BMW F800GT Opinions - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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BMW F800GT Opinions

The last few years when I was ruminating buying my next bike there were a few I never got to test ride. Just curious if anyone here ever got to try or own an F800GT? Your opinion?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 02:14 PM
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About a year ago I test rode a 2015 F800GT that had approx. 1400 miles on the clock.
I did not like the bike for the following reasons:

Ergos were too sport bike for me-too much forward body lean and knees bent/high pegs
Uninspiring engine performance-bike felt slow
Harsh ride even with the electronic suspension at its softest setting
Handling felt heavy and slow

I was very interested in this bike but after the test ride was very disappointed and did not consider the purchase of one.
Ended up purchasing a 2016 Yamaha FJ-09.


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 03:17 PM
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Considered one a while back but didn't buy for reasons similar to those mentioned by Ziggy. Still, what concerns either of us should not necessarily make it a deal breaker for you if you like the machine overall. Remember, nothing is perfect.

In my defense of BMWs however, I do own, and am quite attached to, a 1993 K75S Flying Brick. It's far from perfect and can't match new offerings but it's still one of my favorites. It is what it is, and doesn't try to be anything else. Understanding that going in is why I decided to add it to the fleet. Not sorry I did either.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 07:39 PM
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I rode BMW's for 13 years owning 3 in that time period. A '93 K75S, '02 R1150RT and a '04 R1150RS.
The K75S was my favorite BMW and one of my all time favorite bikes and the R1150RT my least favorite BMW.
All of them had their issues and my opinion is that BMW's are overrated.
Japanese bikes offer more bang for the buck by far IMHO.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 10:22 PM
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Not a big BMW fan, but back in the early 70's the R/75 was a very smooth,good handling bike, with plenty of power.
A couple of years ago my neighbor bought a BMW f800. It didn't impress me at all. As already stated by Ziggy, not much power.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 12:50 AM
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Even the salesman at the local BMW shop in the area I live said not to buy this bike. He said its underpowered for its size. I think that model is overpriced for what you get. You'd be better off with a Ninja 1000 or a Connie GTR and pay the same or slightly less.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 08:18 AM
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I was interested because of the belt drive for lower maintenance when travelling. The local salesman said it has a lot of vibration. I didn't test ride it, but did ride a 1200R. It had too much vibration for me and he considered it smooth in comparison to the 800.

To me the power concerns are relative. I am not in a race every time I ride. As long as a bike can keep me ahead of traffic, and with a few downshifts pass a logging truck on a short straightaway in the mountains, then I am fine with the power.

I enjoy my KLX250S and enjoyed my Ninja 250R.

I find it amazing how many posts about power I read on motorcycle forums. Yet the majority of cars on the road are econoboxes,

My Versys Travels:


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Appreciate all the feedback. I'm not getting one, I chose the Versys instead but regret not finding one to test ride. BMW dealerships generally have demo bikes available so it's really on me for not being more thorough. The few people I know who have taken one for a ride all say the same thing, the power in uninspiring. Based on specs I find that hard to believe, it makes between 80-90hp if I remember correctly. I come from owning a CB650 and Ninja 650 so it would seem it would have more oomph than what I'm used to yet it has this blah reputation which all of you seemed to reinforce. Maybe it's the way the power is delivered?

The reason I've always liked this bike is that it looks good, has center stand, luggage, single-side swingers (I'm a sucker for this look) and comfy ergos, unlike the VFR I tried. It's just really hard to find a mid-size sporty touring bike with the exception of this BMW, VFR, FJ09 and of course, the Versys.

Big, crazy power is fun but I've never felt compelled to buy a monster bike, for my part, my Ninja 650 is just a joy to zip around on and satisfies my need for speed. I'm hoping my new Versys will be equally fun as I break her in. I value good handling over gobs of power. Having said that I got to spend a weekend on a Concours and a week on an FZ1 and they were both a great deal of fun. The FZ1 was more my bike as it isn't a big heavy sport tourer but man, did it suck gas.

Again, thanks for all the opinions.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 12:28 PM
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Appreciate all the feedback. I'm not getting one, I chose the Versys instead but regret not finding one to test ride. BMW dealerships generally have demo bikes available so it's really on me for not being more thorough. The few people I know who have taken one for a ride all say the same thing, the power in uninspiring. Based on specs I find that hard to believe, it makes between 80-90hp if I remember correctly. I come from owning a CB650 and Ninja 650 so it would seem it would have more oomph than what I'm used to yet it has this blah reputation which all of you seemed to reinforce. Maybe it's the way the power is delivered?

The reason I've always liked this bike is that it looks good, has center stand, luggage, single-side swingers (I'm a sucker for this look) and comfy ergos, unlike the VFR I tried. It's just really hard to find a mid-size sporty touring bike with the exception of this BMW, VFR, FJ09 and of course, the Versys.

Big, crazy power is fun but I've never felt compelled to buy a monster bike, for my part, my Ninja 650 is just a joy to zip around on and satisfies my need for speed. I'm hoping my new Versys will be equally fun as I break her in. I value good handling over gobs of power. Having said that I got to spend a weekend on a Concours and a week on an FZ1 and they were both a great deal of fun. The FZ1 was more my bike as it isn't a big heavy sport tourer but man, did it suck gas.

Again, thanks for all the opinions.
How did you like the Concours?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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How did you like the Concours?
It's a great bike just too bulky and heavy for me. It's close to 700lbs. plus it's really wide. Very comfortable and smooth, especially on long highway rides. Around town it's just a big heavy bike, manageable if you pay attention it won't get away from you. I really liked the heated grips and power windscreen. Bikes like the Concours and FJR are deceptively fast, you don't realize how fast you are traveling because of the composure of the machine. I just wish the manufacturers would make mid-size bikes that match the features of bikes like the Concours. Really, the F800GT is the only one that comes close, maybe the RS1200R other than the big motor it's not an overwhelming machine size wise.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 03:43 PM
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FWIW - I 'tested' the BMW F650GS and F800GS (also the 1200GS) among others, then bought the FIRST of my three Versys 650s.

I was NOT impressed w/ the F650 or the F800. A fellow who I met going to D2D in 2015 was riding one, then couldn't wait to replace it w/ ANYTHING ELSE. I would suggest an Africa Twin over it.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 04:00 PM
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The F800GT always appealed to me also. Maintenance cost bothers me though, drive belt is 400.00 every 24-30k miles, valve adjust is 12k and is a major disassembly. I would have to use the dealer for that. I also have the dealer check the valves on my Versys, but at 26k between checks its not so bad. My experience with previous Beemer sport touring bikes indicates it is better for the rich.
This po boy loves his Versys.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 04:46 PM
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It's a great bike just too bulky and heavy for me. It's close to 700lbs. plus it's really wide. Very comfortable and smooth, especially on long highway rides. Around town it's just a big heavy bike, manageable if you pay attention it won't get away from you. I really liked the heated grips and power windscreen. Bikes like the Concours and FJR are deceptively fast, you don't realize how fast you are traveling because of the composure of the machine. I just wish the manufacturers would make mid-size bikes that match the features of bikes like the Concours. Really, the F800GT is the only one that comes close, maybe the RS1200R other than the big motor it's not an overwhelming machine size wise.
Im 6-7, 235 lbs, I like the tall windscreen on the Connie and the fact it would probably cut through the wind a little better than the V1k. With some 2" bar risers and some lowering blocks for the pegs it would probably be great. I was thinking about renting one for a weekend to see if I would even like it.

I wish dealerships would offer test bikes where you could rent and apply the fee to the price if you decided to purchase a similar bike.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 07:38 PM
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The F800GT always appealed to me also. Maintenance cost bothers me though, drive belt is 400.00 every 24-30k miles, valve adjust is 12k and is a major disassembly. I would have to use the dealer for that. I also have the dealer check the valves on my Versys, but at 26k between checks its not so bad. My experience with previous Beemer sport touring bikes indicates it is better for the rich.
This po boy loves his Versys.
Drive belt $400 every 24-30k? The only bikes I've owned with drive belts are my Harleys. Owned 4 still have 3 of them, and have never replaced a belt on any of them. My 03 Harley softail has over 97,000 miles on it and has carried my wife and I with luggage through 48 states, and the belt still looks good. If I ever do need to replace it, original harley belt is $221 and after market belts run around $150.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 07:45 PM
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Quote from Turk:
It's just really hard to find a mid-size sporty touring bike with the exception of this BMW, VFR, FJ09 and of course, the Versys.


My favorites are the Versys, which I own, and the Suzuki v-strom
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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The BMW F800GT is a bike I've been wanting to ride ever since it's ST origin around 2006. I've had brief desires to simply buy one but the purchase cost and cost of ownership and admittedly fear of reliability kept me away. It's fair to say that this isn't a proper review of the bike simply my impression of it compared to other machines I've enjoyed over the years. In a nutshell, it's a wonderful motorcycle and if I had the chance to ride one before I purchased my Versys I would have been seriously tempted to own it.



Superficially I really like the look of the bike with the exception of the hideously large and high exhaust can. The factory bags are a bit wide visually although I had a tough time fitting my large Icon Airmada helmet. I had to turn the helmet on it's side and cram into place while closing the luggage door. This may be due to the thick plastic that is used it's much beefier compared to my Versys luggage. And while we are on the topic of luggage, I'm not a fan of clamshell designs but understand that a larger opening is more useful, what I liked about the BMW luggage is that the bottom has a shelf that catches everything and helps prevent loose stuff from falling out. The overall look of the bike is really swoopy with the offset headlights that are common on BMW's. Gas cap is next to the saddle as the tank is under the seat. The instruments are all easy to read and very perfunctory in design. The bike I rented had many features, ABS, traction control, electronic suspension, heated grips, tire pressure monitor, gear position and a very funny to me fuel gauge. The fuel gauge deserves a special mention because it only reads the lower half of the tank. When the tank is full you see a stacked array of about 5 bars with an up arrow on the top. The bars do not start to change until the tank is under half, apparently the long shape underseat shape of the tank made it so the gauge could not properly register above half a tank so the very practical and precise German engineers simply changed the way the gauge would read, only showing the bottom half.



To the heart of the matter, the motor. I've had the chance to get information from a few people who had first hand experience with the bike as well as professional reviews and nearly all of them state that the engine is blah as in not engaging/entertaining. I was always surprised to hear this as the motor puts out 98hp which should be enough to have some serious fun. By comparison my Ninja 650 and Versys 650 both put out around 68hp and they are both a hoot to ride. From my point of view the BMW is a great deal of fun, you can wind it out to around 9000rpm and it has some serious zip. I guess it doesn't have a strong mid-range pull a lot of parallel twin bikes have but it is quick to speed. Maybe it's a flatter torque curve, I don't know but if you can't have fun on this bike I think you may be kind of jaded.

For comfort and ergonomics the F800GT is a real good fit for me but I could see it being problematic for others. It almost has the opposite layout of my Ninja 650, that is the bars feel farther away but the foot position seems relaxed while the Ninja's bars are very upright and the pegs are further back and higher. I rode all day on the bike and the only soreness were my shoulders and wrists, so much so that towards the end I was doing the sport bike thing where you ride with one hand on the throttle and the other on your thigh or tank just to stretch out a bit. The windscreen isn't adjustable though it is pretty wide and a good height, but this is a problem, you would think a touring bike would have an adjustable screen and the BMW's is fixed. While the size and shaped worked for me I've read reviews that a lot of riders get wind blast and noise from the screen. It really should be adjustable on a touring bike. Finally the first day I had a buzzy feeling in my hands from vibration, my reading on the bike is that the F800GT should be free of buzz because of the unconventional firing order and counterweighted balance, it wasn't bad but my Ninja and Versys are better.



The bike handles well as you would expect although I didn't immediately get comfortable with it as I would have expected. It took me some time to trust my Ninja 650 too, I think it's just my nature though I would say that the Versys is amazing in this regard and is by far the most confidence inspiring bike I've had any lengthy seat time riding. I did get a chance on some very few and very remote straightaways to test the speed of the bike, I was up to 180kmh which I think is 110mph. A surprise for me was how much power there was on top of speeds over 120kmh with plenty of pull until around 160kmh where it evened out a bit. I've never had my Ninja at this rate of speed and I have to say the BMW was very comfortable and stable and willing to go faster.

So yeah, I really liked the bike. It has so many elements that appeal to me such as a beautiful single-sided swingarm, belt drive, centerstand and a gear position indicator. The overall design is quite appealing to me and BMW does offer the bike in colors like orange and blue though my rental was basic black. Other than the lack of long distance comfort on my shoulders there was one little thing that really irked me and it's something that you constantly use. The turn signal button, it has almost zero tactile feedback. I could never get the sense without looking if I had actually engaged the signal and it bugged me the entire trip.

Nice bike!
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 02:51 PM
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The BMW F800GT is a bike I've been wanting to ride ever since it's ST origin around 2006. I've had brief desires to simply buy one but the purchase cost and cost of ownership and admittedly fear of reliability kept me away. It's fair to say that this isn't a proper **view of the bike....
Is THIS a better view of a BMW 800 (admittedly NOT the GS...!)...?



I GUESS you could adjust SOMETHING parked like that....

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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 04:31 PM
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Is THIS a better view of a BMW 800 (admittedly NOT the GS...!)...?

I GUESS you could adjust SOMETHING parked like that....
Show me on the undercarriage where the dealer touched you
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 12:10 PM
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...I was NOT impressed w/ the F650 or the F800. A fellow who I met going to D2D in 2015 was riding one, then couldn't wait to replace it w/ ANYTHING ELSE....
The fellow I mentioned, Pete, got rid of the 800GS then bought a WeeStrom which he rode for about a year, then FINALLY (we 'swapped' bikes for a bit during the D2D '15 ride) recently got a new left-over black '16 650LT and is LOVING it!!!

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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 10:58 PM
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FWIW - I 'tested' the BMW F650GS and F800GS (also the 1200GS) among others, then bought the FIRST of my three Versys 650s.

I was NOT impressed w/ the F650 or the F800. A fellow who I met going to D2D in 2015 was riding one, then couldn't wait to replace it w/ ANYTHING ELSE. I would suggest an Africa Twin over it.
The AFRICAN TWIN has stood out in time...One that is really is a Dakar rider.
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