Honda XRV Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Ninja Thread Hijacker
Joined
·
2,978 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I took a test ride on the BMW F800GS on Thursday 23rd July '09. I had the bike for over 2 hours and gave it a run over B roads , A roads , dual carrageways , motorways and town speed stuff.

I think most of the modern "adventure" style bikes are grossly overpowered for their intended purpose, BMW1200GS , KTM990 etc and I wish bike manufacturers would get back to basics and build a well designed adventure bike around 70-80 hp. So I had high hopes of liking the BMW.

So what did I like ..........

It's a very nice bike to approach for the first time , a very comfortable layout (apart from the BMW indicator switches) and quite a nice height for a shorty like me. I had asked for the no cost option low seat to be fitted taking the seat to a stated 850 mm. The bike feels very "planted" on the road , I think a lot of that may be down to the Bridgestone Battlewing tyres fitted to the test bike - it really should have had Trailwings or Pirelli Scorpions or the like if it claims to be a dual purpose bike as Battlewings are purely road tyres. There is ample power from the engine and it pulls strongly , I was often surprised to find myself in the 6th gear thanks to the dash indicator when really my head was telling me she had plenty of grunt left and another gear could be snicked. The test bike was fitted with an excellent touring screen , with not buffeting - other bike makers could learn a lot from BMW screen/fairing designers. The bike had an entertaining ride computer fitted (£123) option and there are hours of innocent fun to be had watching the "to go" tank range indicator changing in real time as you change speed / gear, but a little uncomfortable to see your range change from 120 miles to empty , to 45 miles to empty just by dropping a gear and accelerating for an overtake. I had a few interesting roundabouts and junctions at first trying to get used to the indicator switches , cancelling and trying to maintain a steady throttle while turning takes a bit of practice, but apart from that the throttle felt relatively smooth , for a twin with FI !!!.

What did I not like.........

There is the most annoying and in my opinion , badly designed , front brake master cylinder, it's on some sort of elaborate rubber mount and shakes around violently all the time , distractingly so !! It was bouncing around so much on the test bike , I was sure that air would end up going down the line !!!

The seat got uncomfortable after about an hour , I did have the optional low seat fitted , and noticed that there were also low peg mounts that could be used , so maybe both are meant to be used in conjunction.

The rear shocker has absolutely no guard to prevent it getting whacked by grit and stones if you were to venture on to a track - a huge omission in my opinion - most other dual purpose bikes a least have a bit of plastic fitted to keep the worst abuse away.

My lower legs got caked in dirt a minor issue I know but annoying for a all year commuter like me.

All in all - quite a nice bike. But not for me. It did not move me enough to be considered as a potential replacement for the KTM.

The basic cost for a non ABS version is going to £7200 ish in august and after heated grips, trip computer , mainstand and luggage rack are fitted it comes in around £7700. Then there would be rails for my touratech panniers and crashbars to be fitted, probably around another £500 . So we arrive at £8200 and for anyone wanting the ABS option - another £600 thankyou !!!
 

·
Geeking it out!
Joined
·
1,061 Posts
Thanks WeeJack, an interesting report.

Owning one of these I do tend to agree on a number of your points. On a number of the other issues I hope it doesn’t look like I’m disagreeing with you just because I’ve bought a F800GS they’re just my opinions. In fact in some ways the F800 is such an almost there bike, IMO overall a really great dual purpose bike it would only take another 2% to make it an almost perfect all rounder. But hey ho. It's not up there with the KTM990ADV but I think it's being aimed at a slightly different market. How many F800s will ever see dirt?



Regarding the muck being thrown up onto your legs, I ended up fitting a small plastic fenda extender.







Maybe another reason for more crud being thrown up is the mudguard is mounted somewhat higher than on say a Transalp / AT (don’t know about the KTM) However an advantage to this came to light on last weeks Beds. Northants. Trail ride, the TA’s in particular were suffering with mud clogging up under there front mudguards stopping the wheel from going round where as the BM didn’t suffer this at all.

There is no excuse for the most stupid of indicator switches full stop, it even worries me somewhat trusting a manufacture who thought these were a good idea to get anything else on the bike right!! :confused:


On your point with the tyres, mine originally came with Michelin Anakees, basically road tyres, on these the bike felt totally planted. I’ve recently fitted a pair of TKCs. Although they obviously have less grip I’m still surprised how well the bike feels and handles, a lot better than my Africa Twin felt on the same tyres.

A lot of people seem to complain about the wobbly master cylinder, to be honest I don’t notice this too much. (Until you’ve now mentioned this, I will now be forever watching the wobble now!!) I think there were some brake fluid foaming issues with the original design caused by vibration hence the big wobbly rubber mount. (Or so I read on an internet.)





Regarding the seat, I find the standard height item more comfortable that the seat on my Transalp, albeit only just. Looking at the lower seat option there doesn’t seem to be much padding there. For me at 6’2” I find the riding position very comfortable. What I do like is no sculptured cut out so on a longer run I can move about a bit.

My mind isn’t made up on the exposed rear shock. Why didn’t BMW just fit a little plastic guard for the extra €1.00 I don’t know? However closer examination reveals the damping rod on the shock is well and truly hidden from crud and there is no rising rate linkage to suffer. Whereas many bikes with linkage suspension it’s usually mounted under the swinging are right in the path of crud anyway. So I hope BM did consider this and feel it has sufficient protection.





I find the computer very useful; the countdown to next fill up feature is pretty useful and worth the cost.

What I really like with the BMW is the feeling of a low centre of gravity even with a full tank of fuel. It’s a lot easier to pick up when on it’s side than the TA.

Fuel economy is very good.

The side stand is badly though out (again BMW do have a history of this) When putting it down the bike has to be almost vertical, get stuck in even a shallow rut and you cant get the stand down. See below the only alternative!





The biggest problem for me is the very sensitive throttle, I found this quite a problem when riding on very slippy trails especially when standing up on the pegs, I found it very difficult to keep everything smooth, lots of wheel spinning.

I’m not wholly convinced how well the BMW will cope with a few years of salted British roads, we will see.

IMO the BMW falls in-between say the Africa Twin and the KTM990ADV. From what I understand the KTM now comes in at nearly £10,000 nearly £3000 more than the Beemer

The F800GS is my main transport, winter summer and trail riding toy, and overall, excluding the prior points ideal for my needs. OK, I’ve only had the BMW for 7 months but I’m not yet yearning for a different bike so it’s the most satisfied I’ve ever been with a bike,….however, if I was to replace the bike and money was no object it could well be Orange!;)












However for a really good all rounder has anyone considered a Transalp??;)
 

·
Ninja Thread Hijacker
Joined
·
2,978 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Russh,

Your pictures are great and illustrate the bouncing brake cylinder very well.

Your bike looks like what I would do if I was to have one , - fenda extenda , TT pannier rails, crash bars and some sort of rack and top box.

I would prefer NOT to have ABS, I've had bad experiences with ABS units failing in the past and on a Pan European ended up with a bill of £1300 ! to repair a failed rear ABS unit......... Boogger that !!!

I note your point about the shock absorber - no linkage and yes on reflection there was no exposed rod, but for the cost of a wee plastic flap, it would at least give the impression that BMW had thought of everything.

What MPG do you get for "normal" riding (whatever that is !!!) I was thinking that for the size of the tank , you would have to get about 60 - 70 MPG to make it practical - is that really possible on this bike ?? if so WOW !!

And yes !! the KTM is £3000 more , but it's not a £3000 better bike !!

The F800 GS is not far away from my ideal , but far enough away at present to make me think a little longer.
 

·
SHW'MAE BUTT
Joined
·
3,270 Posts
No doubt Sharrie will post after our trip to Spain on the GS800 at the moment its loaded up and its fatter than a GSA12 :D
 

·
Still no FI
Joined
·
98 Posts
What I don't get is how they have managed to get a Paralell twin to still sound like a boxer????

Good report btw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,174 Posts
What I don't get is how they have managed to get a Paralell twin to still sound like a boxer????

Good report btw.
I thought it sounded like a 400 superdream ;)

It's the 360 degree crank that does it. Both pistons move up and down together and fire alternately making the exhaust pulses evenly spaced.
 

·
Top Cat
Joined
·
1,636 Posts
I borrowed a colleague's F800GS for a quick blast yesterday.

I have to say, I was very impressed. It felt "flickable" like the Twin and not far short of being as quick off the mark as the Tiger.

The front brake master cylinder is as silly as everyone says, but the eccentric indicators didn't take long to get used to.

I found the riding position very comfortable. My legs were even more stretched out than the Twin (the Tiger requires me to bend my legs a little longer than I'd like - and my inside leg is only 31"), yet I could easily put both feet down.

The throttle is, indeed, a bit sensitive. Again, more like the Twin than the triple of the Tiger.

All-in-all, I was very impressed. I wonder how soon before they'll be cheap enough for me to afford? And will they be worth having by then?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,472 Posts
I had a test ride recently too - was considering going the whole hog for a F800 instead of a new Transalp again.

Loved the F800GS - nice midrange power, suspension was a big upgrade from the Honda Transalp especially the front end, handling was pretty much the same as a TA700 as was mileage on the tank and MPG.

Seating position was a perfect, however the seat was narrow and therefore the edges did start to dig in after about 20 mins - this led to me to worry about comfort on a long trip. I did test the lowered seat though as this was the only one that allowed me to touch one foot properly on the ground on tarmac - im 5"9 (30" inside leg) so not that small.

For motorway miles I found the std screen just about adequate but it would need one of those screen add-ons to raise the air over your head. Wanst as bad as a TA with std screen and a lot less noise and pressure on upper body but still requires additional height. Lack of handguards is also disapointing but its BMW - they will sell you everything else after you buy the bike...shame the sidestand isnt an option.

Wobbly brake res wasnt an issue, indicators I can get used to but right indicator whilst throttling isnt sensible - side stand off road or with pillion was a big issue...aka it doesnt work.

Would loved to have pushed myself the little bit extra to buy one of these but in the end the reliability got me - too many issues to have repaired during the life I required it for - 4 years and 50k miles - wouldve needed additional 2 year warranty, a lot of patience and a dealer I could trust to sort it all.

I bought another TA700 from my Honda dealer instead. Dont like risks.

If your like a lot of BMW riders and take it out for short journeys covering no more than 5k/year then this bikes a lot of fun and very much more a dual sport bike for an average rider. Will cover motorways with confidence, off road I have no experience of but believe it to be better and I can see where and why. On tarmac rideouts - loads of fun and they do look good too.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top