Repairing Punctures on the F800GS

Mostly Removing and Replacing Wheels


Never having repaired a puncture on any on my motorbikes, I’m not really in a position to tell anyone what they should do or how they should go about it. 

No, on second thoughts, I am in a position to provide helpful advice based on personal experience. Here it is: ring BMW Roadside Assistance.

Then, again, that might not always work.

Ahead of setting out on another trip on my F800GS, I thought I should learn how to repair a puncture; and not tempt fate, as I probably did on my Old Mail Routes trip, where there were some lonely, phoneless spots, including where I came to grief.

I also might have been a bit adventurous in taking my F800ST up the Oodnadatta Track during My Big Trip North, where I might not have even got mobile phone reception let alone easy access to Roadside Assistance! But, at least the F800ST had tubeless tyres and I had those magical plugs and a small hand pump. 

So, now, with the tubed tyres of the F800GS, I figured it’s imperative to know how to AND be able to fix a puncture.

This page is mostly focussed on the more challenging part of repairing punctures, namely, removing the wheels – and replacing them; and removing the tube. Hopefully, the actual repairing of the puncture will be spelt out in the repair kit you’ll need to have.

The Tools You’ll Need

What motivated me to write something on tools you'll need was the discovery of two things:

1.       There’s at least one illustration in the instructions in the F800GS manual that is different from what’s on my bike. That’s the front brake calliper ‘screws’.

2.       The manual also identifies the need for a 22mm spanner for removing the front axle, although a 17mm spanner is included in the tool kit.

As far as I can ascertain, you’ll need the following tools:

Front Wheel

To remove the brake calliper (# 1 in photo), you’ll need an E12 Torx Socket.

To remove the ABS sensor (# 2 in photo), you’ll need a T30 Torx Driver. (But take note of description in video clip about removal - or not - of ABS sensor.)

To slacken the axle clamping screws on both sides (# 4 in photo), you’ll need a T45 Torx Driver. (The tool kit includes a 40 Torx Driver but I'm not sure why.)

To remove the axle screw (#3 in photo), you’ll need a 17mm spanner. (Not a 22mm as indicated in some places.)

Rear Wheel

To remove the speed sensor (# 5 in photo), you’ll need a T30 Torx Driver. 

To remove the axle nut (# 6 in photo), you’ll need a 24mm spanner.

To slacken lock nuts (# 7 in photo) and back off adjusting screws (# 8 in photo), you’ll need a 13mm open-ended spanner – preferably two of them. (But, as with ABS sensors, take note of how this issue is handled in video clip below.).

Photos of Where Tools are Needed

 Releasing callipers  Two versions of calliper fasteners  ABS sensor and axle nut


Axle clamping screws   Rear speed sensor  axle nut, locknuts and adjusting screws

What You Have and Don’t Have

In the sparse ‘tool kit’ under the seat – at least as my F800GS arrived – there is a T40 Torx Driver and a 17mm spanner.

That leaves you short of the following: E12 Torx Socket, T30 Torx Driver, T45 Torx Driver, 2x13mm open-ended spanners and a 24mm spanner. It's not clear to me if all these are even included in the optional extra "service toolkit".

With these additional acquisitions, you should have everything you need....except, of course, an easy way of jacking up the front wheel, an easy way of breaking the bead (i.e. getting the tyre loose from the wheel rim), repair stuff to fix the puncture, and an easy way of pumping up the repaired tyre.

Other Handy Equipment

There are solutions to all these steps. I have them all covered...I think.

Except for the further key element of knowhow.

Setting knowhow or ability aside, the next things you could usefully have are set out below. However, there are always alternative options. I’m sure that several have proved effective, like rocks or stumps to jack up the front wheel (or the beer slab on the back as mentioned in the video below); the side stand of a mate’s bike to break the bead; or a hand bicycle pump to get some air into the repaired tyre. Short of these, the following would help:

Either out of paranoia or attraction to new toys, I was seduced at the Sydney Motorcycle Show into buying a Tyrepliers repair kit consisting of two tyre levers (supposedly cunningly designed so that one end releases the tyre and the other (without pinching the tube) secures it; a bead breaker; and a package of fixes for, at your choice, a tubeless tyre or a tube (or, as an optional extra, both).

Then, persuaded by a dirt riding colleague, I succumbed to purchasing a ForkStand designed for the F800GS by BestRest Products. This little apparatus, easily storable within the bike’s frame, keeps the front wheel off the ground to allow its removal.

Finally, another BestRest Products item, their Bike Pump, is 12v powered and comes with any number of options for connecting it to the bike’s battery without being thwarted by the BMW Canbus amps limitation.

More Tools

Life is not meant to be easy!

To assemble and disassemble the ForkStand, the instructions list the tools needed. In addition to toolks above, the list includes an 8mm spanner. You need that or a small shifter aka adjustable spanner. The latter will more than suffice for the function required. Finally the list has ‘multi-purpose pliers’. I think that’s basically to cut the ties that you have used to strap some bits of the apparatus to the bike’s frame.

You won’t get the bead breaker to work without a 17mm spanner to turn the bolt that forces the bead. An adjustable spanner would suffice. But, again, the good news is that you already have a 17mm spanner under the seat.

Removing and Replacing the Wheels

Unfortunately, removing the wheels is part of the process. And replacing them. Hence, identifying all the tools needed in the removal process.

In the early days of my 2010 Mt Isa Trip, I had new tyres put on the F800GS in expectation of some gravel road riding into the trip. What was particularly helpful was the tuition provided by Dave of Tyres for Bikes in Brisbane.

The following videos illustrate the main steps in the wheel removal and replacement processes. Dave doesn’t follow all the steps in the Owner’s Manual so they are presented here as illustrative only. Sound advice would be to follow the manual and get your work confirmed by a BMW dealer. (Note that this is a disclaimer!)

Front Wheel

This clip shows Dave, who could easily have won an audition for the job of presenting the demonstrations, removing and replacing the front wheel. (In case you've been here before, this clip is an edited and much shortened amalgam of the two original ones that used to be here.)

Rear Wheel

This clip shows Dave removing and replacing the rear wheel. As with the video above, it's a shotened amalgam of a couple of original video clips.


A Few Reminders

Some memorable gems from Dave of Tyres for Bikes – the wheel-changer in the clips above:

  • Make sure during puncture repair that you don’t put the front wheel on the ground in such a way that might bend the disc (they are fragile).
  • First put the bottom rim of the tyre onto the wheel. Then push the top rim of the tyre down at the valve hole to get tube valve into the hole. Put some air into the tube to prevent creases.
  • Slide tyre around the rim to ensure valve is straight.
  • Push the valve into the tyre with the nut on it to stop it going all the way in. This ensures that the tube is not pinched when resetting the bead.
  • Unscrew the valve when pumping up. Fill tyre and then stick the valve in. Then top up.
  • The nut on the valve can be raised from the rim to go up against the cap. This allows some flexibility if hitting a bump hard; and thus prevents valve bending or breaking.


Dave’s advice for the F800GS was:

Front: 32psi. Rear 38psi. (This almost accords with manual for one-up unloaded.)

For the dirt, his advice was: Front 20psi. Rear: 26psi.


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