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Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by RTW Motorcycling, Aug 24, 2008.
GREAT info, RTW. Thanks for being so thourough and patient with us.
RTW - Thanks for all the effort. Great thread.
I just returned back from my local Beemer dealer. They had one 658 (red) and 800GS just arrived and in the final stages of reassembly. They are both great looking machines, particulary the 800gs which I summed up by saying "holy shit that thing is cool" to which the service tech replied "yup, thats the only way to put it." The pictures do not do this bike justice.
What area are you located in?
I am eagerly awaiting the bike and I am starting to hear dealerships getting them in.
Oh joyous times...
Like many bikes, there is much debate in regards to the whether each of the stock features on the bike are adequate, or do they need to be replaced with better farkles.
When setting up any bike for a long trip, I remember wading through the many discussions and thinking that there were a lot of conflicting opinions. Things that I didn't even know existed now had to be replaced. Eventually, I figured out that for every part, there is someone on the forums that is fanatical about that issue. Therefore, it is almost like the defacto common solution for many items is to replace. Taken as a whole, it is easy to get to the point where you think that the entire bike needs to be replaced. This is of course not true. The solution that worked for me was to approach everything slighty skeptically, first test the stock item extensively and if for my usage it came up short, I would replace it. I would recommend you do the same.
In that vein, many people have asked about some standard items and rather than get into a confusing debate about whether it really needs to be replaced or not, I'll try to summarize as to whether it is a want or a need from my perspective and assign a ranking of 1 to 5 (1 being a nice to have and 5 being a need to have). Don't get me wrong, I love buying new, cool stuff as much as the next guy but sometimes it makes more sense for me to admit that I bought someting just because it was fun, rather than necessary. Hopefully that information will be helpful to a fellow rider and will help him in his decision.
Ask way if there is something you are wondering about or have read about and think it should be included.
1 - Minimal Importance - (Only a Nice to Have)
2 - Sort of Important - (Mostly a Nice to Have)
3 - Half Important - (Half Nice to Have/Half Need to Have)
4 - Quite Important - (Mostly a Need to Have)
5 - Very Important - (Very Much a Need to Have)
Larger fuel tanks - two (2). On side to side comparison with a 1200GS on the way to Alaska, we had very similar ranges with the 800 coming up slightly shorter. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that extending the fuel range of the 1200 isn't brought up much. For some reason, the small tank has scared a lot of people. I ran the 17 liter tank (again, it's a liter bigger than indicated if you fill to the brim) in North and South America and used the easiest solution, I carried a 10 liter gas can, like almost everyone. I needed it once in Alaska, but a few times in South America, primarily southern Argentina. In Russia and Mongolia, the KLR had a 16 liter tank and I used the spare gas once, on the last day 2 km from town. I think the fear of running out of gas is real, but a bit too much time and money get spent trying to avoid it. Of course this depends on where you ride, for some it is a real concern, but for most, not really.
Items to reduce vibration - (1). Most people, especially if you have ridden a thumper, will find the vibration minimal. If you come from an ultra smooth big bike, then you will notice it but I felt no effects after many long days. Easiest solution is a set of grip puppies, that should pacify all but the most picky riders. Snakes, etc are all solutions for thumpers, not most average riders on this bike. Different bikes do vibrate differently though, depends on what is bolted to it etc., and people's sensitivity due to prior injuries etc. but in general a matter of comfort, not necessity.
Crash Bars - (5) as stated previously.
Skid Plate - (5) as stated previously
Seat Improvement - (2) fine for me as stated previously
Improved Wind Screen - (4), (5) for sustained highway riding.
Rear Lugggage Rack - (4) if you plan on strapping bags or luggage to it.
Anything else out there?
Thanks for a great write-up. I'm still waiting for mine (ordered it last October!). For now I'm riding a weestrom, but can't wait for my 800t to arrive. Your posts have been extremely informative and I know we all appreciate it!
You mentioned that someone would soon make a Supermoto version of the F800GS. No need to wait, it's been done:
Thanks for the low-down on the accessories. I like to leave my bikes mostly stock until I get a grip on what they (and I) really need. Partly, I'm cheap; partly I'd rather ride than diddle with the bike; partly I prefer simple over complex. I'll definitely get the protection parts for my new baby, and a rack, then ride and see what needs fixing or enhancing. I've never been a tank pannier fan, but I'll dust off my Wolfmans and give them a go. My one disappointment with the GS8 is the small 'tank' that's made even smaller by the key and electrical outlet. Adios, tankbag!
The first thing I thought when I started reading this thread was "finally!". Finally some viable and valuable information on this bike I have been lusting over by a real rider none-the-less.
I can't thank you enough RTW.
Actually I have one question for you. If you were to do it all again would you choose the 800GS or another bike?
Once again, fantastic answers, thanks mate!
I think the 19" front off the 650 could be a popular mod, indeed. Still good enough for off-roading, but not quite so over-bearing. And thanks for pointing out the new 650... I did a side-side comparo on bmwmotorcycles.com just because I didn't know what else was different on the 800. Besides the accessories and front fork, all specs where the same, so why does the 650 have 14 less hp? Same engine right?
The 650 twin has only one front rotor and the 800 has two, so while you might be able to mount the wheel, you would have to figure out the brake situation. I'm sure a wheel builder could make a 19 inch wheel with the stock 800GS hub, rotors and abs stuff. Won't be cheap, though...:eek1
Thanks RTW. This is definitely some of the best information out there on the web right now. You are definitely making my lust after my bike. Calling dealer.....
Thanks AirDoc, didn't take long! Looks pretty cool.
Unloaded and on the stock tires (Battlewings) it was a blast to ride around and feels "supermotardish". It was one of the things that I found a pleasantly surprising, it handled so well and was fun to honk around the city on.
Thanks for bringing that up, you are very right, the key location even diminshes the available space even further. The seat rides up high on the tank so the avaialble space is really quite small.
Hi, Thanks for an informative and good thread. I own a 800gs and I do not understand why every one are talking about changing the front wheel to a smaller one. I see no downsides with it, exept it feels a little nervous in the beginning. After couple of kms you get used to it.
One question from me too. Do you use the stock foot pegs? I get a bit tired after long stretches standing up.
Yes, 'tis the same engine and there is a lot of technical discussion as to what they have done to detune it but the most important thing is that indeed detuned, they had to create some clear delineation between the two and successfully achieved their goal.
(I'll be in Brisbane mid month if you are up for a beer or are longing for some motorcycle parts from the inexpensive US. Delivery fee is a beer:)
I had forgotten to post this previously. I'm not sure how long of a wait until the bikes are in Canada but if you are anywhere near Vancouver, all riders are more than welcome to come by for a look/see/feel. Drop me a line if you are interested. The bike will also be at the downtown dealership (Valk) Sept. 4-6 if that is more convenient for you.
I have no questions since I'm 5'1" and I'll never fit on this beauty.
But I did want to say thank you for such an awesome report and for all the info!
Oh wait, I do have a request....more pics please!
Just sat on one at Lonestar in Austin, TX. As a cheapo-KLR rider I was basically just drooling, but there's a lot to drool over. Of course it already has a sold sign on it and if you get in line now you might have one next spring. I'm obviously not going to add anything to this discussion until I ride one from Tierra d. Fuego to Prudoe Bay , but it felt suprisingly approachable for a 5'9" guy with a piddling 32" inseam. Maybe even a little lower than my Corbin seated KLR. That and the CG was _obviously_ lower than the KLR. The only other obvious thing was the afterthought of a brake fluid reservoir... :eek1
And for what it's worth, the new guy who my buddy and I talked to at Lonestar was actually friendly and helpful , in stark contrast to the older gentleman who works there. :huh
EDIT - Wow I just went through and read the rest of this thread. I've never seen one guy be in the interesting position of being the first to have a very thorough knowledge of a bike, and be so good at giving it to us in a reasonable and generous way. Well done!
Blue , you can get the 650/800 version with a lowering kit , taking the seat height down to 765mm . look here http://www.bikingviking.is/?c=webpage&id=56&lid=54&option=links
True, that's the #1 bike on my list for when (not if ) my current F650GS goes to the great scrap heap in the sky.