'13 & '14 F800 GS Shock Bolt Design

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by inazone, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. inazone

    inazone Been here awhile

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    Is the rear shock bolt design on the '13 800 GS & '14 800 GSA the same deign they've been using on the previous years? If someone is going to bend a frame - it would be me and this is one of the areas of the 800 that's kept me from seriously looking at the bike. I love everything else about it, but the bike will be loaded down with gear and ridden hard off-road. I know there are fixes for this, but wondering if BMW has changed the design yet.
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  2. Grits&Gravy

    Grits&Gravy Been here awhile

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    The 2013 design is same as previous years, not sure about 2014, but most likely it is the same too. In perspective, there has probably only been 1% or less of the total number of bikes sold that has had the bent bolt problem. That would only be 10 in 1000, and nothing is ever perfect. I have 12,xxx miles on mine and I've bottomed it out several times fully loaded, but when I upgraded my suspension to the new rear touratech shock my stock bolt was fine, of course I did take the opportunity to upgrade to the Indy-kit. I wouldn't lose sleep over it and I hope you find what you're looking for in a bike and enjoy riding it rather than working on it.
    #2
  3. inazone

    inazone Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the info. How do you like the TT shock? Was it a big improvement over stock?
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  4. Grits&Gravy

    Grits&Gravy Been here awhile

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    The TT has been a major improvement. I had the front upgraded as well. Night and day difference from stock. As far as I'm concerned it has been the best improvement I've made to the bike along with the PC-V.
    #4
  5. Schai

    Schai Adventurer

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    I have the Indy Kit, and it really is several times more rigid than the stock setup. I wouldn't let the weak upper shock support be a deal breaker when there is a good aftermarket solution.

    With the Indy Kit, it takes a bit of fiddling to get the upper shock eye perfectly spaced left to right to line up with the lower shock mount. I'm not sure how it will hold up going around the planet, but the unsealed needle bearing is easily replaceable.

    ======================
    What I really can't understand is why some BMW engineer got away with that design in the first place, and why BMW is so cavalier and egotistical as to leave it unchanged for years. My guess is that's the the only example of an unnecessarily extra long, bendable shock bolt in modern motor vehicle design. They did something uniquely incompetent, and they are sticking to it.

    Steve
    #5
  6. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    One of the difficulties with the design, is getting the bolt torqued and all the joints tight. With the number of pieces tightened by the bolt it will sometimes take torquing it several times to get all the surfaces to seat well. At least that is my story and I'm sticking to it.

    David
    #6
  7. Reaver

    Reaver Why am I still here?

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    Well, I can't speak for BMW specifically but in my previous job in aircraft landing gear, the nose steering on a particular model used to fail frequently. The links would often break due to obvious bad design causing loss of powered steering. It was never a safety concern, just a PITA and my Company made a small fortune selling parts. At the beginning, we were the only shop approved to repair the components so it kept the overhaul boys busy. The Company blamed the pilots for overstressing the system and let the Airline argue amongst itself. The steering components always made it past warranty.

    Why ruin a good thing?

    If 1% of the bolts bend, and say....2% of those are repaired under warranty while the rest are on the customer's dime, why fix it? The cost of redesigning and manufacturing and keeping track via service/parts manuals all while holding more inventory seems like nothing more than a goodwill project.

    If you ride your GS according to the "Image" and not by the "design", you will break stuff. Unstoppable my :tush.
    #7
  8. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    So they haven't changed it?

    Well, that makes choosing a new ride that much easier.



    Having just fixed yet another shock mount design related problem, about the 6th or 7th fix now, it's gotten real old.

    No sense of humour, me.
    #8
  9. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    I'm curious to know just how much abuse it takes to bend the bolt - I've had my bike very heavily loaded on some horrendous roads and trails and the bold is straight still. I'm talking about roads that made me cringe due my lack of mechanical compassion. I've not even bent a rim (although I run at road pressures at all times). Any bike (or car/truck etc) will end up with parts bending/breaking eventually if someone rides the absolute p*ss out of it.

    Everyone has to make their own decisions but reading forums on any product would put anyone off. The noisy few are far outnumbered by the thousands who never have a problem and don't bother posting - makes for boring reading to hear "all a-ok here!".
    #9
  10. Grits&Gravy

    Grits&Gravy Been here awhile

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    Fred, You forgot the first few words at the beginning of the sentence you are quoting. I wasn't trying to quote facts, rather, just making a point.

    My thoughts exactly!
    #10
  11. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Once upon a time on the bent "bolt thread" I actually counted how many bent bolts there were in the 80 some pages at that time. I got 6. The majority were with aftermarket shocks.

    For almost all riders the "poor" design is good enough. If you are a heavy set sit down rider/ or carry a load, run stock springs and bottom the shock you can bend a bolt. You won't damage the frame unless you keep doing it. Does everybody know that cranking more preload into the spring has NO effect on spring weight?

    If you have aftermarket shocks, we already know what type rider you are, you need the Indy brace because the aftermarket shock mount is not as strong as stock.

    Snowy skews the statistics and nothing will help. If you oval out the bolt hole on frame mount, the bolt becomes easier to bend, you might want to check that.

    Glad some one brought up rims. You can bend those too, I have done it. Put more air in the tire and you will quit doing that.
    #11
  12. duffs

    duffs I have a beard

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    +1 for the voice of reason
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  13. Reaver

    Reaver Why am I still here?

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    When I had my bike apart, I installed an Indy kit "Just Because". It's cheap insurance and for peace of mind. The money I saved by not buying TT RR "protection" was far better spent on the shock kit. I plan on installing the Camel Tank so the Indy kit can be part of the system whether warranted or not on my stock shock setup. I don't want a 500 lb dirt bike and I didn't buy one.

    If I was manufacturing an aftermarket shock, you're damn right I'd make it stronger than the frame it's bolted to. "Our shock is fine sir, go talk to BMW about your weak frame. It's not our fault". Anyone that's ever built a Jeep or race vehicle understands the pattern. This broke so make it stronger. Then that breaks so make that stronger....etc etc until you're broke. :D
    #13
  14. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    Only 6 in the whole thread?

    Shit.

    I'm up to 3 myself. Plus killed an Indy kit. Plus killed the TT brace thingy.

    Now I've gone and damaged the Ohlins shock.


    I started touching a KTM1190 Adv R and then thinking sexual thoughts...but I saw it has only 2/3s of the travel that I have now. Kills that idea.

    The big BMW....nope.

    Triumph....as if.

    Soooo......that means I'll have to build a damn shock myself if I want this puppy to do shit right.

    I'll let you know how the cure goes, but sometimes the cure is almost as bad for the patient as the disease.


    Yesterday I ran the GS up and down some steep rocky fire trails with wifey on the back, and it went perfect. I was warming to it again. I couldn't believe how easy it was to ride up what the vast majority wouldn't even consider with a pillion.

    Then I stopped under some powerlines in a clearing to take pictures, and in the process of doing a 3 point turn on the steep side slope, wifey decided to shift her weight. It felt like someone just pushed me over very slowly, my downhill full stretched toes failing to hold the near 400 odd kg. The tank bag suffered irreparable damage when the rear buckle tore off. It was irreparable because I tore it off and drop kicked it off a cliff. Piece of cheap Chinese made German branded shit.

    Then I tore a thigh muscle dead lifting the near upside down bucket of Austrian powered German crap.

    I had a tantrum. It was bad. If I was carrying a .45 Desert Eagle, I'd have emptied it into that Black and Yellow bucket of garbage. Wifey walked away with her helmet still on so I wouldn't hear her laughing.

    3 fire trails, 2 river crossings and a couple of kms of sloppy mud later and I'd calmed down again.


    It's not an anger management issue. It's a frustration venting issue.
    #14
  15. mousitsas

    mousitsas Long timer

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    This is absolutely correct. However, when the rear wheel leaves the ground and lands again, the more preload you have the greater the transmitted force to the shock mounts will be. So, jumping and too much preload is a toxic cocktail to the integrity of the mounts.
    #15
  16. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Snowy
    No it was 6 in first 80 pages, it has grown since then. Intuitively the rear shock mount just looks like a weak design, but I think good enough for most riders. Not many ride like you. The Indy kit has been the cure for those that do. Johngil can speak for himself, but my recollection was he bent the frame mount upwards very early on. My opinion was from that point on, he had nothing but problems resulting in a bent frame.

    Somebody isn't considering the bike because of the shock mount design? Why stop there? Its too heavy, the suspension is not up to it, it has an abrupt throttle, the rims are too soft/wide, its geared too high for a dirt bike.

    BMW did not build this bike to take on difficult terrain in spite of the advertising. They built for Joe average who is going to ride predominantly on pavement, rough back roads and light duty dirt. They don't mind adding the farkles to make their adventure more comfortable and haul more stuff. For them the bike is fine.

    Want to ride more hard core? then toughen it up, I think the underlying design is good, or maybe buy a KTM Super Enuro. I think they quit making them for some reason.
    #16
  17. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    You are right. I think if you are jumping this bike, especially with the stock suspension, you better address its issues.
    #17
  18. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

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    BMW gave me a new frame under warranty. I was happy with that, especially since it bent with the stock shock. I thought having an aftermarket shock on the bike would have been a deal breaker, but it wasn't.
    The Bitubo/Elka suspension and Indy kit kept the bike somewhat enjoyable for quite a few more miles, but required very careful attention.
    I'm glad to be over the 800 ownership experience. I still can't say it was a bad bike. Lots of things in the 800's favor in my opinion, just not the suspension.
    #18
  19. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    I started thinking about the basic design problems the other night after reading through this and other bits.

    Basically, they did away with the smaller flat twins and went with a parallel unit. It was out of a road bike, which meant they had to position it high and tight to get case ground clearance. By tight I mean they rotated it rearward slightly to allow for the longer travel suspension now that it was mounted higher.

    This meant a standard fuel tank was going to be horrendously high, and screw any handling by adding a ton of high CoG weight. An under seat fuel tank was then pretty much a necessity. They used similar on the other F800 models, which begs the question....which came first, the chicken or the egg. Was the F-GS just an evolution of the F8 road bikes?

    So effectively, a road bike engine shoe horned into a trellis frame, and then everything else just added on where it would fit and keep CoG low.



    So...if I was going to design this from scratch I'd start with Husabergs 70 degree engine idea. Build a 70 degree 1000cc parallel twin. This would keep the height of the engine well under the current unit and keep the weight lower in the frame than it is now. Keeping a similar layout to the Husaberg keeps the main rotating mass of the engine closer to the centre of the bike making for a unit that turns quicker on single track.

    Seat height would be lower. Fuel tank could be a combo of over engine/under seat min 25 litres total capacity. At a guess it'd be slightly higher CoG with full tank, down to much lower than current as tank empties.

    Put proper suspension on it.

    Keep plastics and crap to a minimum.

    2 big radiators, either side like most proper dirt bikes.

    Instrument cluster built with mounting space for extras - nav gear etc.

    A proper charging system. Not the dodgy total loss system they have now.

    Max weight of 180kg dry.


    Or just bring back the flat twins in a 650/800 combo like we used to have. But with proper suspension. I'm stating to take an interest in those. I stripped down an old 650 GS for a mate, and he bought all the bits for it. I want it up and running ASAP. I want to ride it. 40 ltr Dakar tank, 300mm travel front and rear, 650 with modified 1000cc barrels and pistons, displaces 850cc. Narrower than the old 800, lighter, and much faster. Yep. That'd do the job.
    #19
  20. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    Yeah, my cousin (KTMatt on here) keeps trying to persuade me. But I've read a lot of horror stories about the SE and rear sub frames. Read through Orange crush and see the arguments over 950/990 and which is better, and why. Dear Zombie Jesus, so confusing....

    I've decided to bite the bullet and strip the beast down, and fabricate new rear shock mounts. Then I'm going to build a new shock. I have proper brand new MX shocks sitting on the shelf. I reckon the valving out of one with anti bottom out circuits etc, if they can be made to fit, would be the bomb.

    I am just sick of having to pull it apart and replace bolts that bend, and repair damaged shock bushes/bearings/spacers.

    That issue aside, it needs some more ponies to hasten the hustle.

    Maybe some heavier front springs for the big hits.



    Yeah....this is gunna cost me.

    I shoulda bought a road bike and never taken wifey dirt riding. Better yet, she should go get her license and ride my DR. Then I'd spend all my rides picking her up off the ground, waiting for the tears to finish, pep talking her for ages to get her back on the bike so I can go home early...to fix the DR....on second thought, it's probably easier to just modify the BMW and be done with it.
    #20