes from tip to center (where thay are thicker) so they are well constructed. Quick point though, because of this (the bar end weights and the length of the front brake and clutch levers) not all, off the shelf hand guards will work. I used a set of acerbis, but had to lathe a screw to insert into the bar end weight and then had to offset the right to the left to accommodate the levers and the brake resevoir. The BMW guards are nice, fit in nicely to the existing weights etc., but are a little expensive.
    #33
  14. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Hey Ernesto,

    Congrats on your new bike! They are great for making you plan the next big trip. How cool would that be to ride from tip to tip and end up in your hometown?

    That is one sharp eye you have there, that is just outside Ushuaia beside the entrance to the park. Must warm your heart to see the old stomping ground. I was looking at some old pics and man, that city has changed over the years. Here's a pic north of Ushuaia on Ruta 3.

    I'm too lazy to actually write a blog, although I keep telling myself I should. As you get closer to your dream trip, feel free to e-mail at anytime and I'd be happy to chat about all the fun stuff like routes, things to see in the north and where the most beautifuk women are:) You are lucky though, Argentina is one of those special places in the world, a wonderful place to be from.


    [​IMG]
    #34
  15. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Wow. Only three pages and this has like 442 times the info of the other F800Gs thread.
    Keep it coming.
    #35
  16. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Hey Blackie,

    How are things in cowtown and how's the new bike?

    The windscreen as I mentioned is a adaptation as there was nothin gelse but worked infinitely better on highway than just the stcok screen. Kappa screen, cut to fit the hedalight, drilled some holes and bolted over to stock screen with a couple of spacers in between. I looked ok enough that I would run this set up around the city and just velcro on the laminar lip for long highway trips. If someone made a mad stad bracket for it, I would also buy that.

    I would say to anyone that my favourite set up for world touring includes a laminar lip because you leave it on for highway and take it off for the off road stuff. The velcro works ok, but can get flattened so next time I will make my own quick release.

    The wrap around tabs on the screen may make something like a mad stad too hard to fit, but this is additional solution where you can tilt your screen, and lower it for off road riding to see better and tilt and slide it up to catch more wind.

    [​IMG]
    #36
  17. Bucko

    Bucko In a parallel world

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    Great stuff RTW, and perfect timing as those of us on wait lists while away what are hopefully the last few days before our bikes arrive.

    Today's first question is gas - was your 800 re-mapped to run on regular, or were you able to find premium the whole way up?

    Number 2 is, did you have any problem with mud fouling between the front tire and fender?

    TIA,

    Bucko
    #37
  18. blackie

    blackie Still Hibernating

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    Cowtown's playing with crazy fluctuating temperatures right now, frying one day freezing another. The new bike's been a hoot. I couldn't wait another 5 months for the 800 on top of the 5 months already waited for the 650 so I grabbed that one first :lol3 but no regrets perfect bike for me.

    Thanks for the info on the screen! I've got the BMW touring screen coming and I've been thnking of adding a laminar lip to that and now I'm sold! :D
    I'm also looking at the Saeng Wingtip as another choice and trying to decide between the two arrggghhh decision decision decisions.... :eek1

    Thanks for the write ups and replies!!!:1drink
    #38
  19. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    Hey Bucko,

    Pretty exciting times, great to hear that they are almost here. I think that BMW should buy everyone a few cold beer as there has been a lot of patience shown by the expectant public.

    The bike came with standard 95 mapping, and they weren't set up yet to remap to 91 so I ran the whole way with standard mapping. Strangely enough, high octane was available in almost all countries but not that available in third world countries like Canada:)

    In the remote places where I had to occasionally run fuel with octane in the 80's, a little bit of hiccuping on rare occasion but all in all surpisingly little impact. A little increase in fuel consumption, potentially some decrease in performance but under standard conditions you'd be hard pressed to see much difference. If you were pushing it, it would be more noticeable.

    Mud fouling - I expected the worst and it wasn't too bad, but that may be a function of expectations rather than actuality. In the really sticky stuff that we all like to slide around in, it will clog some, but most standard off road conditions it was fine. The rear, as you know, has no fender so it all gets tossed fairly clean. And if your ride fast enough, it'll keep it form clogging where the rear tire passes through the swing arm:)

    Depending on the height of your skid plate, definitely consider a fender extender to keep the majority of the mud thrown up off your oil filter and oil cooler. My skid plate is high enough that even though I had an extender, I didn't need it.

    A couple of the small bolts for the fender rattled loose at one point. It still stays on but will rub against the pretty gold color of your shocks:)
    #39
  20. RTW Motorcycling

    RTW Motorcycling Been here awhile

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    There are a few reasons you need crashbars, protecting the bulbuous and expensive plastic is one, protecting the rad is another. Here is a couple of pics. Left side rad, where you can see there is a simple holder the the male end of the rad attachment slides into. On the reverse side, you can see a plastic piece that bolts the rad and to the support. On a simple tip over, this is designed to absorb a certain amount of impact, and then break, which protects the rad from absorbing the forces but also means that you rad will now be hanging from the hoses. Not an earth shattering problem, zip ties are an easy solution, but for a long tour, I would make sure that I had crash bars, zip ties, or a spare plastic support.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
    #40