It’s the rare motorcycle that leaves the showroom with stellar suspension, and my 2009 BMW F 800 GS is no exception. The stock male-slider fork is non-adjustable and the rear shock allows fiddling only with spring preload and compression damping. The kicker (literally) is that BMW’s ideal rider weighs 187 pounds, resulting in a too-stiff rear end that’s been punishing my 145 pounds for long enough. After some serious pounding on last year’s tour, I started looking for help. HyperPro’s reasonable prices for custom-built shocks drew me in, and its progressive fork spring kit sealed the deal. The $159 spring kit, which includes two liters of 10-weight fork oil (stock is 7.5 weight), arrived first.
HyperPro’s instructions cover different fork types, but not specific motorcycle models, so I pulled out my BMW CD manual for the bolt-by-bolt install. The only hitch was deciding between HyperPro’s oil level spec of 120mm below the fork tube rim, which leaves much more air in the fork tube than BMW’s 60mm value. I went with the HyperPro number and was back on the road in a couple of hours. I didn’t expect a miracle from the kit, and didn’t get one, though there is noticeable improvement. The bike tracks better off the pavement and feels fine on the street, except for the same sharp jolts over small pavement bumps that the stock springs delivered. I was hoping the progressively wound springs would eliminate that, but apparently what I really need is a major fork-o-haul.
The BMW CD came out again when the rear shock arrived from the Netherlands via EPM Performance Imports, a Type 467 with hydraulic preload adjuster ($1,039 plus $269 for the HPA) built to my weight and riding style. According to EPM, the shock features a stiction-defying bladder design for separating the shock oil from the nitrogen and a new, long-lasting, low stiction seal. An overly long top spacer slowed the installation, but a friend’s lathe cured that in short order and the shock slipped right in. Klaus Huenecke at EPM said they’d never had that problem and would have sent a new spacer, but with my daily rider in pieces I couldn’t wait.
HyperPro sets up the shock from your inputs and sends along the baseline settings for sag, high- and low-speed compression damping and rebound damping. Dialing it in is up to you. After adjusting the sag, I lit out for a notorious patch of rough asphalt and starting tweaking the settings—one at a time, a little at a time—until achieving a good balance of handling and comfort. The final settings are my personal baseline, to be modified for loads and terrain. Given the variety of adjustments, it’s a sure bet I’ll be tweaking for a long time.
The shock has definitely improved the 800’s ride: no more whacks on the rear, better adhesion to terra firma in the rough stuff and better control on all kinds of surfaces. The GS installation makes the compression setting screws a little tricky to access, but of more concern is operating the sexy aluminum preload adjuster. It’s a beautiful piece, like the rest of the shock, but too short and slick to turn easily. Otherwise I’m a happy owner—I even like HyperPro’s signature purple spring (black is also available). For a little more than a grand, the 467 has changed my rear suspension from OK to pretty darn good, and I’m good with that. See the EPM website for the many HyperPro motorcycle applications, including length adjustable shocks.
For more information: Call EPM Performance Imports at (877) 786-6543 or (732) 786-9777, or visit epmperf.com