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5.0 from 2 reviews

Great Bike

Purchased new 2015 after selling my Harley. Complete change as you would expect. Included in the price were panniers, comfort seat, centre stand, heated grips and the list goes on. Going from a 1450cc to 800cc was not as I expected and was more than surprised with acceleration. The handling is brilliant with the fuel tank mounted in the frame lowering the centre of gravity giving the bike a feel of security in tight corners. The 15lt tank seemed small in capacity but I am easy getting 300km and fits in perfectly with rest stops. Cruises well at regulation speeds 110km.
If you want a reasonably cheap bike with all the kit this is the choice.

Date PurchasedMay 2015

An Absolutely Great All Rounder

I bought this machine in 2014, after trying my wife's F800R. This is basically a F800R with many improvements aimed at making it into a tourer motorbike, such as electronic adjustable suspension (the most basic offered by BMW), traction control and improved ergonomics. It can be described as a capable light tourer, coupled with a very competent commuter with tints of a sports bike, that is: a great all rounder.

Beginning with the engine, it's the same reliable and well balanced Rotax in line twin power plant that is mounted on all F800 and F700 models, remapped for a bit more performance and low end grunt. It's more elastic than powerful with its 90HP. You won't notice the additional 3HP it has over the pre-2015 F800R models, but you'll still experience the awesome smoothness and economy it has. My bike scores 3.6 to 4.1 litres per 100km on the road and an average of 3.8 in city traffic. The cylinders go up and down at the same time, which means it's essentially an upright boxer. It even sounds like one. Unfortunately, the throttle is still old cabled style and there's no cruise control; but the throttle is so precise I don't find it any difficult to keep a constant speed on the open road.

Transmission is very well coupled with the engine, but gears are, as a rule, "longer" (or "taller") than those found in Japanese machines. I like this, but some people might not, as this causes the bike to be harder to control at very low speeds (it takes some getting used to and stalling it the first time you ride it is not uncommon), while providing for a damn smooth ride on the open road. The final toothed belt drive adds to the overall smoothness and, in my humble opinion, makes the GT easier to control than the R. The bike is also "longer" than the R as a rule, its 5th gear roughly corresponding to the R's 6th.

The instrument panel is very complete and you'll miss many things if you ride another bike: tyre pressure monitor, fuel indicator, gear position indicator and all things you can possibly imagine are there. The tank format is a bit odd and, due to this, the fuel indicator stays at the top mark until you're below half. The tank's capacity is small (15 litres) for a tourer, but the economy offsets this (on the average, one tank is good for 350km).

Geometry has been re-shaped for touring. The pegs are positioned lower and more to the front; the handlebar is a little higher; the windscreen, although not very high, offers a fairly good protection. I've replaced my windscreen by a V-Stream tourer, from Ztechnik, and both wind protection and aerodynamics have improved: the bike is now even more economic than it was before and the wind doesn't bother me any more. Another recommended addition is the so called "comfort seat". Anyway, you're not likely to feel back pain even when travelling long hours. My GT is considerably more comfortable to ride than my wife's R, so to speak.

Suspension is a bit basic. Front forks are conventional and not adjustable and the electronic adjustment of the rear, although able to be activated by the push of a button and with the bike rolling, won't show you noticeable difference, unless you switch from "comfort" to "sports". But it can carve corners REALLY WELL at any position. Depending on the bike in front of you, you will have to be careful not to run into them in a corner, as the bike is very forgiving and basically takes the corners by itself.

Luggage carriers are well sized and easy to attach/ detach, but the offered top box (28 litres) is too small to my liking: rather than having it, I went for a 47 litres Givi box.

All considered, this bike is the best I've ever ridden, although not the most powerful. I don't know if BMW makes the ultimate driving machines, as my car is not a BMW, but rest assured they make the ultimate riding ones.

Positive points:
- Economy.
- Comfort.
- Smoothness.
- Stability.
- Instruments Panel.
- Light weight (213 kg fully fueled).
- Fun.

Negative points:
- No cruise control.
- Front fork not adjustable.
- Windscreen not adjustable.
- Small top box.

Questions & Answers

Hi, thanks for your excellent review. Have read elsewhere of heat around your legs being an issue. Have you noticed this?
1 answer
It's no big deal for me, but it happens. You will notice it more if you're stuck in traffic and riding at very low speeds. In this particular case, it can be annoying, sometimes; otherwise, either it's not noticeable or is very mild. But I live in South Australia, where it's cold most of the year; if you live in the tropics, I would recommend a test ride at low speeds, just for you to see whether this can be too annoying to you or not. Same happens to my wife's F800R (2013 model).

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