Left New Jersey with 3200 miles of break in, no issues prior to leaving.
Modifications (for a 6'3" rider)
- Madstad 22" windscreen (adjustable pitch and height, love it)
- BMW touring seat (forget the stock enduro seat, built for those that mostly stand on the pegs...)
- Beadseat (thousands of truck and taxi drivers can't be wrong, they aren't)
- Foam sleeves for hand grips (helps smooth the throttle action, not installed for vibration)
- PIAA Cross Country (love them regardless of various blub failures, now discontinued)
- ScottOiler (can get messy, hate oiling chain all the time, also carried spray and used from time to time.)
- Roxs Handle bar riser
- AltRider bash plate
- AltRider crash bars (love them)
Failures (during 32,500 miles / 9 month trip through CA, then clockwise around SA, boat to Cuba, boat to Cancun, MX and back to New Jersey)
- Burnt low beam bulb (south of Salvador, BR)
- Front chain sprocket lost a tooth (somewhere south of Salvador BR, replaced in Sao Paulo, BR, replaced chain and back sprocket while at it.)
- Oil heat exchange caught a rock (despite the AltRider bash plate...replaced by private mechanic in Buenos Aires, AR)
- Chain broke on country road in Bolivia (repaired without chain breaker tool, still riding on same chain. May have been caused by rock or poor lubrication?)
- Rear wheel bearing (replaced with generic bearings, Cusco, Peru)
- Battery failed (near the last leg, south of Mexico City, covered by warranty when I got home, but had to buy one in DF)
- 4.1 gallon / 16 liter gas tank is too small. The 2013 model has more capacity.
- How can BMW sell a GS (enduro!) with a tiny side stand pad?
- Gas gauge does not update fuel level well...jumps from near full to 1/4 full. I use the odometer and wait for the low fuel light to come on. Best practice is to fill up when your tank is half empty...
- With large load on back of bike the front tire has little braking traction when stopping on steep inclines...back wheel failed to grab on gravel and another time on cobble stone, sliding backwards, not a pretty story. This could happen with any bike.
- Responsive off road. I rode mostly on paved surface except:
- A couple hours off road north of Lake Atitlan, GU.
- Several hundred miles of dirt, clay and some sand in Guyana.
- More dirt and gravel entering Brazil from French Guiana, ~100 miles
- Dirt roads in Argentina (off road riding for a few hours, then getting to a camping site for a stage of the Dakar Rally)
- A few hundred miles of dirt entering Bolivia from Yacuiba and riding to Tarija...)
- Maybe 50 miles of dirt northwest of Sucre, BO and miles and miles deep truck grooves south of La Paz...I still get nightmares from these...
- I found the gear ratio to be fine, but what do I know. This is my second bike and I don't have a lot of off road experience.
- Plenty of power, but had trouble keeping up the 1200's =)
Glad I had this bike when off road, plenty of power/speed on highway. I travel solo most of the time and don't ride dirt roads by choice, unless riding with others, so not that many miles logged on dirt. The F800GS has plenty of height for bumps, might be too high for vertically challenged riders. Rode an 21 year old K75 during a Central America trip in 2008-09 and had issues finding parts in some locations. Decided to get a late model BMW and rely on dealers in almost every country (I think there are three countries in Latin America without a BMW dealer.)
The bike is larger than most will need. I wanted the power for after the trip, not while in Latin America. It is light enough that I could pick it up, sometimes I had to remove luggage, but could always recover when dropping bike.
Yeah, BMW is expensive and I think its worth it. I did not suffer engine or structural problems once. Sure there will be small mechanical problems with this bike, as with any bike.
Wish I had maintenance statistics across the whole production run. Individual experiences can be misleading.
I hope this is useful to someone.