How I fixed my F800GS

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by guzzimike, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

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    This one's been dead for a while so I thought it time to resurrect it.
    The topic actually covers a few threads, so I thought it best to start afresh.
    It's been bloody hot here for a while, not interested in riding dirt in 40deg c days, so the bike's been in the shed and I've not really had a chance to test my new front suspenders.
    Yesterday was a bit cooler so a couple of us took a ride in the hills behind Perth.
    The tracks and roads are for the most part laterite gravel and dust (we've had no rain for about 4 months) with bits of loose sand thrown in for good measure. The gravel is half inch round pebbles, not for no reason it's local name is pea or ball bearing gravel.
    As I've said before I only weigh about 75kg, (165lb) and am no Crusty Demon, but I've had no problem bending rims and bottoming out the front end with the stock suspension.
    I believe that this is the root cause of the rims bending, because with the forks bottomed out, something has to give and that something is the rims.
    There are other factors as well, such as the rims being too wide but having replaced my funny shaped OEM rim with a Sun from Buchanans and severely bending that as well, I figured it wasn't just that the Behr's were "crap".
    This is a long and torturous tale so I hope you can bear with me as I ramble on.
    My first experience with the F800 in sand was not all that good, we spent a fair bit of time horizontal, I Had an enormous amount of trouble keeping the front pointing in the direction I wanted to go.
    After numerous "lie downs" I was pointed in the direction of a steering damper. This improved matters out of sight and I have to say that from dropping the bloody thing pretty well every time I rode in the real loose stuff, I have not fallen at all since I fitted the damper.
    I was still bending rims though and the bike still felt skittish in the rough stuff, which was not good for my self confidence.
    The cable tie test was showing "fail" so I bit the bullet and forked (sorry about the pun) out for the Bitubo front springs and dampers,
    These were fitted around Christmas, just when the real hot weather started.
    My first impressions were that they were too stiff.
    This brings us to yesterday.
    All I can say is WOW!
    I'm pretty sure my skills have not improved out of sight since Christmas, although I have been riding my road bikes a fair bit in the interim, but yesterday the bike was planted, it just went where I pointed it, for the first time I was really having FUN in the loose, slippery gravel.
    I also pointed it straight into a couple of potholes to test the compliance of the front end, the cable tie still showed around 50 mm (2") of travel not used, this sort of impact would definitely have bottomed out the stock suspension.
    The original feeling of "stiff" has gone. My teeth are still in my head, unlike the OEM which jarred badly in big bumps, we were floating on air.
    Rim is still round, except for the not quite round bit that I fixed with the FBH and the lump of wood after the last bending session.
    I'm rapt.
    Best $A1300 you can spend on this bike IMO.
    #1
  2. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    Hey guzzimike, thanks for the review - I've been considering this myself. Deciding whether to put the steering damper on or fix the forks first.

    Where'd you buy your Bitubos in Aus?
    #2
  3. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

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    I'd do the damper first, then the forks, the damper is a RalleyMoto Aussie made
    Bitubo From Italy via the USA (Twalcom)

    And as a PS
    I have had none of the other shit that seems to have happened to other owners.
    Just lucky I guess.
    #3
  4. klarue

    klarue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
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    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks for the post - I'm tracking the progress of the Scott's steering damper; I'm hoping this will do the trick for stability in sand.
    #4
  5. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

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    Whoever makes your damper, it will transform your bike in sand.
    Scotts were 2nd off the rank so I went for the RM.
    It does the job.
    I'm just so happy I could shit. For a while I wondered if I'd just got too old and couldn't hack it any more, now I know different. I'm still old and fxt, but the bike loves me.
    #5
  6. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    Adelaide, South Australia
    Yeah, the RalleMoto gets rave reviews and is made just down the road. Thanks for the input, I was leaning toward that first anyway.
    #6