BMW is full of surprises recently. A few years ago there were only really two motorcycles in its entire range that we'd have chosen to ride in preference to covering them in rags and petrol, before flicking sharp corners at them until they went up in smoke. And now look at the range. BMW is littered with an impressive spread of great motorcycles, and in every category of riding interest.
Having spent a fair bit of time with the BMW F800GS, we were intrigued to see if the BMW F800GS would work. It was a hard one to second guess, but the good news is that the F800GS is a little blinder – what a great motorcycle. It feels light and aggressive from the off, with short gearing and a raspy thump from the exhaust helping to draw you quickly into the riding experience.
It's a tall motorcycle, and anyone under 1.8 meter is likely to struggle at traffic lights (there is a low seat option), but if you've got the legs, so has the BMW F800GS. The BMW F800GS feels like it could take you anywhere, and probably would. After five minutes on the Tarmac you'll be looking at the grass verges and alternative direction signs with an increasingly hard to ignore urge to get your rims dirty. The BMW F800GS is not unduly compromised on the road for all its dual-propose pretensions, either. That 21” front wheel ought to make it an unstable dog on the road, but it flows with great composure if you treat it right, with the Michelin Anakee tires doing a great job keeping things gripped. They cope extremely well on the off-road stuff too, although we didn't get the change to try them in proper Thai mud.
It feels completely natural to be in the saddle, or stood up, and while it's a big motorcycle, it's very well balanced and doesn't fight against your inputs.
The BMW F800GS is not a fast motorcycle, with it all being over and done, bar the vibes, at 160km/h. But the snappy drive from shortish gearing and 83Nm of torque makes it a rapid enough ride to the ton.
The chassis does a great job on road, and the Brembo brakes are strong and effective, while retaining plenty of feel. Our BMW F800GS featured the optional Comfort Package (ABS, Center Stand, and a few more options). The BMW F800GS is a worthy sibling for the 1200GS, and for most a far more usable tool. BMW keep chunking out great motorcycles, and this is one of them.