installation: Touratech Plug & Travel Shock: BMW F850GS

Upgrading your suspension is the single biggest improvement you can make to your BMW F850GS or Adventure. A truly plug & play system for the F850GS or ADV, Touratech Plug & Travel fully integrates into the stock wiring, giving you all the same controls and adjustments you’ve grown to love. On top of that, Touratech suspension adds high and low-speed compression damping adjustment along with many other features that will ensure your suspension takes you the distance no matter what the load or terrain. We recommend you hire an experienced mechanic to install your shocks, but if you’re diving in this video is a great guide.


Hello, I’m Ian with Touratech-USA and today we’re going to be installing the Touratech plug and travel rear shock onto this BMW F 850 GS. The installation is pretty much the same between the F 850 GS, the F 850 GS Adventure, and the F 750 GS with just a couple of really small differences. But this video will be good to cover you, regardless of which one of those three bikes that you have.

So first thing we got to do is head over to the motorcycle with our key and verify what settings the ESA system is in. So I’m going to set this shock down and we’re going to get to work. The first step for this installation before we do anything else is going to be turning the bike on and verifying that the rear suspension is set in its minimum preload adjustment position, so that means just one helmet displayed on the dashboard. It’s pretty quick and easy to see. I’ll just turn the bike on here.

And one press on the ESA button. We’ve got single helmet mode here for the shock. The damping mode here, road or dynamic, doesn’t matter. We’re just going to leave it set on road. We need to disassemble some items on the bike in order to get to the shock to remove the factory suspension. So we’re going to remove the seat, the rear hanging mud fender, this plastic cover from both sides, and this chain guard here. I also might have to pull this heel protector off. I’m not quite sure yet, but we’ll figure it out as we go.

The clutch side cover is held on with one T-30 bolt in the middle and then a rubber push pin at the back here. This cover on the throttle side is held on with two bolts. There’s one here supporting the rear brake reservoir and then one in the center. On our bike, both of these use Torx T-30s when the two bolts are out, you pull out from the top. There’s a rubber push pin and then the cover comes right off.

The rear fender on this bike is held on with four bolts. Our bike has Touratech pannier racks on it and it’s easier to get this off if we just loosen the crossbar, so I pulled one bolt out and loosen the other side to let it drop down just a little. So this has two T-25 bolts on either side right here and then two T-30 bolts that are accessed from underneath. Once you pull those four bolts out, it just drops right down. This chain guard was held on with two Torx T-30 bolts. There’s one right back here and one here, right near the underside, the bottom of the shock. Once you have those two out, reach your hand under here and just give it a good tug. There’s a little plastic clip here that pops right out.

All right. Now we have the bike disassembled to the point where we can pull out the factory suspension. So we’re going to have to chase the wires, unhook the wires for the preload adjuster, the damping circuit, and then we’re going to pull out the shock absorber with the upper and lower mounts and then pull it out. So the first wire to disconnect is this one here coming out of the stock preload adjuster and you follow the connector to right here underneath the rear fender. There’s kind of a two step process here. If you use a pick and go right up here in the top of the plug, you can pry a little tab off side, which will allow the plug to slide free from the motorcycle. And then once you’ve done that, you can use the same pick to actually unplug the wires and separate the shock harness from the bike harness. Then here’s the tab to disconnect the harness from the shock and the bike right there.

So the wiring to disconnect the damping circuit is mounted up above the top of the shock absorber. And I’m going to try and drop the shock absorber out of the bike before I get to that connector, just to try and make it a little bit easier to reach. It’s mounted kind of underneath the gas tank, so if you don’t want to remove the gas tank, this might make it a little bit easier, but we’re going to find out. We can now remove the preload adjuster from the stock shock that’s held on by two T-30 Torx bolts and then we can remove the shock absorber itself. That’s held on with two T-55 Torx bolts, so big one at the bottom, big one at the top.

So I know this is really difficult to see, but to disconnect the wiring from the upper shock bolt, I’ve dropped the shock out and then chased the wires. And you can see there’s two plugs here. There’s one in the back right there and there’s one in the front. The one in the front is the shock wire and at the front of it, yeah we can’t see, at the front of it, there’s a button that we can push down. So with the shock lowered out of the way, I can actually get my hand in there and I’ll push the button. When I have it out, I’ll give you a better view of what it looks like.

All right. So now we’re making headway. If you look here at the plug, just like the plug for the preload adjuster, how you could disconnect it from on the bike, we did the same thing here. So it’s got this little tab right here that I push down with a pick and then it all slides toward the throttle side of the motorcycle and then it releases from the bracket that it’s in. And once we have it out, all we got to do is just push down the button right here and disconnect the shock from the bike harness. Like that.

Okay, now that we’ve got both of the wires disconnected, we have the preload adjuster disconnected and the upper and lower shock bolts out. We can just walk the shock right out of the bike this way.

All right. Hopefully you’re still with me. At this point, we now have the stock shock absorber removed from the motorcycle. Our shock has the Touratech progressive spring kit already installed on it, so the spring may look a little different than what you have, but the shock is exactly the same. So we’re going to set this aside and get to work installing the Touratech shock. So just like on the disassembly phase, I’m going to start by laying the shock roughly in position and then I’m going to hook up the damping wire, because it’s pretty difficult to reach with the shock in there. And then once I have this thing put away in its home, then I’m going to bolt the shock in and then work on mounting the preload adjuster. I recommend red loctite on both the upper and lower shock bolts. BMW clearly didn’t want these things to come out on accident and we don’t want them to either.

All right, now we have the shock installed on the bike, we have the wiring connector for the damping circuit connected back into its factory location, and we have the upper and lower shock bolts installed. Now is a great time to torque those shock bolts down. I torque them to 75 foot pounds. That works great for me.

Now it’s time to grab the two rubber isolators and the two stainless hose clamps to mount the preload adjustment motor on the sub-frame. It’s going to go roughly in the same position as the factory unit that we removed, but it doesn’t use that bolt-in assembly. It uses these isolators and clamps. These rubber isolators are a really tight fit on here, so I like to use just some soapy water to help them slide easily up the body of this thing. Before we mount the preload adjuster onto the sub-frame here, I’m going to unbolt the factory mount. This just gives us a lot more space to mount the Touratech preload adjuster. There are two Torx T-30 bolts holding this on.

All right. The preload adjuster motor is mounted firmly now using the stainless hose clamps and the rubber isolators. So it’s time to do cable management. The cable for the preload adjuster, we’re going to snake around the back following the same path that the factory one came out of, but this is obviously much longer, so we’re going to run it up here into the storage compartment underneath the passenger seat area. And then we’re going to mount the black box, the EPA controller. It’s going to go up there and then be connected to the factory wiring. For the damping circuit, that’s already plugged in. We just need to make sure that it runs through the same clips that the factory wiring had.

Once that’s all squared away, we’re going to grab the zip ties out of the kit and just make sure that everything’s tucked away where it needs to be and it’s safe away from danger of any moving parts catching it while we’re riding. Under the tail here, we’re going to run the Touratech wiring all the way around the corner, the way that the stock wiring went. And then it’s going to go up here through this hole and into the storage compartment under the seat.

We’re also going to find the lead from the factory connector, which is right here. And this is going to go up through this hole as well. Now it’s time to hook up the black box, the EPA controller, and it’s kind of a bear to reach everything up here underneath the seat storage area. So what I’ve done is I’ve pushed the single connector that goes to the stock wire harness. I’ve pushed it through the hole because it’s easier to reach everything down here, so I’m going to just connect the BMW factory harness to the Touratech EPA controller underneath the fender here.

And now I’ll be able to push that all back up through and work up at the top on everything else. All right, here we are underneath the seat of the bike and you can see I’ve got the EPA module here. I’ve got the one harness wire connected to the factory wire harness on the bike. And I have the two other wires hanging out here. This is the wiring harness that came off of the Touratech EPA motor, and it’s pretty clear here, one’s a four wire plug, one’s a two wire plug, so just hook them up.

All right. It’s checklist time. We’ve got the shock mounted. We have the EPA motor mounted. We have the wiring run for both the EPA motor and the damping circuit. The bolts are torqued down for the shock and all the wires are managed appropriately. So this bike is ready to be reassembled at this point, so that means we need to reconnect the crossbar on the back of the pannier rack. Again, you may not have to do that on your bike. Put the chain guard on. Put the right and left side covers on and then reinstall the seat.

So one thing that might save you guys some time, I’ll just bring it up here to make it more clear, the push pin piece that holds the chain guard on right at the front here, it’s a two piece unit and all you got to do to open it up is just push the center core out backwards from this pin. So when you’re ready to reassemble, just have the pin like this so you’ve got the little tab sticking out, push it in and then push the tab in flat. That’s how it works.

All right, this BMW F 850 is ready to ride. We’ve got the Touratech plug and travel shock installed on the back. And what that means is that all of the standard ESA adjustments are working exactly the same way they did with factory, but your comfort ride setting is a little bit more comfortable and your sporty ride setting is a little bit more sporty.

On top of that, you’ve got a custom spring now that’s appropriate for your weight, your riding style, and your luggage. And with this extra tool here, you’ve got two additional adjustments that you didn’t have on your old shock. You’ve got an adjustable high speed and low speed compression. If you want to learn more about how to tune that, please visit our Touratech blog. We did a great post describing all the different adjusters on the shocks and kind of giving you some guidelines about how to tune them. If you want to learn more about products we make for your bike, please visit our website And if you like this video, you want to see more like it, don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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