That’s a famous one, isn’t it? Wherever you read around on the forums, the standard F650 GS rear shocks just aren’t going to cope with the extra luggage and the rugged pothole strewn roads we will find ourselves on (let alone any off-road riding through the Aussie desert with extra fuel and water on the back – can’t wait!!!! 🙂 ).
So we looked around. The famous Ohlins are simply out of our price range, so what else is there? Someone mentioned Hagon, which are comparatively cheap. But by that time we had pretty much made up our mind to use YSS. They were relatively cheap and it seems they have established a worldwide network, so when it comes to it, we will be able to have them serviced wherever we are. And if not on the spot, there will be a dealer close enough, who can help get in touch with YSS (that’s the theory anyways).
We got ours fromKamar Motorsport. They were really helpful 🙂 We emailed them the specifications (i.e. the exact weight we will be carrying, adding some contingency for extra fuel and water at times and of course the exact bike we have). They came straight back with a quote including Vat and shipping. There were three options:
1) Shock with hydraulic adjustment and that easy to use adjuster knob thingy – (you know the one that the 2004 F650 Gs’s are fitted with already :-p )
2) Shock with hydraulic adjustment, but you still have to twist the actual shock
3) Shock without hydraulic adjustment and also no easy adjuster knob
We wanted No 2 and Kamar Motorsport took a deposit over the phone. Shortly after I received an email, that hydraulic adjustment given our exact bike and the weight requirements, would not be possible. Did we want them anyways? Hm….. oh well that makes them about £100 cheaper each, so yes please, No 3 it is then.
We did consider fitting them ourselves, but then we got a little worried that we may not have the required tools. And boy were we right! We had made an appointment to have both done by Dave Wilkins on a quick Saturday morning (he doesn’t normally do Saturdays, but he will if you ask nicely 🙂 ). As it turns out, on the F650 GS you have to lift the back of the bike to get to the shock. Big job! So Dave sent us home again.
Luckily my boss let me swap a week day for working on Sunday so we returned to Dave’s on Wednesday and I spent the whole day there, fitting the shocks to both bikes. To lift the back end, you have to take out the bolt connecting back and front frame and you have to remove the exhaust. And of course both sides of the end cans/muffler are connected under the back of the seat. No amount of wiggling, hammering, swearing, or even a car jack would pull them apart! So in the end we have to cut them with one of those compressor operated laser cutters (sorry, Dave did tell me what that tool was called, but of course I have forgotten :-p ). Anyways, it’s a mean tool we definitely do not have in our lil garage.
After that the shocks were quite easy to fit and we just had to put the bikes back together. Lots of yummy coffee and silly stories about different motorcycle-fixing adventures, cats and random stuff, as well as a fair bit of bitching about BMW ( :-p ), the shocks were fitted 🙂
Wow the seat is high now and bumps in the road are really hard! I guess that’s what happens when you swap a nice soft suspension for one that can take you and your entire household around the world… Once used to it, the handling is really nice though, and I’m loving it!
And where are the pictures, you are asking me…. I am really sorry, but I forgot my camera so no pics this time 😦