DrNeo's F800GS Alaska/LDR bike build

DrNeo

Premier Member
#1
Well, there's no BMW "F" threads on here (yet?), so I thought I'd share my LDR bike build!


A few years ago I bought a 2009 BMW G650GS to attempt to accomplish the Iron Butt Association's famed “Ultimate Coast to Coast” ride, which is Key West, Florida to Prudoe Bay, Alaska. I made it from Minnesota to Key West, but the little thumper didn't make all the way :(


I went back to the drawing board and decided that a 2013+ F800GS would be a better bike for me to try again with (thanks to the input of everyone here). I was able to find said bike earlier this year, so this is the story of me setting up my new (to me) bike for some long distance riding. I've been fortunate to be able to complete a long list of Iron Butt Association rides – ranging from 48 states in 10 days, to the Piston Diversity Challenge. After all these miles and challenges, I feel like I know what works well for me and what doesn't. This will be the story of setting up this "new" bike for this adventure.

The bike was pretty well farkled already, but here's a list of things I'm going to do:
- Add two sets of aux. Lights (one set for conspicuity and the other set tied to the high beams for better down-range throw)
- Add a Denali CanSmart system – this will help reconfigure all of the auxiliary wiring that's on the bike as it's a mess currently
- Add a small top box
- Secure a way to carry extra fuel. I have a Best Rest peg packer already, but I may explore the Camel Tank
- Install a MCCruise cruise control system – this will be a big project
- Set up the suspension for proper sag
- Brake fluid flush – I did one when I first got the bike (the first flush that the bike has had since it was new AFAIK), but I like to flush my brake fluid in all my bikes each year. It - doesn't take long and prevents some very, very expensive parts from having problems in the future. Also, it could reduce the likelihood of becoming a hood ornament.
- Install Scottoiler – reduces the time I need for chain maintenance during long rides
- Replace steering head bearings because they already have slight notches :banghead
- Replace wheel bearings – reducing the chance for more problems
- Repack the swing arm bearings? Haven't decided yet if this is necessary
- Finally I'll add some reflective tape to the back bags to increase conspicuity


Now, I fully understand that I probably don't need much of the above list to go out and ride, but I have big plans beyond just Alaska for the rest of the year and 2021 :)


How the bike came home:


The bike before I begin:


The current state of the bike:
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#3
Nice work. I don't see much by way of comfort mods, seat, screen, power ports, heated stuff, all good?
Oh yeah... that stuff!

Much to the enjoyment of my wife, I actually now have amassed 4 different seats for the bike - stock, rally, Corbin, Seat Concepts, and a BMS. Each one will have its turn once the snow recedes (and the bike is back together), and then I'll sell the rest.

Part of the CanSmart/wiring redo is to spiff up everything. I currently have two SAE connectors already - one powers my heated gear, and the other powers my GPS's.

I installed a Madstad windscreen earlier in the fall, and then bought a used windscreen that came with slightly different brackets, so like the seats, those will each get some miles put on them before I decide which one I like better.
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#4
The Camel Tank auxiliary gas tank is installed and ready for action! This gives an additional ~2 gallons, which along with the 1 gallon peg packer, and the ~4.2 gallon stock tank should give me ~320 miles if I keep the bike returning my current average of 45.6 mpg.

The whole process was pretty easy. Took longer because I was redoing and planning some wiring at the same time, but I think most people could do it in under 2 hours.



 

keithu

Premier Member
#6
Is the F800 throttle by wire? If so the MC Cruise install shouldn't be too bad. I recently installed it on my FJ-09 and it was about a three hour job.
 

keithu

Premier Member
#8
Nope :(

The install manual is only like 60 pages... but most of them are pictures :p
That does complicate things a bit.

Even with my bike already being throttle by wire, I think the MCCruise install instructions were still about 40 pages. However I found they were clear and 100% accurate. Really impressive documentation. It is a time consuming install but if you just follow the instructions it should work correctly.
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#9
Like many other F800 owners, it was time for new steering head bearings... not a bad job on this bike. Heating up the bearings via a heat gun, and freezing the stem by letting it sit outside in the snow, allowed the new bearings to drop right on!








 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#10
Alright - new bearings and seals for the front wheel: check!

The bearings weren't too bad, but the seals had seen better days. The previous owner did use a pressure washer on the bike, so that was my main concern, but I found plenty of grease. The seals came out super easy with the 20mm Motion Pro seal driver.




 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#11
Well, it's been a whirlwind of the last 2 weeks. I now have the MCcruise installed, along with the CanSmart controller, and the Scottoiler.

The last couple days has been spent either answering text messages about the status of spread of Covid-19 or using zip ties to wrangle this amazing amount of wiring. The soldering iron has been getting a workout too as I made modifications to this mess.

I ordered a couple stainless steel wheel spaces from Germany after taking a better look at the ones that were original. (No picture yet). The original were just starting to show wear marks where the seals contact the spaces. The SS spacers are cheaper than the seals, so I thought I'd order them. I also found that I the parts fiche is wrong/misleading when I ordered one side of the front wheel seals, so Max BMW to rescue.

I hope to be posting the bike all put together soon! Then the testing begins!

What an embarrassing mess...







 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#13
Well, it's been a couple more weeks of working on the F800GS. I was able to wrangle all of the extra wiring into the appropriate spots and, so far, they haven't electrocuted me.

Here's a shot of the old wheel spacers - the new ones are stainless and perfectly matched up.



Since the bike was on the lift anyway, I flushed the brake fluid. It's so easy with the MityVac that I generally bleed all my bikes one time per year. I did this previously back in the fall, but it came out darker than I expected.



Last year, I got tired of the little plastic container from the MityVac always twisting and falling over, so I took 5 minutes and some scrap wood to make a stand. It's ugly, but it further reduces the time needed to bleed brakes.



With the bike back together, I've now done a couple short trips around town and a couple short trips in the backroads of Minnesota. The long-range cruising and comfort testing will have to wait for a while. All of the systems seem to work out currently!

The MCCruise takes a little fineness (because it's vacuum operated), but has worked out great in my limited testing. I did have to lubricate the throttle cables that it came with it to reduce the extra pull. After a couple of heat cycles they now seem to be sliding much better than before. Overall, I'm very happy with the system!



 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#15
It's been a while since I've updated this build and since I did about 30,000 miles this past summer, I figure I should review all the farkles.

I just popped off the wheels and was very glad to see that the new stainless spacers were up to the task - I had no real wear when compared to the original aluminum spaces.
 

EricV

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#16
@DrNeo - A couple of things from experience with this platform. Check your upper shock bolt for bending/deformation.

On the McCruise - You need to fabricate some weather protection for the brain box up front. That big connector does not like rain and the F bikes don't really give enough protection there. There is an electronic upgrade from McCruise for the vacuum actuator that you should consider if you're going to be riding in the rain or taking this bike to Alaska as previously mentioned. A single hard rain event that kills the McCruise will take a month to dry out and have it work again. BTDT, didn't get to use CC for the rest of a certain 11 day ride.

How is that Camel tank working for you. ;)
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#17
@DrNeo - A couple of things from experience with this platform. Check your upper shock bolt for bending/deformation.

On the McCruise - You need to fabricate some weather protection for the brain box up front. That big connector does not like rain and the F bikes don't really give enough protection there. There is an electronic upgrade from McCruise for the vacuum actuator that you should consider if you're going to be riding in the rain or taking this bike to Alaska as previously mentioned. A single hard rain event that kills the McCruise will take a month to dry out and have it work again. BTDT, didn't get to use CC for the rest of a certain 11 day ride.

How is that Camel tank working for you. ;)
Thanks Eric - I upgraded the shock bolt and installed an additional brace (I'll show some pictures when I tear down the bike for a valve check here soon).

I didn't have any problems with the CC in rain (yet) - I think the redesigned plastics may help provide a bit more protection than previous years?

Having the Camel tank is great - wish it was bigger! :)
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#18
We will continue the journey from front to rear. I've been happy with this ebay front fender extension. It uses three clamps to hold it on, so I didn't have to drill anything. I know that some people believe that the front tire runs over an object and flips it up, so that the rear tire will run it over and cause a flat. I don't know if that's true or not, nor do I know if a fender extender helps, but I do like that there's less crud on the front of the bike.





The Touratech front headlight guard has done it's job so far. I do like that it's easy to remove to clean the actual headlight, and I've gotten use to the shadows that it casts. I tried a clear plastic one, but the glare it caused was not ideal. I'm aware that you can get a cover to go between the headlight and the guard, but this one came up cheap used.

The upgraded Cyclops LED are totally worth it and I've had no problems with people flashing their high beams at me after I set the angle correct.