The lines between on- and off-road enthusiasts are becoming rather blurred nowadays, with a majority of major manufacturers having established themselves within the dual-sport/adventure bike sector. BMW is one such builder, and is even into its second generation of adventure bikes with the F 800 GS and F 800 GS Adventure. The former is more of a casual commuter / funbike, while the “Adventure” is geared toward touring and long-range work, and naturally, both come with the top-notch engineering one expects from BMW.

Continue reading for my review of the BMW F 800 GS and F 800 GS Adventure.

  • 2015 - 2017 BMW F 800 GS / F 800 GS Adventure
  • Year:
    2015- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Water-cooled 4-stroke in-line two-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
  • Displacement:
    798 cc
  • Top Speed:
    120 mph
  • Price:
    12495
  • Price:

Design

2015 - 2017 BMW F 800 GS / F 800 GS Adventure
- image 705142

(F 800 GS)

While it can be said that all bikes have a certain amount of form-follows-function apparent in the design, that is especially true with rides like these. Nothing else in the world looks quite like an adventure bike, and with good reason, because nothing else can straddle the line between two distinctively different worlds quite as well.

This pair leads the way with a laced front wheel, bird’s beak fairing and guards to protect the swept portion of the inverted front forks. All very off-road-tastic indeed. An asymmetrical, side-by-side headlight arrangement gives the face a sort of “winking robot” look that comes off almost as accidentally cool, and an oddly shaped windshield tops off the whole thing with protection for the rider as well as the over-under instrument cluster.

A typically high fuel-tank bump gives the F 800 GS brethren those classic, adventure-bike flylines that tumble down to the bench seat. While the base GS carries a straight seat with no distinction between where the rider area ends and the pillion pad begins, the Adventure has a proper scoop with some rise to help keep the rider’s butt in place.

Exposed Trellis-frame members lend an air of strength with a confidence-inspiring skid plate to protect the stressed-unit engine from terrain strikes. The base model comes with oh shit handles for the passenger ahead of a tapered sub-frame area, and the Adventure adds a luggage rack and hard saddlebags to facilitate the longer rides and touring activities it was built for.

Short standoffs mount the turn signals all around, but they aren’t quite as vulnerable to scrub strikes as one might imagine, and the tucked-away, LED taillamp has a built-in modulator that flashes in a hard-to-ignore fashion. Personally I like that feature for the extra bit of safety it provides, and since there’s really no downside to it, there’s no reason to not throw it on at the factory.

Chassis

2015 - 2017 BMW F 800 GS / F 800 GS Adventure
- image 705153

(F 800 GS Adventure)

Tubular steel members make up the front of the stressed-engine Trellis frame, with square stock to form the rear for a balance of strength and weight, and a yoke-style swingarm made from aluminum to keep unsprung weight low at the rear wheel. A 26-degree rake and 4.6 inches of trail seem about right on paper, but leave the bike with an unfortunate tendency to understeer a bit at speed. Still, maneuverability is decent at lower speeds, and so the bike is agile enough to navigate off-road terrain with little fuss.

Stout, 43 mm usd forks support the front end on 9.1 inches of travel, but I’m a little disappointed to note a complete lack of adjustability. Really, guys? At least the rear monoshock comes with adjustable preload and rebound damping for a little ride control.

A 21-inch front rim mounts a narrow, 90/90 hoop with a 17-inch rim in back for the 150/70 rear rubber, and the fact that they are laced fits the off-road facet nicely, plus they just look really cool. Twin-pot calipers bite the dual, 300 mm discs up front and a single-piston caliper binds the 265 mm disc in back. Bless BMW for including ABS and for making it switchable for those times you’d like a little bit of slide in your ride.

Drivetrain

2015 - 2017 BMW F 800 GS / F 800 GS Adventure
- image 705145

(F 800 GS)

BMW pushes these rides with a water-cooled, parallel-twin that comes with counterbalancers to dampen the engine vibrations so your butt and hands won’t get the tingles on you. Dual overhead cams time the four-valve heads. A relatively hot 12-to-1 compression ratio means you’ll be feeding it the premium-pump champagne to prevent pre-ignition/detonation. Naturally, electronic fuel injection delivers the juice to help develop the 85 ponies at 7,500 rpm and 61 pounds of grunt at 5,750 rpm while meeting EU-4 emission standards and delivering 54 mpg. Oh, and the catalytic converter doesn’t hurt, either.

The short-stroke mill runs an 82 mm bore and 75.6 mm stroke for a total displacement of 798 cc, but as you can see, the power numbers look more like what you might expect from an engine closer to the one-liter mark. A standard, mechanically-actuated clutch couples engine power to the six-speed gearbox — no need for a slip-and-assist clutch here — and a tough chain drive makes the final connection to the rear wheel.

Pricing

2015 - 2017 BMW F 800 GS / F 800 GS Adventure
- image 705152

(F 800 GS Adventure)

MSRP on the base model F 800 GS runs at $12,495, and the Adventure model understandably commands a bit more cheddar at $13,895. Of course, that’s before you start looking at the tasty options BMW has on the menu, such as the lowered seats and suspension, electronically-controlled suspension components and traction control, just to name a few.

Competitors

2016 Triumph Tiger 800 XR
- image 642633
2015 - 2017 BMW F 800 GS / F 800 GS Adventure
- image 705163

Even though there’s no shortage of competition on hand, the Japanese market didn’t have anything with just the right displacement for my head-to-head with the base F 800 GS, but just a short hop West across the English channel is all it took to find the Tiger 800 XR by Triumph.

While I never have cared for the bird’s beak front end, I can’t say that I’m particularly fond of the headlight can and windshield arrangement on the Tiger— it reminds me of a pair of glasses that has slipped too far down someone’s nose. Beyond that difference, there’s quite a bit of similarity between the two, from the vented engine cowl to the stereotypical fuel-tank bump and on back to the bench rider/pillion seat.

Both bikes sport a rider triangle that’s comfortable and natural when seated, and allows for an upright, standing position for technical off-road work. Exposed frame members are a constant across the board, but the BMW definitely looks sexier with its Trellis members peeking out at the sides.

Inverted front forks are also featured on both rides with guards to turn grit and grime away from the inner fork tubes in order to protect the fork seals. I’ll always prefer laced wheels to mags, especially on off-road bikes, so BMW definitely gets points there. The F 800 also wins out in suspension travel with 9.1 inches up front and 8.5 in the back versus 7.08/6.69 with the Tiger, and this translates directly into greater off-road capability, though to be fair both bikes are a bit heavy to be making jumps or other shenanigannery that will really test those numbers. Big, dual front brakes and switchable ABS is standard equipment on both rides, so neither gains an advantage here.

BMW runs a parallel-twin mill that packs 798 cc but Trumpet favors its 800 cc triple for the Tiger. Liquid cooling and dual overhead cams with four valves per head are constants, but the power figures clearly show the difference between the engine configurations. While the twin is gruntier with 61 pound-feet of torque and 85 horsepower, the Triumph triple brings the ponies with 95 horsepower but only 58.3 pound-feet. The more widely-spaced power pulses from the BMW are definitely more conducive to riding on soft surfaces, since they give the rear tire a split-second longer to gain purchase.

Triumph picks up a minor victory at the till with an $11,700 sticker, a bit shy of the $12,495 price tag on the GS, but honestly that’s not enough to make a real difference to someone on the fence, or to combat brand loyalty.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “About what I expected; a solid, capable ride. However, I’m a little let down by the lack of features included with the standard equipment. I mean, most of what I’d like to see is available as optional equipment, and I know the factory is trying to keep prices competitive, but it just doesn’t have quite as much of that wow factor I normally walk away with. Oh well, sometimes good enough has to be good enough.”

She Said

"It has snappy acceleration and a low center of gravity, so the weight isn’t too much of a problem, especially at speed. I’d probably go for something smaller as a commuter, but this is commuter-worthy since it is maneuverable at low speeds for lane filtering, though I’d probably take off the panniers and put on a taller windscreen if that’s how it was being used."

Specifications

Models: F 800 GS F 800 GS Adventure
Engine:
Type: Liquid cooled, 4-stroke parallel twin engine, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication Liquid cooled, 4-stroke parallel twin engine, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
Bore x stroke: 82 mm x 75.6 mm 82 mm x 75.6 mm
Capacity: 798 cc 798 cc
Rated output: 85 hp (63 kW) at 7,500 rpm 85 hp (63 kW) at 7,500 rpm
Max. torque: 61 lb-ft (83 Nm) at 5,750 rpm 61 lb-ft (83 Nm) at 5,750 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.0 : 1 12.0 : 1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection Electronic fuel injection
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4 Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Performance / fuel consumption:
Maximum speed: Over 125 mph 120 mph
Fuel consumption per 100 km at constant 90 km/h: 54 mpg at a constant 55 mph (3.8 l) 55 mpg at a constant 55 mph (4.3 l)
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded Premium Unleaded
Electrical system:
Alternator: Three-phase 400 W generator Three-phase 400 W generator
Battery: 12 V / 12 Ah, maintenance-free 12 V / 12 Ah, maintenance-free
Power transmission:
Clutch: Multi-plate wet clutch, mechanically operated Multi-plate wet clutch, mechanically operated
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with straight cut gears Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with straight cut gears
Drive: Chain drive 2.62:1 Chain drive 2.62:1
Chassis / brakes:
Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame, load-bearing engine Tubular steel trellis frame, load-bearing engine
Front wheel location / suspension: Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm
Rear wheel location / suspension: Aluminum 2-sided swing arm, WAD strut (travel related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable Aluminum 2-sided swing arm, WAD strut (travel related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable
Suspension travel front / rear: 9.1" / 8.5" (230 mm / 215 mm) 9.1" / 8.5" (230 mm / 215 mm)
Wheelbase: 62” (1,573 mm) 61.9” (1,573 mm)
Castor: 4.6" (117 mm) 4.6" (117 mm)
Steering head angle: 64° 64°
Wheels: Wire spoke wheels Wire spoke wheels
Rim, front: 2.15 x 21" 2.15 x 21"
Rim, rear: 4.25 x 17" 4.25 x 17"
Tires, front: 90/90 - 21 54V 90/90 - 21 54V
Tires, rear: 150/70 - 17 69V 150/70 - 17 69V
Brake, front: Dual floating disc brakes, dual-piston floating calipers, diameter 300 mm Dual floating disc brakes, dual-piston floating calipers, diameter 300 mm
Brake, rear: Single disc brake, diameter 265 mm, single-piston floating caliper Single disc brake, diameter 265 mm, single-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS (can be switched off) BMW Motorrad ABS (can be switched off)
Dimensions / weights:
Length: 90.6” (2,300 mm) 90.7" (2,305 mm)
Width (incl. mirrors): 37.2" (945 mm) 36.4" (925 mm)
Height (excl. mirrors): 52.9” (1,345 mm) 57.1" (1,450 mm)
Seat height, unladen weight: 34.6" (880 mm) Standard; variable seat heights available between 32.3" (820 mm) and 36.2" (920 mm) (available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer) 35.0" (890 mm) Standard; low seat 33.9" (860 mm) (available as accessory and/or factory option, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer)
Inner leg curve, unladen weight: 76.0" (1,930 mm) Standard; variable inner leg curve (inseam) between 70.5" (1,790 mm) and 78.3" (1,990 mm) (seats available as accessories and/or factory options, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer) 77.2" (1960 mm) Standard; low seat 75.6" (1,920 mm) (available as accessory and/or factory option, see an authorized BMW Motorrad dealer)
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fueled: 478 lbs (217 kg) 512 lbs (232 kg)
Dry weight:
Permitted total weight: 979 lbs (444 kg) 1,001 lbs (454 kg)
Payload (with standard equipment): 500 lbs (227 kg) 496 lbs (225 kg)
Usable tank volume: 4.2 gal (16 l) 6.3 gal (24.0 l)
Reserve: Approx. 0.7 gal (2.7 l) Approx. 1 gal (4.0 l)
Colors:
2017: Ostra Grey Metallic Matte, Black Storm Metallic Racing Red Matte, Catalano Grey
Price:
2017: $12,495 $13,895

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended.

Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com, triumphmotorcycles.com

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