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RIDE Adventures Blog

BMW F800GS & Motorcycle Aerodynamics: Does your front wheel shake?

Posted by Eric Lange on October 24, 2012
Eric Lange
Since riding his KTM 950 Adventure down to South America in 2008 and launching RIDE Adventures in 2010, Eric now resides in Oregon for most of each year. Riding is still a regular part of his work though, in that guiding tours is a passion he'll always have, and researching new routes and regions allows RIDE Adventures to continue growing and providing reliable travel services to adventure minded riders and travelers from around the world.

BMW F800GS aerodynamics"What is that shaking feeling coming from the BMW F800GS?"

Renters and owners of the BMW F800GS everywhere are asking the same question and not realizing, it's probably the wind hitting your shoulders!  The next time you ride, make a concerted effort to pay attention to sensations in your upper arms, across your chest, and into your shoulders.  Slipping around the windshield and pulsing back and forth on both sides, the buffeting wind is likely the reason for that shaking on the F800GS.  (Riders typically notice this on straight sections, over 60mph.)

Surely the F800GS isn't the first bike to have aerodynamic issues like this, and it won't be the last.  Why do some bikes shake like this then and others don't?  Keep in mind a few key factors in motorcycle aerodynamics, and you'll see it's not easy to answer:

  • Rider torso height
  • Shoulder width
  • Helmet size and shape
  • Windscreen size and shape
  • Related fairing influences
  • Wind direction
  • Surrrounding vehicle or tree influences
  • Rider apparel, size, and material
  • Temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity (yes, to some extent!)

How all of this ties into the "rake" and changing trail measurements of the motorcycle's front end as we cover different terrain is part of why some bikes feel "shakier" than others.  Of course we can never rule out that you've had a dented or damaged front wheel (especially on the F800GS which is known for having soft, easily damaged rims.)  Still, this article is meant to remind motorcycle riders that many factors go into the aerodynamics of your motorcycles, and your particular set of factors might be the cause of unexpected sensations.  Pay close attention to everything while you're riding, and don't just jump to conclusions.  It's highly unlikely that BMW Motorrad would design a motorcycle that "shakes" over 60mph, right?

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