This page is dedicated to the transformation of my BMW R80GS into HPN 619.
On several occasions I had experienced that the fully loaded stock GS provides a "wobbly" riding experience on gravel and in deep sand, and I wanted to obtain a more stable chassis for quite a while. For a long time I had believed that it this effect could only be obtained through major changes in the chassis and the suspension ... until Klaus Pepperl — the "P" in HPN — explained to me that the mere reinforcement of the frame would already provide much more stability.
When Klaus added that this "basic frame reinforcement" is available for less than 800 € (HPN part number 03.102.10), I placed my order immediately.
I received my frame number (0619) in 2015, but it took until summer 2017 until HPN was finally ready to receive my frame.
Within 24 hours after receipt of the shipping crate (fwiw: 115×40×62 cm), I completely disassembled the bike and sent the frame off to HPN in Seibersdorf, Germany.
For disassembly, I proceeded in the following sequence:
During the whole process, I took lots of photos. Knowing that a few weeks would pass until I could reassemble the bike, it was important to me to document in particular the placement of non-stock parts such as the luggage system, but also the placement of cables, bolts and washers. Obviously, not all photos are shown here.
For storing the parts, I used cardboard boxes and lots of transparent bags. I found that punched pockets in A4 size were very handy: big enough to hold parts ranging from bolts up to footpegs and mirrors, yet transparent and flexible.
It is important to remove all tiny bits and pieces from the frame. This includes in particular the steering lock, but also all rubber elements from the frame, subframe, centerstand, luggage system, bash plate and many other places.
While the frame was with HPN, I preformed exhaustive maintenance, such as:
Five weeks later, the reinforced frame was back in my garage. At least two of these five weeks were lost through customs clearance and postal services, but this was expected.
My idea was to use HPN's basic frame reinforcement and still keep the rest of the bike close to the factory settings, being able to use as many factory parts as possible. My order included a few particular items that I do not need right now but that would be difficult to add later on:
The reason for the 3rd item is that the original gas tank clamp cannot be used anymore: one of the frame reinforcements is located in the place where the original clamp used to be.
In addition, I specified that I wanted to continue to use the original seat, original side covers and the Hepco luggage holders. All points were fully respected.
Here's the unboxing and a first look at the "new" frame:
Reassembly was performed deliberately slowly, over a period of two weeks and testing almost every part. I proceeded roughly in the following sequence:
On 2018-08-20, HPN 619 hit the road for the first time.
I was curious to see and to ride ("er-fahren") the difference. All HPN that I had ridden before were custom-made bikes, all with different suspension elements, longer suspension travel and usually also with a different frame geometry. Those were all impressive bikes, but I always missed something that would allow me to assess the influence of a given component alone.
The first time this became possible for me was now, on my own bike. HPN had only added the standard frame reinforcement and changed the steering head bearing. Everything else was identical: this was the stock fork with WP springs (now with fresh oil), the rear stock was the same Öhlins (not even revised), geometry and suspension travel were both unchanged. Essentially, all parts were the same, just cleaner ;-)
I now have a new, different bike.
Near my place I have a few bends and corners at hand where I know that the GS would start to feel instable — never really disturbing but enough to become noticeable ... which means that I would keep the right hand under control. Riding through these same bends on the HPN, there is ... nothing.. No movement, no insecurity. Just a big grin in my face. I even caught myself taking some of these bends much faster than I usually do.
Speed wobble is totally absent. On the stock GS, I could eventually generate 2-3 oscillations (with rapidly decreasing amplitude) by hitting the handlebar. On the HPN, the handlebar immediately returns to its zero position.
In conclusion: I did not have expect that "only" the frame reinforcement would have such a noticeable, positive impact. I am more than just satisfied. This is a must have. And yes, I am grinning extra large as I am writing this :-)
If you want to make the GS an even better bike, start with the HPN frame. And no, I am not one of their shareholders.