$2000 Streetbike Surgery - BMW F800GS

The road to adventure starts here

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Nick Cedar

The stock, road-biased Bridgestone Trail Wing tires were swapped for off-road-ready Metzeler Karoos, with massive knobs on the rear tire for improved forward motion and sharper side knobs up front for better penetration in soft surfaces. McNeil also installed heavy-duty, puncture-resistant tubes and ran higher-than-recommended 20-psi pressures. This prevented flats, but didn't protect from a badly dinged front rim caused by a particularly nasty square-edged bump.

Because the AMA/NARS events are multi-day and self-supported, luggage was a must. McNeil again turned to Twisted Throttle, which delivered a tank bag and tail pack designed specifically for adventure-touring. Made by Bags-Connection in Germany, the tail pack features an internal aluminum frame to hold its shape and all-metal mounting hardware for maximum security. The Enduro tank bag utilizes a strap-on base affixed with optional clips designed for anchoring to tubular frames like on the GS. "Both bags stayed on and stayed on good," McNeil reports.

Given the limitations with both time and budget, McNeil's quick-and-dirty off-road overhaul was an overwhelming success. The only major oversights were a headlight guard (the bike suffered a cracked lens) and shorter gearing (the stock gearing proved too tall for technical off-road riding). Turns out it doesn't take much time or money to transform the F800GS into a capable off-road companion.

"My instructions from BMW were to go out there, beat the snot out of this bike and show everyone what it can do," McNeil summarizes. "I gave it everything from 100-mph dirt roads to first-gear, 5-mph canyon descents, even some snow and sleet. In the end, the modded F800GS had an advantage over both the true dirtbikes and the big-bore adventure-tourers just about everywhere."

Take that to mean this project was an unqualified success.

Aftershocks Suspension Experts
952 N. Canyon Pkwy.
Livermore, CA 94551
Fork service $200
Cycle Gear
22249 Mission Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94541
Countdown roll-chart holder $28.95
LeoVince USA
1445 S. 50th St. #B
Richmond, CA 94804
SBK Oval EVOII slip-on muffler $399
100 Pirelli Dr.
Rome, GA 30161
90/90-21 Karoo front tire $89.95
150/70-17 Karoo rear tire $231.95
Twisted Throttle
1080 Kingstown Rd. #1
Peacedale, RI 02879
Barkbusters VPS hand guards $159.99
SW-MOTECH crash bars $195
SW-MOTECH aluminum skid plate $209.99
Bags-Connection Enduro tank bag $129.99
Bags-Connection tail pack $175
TOTAL $1819.82


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