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Ride report: F800GS


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(I know others have ridden this bike already and it may be "old news", but out here we finally have them to look at in person)


Stopped by my dealer yesterday to see the F800GS in person. The only one they had was "sold" so I couldn't fool around with it. Another guy showed up with another one for servicing and he had 1100 miles on it. He liked it so far.


Then a 3rd 800 materialized from the service shop that was new but sold, but someone had canceled their purchase due to job loss. Sensing a chance here ;) , I waited for another fellow who is dead serious about buying it to test ride it. When he came back it was my turn. Being the prepared person I am, I had to borrow a helmet gloves and jacket :dopeslap: for my ride.


What was interesting to me was that all 3 of us had a 32" inseam (at least so they said). The other two guys could not "flat foot" the bikes when astride them, but I could easily :S The bikes all had a standard seat, not the low one. My wife climbed on to check available 2-up space and there was plenty. She liked the initial set-up, but didn't ride with me.


Initial impressions were that the bike has a very comfortable seating position. The master cylinder looks like an afterthought. It is rubber mounted and tilts like a drunken sailor. The rest of the fit and finish looks very clean and tidy. Regular maintenance items look simple as the oil filter is in the front of the engine, but at the same time is very vulnerable. Definitely needs a bash plate for any off road work.


Riding impression:


The bike "sits" comfortably for my 6' frame. Knee bend is a little tight ala my buddies 1200GS. I would need to lower the pegs to avoid knee fatigue on long rides. (I did this on my F650 and it worked great). The seat seemed comfortable for a BMW seat. There is NO wind protection to speak of. I would need some wind protection. The same with the hand grips. It was 45 degrees and quite chilly. The bars could use hand guards.

The motor has a real nice sound, almost like my buddies 1200GS with a Remus exhaust. Out of respect for my dealer and the bike, I did not exceed 4500 RPM on this new motor, and actually found no need to. The power is very linear and smooth with little to no vibration. It felt every bit as powerful as a 1200GS, though I know it probably isn't. Very very impressive motor. It also sounds awesome through the range (at least to 4500 rpm)


The brakes were progressive. The other rider felt they weren't that strong, but he rides Ducati's. For off road work they felt like they would be perfect...not too twitchy. For on road work they felt very predictable.


The stock forks felt good on the road, but the rear shock would need some fiddling. Compression and rebound damping felt harsh, but it's hard to know how they were configured during this ride. I hit some heaved paving at a railroad crossing twice at speed to feel their action, and the rear shock needs help.

The rear view mirrors are poor and not in the same league as my F650 mirrors. They look stylish, but don't function well.


To sum it up, the bike is very nice. It would be an a short list of bikes for me to consider if I sold both of my bikes and keep just one..


Now if I win the lottery...



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