The F800 was a bike on my short list when I wanted a second, lighter bike to complement my ST1300. I was bidding on a BMW factory rep's bike when the numbers were within my budget and it ended up selling for thousands more after I dropped out. In retrospect I'm glad because I found a used Versys for less than my budget and subsequently have read several reviews citing engine vibration on F bikes.
Interesting, then, your experience with vibration. The last few magazine tests I've read on F bikes mentioned annoying vibration in detail, not just as a passing observation.
Motorcycle Consumer News
, 3/2011, says vibration is an issue above 7,000 rpm: "However, engine vibrations (like a Boxer at high rpm, or those lovable British twins) become noticeable in the handgrips above 70 mph, which might make you think twice about maintaining such high cruising speeds."
"All that's left for BMW to iron out is the buzz that puts my hands to sleep at constant speeds over 70 mph..."
Vibration is also noted in the test notes "Picks and Pans" along with a hard to read speedo.
, 6/2011, thinks it's an issue above 5,000 rpm: "To mimic the sound and feel of a boxer twin, the F 800 R has an even firing sequence. Both pistons move up and down together, with one combustion cycle for each rotation of the crankshaft. BMW uses a unique system to address primary and secondary imbalances. Instead of a chain or gear-driven balance shaft, which can be noisy, a compensation rod is attached to the center of the crankshaft. Connected to the rod is a horizontal balance arm, and together their mass matches that of the pistons and rocker arms. By moving up and down opposite the pistons, the compensation rod offsets untoward vibration. Despite the claimed advantages of this setup, the F 800 R is quite buzzy, not unlike its siblings, the F 800 GS (Rider, January 2009) and F 650 GS (which I rode for a week on the Edelweiss Alps Extreme Tour; Rider, October 2010). The F 800 R is smooth at low revs, but once the tach needle sweeps past 5,000 rpm it begins to feel frenetic, like a teenager hopped up on Red Bull. Vibration is felt in the grips, seat, tank and pegs all the way up to the 9,000-rpm redline. Tiresome and annoying, I sometimes ran a gear high to keep engine speed low. Fortunately, in sixth gear the engine spins just below 5,000 rpm at 75 mph, which allows cruising in harmonious bliss rather than harmonic dissonance."
This is a photo caption in the same story: "BMW's F-series parallel twin makes good power, but above 5,000 rpm vibration is excessive."
[Full disclosure: I am a Rider contributor, although not as a bike tester.]
(Interesting that BMW seems to have tried to mimic the feel of a boxer. The "character" of the boxer mill is what has kept me from buying an RT. I have friends who love their boxers, ride what you like. I will be curious to see if BMW's water cooled version of the boxer somehow addresses the buzz.)
Kevin Ash (http://www.ashonbikes.com/content/bmw-f800gs):
"The engine isn’t as eager as I was expecting on the road (compared with the F800S), but it pulls taller gears well from low revs and is relaxed when loaded at touring speeds. Rev it hard and it does reward with decent pace despite feeling more flat at the top than the F800S, but an old BMW bugbear, vibration, does become an issue at steady motorway speeds, when the motor buzzes harshly through the seat and handlebars. As this is exactly the sort of use the bike will get it is disappointing, especially as the unique engine balancing system is clever and interesting: a third conrod driven by the crankshaft points underneath the engine where it drives a lever arm with a bobweight at one end. BMW says this is more effective than conventional rotating balance shafts and saps less power too – maybe so, but the engine still tingles."
"But with a bigger fuel tank and less vibration, it’d sell better."
All that said, I like the concept of the F800, especially in the ST setup. Your side covers look nicely executed, well done. You seem to have fallen in to a good deal dollars and sense wise. Enjoy the bike and don't be a stranger.