Originally Posted by Angryrican
Are the Xchallenge cartridges a direct drop in for the F800GS legs? How much adjustment do you gain?
Yes ... there is no machining, they really do just drop straight in ... but ... you do need a spacer to restrict the travel. I have an extra 15mm. I probably wouldn't go beyond an extra 20mm ... 250mm unless you are going to raise the rear as well.
The other but is that you have to have some springs. I used my Hypepro progressives, but perhaps straight wound springs would be better. I woudn't use the standard springs as they are too soft in my opinion. If you use springs that are designed for the 800GS and you have more travel you will need a preload spacer to take up the extra travel. I rushed this a bit and the only thing I don't like about my conversion is that when you have the 800 airborne there is a slight clck as they top out when the forks fully extend. If I have them apart I will have proper preload spacers machined.
I will have to say something controversial ... the worst problem with the 800GS forks isn't that they are not adjustable !
The worst problem with the 800GS forks is that the cartridges are complete crap and don't have a hydraulic bottoming circuit. Therefore they just bottom (frequently) with a big "clack". They are also not rebuildable.
The XChallenge fork cartridges are also not rebuildable and are also crap ! However they are a much better looking effort than the 800's. They also have a bottoming circuit and are sort of adjustable. Each fork top has an adjustment, one for compression and one for rebound. The compresssion works quite well, but the rebound could be better.
So the last question is ... are they any better? The answer ... Yep, heaps. Much nicer bike to ride, doesn't bottom much if at all, has less fork dive on the road and rides much better. It's not as good as the modified XChallenge with its modded Husqvarna cartridges and its 300mm of travel, but its not bad at all. One of the first things I did was ride it down a road that has a lot of water bars and use to frustrate me completely on the 800 (quite liked it on the stock XC !) and it was a whole different experience ... no bottoming (just that clicking when topping out) and it was fun.
I would think this mod is a good one for the average rider who can't get along with the standard forks ... if you are an off road riding God, you probably need to spend more money for something better. I've never got near Mount Olympus so I'm pretty happy!