2008-2012 F800GS Fork woe's

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Paudux, May 6, 2015.

  1. Paudux

    Paudux Adventurer

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    I know this has been raised before in many forums, but driven to despair I need to do something about it and have a few questions that I wonder if people would comment on.

    The first has anyone asked, or gotten a reply from BMW as to why they put such bottom of the line forks on such an expensive bike?:huh

    The problem I think is:
    - NO low speed dampening
    - Chronic for diving when braking (bordering on dangerous)
    - Forks so cheap they can't even be re-valved
    - Springs too light (fair enough, I expected this)
    - Factory tuned to perfection for no one
    - Zero adjustment

    From what I can find these are the option's (some I've tried)
    - Hyperpro springs (unfortunately they bottom out)
    - Andeani replacement cartridges (reduce travel by 55mm and designed for road)
    - Ohlins FKA101's (I think I may save up for a set of these)
    - Bitubo replacement cartridges (inexpensive but not really up to the job)
    - Race Tech G2-R 25mm Cartridge Fork Kit (expensive and requires fork modification)
    - Traxxion Dynamics AK-20's (very tempting)
    - K-Tech Suspension 20mm IDS Fork Cartridges (another tempting option)
    - Touratech replacement cartridges (eye watering cost)
    - Ohlins TTX cartridge kit (expensive and requires fork modification)
    - KTM 690R
    - Triumph 800XC
    - Yamaha Tenere

    I have received and paid for the Andreani's, but I've since found out they are designed for the road, thus will turn my F800GS into a tall road bike (dealer says try them and see)??????:huh
    #1
  2. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    You've hit all the salient points. No comment necessary.
    #2
  3. Indy Unlimited

    Indy Unlimited Long timer

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    Us old school guys have noticed almost all the manufacturers have been cutting back on suspensions costs to keep the bike prices down and margins up.
    KTM seems to be the exception. Just understand when you buy a bike today be prepared to spend $3,000 on suspension. I got over $10,000 in suspension work on my current stable of bikes! That is why I prefer to keep them longer and ride the hell out of them with a great set up over buying a new bike every few years trying to find that magic elixir!:wink:
    #3
  4. Paudux

    Paudux Adventurer

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    I can understand the cost pressures being experienced by manufacturers, but this was not a cheap bike. I'm sure many people will agree suspension is probably the most important part of a bike, it affects handling, safety, ride, performance and sheer enjoyment.

    Having owned only Japanese bikes in the past, I've never had to do more than a re-valve or send away the forks or shock to get them adjusted to suit my riding. Certainly never had the problem that the forks get worse with time as they bed in, on the shop floor they had a stiffness that hid the problems down the track. With BMW, the suspension tuners say the only option is new cartridges, and then they can do something.....

    I was planning to keep this bike for long time, and to put some serious adventure miles on it, so put aside the extra cash to get it prepared. But the suspension has really let it down, and I suppose I'm looking at other options before I go to much further, no sense throwing good money after bad<label for="rb_iconid_19">:cry</label>
    #4
  5. (I^2)R/746

    (I^2)R/746 Rider

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    The only input I have for you is I'm pretty happy with my AK-20's. Haven't tested them fully; but so far rough pavement and logging roads are much better. The stock stuff sucked. Now it feels very planted and confidence inspiring. On the street they work very well too. I installed them in a long evening so it was pretty easy to do. Basic tools. Still dirt bike style suspension so plenty of sag and set to them on the brakes. Once set though they are very controlled unlike the stock which was just.... mushy.

    I'm with Indy on this one: suspension is where it's at. If you like the base model of the bike invest the money there and keep it around. If your a light skinny guy like me (140# and 5'11") then they all have to be fixed anyway.
    #5
  6. Revontulet

    Revontulet Been here awhile

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    +1

    That's what I'd do as well. This is my second season on the f8gs and I've really grown to like it, despite its flaws (of which the stock suspension is the worst imho). I'm considering upgrading too, but I'm still struggling to get my head around all the options :lol3:
    #6
  7. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    Indy nails it I think.

    You have to be honest with yourself up front. How will you ride it? What do you "intend" to do with it.

    I got mine with the intention of basically just taking the wife away for weekend trips. Mostly road, with the ability to do mild offroad.

    Then, once I'd ridden it a bit, what I wanted to do with it changed. I looked at much more serious off road and thought "why not?".

    For me, it was a disappointment purely because the bike "could" be so good, right from the factory.

    The reality is that they really can't predict exactly what each of us will do. Historically, the aftermarket suspension scene has supported manufacturers who had the "build it and they will come" philosophy and fitted cheap suspension to otherwise very good bikes.

    There weren't any real off the shelf options for the DR650 when I bought it, so I fitted an RMZ front end and RMZ rear end to mine, creating a DR that is actually more RMZ now. I looked today, and the number of off the shelf solutions that are affordable is unreal by comparison to what I went through. Hence when I built a second DR I used off the shelf stuff for it and although it's not as good as my DRMZ, it is still a very nice bike to ride, with a lot less grief.

    The same thing with the BMW when I got it. The Ohlins was the only serious effort (even if it was half assed in my view) in providing a rear shock for the BMW. Now there are many many more options.

    It's a question of either going with a platform that's been around for a while and doing your research and putting aside enough for up front suspension mods as Indy says, or buying a new release platform and being the guinea pig for the rest of us.

    I've decided that whatever I get next has to have a top end suspension solution available at time of purchase, or I'm not going to bother.

    Sometimes, you're better off with the devil you know.
    #7
  8. Rider 101

    Rider 101 Time poor

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    There has been more written about the shortcomings of the suspension than you can poke a stick at! I have settled for AK20 cartridges ( which I can still bottom out ) and an Elka stage 4 shock ( again which I can bottom )

    Both together set me back $2000AUD. The AK's are a doddle to fit and the Elka was a steal of Ebay at $600 from Perth.

    With a few grand spent on the springs it is much more enjoyable to ride in the bush.

    To put it into a little perspective I have recently bought a WRR20 Yamaha for a play bike and it needs suspension work. I am looking at Teknics in Western Sydney for the work and it will set me back a bit over $1000.

    Any bike you buy will be a compromise and I suppose it depends on how much you are prepared to put into it to improve. The stock suspension is OK for what it is designed to do; a bit of tar, a bit of dirt etc etc.

    Not sure if you are in Wellington NZ or Wellington Oz but if you are in Oz We could meet up later in the year ( tibia has a titanium nail holding it together at the mo' thanks to a roo! ) and you can check mine out.

    Any bike you buy will be a compromise and it depends how much and how far you want to go with it.
    #8
  9. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    Been looking at a WRR for the wife to finish her Ls on.

    But because she's a short pear shaped Grandmother I'd have to lower one a bit, probably stiffer springs (oh yeah, I went there).

    That'll cost me.

    I do have a Honda Dominator in pieces that I'm building for her. I think it'd be too heavy for her initially.

    Like I don't have enough bikes in pieces.
    #9
  10. Rider 101

    Rider 101 Time poor

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    The WRR is a neat little bike. The rear shock can be lowered about an inch with the screw adjuster at the bottom of the shock.

    I am bouncing around at 100kg plus gear. The springs are ok. I wouldn't worry about changing them until it is time for a rebuild.

    #10
  11. Paudux

    Paudux Adventurer

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    Wellington NZ, but if I can sort this bike out (or maybe another one) I plan to take it to Aus next year to do what I brought it for.... I'm seriously considering the AK's or K-Tech, Ohlins FKA101's would be great but after getting an Ohlins BM302, I'm not sure how much more She who must be obeyed will tolerate.

    The Andreani is going back, and they assure me the local dealer who got it for me won't be out of pocket. If only they had described it as a Duel sport to road conversion I would not have even considered it.
    #11
  12. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    She'd be right then.

    I like the new CRF250L. I'd have to ride one to get a real idea of what they're like. Nice low seat height.

    As long as it can keep up with the F800 at legal speeds on the open road it should be right. From what I've read they'll do that.
    #12