BMW F 800 GS Adventure

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What is it?

It’s the BMW F 800 GS in its adventure outfit. Motorrad did the same thing when they turned the R 1200 GS into the R 1200 GS Adventure. The biggest difference between the 800 GS Adventure and standard 800 GS is the former’s bigger fuel capacity. Therefore the tank at the rear end of the bike which is fitted underneath the seat has to be much bigger. Besides a few other tweaks and extras it’s still an 800 GS, so it has the same engine and suspension as the standard bike.

Engine and drive

It’s exactly the same engine as used in the F 800 GS for the past five years: that trusty 798cc parallel-twin. This engine puts out 63kW and 83Nm of power. It does feel a bit dull between 0 and 3000 r/min, but then again feels great with the revs climbing over the 3500 mark. So it’s tricky to keep it alive on technical terrain, but really flies with the throttle pinned. The Adventure is still driven by a  chain.

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Style, instruments and equipment

The 800 Adventure looks like a pregnant 800 GS. The bigger fuel tank’s looks (24 litres; 8 more than the 800 GS) at the back takes some getting used to. The tank makes the back substantially wider than the normal 800. To protect the wider tank the Adventure comes with pannier racks as standard. The bigger fuel tank gives the Adventure a range of about 440km. Much better than the 300km range of the 800 GS.

There are protection bars around the engine too, as well as a bash plate and handguards for extra protection. But the handguards break like twigs when the bike falls over, so they’re useless, really.

The front section of the Adventure is wider than that of the 800 GS and it has a much higher windscreen. These features help to shield the wind from the rider. Wide enduro foot pegs, a comfort seat and two LED fog lights in front make the Adventure a more comfortable ride than the 800 GS.

As with all new BMW motorcycles, ABS is fitted as standard.

You have the option to fit Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) on the Adventure. This gives you the luxury of setting the suspension damping at the rear, at the press of a button, between Comfort, Normal And Sport. It only changes the damping at the rear and not the preload. So the differences between the settings are not significant. The WP forks can not be set in any way.

An optional Enduro Package is also available. With it comes Automatic Stability Control (ASC) which is BMW’s fancy name for traction control. The Enduro Package has an “Off Road” mode that can be selected by pushing a button. This then optimizes ABS and traction control for off-road usage and allows some slip when braking or accelerating.

The Off Road mode only comes with the Enduro Package, but the ASC can be fitted on its own.

The ABS and ASC can be switched off. The biggest pain with the electronic aids is that when the bike is switched off and on again, the ABS and ASC is automatically engaged.

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Performance

It feels exactly like the F 800 GS. The extra bit of weight, 15kg, does not make it feel slower on acceleration. Top end is down to 193km/h. And the fuel consumption is a bit higher; 5.7 litres/100km. A little more torque in the lower revs would have been really useful, Motorrad.

Ride and handling

Although the Adventure is 15kg heavier than the 800 GS, you won’t feel it. It’s still the 800 GS as we know it. It handles very well and feels nimble through technical sections.

It feels great on open gravel roads and just that little more planted than the 800 GS.

The suspension remains unchanged and doesn’t feel as if it needed any tinkering. The bike runs smoothly on gravel, soaks up the rough stuff and only bottomed out once when landing after a nasty jump.

I tilted the handlebar over to the front and that made standing up on the bike much easier.
(You’ll need some hex/allen keys to loosen the bolts on the handlebars if you want to tilt it.)

The wide foot pegs are really welcome. As is the wind protection offered by the high windscreen. The comfort seat is a little higher than the standard seat on the F 800 GS and certainly lives up to its name.

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Likes/Dislikes

Like: The high windscreen, wide foot pegs and longer range with the bigger tank.

Dislike: The look of the bigger fuel tank and the performance under 3000 r/min.

Verdict and rating

I like the standard F 800 GS a lot more than the Adventure model. Because of looks mainly. But the Adventure does make sense. It has the fuel range for touring, yet it’s still light and nimble. The perfect bike for that overland tour to Namibia or into Africa. Much easier to ride than that tank of a R 1200 GS Adventure. 9/10

Also consider

There’s no direct competitor at this moment. The Triumph Tiger 800 XC belongs with the (standard) F 800 GS and the KTM 990 is only available as a pre-owned these days.

Specifications for the BMW F 800 GS Adventure

  • Engine  Water-cooled, four-stroke, parallel-twin 798cc engine
  • Gearbox  Constant mesh six-speed. Chain drive.
  • Power  63kW@7500r/min
  • Torque  83Nm@5750r/min
  • Weight  229kg with oil and fully fuelled
  • Seat height  890mm and 860mm
  • Fuel capacity  24 litres
  • Fuel consumption  4.3 l/100km at 100km/h and 5.7 l/100km at 120km/h
  • Tank range  420km at 120km/h average
  • Warranty and servicing  Two-year warranty, unlimited kilometres. 10 000km service intervals. Three years road side assistance included.
  • Price  R124 200 for the base model and R139 500 with heated grips, ESA, Enduro Package and ASC included.
  • Ridden by Bikeroutes  July 2013
  • Review by  Willem van der Berg
  • Pictures by  Willem van der Berg and Greg Beadle

More info from http://www.bmw-motorrad.co.za/

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