Bike Setup

This step has carried on gradually over the years. The way I have my bike prepped, I am confident on hopping on it to carry on this trip any...

This step has carried on gradually over the years. The way I have my bike prepped, I am confident on hopping on it to carry on this trip any day. This didn't happen overnight, so let me try to break this down on the bits and pieces I have on it. I bought mine brand new, a bone stock grey 2012 F800GS, on what was befittingly a grey overcast day, sometime in March 2012.

The bike as I had when I got it


Face it. Adventure bikes are meant to be dropped. They also are fragile, so when they fall they tend to cause expensive damage. Everything I have on the bike is off the shelf. I am a clumsy oaf on the bike, so I can attest to the fact that these things work.
  • SW Motech crash guards. Crash tested several times, this has held so far. No plans to change a good thing.
  • Ricochet skid plate. One of the most budget friendly skid plates for the F800GS. Made out of one hefty slab of Al, I have had a good experience with it. Mine is not tired yet, so I am continuing to rock this one.  


I realized soon enough with this bike that it takes a lot to make it comfortable enough for me. This combination took a lot of trial and error, but I am comfortable enough on 500 mile days
  • Bar risers/lowered foot pegs: The stock ergos are cramped, these subtle changes make it much more bearable, at the expense of a little sportiness. I chose the pre-eng ones, but several others are available.
  • Saddlemen Adventure seat. Everyone's butt has a preference. Mine after trying four seats said Saddlemen is the best. Yours might disagree. I can do 600 mile freeway days comfortably on this, and have a seat that allows me to move around in the dirt.
  • Puig windshield spoiler. An extra inch can make a world of difference. This plus the stock screen does it for me.
  • $0.50 Catterpillar throttle lock. More expensive solutions exist for throttle lock cruise controls, but this is the cheapest and works good enough.
  • Wunderlich extended brake pedal. I am not a fan of it, but it does the job. If I were to do it again, I would probably just weld a plate underneath the pedal.
  • Extended side stand base. Some call it cheap Chinese stuff. It works, it's a hunk of Aluminium that does the job.


I am a fan of hard luggage. They do not weigh much over the soft counterparts all things considered,  are usually by design are fully waterproof. They also present a bigger illusion of security and deter casual thieves. There are downsides too: you could fracture your legs if they gets trapped under them when you have an off. They are also not trail side repairable if you have a bad crash and they get damaged.
  • MOD tail rack. One of the more brilliant pieces of kit designed for the F800GS. Add the optional givi adapter and you have all it takes to mount givi luggage.
  • Kappa Garda 42 liter top box. Like the givi trekker but cheaper and without the frills. It works for me. Buy from Europe for more cheaper deals.
  • SW Motech side racks. This is what I have, but something I don't recommend because of the damage this did to my tank.
  • Nelson Rigg CL-1050 tankbag. At less than 65 bucks, this doesn't break the bank. Fits the F800GS faux tank nicely, and is a convenient place to store camera gear. There are nicer looking options out there, but I have been happy with this tankbag for the last 5k kms.


  • Series Rectifier. There are a few options to chose from for the F800GS, I went with a Shindengen SH775 because the company has mostly made quality RRs. This is OEM spec for a few polaris models, so they are cheap both new and old. Why do you need a series RR? See the links in the alternator section. They are cheap insurance against a stator failure and make for a more reliable electrical system.
  • Redesigned alternator. Read the entire backstory on advrider. I had this done under warranty, and this improves the life of the stator from every 30k miles to probably the life of the motorcycle. Useful!
  • Voltmeter. The first thing you do after recovering from a stator failure is to take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again. A voltmeter is a useful indicator if things are going south. If you start losing voltage, it means that the stator will die in another 3k kms. Cheap early indicator.
  • Lithium Battery. Dropped 3 kilos of weight fairly high up, while adding enough space for electrical doodads and a fuse block. I got the Ballistic EVO2, but if I were to do it again, I would get an ebike battery pack with integrated BMS and 20% more amperage.
  • 12V cigarette lighter socket. This is part of the essentials package.
  • A pair of usb chargers. I have 9 things that need charging and accept USB. Enough said.
  • H7 LED bulbs. There are different ways to skin the anemic lighting problem. Adding aux lights is a way, but it adds more wiring and more opportunities for things to go wrong. These pair of lights almost gets the beam pattern right. It's good enough for me, doesn't blind other drivers on the road, and adds enough lumens to make night riding not suck.
  • Fusebox. There are ghetto ways to wire everything up. They work, except for when they don't and need an hour of troubleshooting to figure out what went wrong. A fuseblock helps to make the wiring cleaner, with a clean line and a fuse to protect the charging circuit from shorts. This is one of the more low tech simpler ones. I like my fuseblock that way.


  • Camel Tank: Adding another 7 litre range preserving the same dimensions is god sent. This tank has saved my skin in Baja and Death Valley. I have a total range of 450-550 kms (depends on the monkey wielding the throttle), which is a bare minimum for overland touring.
  • Marzocchi Shiver front fork swap with revalve for my weight. Not needed for 2013+ bikes, but almost in the essential list for the older ones. Details available on advrider.
  • In the pipe: Elka stage 4 rear shock. My stock unit is in need of a rebuild. Looking at the cost, a new better shock looks appealing.
That's a pretty big list, but it is the price of trying to get a motorcycle prepped for overland travel. For completeness' sake, here are some photos of the heavy pig, with all the lipstick on. Ain't she pretty?

Somewhere in Mendocino National Forest. Shot with Sony A6000/SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

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