DrNeo's F800GS Alaska/LDR bike build


Premier Member
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:


Premier Member
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.


Premier Member
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.



Premier Member
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.


Premier Member
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.


Premier Member
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!



Premier Member
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.



Premier Member
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...



Premier Member
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!