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Old 01-23-2015, 10:56 AM   #1
SpeedyNS OP
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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
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Switching From Sport-Tourer (ST1300) To F800GS

I thought the following might be a helpful synopsis for those deciding to switch from one style of bike to the F800GS or who are considering various options for the GS:

I have been driving motorcycles for more than 35 years and have owned a lot of different styles bikes, from cruisers to scooters (80cc to 650cc), a Gold Wing and various sport-tourers, including the 1100 Katana, Kawasaki Concours and my current ride for the last 11 years an ST1300.

I have kept the ST1300 for so long because it is absolutely smooth, powerful, is comfortable for all day driving (14 hour days) and has awesome wind protection, great storage and limited maintenance with the bulletproof drivetrain and driveshaft.

I have found over the last few years I started to take and want to take it, in places it shouldn’t go, like gravel roads, beach and fields, etc. I travel with a guy who has a V-Strom and I couldn’t go where he wanted to go, so I bit the bullet this year and bought a 2010 30th anniversary F800GS with 10k on it. I have kept the ST1300 for now and until I see how this works out for me.

The following are some general observations I have made about the F800GS:

When I took the GS out for a ride the things I noticed right away was that it would require some work to make it into the machine I need for my style of driving, which will be 70/30 highway driving. In selecting options to make this bike into what I needed I noticed that although this site was very helpful it was tough to get answers because often people didn’t give enough information for me to grasp the entire picture. Something that is really important and creates a very different experience for each person is your height, weight, inseam, type of helmet, etc. I’m 6’ 1”, 33” inseam and weight 195lbs and wear a full face Shoei or Nolan street bike style helmet (no bill).

Power: The power is adequate for me. I do miss the turbine in the seat of your pants feel of the ST1300 at times, but I find the 800cc to be fine and it travels well at highway speeds. I have to work the gearshift more than the 1300cc ST, but that actually adds to the fun. I find the throttle a bit sensitive when going slow off road in first gear, but I see there are a few options available for that, but I find if I feather the clutch I seem to do Okay.

The transmission on the GS is the smoothest of any bike I have ever ridden.

I really like the wider handlebars on the GS and when I go back to the ST they seem narrow and less stable.

I can lay the GS into the turns better with the wider handlebars and I find the large wheel on the front to be fine for me. I’m no sport bike rider and I wear the centre of my tires out not the sides.

I love the fact that I can wheel the bike around in the yard or garage without having to sit on it. Couldn’t easily do that with the ST.

The ST is super smooth at all rev points, where there is some vibration in the GS. Especially once you get to 5000rpm, but I don’t mind it. The vibrations are not buzzy like my Concours, but they are there and let you know where you are on the tach. I’ve taken it to redline a number of times and it never gets too pronounced. My Concours would annoy after a couple hours, but I don’t find that with the GS.

I don’t find the bike gives off too much heat. The ST threw a lot of heat on a hot day compared to the GS.

I miss the storage compartments up top that the ST had and will have to adds something of hold my sunglasses, ear plugs, etc.

I don’t have a lot of experience in the mud, but find it a bit of a handful at this stage, but I will slowly gain some confidence I’m sure.


The following are the changes I have made to the bike:

The bike came with Touratech Zega pro aluminum bags, bottom engine guard, centre stand and large Barkbusters already installed.

Although the wind was smooth with no buffeting from the small windshield and it looks great, I sit a little tall in the saddle because of my height and I like to drive with the shield open, plus I drive for 9 months of the year in a cooler climate, so I wanted wind protection more like my ST. To address that I purchased the 20” Madstad screen with winglets and it is excellent and gives me wind protection that is at least 90% of what I would experience on the ST.

Again because I am taller, I added Rox 1 3/4” risers so I could sit up straighter and get the kink out of my neck. They are very good and I didn’t have to do any rerouting of cables.

What adding the risers did though, is tilt me on the seat so that I now had a very small contact point with the seat because of its forward lean and the seat went from a 1 hour seat to a 20 minute seat. So I had that modified at a local shop so that the foam looks like the “Seat Concepts” or “PAk-Meiser” seat with a wider flatter spot for my butt and that works great.

I found the brake peddle too small for my liking so I made a larger one (you can buy the enlargers, but I made my own as it is quite simple).

I added the SW-Motech crash bars to the bike, for protection incase of a fall, but I also wanted the added improvement in the look it gives, as well as the wind protection it adds. The bars fill in that area under the rad so it makes it look more like the 1200GS, plus it breaks up the wind that hits your lower shins and makes it warmer and dryer.

I also added the Fenda Exteda on the front and the Puig mud slinger and chain guard on the back to make it easier to keep the bike and my clothes clean.

I added the Shock Sock to the front shocks to help extend the life of the seals.

I haven’t decided whether I will add anything to oil the chain (a new thing for me), but for now spraying it with the DuPont Teflon spray seems to be working okay.

I think I will need to do something with the mirrors to give me more visibility and I will add cruise control or throttle lock for those longer rides.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:25 PM   #2
arjones
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Laugh

if you don't add any pics... well, it didn't happen...
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:49 PM   #3
MTrider16
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Looks like you have a bike that fits you nicely, wohoo! If you fill out your profile, it will introduce you to the rest of us at a glance. And like arjones said, we always like pics.

I've always been wondering about the ST1300, it seems like it would be a great bike. The VFR is probably more challenging to put on big mile days, but I have done a couple 900 mile days.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:08 PM   #4
Saltboxlad
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I have pretty much done the same thing, albeit with the same brand. Last August I traded a K1300GT for an F800GS. I just wanted a lighter, cheaper bike to run, and my needs had changed, no longer requiring a bike for long M-Way trips, also as you say I wanted to maybe explore the "Road less travelled".

My Driving licence and liberty were in jeopardy too with the GT, quite a few times I found myself in triple digit territory(MPH) without trying and in the UK now that can mean a spell at Her Majestys Pleasure. Yes I did miss the warp factor top gear roll on at first but Ive adapted to a slightly more sedate progress and in fact on the fun back roads the GS is as quick, possibly quicker as pot holes etc arent even noticed. I was told the 21" front wheel would be awful on tarmac but I find it ok.

Couple of things I found interesting in your post re the ST vs GS:

1) Engine heat: I test rode an ST1300 on a very hot day a few years back and found the heat almost unbearable especially when the fans kicked in sat in traffic etc.

2) Transmission: Now I thought the inscrutable Mr Honda would have made a far better changing box than Herr BMW. The Jury is out at the moment with me as my Transmission failed on the GS and in fact I pick her up today after a month at the dealers having new innards fitted under warranty, maybe now I will find the same, I'll let you know.

Im also looking forward to home maintenance again, the GT was a technical nightmare requiring all manner of specialised tools which led me to spending over a £1000 a year with the dealers( Twice as much as my car which gets dealer serviced)

Oh, and one other benefit for me, leg room, for such a big bike the GT was surprisingly cramped, but I can flat foot the GS with ease so maybe I got long legs



The old girl looking dejected on the day I swapped, still not too shabby for 60K miles though




The new girl on the way home, "Blue is the colour.............(South London Football supporters of a certain age can sing along)
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Old 01-24-2015, 03:12 PM   #5
SpeedyNS OP
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Pictures

The F800GS is safely tucked away and sleeping for another 6 weeks until winter goes away...then I can get some pictures.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:09 AM   #6
MTrider16
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Oh sure, your one of those that like to tease people.

Oh well. Hope your winter goes well.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:55 AM   #7
Saltboxlad
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Ok then, having ridden the GS for 100 miles or so with the gearbox repaired I can report that it is in fact very good, much better than the K1300 thats for sure.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:59 AM   #8
Saltboxlad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyNS View Post
The F800GS is safely tucked away and sleeping for another 6 weeks until winter goes away...then I can get some pictures.
Its a bike you know, not a hedgehog, they dont have to hibernate. Then again Im sure the winter in your part of the world makes ours look tame, we get 3 hours of snow and everybody starts panic buying
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:23 PM   #9
GREWUPIN_D11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyNS View Post
I haven’t decided whether I will add anything to oil the chain (a new thing for me), but for now spraying it with the DuPont Teflon spray seems to be working okay.
Speaking from 40+ years experience - don't waste money/time on a chain oiler. My 2010 F800GS is going fine on the original chain&sprockets at 11000 miles, which have only been properly lubed once. Which was at the factory.

Care consists on low-pressure (garden hose) washdown after rides on dirt and unpaved roads (which is most of my rides) immediately followed by liberal use of WD40 for corrosion control.

All the lube that's doing any good is sealed inside the chain by the O-rings. Any oil put on the outside attracts dirt, forming an abrasive paste. I think downsides of external oiling far outweigh any negligible benefit.

The Teflon spray sounds like a good option.

GREWUPIN_D11 screwed with this post 01-28-2015 at 04:59 PM
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:33 PM   #10
GeorgeD
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crashbars

may i ask which crash bars are those illustrated here?


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