Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: western Massachusetts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
I can't say I agree with the OP's contention that the Beemer won. Re-read the whole piece, the last two paragraphs in particular, and I don't see how one could conclude that the F800GT came out on top. I think it would be easier to argue the converse.
I saw the white Versys at the NYC bike show, likely the same unit as the one from the story, and I agree about the comical width of the bags. I'm guessing that the mounts supplied for this bike were universal and not Versys-specific, because I have the same bags mounted on Givi brackets on my '08, and the brackets make use of the bags' shape and fill that wide open space I saw on that white bike in NYC.
One topic that doesn't get discussed in this story about tourers -- and should have been discussed -- is something serious touring riders (I place myself in that group) care much about: reliability. When I stuff the bags and head off for distant places, I want to trust that my bike will get me there. I trust my Versys. It's taken me to Quebec, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and all over New England. I'm sitting here trying to think of when it's let me down and all I come up with is one cool morning the Dual-Star heated grips I installed 5 seasons ago didn't work. That evening I replaced the fuse. I solved my dash buzz with some weather stripping around the gauge cluster. That about covers it.
Spend time on this forum and you realize that Versys riders don't piss and moan about their bikes breaking. Spend some time on the BMW F-bike forums and you won't walk away that same feeling. Also, read practically any published review of an F800 and you'll find a reference to vibration.
For a touring bike, the Achilles heel on the F800ST, in my view, is the drive belt. Lose the belt on that BMW and you'll be stranded. Depending on how far you've ridden, it may be days as you wait for a belt and then you'll need a BMW shop to replace it. If the chain on the Versys breaks, practically any motorcycle shop can sell you a new one and install it in short order.
Is the Beemer more refined and sophisticated than the Versys? I think it is. Is it a better touring bike? That's not the same question and the answer depends on your priorities. I just got back from a long weekend touring eastern Connecticut and central Massachusetts on the Versys. Two weekends ago I toured Down East Maine on the Versys. Had a blast both times on a bike I can load down with camping gear, fill with gas and go ride down whatever road I point it, trusting that it will get me where I'm going.
One bike not currently made (but in the works, I'd wager) that would probably beat either one of the bikes tested would be a Yamaha FJR based on the new 847cc triple. It would clean the V's clock and eat the F's lunch with factory-integrated touring features and a price somewhere in between the V and F. That would be veeeery interesting.
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2008 Versys (SOLD 11/19)
2003 ST1300ABS (SOLD 5/15)