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Old 08-24-2008, 11:59 PM   #16
RTW Motorcycling OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwn.45
I am also interested to know the miles per tank of fuel.
How is the seat?
Is it comfortable to stand, both for control off road, and for butt relief on the road?
Seat - a bit of a hornets nest, but I would strongly suggest that you try it, really try it before giving up and spending cash. It's very personal, but for me the seat was fine.

When I first sat on it, my immediate thought was I would need an Airhawk. I tried if for a few hours and it got better. I used it few more days and totally forgot about it. Longest day was about 19 hours, many 12 hour days. It does get a bit hard after quite a few hours, but nothing that can't be solved with some shifting around.

Quick comment, if you sit in it and you feel like your future generations are getting the squeeze, you are sitting wrong and your ass will get sore quickly. It is dished, so it has the tendency to slide you into the pocket and splay your legs. Resist the urge, slide back, and squeeze the tank with you knees. Your weight will be distributed along your legs somewhat as well and give your butt a better chance of staying awake.

Caveat-after a while your butt does get conditioned. It may be that the seat in it's configuration may be too hard for people that hop on it once every Sunday or two. But all in all, the seat is surprisingly ok given the narrow profile that they had to work with.


Standing - very good as narrow seat and you are actually quite far forward once on the pegs, the cockpit (distance from handlebars to seat) is quite small (which you'll be reminded of when you try to put a tank bag on the faux tank). It'll feel like a standard enduro set up, but I also did have a set of 1" risers on the handle bars (should be added to the mods list). That made the set up work well for me (6'0"). Stock footpegs with removeable rubbers are fine. A bit more vibration without the rubbers, i can see some dirt dogs putting on footpegs that are fatter.
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Old 08-25-2008, 04:36 AM   #17
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How big are you ?

How big are you ? Did the bike fit you well ? Did you feel cramped ?

One of the thinks that I love on the GSA is how nicely it fits people with long limbs ...
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:17 AM   #18
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1) How did you find the engine torque under 5000 rpm ? (Some say it is weak in the lower RPMs)
2) Did you ride the KTM 9x0 twin, can you compare it in terms of performance ?
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:18 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by klarue
What are your crash bars of choice? There is no small amount of debate on this particular point! Thanks again for sharing your real-world experiences.


Hmm, I haven't been following too much overseas discussions so I'm unsure of what the crash bar debates are but I'll chime in with my point of view, feel free to ignore if it not aplicable for you.

In general, the aftermarket manufacturers make their products that meet the needs of the average rider as the market is the biggest at this point in the bell curve. Unfortunately, adventure riders fall outside this area and therefore a lot of the aftermarket stuff we can buy is close, but not tough enough for consistent abuse. In addition, a lot of the stuff is manufactured by European manufactureres which is great but it is orientated more to their riding conditions. In dual sport havens like North America, South Africa, Oz, etc. access to amazing tracks and trails and very rugged terrain leads to the demand for even more rugged parts.

Crash bars are essential for the plastics AND radiator AND engine as mentioned, so some of the stuff I have seen doesn't do much to protect the plastic or rad. Seems a bit strange to me, but oh well. It simply reflects that motorcycles for most are leisure vehicles and as such form (looks) are more important than function, Most won't be pushed to the limits to handle more than a simple tip over so it won't matter to them. To me, it is incomplete logic, as you will go through the time and effort to order the bars, install them, and in reality you get a protective device that doesn't protect you when you need it most. A rough anology is to buy a roll bar for you 4X4 that looks great and works ok if you bump into something but if you actually roll your truck it doesn't work.

On of the benefits of riding multiple days in sand and dirt and gravel is that you and the riders around you have a lot of tipovers, a few spills and if unlucky, an actual crash. In a remote location or distant country you can't afford to have your bike sustain significant damage, fixing it is very difficult and access to replacement parts is difficult or sometimes almost impossible.

Based on what I've seen, I wouldn't go for any of the lighter, minimalistic setups. The BMW engine bars, are engine protectors only. The additional bolt ons that come up over the plastic offer a bare minimum. I would go for the strongest, toughest setup that you can find, if you plan on riding the bike off highway, off road or pushing it’s limits. If not, an almost all highway bike can easily get away with the BMW like setup.

Sorry can’t provide more specific feedback on the other setups, but I’ll take a look and let you know what my impressions are. When I set up the bike, I didn’t look around as there was nothing available so we made our own crashbars. We were somewhat limited by the equipment we had access to but made a fairly minimalistic set up that didn’t look as stellar but was very effective. Now that I’m back, we are making a second generation set of crashbars that is more fitted and a bit better looking. People keep asking so we are making sets for a few friends along with skid plates and rear racks. If anyone else is interested in them, they could be available to all adv’ers, same price as for all friends, cost (once we figure out what cost isJ)


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Old 08-25-2008, 10:26 AM   #20
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RTW-
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.
This is what we've been waiting for. Real Rider-Real Ride.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:36 AM   #21
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[quote=conrado]How big are you ? Did the bike fit you well ? Did you feel cramped ?

One of the thinks that I love on the GSA is how nicely it fits people with long limbs ...[/quote


Average height and build. 6'0" (183 cm) tall with a 32" (81 cm) inseam. Bike fits very well, not cramped in the least and comfortable for long, long miles. It' s height with a standard seat could be a bit tall for some, but not excessively and this is mitigated with any luggage, etc. The lower seat will help the shorter folks. As for taller, a large friend (6'4") took a quick spin on it and said that it was on the edge of being a bit small for him, but he also found that the 1150 GSA fit him quite well so not too surprising.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:54 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Lostinfog
1) How did you find the engine torque under 5000 rpm ? (Some say it is weak in the lower RPMs)
2) Did you ride the KTM 9x0 twin, can you compare it in terms of performance ?
Engine tourque at low rpm was fine for me, but I can see how the riders used to really pushing their bikes will wish it was a tad better. For most riders not really an issue.

Quick comment that in general, I think of the BMW coming at this segment of the dual sport market from the onroad side of things and KTM coming at it from the offroad side. The KTM will certainly outperform it from that perspective, but as a world touring bike, I'm at a bit of a miss as to where it is in the world you need a 1,000 cc dirt bike. Even an 800 is a bit of overkill for many, many regions but it's a bit more acceptable compromise. Having said that I haven't had a chance to ride them both, unladen, in a place like a track setting. I'd guess, not surprisingly, that the KTM would outperform but the discrepancy would be less than you would think.

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Old 08-25-2008, 11:08 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by DADODIRT
RTW-
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.
This is what we've been waiting for. Real Rider-Real Ride.
Thanks dado, just trying to help out any fellow riders. I'll expand more on this later, but being in a far away place and being on the receiving end of incredible acts of kindness for no other reason that you own a bike is quite humbling and really makes one much more aware that we are all part of a global bike gang. With membership comes many privileges, but also responsibilities, sticking together and helping each other out is the least we can do.:)
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:49 AM   #24
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To add to RTW Motorcycling's excellent feedback, I've just finished my first significant trip (Bilbao to Perpignan through the Pyrennes - ride report to follow) on the F800GS and can confirm my own comments on some of these issues.

The seat is firm but not uncomfortable (for me) but as planned, I got the lower seat and have fitted an Airhawk (cruiser, standard size) for this trip that fits pretty well into the recess. No problems in the derriere!

I've had one 'stall' in 1200 miles, changing up from 4th to 5th, accelerating at high revs but I realised as I let the clutch out so was able to restart the engine while coasting. I'm a little concerned about a reoccurrence.

Unlike RTW’, on the gravel roads above Sort in northern Spain I found the bike a real handful; possibly partly my own inexperience but I'm certain the standard-fit Bridgestone Battle Wing tyres contributed significantly to the lack of handling. Kept it upright but made me sweat!
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:17 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by RTW Motorcycling
People keep asking so we are making sets for a few friends along with skid plates and rear racks. If anyone else is interested in them, they could be available to all adv’ers, same price as for all friends.
Add me to the list of people asking, RTW. I haven't settled on which bars (or bash plate) I'm going to mount, so having the benefit of your battle-tested option is a very good thing. But try not to make them too fugly, OK?

Thanks again for your time and effort here. And if you ever get the chance to put up a trip report with pictures, please provide a link here.

David
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Old 08-25-2008, 12:38 PM   #26
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Thanks Wildman, good to hear that you are riding the bike far and long!

Quick note in regards to tires, I would highly, highly recommend running a knobby on the front. It's a fairly common approach long distance or RTW touring or anytime you have to ride mixed terrain but with a lot of highway miles that would wear out a rear knobby. The front knobby makes the bike feel a lot more positive in gravel, sand, etc. and on highway you'll barely notice the difference in performance.

After a while the knobbies will start to wear down on the front of each knob and result in a bit of bumpy ride, some people have been known to reverse the tire to smooth it out. Roughly speaking, you will get close to the same mileage out of a standard rear (Battlewing, Tourance, etc.) and a knobby front (TKC80, MT21, etc.). No exageration, this is by far the best approach I have come across for solving the conundrum of mixed terrain and long miles. This setup is so well suited for the flexibility of this bike that it should almost come stock.

(And one has to pay attention, but there are small, almost imperceptible signs that your tires need to be changed, like when your steel belts start to show:))


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Old 08-25-2008, 01:03 PM   #27
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RTW -
Thank you for posting this. Its more helpful frankly than all the other things I've read or seen on this very interesting bike.

I know the following would help me characterize a bike I have not seen in person, much less touched, and will help a bunch of people like me that have the same reference point. You are familiar with the ugly-but-lovable Weestrom.
Comparing the two, I can see from some of your remarks the obvious differences: the Weestrom is a roadbike that just happens to be able to do things a roadbike shouldn't quite so well. But would you Contrast the two on a few specific riding points, so we who know the one can understand the other better? For instance:

1. Contrast the two in terms of loaded handling on Gravel: how would the two, with similar tires, compare on that surface?
2. Any comments on the performance of the ABS system on the two?
3. Similar to 1 - on other surfaces such as hardpack or loose rocky
4. Weight distribution. They are both similar in weight, but looking at how they are made, the GS should FEEL a lot more nimble in the front. I'm betting weight distribution front-tire/rear-tire is remarkably different. It would seem that center of gravity on the GS is lower and shifted a tad to the rear.
5. My personal issue....[don't ask]... How would you compare the two going down a STEEP downhill grade on a loose dirty/rocky surface?

It looks like the 800GS has an advantage in engine performance, and the Weestrom has an advantage in Range. Is this right?
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:13 PM   #28
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You have provided a lot of useful insight so far. Thank you RTW-

- Could you post close-up pictures of your crash bars and bash plate? Brief comments on how they could be better would be appreciated.

- What windscreens have you tried, and what did you like or dislike about each?

- How is the stock gearing on the F8GS for adventure use (ie: is 1st low enough for some knarly trails with 6th high enough for making time on the highway without winding the engine too tight - comparing to the KLR650)?
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:28 PM   #29
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Great info, RTW. Thanks for taking the time to shed some light on this mysterious machine.

My question: which size Pelicans did you mount? Were they large enough? Too large? Width a problem? I really like the idea of non-metal bags for durability and for being a little easier on my legs should I find myself beneath them.

One more: How did the stock handlebar hold up to the many tip-overs you mentioned are inevitable?

+1 on the request for pics of your machine and mods.

Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:04 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by RTW Motorcycling




Hi RTW,

Thanks for all the info about the bike and congratz on the trip! I have had my 800gs for about 4 weeks now and I am still searching around for crash bars an bash plates, although I have taken it offroad already anyway. I would be very interested on seeing close up of your crash bars too.

I am particularly interested in the last leg of your trip. This pic on the snow, isn't that Tierra del Fuego, just outside Ushuaia on Route 3? I think I can recognise the area, I was born in Ushuaia but I am now living in the UK. Doing Tierra Del Fuego - Alaska on the 800GS is one of my dreams!.
If you have more pictures or a website containing more details about the trip itself please let me know.

Thanks again for sharing.

Ernesto
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