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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 10 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by MotoEdde View Post
Lets no go creating angst without reason...lets give him/her the benefit of the doubt.

I'm guessing that the authors are the same person...I won't give away the basis of my deductions
Yes, I can confirm that there is a unanimity of persona in this instance.

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Old 16 May 2009
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I plan to switch from a KLX650 to the GS 800 and was wondering if anyone has experience of riding long distance with a pillion on the Beamer (please read: wife, girlfriend, female companion).

I think those who have made a similar change know exactly what I mean with my enquiry.

What were the comments from our larger bottomed members of the opposite sex ? Is the bike a maker or a breaker for comfort?


Last edited by nrgizr; 18 May 2009 at 18:45.
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Old 6 Oct 2009
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Just finished an RTW tour on the 800. 21000 miles two rear flats and a headlight bulb which can hardly be blamed on BMW. The rocker cover leaked intermittently but this is a known issue and a tube of silicon cures the problem.
Some intermittent starting / cutting out probs which could have been fuel.
Roads in Mongolia and Siberia are non existent/deep gravel/ pot holed, rutted, washboarded and nothing fell off! Checking nuts and bolts regularly helped as did lubeing and adjusting the chain which lasted 17000 miles before repalcing it as a precaution.
Absolutely brilliant bike as long as you use an Air Hawk seat. Its a bit on the tall side and the "instant" throttle response can get you into trouble off road but beats the GS "Tractors" hands down in all departments.
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Old 6 Oct 2009
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i just part exed my f800 for a 1200gsa , mine was one of the first released and although i loved it to bits it had a few problems and a quite a few recalls ,it only had to sniff cheap fuel to develop a habit of stalling(and thats here in the uk)at 60mph it had a vibration enough to loosen fillings ,the seat was a recycled park bench,and yet i stilled loved it.
one of the only reasons i exchanged it was the price my local dealer OFFERED me, i lost about £500 pounds on it and came out of the deal with a 08 plate fully kitted gsa
the F800GS is a great bike and i will be looking for another one in the future, just the 1200 serves my needs better at the moment,im sure once the piggy bank is full again there will be another one in my garage
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Old 21 Feb 2010
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Great to hear peoples opinions on which bike to choose !! I've only been riding for 15months, with sole intention of swapping my usual methods of travel to that of a bike..............

I researched loads of bikes, but kept coming back to f650gs, being female with short legs, good entry level bike for new rider and the various seat heights seemed perfect ! Sept '08, the new twins were marketed so decided to buy one - not knowing where i'd end up in the world ! To start with i chose to have the lowered suspension - gave me more confidence - but unfortunately i couldnt have the centre stand.

A few months ago it went in for service and i asked how much it would be to have suspension and centre stand - 'not possible' was the reply, it's now 'factory set'...............

HELP..............I'm off round africa in sept and could really do with one !!!!!!!! Any solutions ?????????


PS fuel sensor problem was a model recall, had mine done back in nov, i also attended the BMW mechanics course and Simon mentioned the hoses coming 'off' was a problem and to replace with jubilee clips - not sure whether that is a better solution
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Old 21 Feb 2010
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OK just generic advice here as I'm not familiar with your bike .

Option one = fit the centre stand ,[now assuming that the reason BMW won't fit a centre stand is because of lack of leverage with lowered bike ] ,run the wheel of the bike onto a short,thin plank of wood to increase the height .Bike is now higher and you should be able to lever it onto centre stand .

Option two , fit a centrestand and have the stand shortened by an appropriate amount.

Option three , carry a length of wood so that you can prop up the rear of the bike .[Employ sidestand ,then lean the bike over on the sidestand and ,on the other side of the bike ,place the length of wood under a suitable place on the frame to prop the bike up and keep the rear wheel off the ground ].Secure sidestand with a strap so that it won't flip back on you .

Proper hose clamps like Jubilee clips are usually better than original fitment ,because you can get them tighter -what's surprising is that the originals are so poor .Bad BMW !
Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light. - Spike Milligan
"When you come to a fork in the road ,take it ! When you come to a spoon in the road ,take that also ."

Last edited by Dodger; 22 Feb 2010 at 02:50.
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Old 7 Mar 2010
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I am nearing the end of my Canada-Argentina trip on my F8. I feel I have learned greatly from my experiences along the way and perspectives have changed too.
I figured should quote this as it is probably the most educated and valuable posts in this statistical BS spewing thread and deserved not to be forgotten.

Originally Posted by MountainMan View Post
Here's my unsolicited two bits.

The 800GS will become the defacto bike of choice for RTW and long distance riding.

There's a lot of reasons behind this but every year new people get interested in the idea of a big trip and for many, a primary form of exposure is Ewan and Charlie on TV and also the BMW marketing juggernaut, historical and current. As a result, ask the average guy at a bike show what bike to buy for "adventure" touring and most will answer BMW.

Many have been buying the 1200GS because it's natural to think that more is better and usually you don't find out that most of the riding doesn't require that size/power etc. Most of these people will wisely turn to the 800 as it is still in their comfort zone of brand recognition. As the ride reports grow, it will be what most people think of first, and for good reason.

The bike is good at almost everything, but not great at any one thing. Most international touring requires just this, a bike that can handle diverse road conditions and terrain. The image that we have of the trip and the reality are usually two different things, flexibility is key as no matter where you think you will go and what you think the riding conditions will be like, they will usually be different.

I rode one for about 35,000 km from TDF to Prudoe last year. The best thing I liked about it was that it handled very well on the tarmac and the gravel roads, and off road. For parts of the trip like in Patagonia or B.C. where the road can occasionally transition from good to bad to worse and back again, in a fairly short distance, this is where it shines. It'a actually a bit dangerous as it's easy to outride the conditions as it's not giving you the strong feedback signals that it can't handle the terrain that a different bike might when transitioning. A few times I found myself cranking along too fast for the variable conditions and had to slow down before you round the inevitable corner and the soft, deep gravel pitches you into the bush.

There are inevitable tradeoffs, in stock form it's not as comfortable for endless highway stretches as the more 'street' orientated bikes also in the loosely defined category of dual sports. I would put the DL1000 in this category, which I rode a similar distance through Europe and Africa. Very fine bike, excellent value and probably meets the needs of most riders. Not as good off road obviously, the 19" front means that you spend a bit of time occasionally rebending your skid plate, but it goes pretty much everywhere. (Note: Prices overseas though are higher than in the US for the DL).

In comparison to other bikes in the 'dirt' orientated side of the dual sport category, the 800 may not provide the high-high end performance levels of say a KTM, but close enough for all but the most discerning rider. So far it seems less finicky to maintain than the KTM, which for us lazy people is something to be aware of.

And comparing it to the thumpers is not totally fair because it costs more so should naturally be better in a few different ways, but the one discerning difference for me is that having two cylinders makes your days more enjoyable and much easier to ride longer days if you so desire. I rode a KLR in Russia/Mongolia and loved the value and utility of it, great bike for many things, but the vibrations can bother some more than others, more so if you like to ride longer days. Many however, don't notice it at all.

At the end of the day though, all bikes are perfectly fine and the choice you make doesn't really matter that much for a few seldom mentioned reasons:

a. The image in your mind of the hard core adventure that your trip will be is usually not the same as it is in reality. Many reasons for this, but you are getting a lot of adventure traveling in foreign places and many miles are filled with varying bits of adventure, like trying not to get run over by the crazed mini bus drivers or getting food poisoning. Your need to go off and push you and your bike to it's limits on way-out there trails fades pretty quick.

b. Your bike is loaded with a bunch of stuff that any sane person would take on a trip when you are far away from anything familiar. The weight of your luggage and panniers is pretty significant and any performance advantages of specific bike models are severly curtailed and they all end up handling pretty similar, or at least in a close perfomance band.

c. You have opposable thumbs, some semblance of intelligence, and are adaptable. If your bike is uncomfortable on the highways, you will adapt and ride shorter days. If it doesn't handle well in the gravel, you will adapt and ride slower. You'll be surprised that whatever bike you have, almost everyone rides the same route and ends up at the same place in a similar amount of time.

There are so many great makes and models out there now that the bikes you see on the road will be incredibly varied now and into the future. The days of only seeing only BMWs out there are gone, but in the future the most commonly occuring bike on the far away road, is going to be this one, and for good reason.

If someone asked me what bike to recommend for long distance touring on variable condition roads, for riding in developing countries, or if they didn’t actually have a clear idea where they were going and wanted the flexibility to do almost anything, I would recommend this bike. As people rack up more overseas miles and their needs and interests evolve, people can migrate to cruisers or classics or dirt bikes or side cars. Or stick with the same bike.

Hope that helps.
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Old 7 Mar 2010
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Interesting thread.
Seems more and more riders are heading out there now and despite Ewan & Charlie's BMW promo films, are not all choosing new BMW's. I think old Air heads might be more popular now? How come? Two reasons:
1. More are doing serious research into reality. 2. Budget.

The other point to remember is that the Long Way Round films barely made a ripple in the USA. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow! Many riders I know (they liked the films!) commented that Ewan and Charlie were clearly on the wrong bikes, and noted how they blew it with KTM. The fried GS scene didn't inspire much confidence either. Will newbies even get this? No.
And BMW's sales boost in the UK prove this beyond a doubt. People are dumb. Maybe they think BMW road service plan will retrieve them out in Africa?

The F800GS is a good bike, best machine BMW make, IMO. But it still has a few typical BMW issues it seems. I don't own this bike but two friends do. NO problems from either one. The F800 rides much lighter than it's true 490 lbs. wet weight (US MCN test). This makes it only about 35 lbs. lighter than a R1200GS. But feels smaller and lighter by far to me. I got to switch back and forth between a new R12GS and F8GS. I loved the F800GS, a really nice bike! Great road handling, little soft off road but pretty nice. Vibey on the highway over 70 mph.

I don't know about Europe, UK or S. Africa, but in my neighborhood I see more and more travelers heading out riding simple, cheap dual sport singles. The Kawasaki KLR650 still rates close to the most popular choice going among travelers on a budget, especially younger riders.

Older rich guys apparently can afford a new $16K us KTM 990, $15K us F800GS or $17K us R1200GS. If you can afford these bikes, take them!
They are ALL good. (priceless in fact! )

The F800GS costs about $15,000 usd, (and going UP) simply not in my budget and I don't finance motorcycles. I always figure there is a chance of losing the bike outright in the 3rd world. How much are you willing to risk? Does your theft insurance cover in Panama? Mine does not. I'm not suggesting taking a Postie, Moped or 50cc Chinese scooter (although more and more do!) but for me something more middle ground makes more sense. Several recent ride reports I've seen seem to reflect this.

If a ride will be on road only then any affordable bike will do and this becomes a pointless conversation. If going more dirt roads and tracks then any properly set up dual sport single out there will out perform a loaded up F800GS off road anyway. Make your dual sport single comfortable and now the advantage of the F800GS diminishes further. It's a great bike, a joy to ride, but in deep sand? mud? rocks and ruts a well set up, lightly loaded dual sport single will be easier to handle for most riders. It will also crash better and be cheaper and easier to run and maintain. Maybe this is why we even see so many former BMW riders switching to simple dual sport bikes, even 250's.

I don't need to cruise at 90 mph all day. A KLR is good at 70 mph and with a good seat and shield is OK for a 10 hour day in the rain, can hit potholes at full speed and get though sand, mud and slop fairly well with a decent rider aboard.
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Old 28 Mar 2010
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Originally Posted by FUTURE View Post
Was wondering if anyone is using the F800GS to go RTW?? If so how is it taking this type of trip? I am curious to see how this bike would stand up to the riggors of such a trip.

I was in the dealer getting my R1200 looked at and a fellow came in just returned from rtw on his f800gs. I spoke with him for a while, and apart from a few niggling problems, it's worst failure was the rear shock. He had it replaced with an Ohlins, and said he'd start around again in a heartbeat.
Good enough for me, and I traded for one.

Hope this helps
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Old 29 Mar 2010
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Antidote For Kool-Aid Poisoning?

Not all good news apparently:
Check out the threads below. Lots of comments from many owners with lots of experience on the bike.

The text below is quoted from the 2nd thread listed.
F800GS - More Problems with mine, lets hear about yours.... - ADVrider
Beware: F800gs Rims Are Junk! - ADVrider

Originally Posted by ChiTown
My front wheel looks something like yours, bent to hell from a ride in Death Valley. @ 30PSI

Get used to shitty BMW dealer service and warranty coverage denied, it comes with the GS at no extra cost.

My Bike:
Rear wheel bearings and hub failure- denied. cost me about $400
Front end steering head bearing failure- denied. cost me about $350
Front wheel bent- denied.
Broken chain the first day of purchase.
Add in these still unfixed/unexplained issues: two major oil leaks (still had the bent valve cover on it, though I've asked for it to be replaced) , stalling in the rain, random overheating, transmission slipping, stalling when left idling for more than 1 minute, and a gas gauge/computer system that I PAID for as an option doesn't work for shit even after being serviced twice. My bike was at a dealer for 6 weeks, with nothing but a bill and no answers at the end.

No love for BMW NA or it's network of shitty dealers here.

I feel the vast majority of GS owners idea of rough or long distance riding are quite different from mine.
25,000 miles in a matter of 6 months of riding, never holding back on the GS, it's my experience that BMW obviously DID NOT have the kinks worked out on the 09's, and should have supported the bike better, especially for us "BETA TESTERS".
I half expected to have a few issues with the brand new design bike, but the service and support I have had is just plain wrong.

To me it's obvious BMW's Adventure Marketing Department is far more skilled than the Adventure Machine Making Department....

On a positive note, the GS sure is a decent road bike.
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Old 29 Mar 2010
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I was almost worried about you Patrick, but everything looks almost normal.
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Old 16 Apr 2010
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LouB - re your centerstand dilemma - maybe this will help

F650GS LOW w/center stand - ADVrider
Sandy & Mike Dimond
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