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Old 03-25-2014, 08:16 PM   #496
racer7
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We've got a pair in the garage, fully farkled for road use. Bought primarily for light handling in twisties. We own 7 bikes total, all but 1 BMW and all but 1 larger motors (R's and K's).
1 of the pair is testing an AF-XiED.
Don't under rate the motor- the bike is quicker than most of you know and not near as much off a typical R bike as you might guess in fact faster in tight stuff and a higher top speed than most R bikes. It will dust a cage accelerating just like most any other bike over tiddler size. The bigger bikes are a bit less hyper at 80 mph or more but some vibrate worse (eg any of the R1100 vintage for example).

It is no tourer as made- the ergos are all wrong and need major changes to even get close. Pegs, bars, screen etc.
Sidestand needs a foot like every other BMW.
Bike had inadequate spray and debris protection for both the bike and rider and needs those upgrades.
Tank is too small for real touring in the US- might be fine for those dinky size euro countries, though. Carry spare fuel out west.
A triple motor would be a useful improvement as would bigger tanks and real touring ergos.
Has great brakes, not linked (BMW linked brakes are a handicap to any trained rider- adding a bad rear brake that has to be worked around)

Motor is overdue for a real change. I see no reason to waste space and parts on a balance mechanism which could as easily be a third cylinder. There is no discernible difference between the S/ST motor and the GT motor in use despite BMWs numbers claims which appear not be solid since many can't replicate any difference on dynos.

The bike is overpriced for all its Asian origin parts but there is very little to choose from in the mid size road bike range other than nakeds these days. Yamaha has the motor for a good one but isn't likely to build a smaller one to compete with the FJR. And all the J brands build heavy pigs these days unless its a sportbike- they need to learn about metals other than iron. The Kawasaki came out without decent luggage and other stuff needed for touring and I didn't look at it as a possible- no test ride readily available and I never purchase a bike I haven't ridden (Yes I remember the good old days when J brands had demos). Besides, chains are for dirt bikes, not tourers.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:34 AM   #497
Roadscum
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Excellent assessment of the GT racer7.
With Madstad bracket/ screen, Barback/risers, and a 1" higher seat from Sargent Cycle, I've got mine dialed in for my needs and comfort.

With the trend toward triples it will be interesting to see if BMW joins in.

Paul
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:38 AM   #498
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Originally Posted by ph0rk View Post
Ok, and all I was saying was that the F800GT has (can have, whatever) buzzy vibes and anyone thinking about distance work should pay close attention to it.

Therefore: you agree with me.

Given that BMW is marketing it as a tool for that exact job, this isn't that bizarre of a statement.
Certainly I agree with you, we both know you're always right!

And you would agree with me that the 800 motor is not "fatally flawed".

Paul
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:08 PM   #499
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I took a test ride on one of these today. Not a very long ride, but I got a chance to try a mix of roads, including highway.

My reaction is probably typical. Bear in mind, I'm coming off a Monster 1100 Evo.

The good:
* Light and easy to steer.
* Stable, precise handling.
* Strong brakes.
* Good ergos.
* Decent wind protection (compared to naked Monster)
* Broad powerband.
* Reasonably smooth.

The bad:
* Sounds like a piece of farm machinery.
* Suspension is quite taut, but seems underdamped or something.
* Feels less powerful than it is.
* Weird front wheel hop under hard braking -- ABS issue?
* Just not that inspiring.
* Switchgear feels cheap.

I didn't have enough time to really evaluate the bike. I agree it's a bit weak off the line, but I didn't have trouble driving in stop-and-go traffic. It's very easy to ride -- would make a good beginner's bike. Would be fun on sporty roads. The fairing seemed nice. The problem I have with the F800GT -- and I hate to repeat what so many others are saying -- is that it's just not that inspiring. It would be an excellent third bike, I think. It's funny, my R100 makes only 2/3 the power and is noticeably slower, but it somehow feels more muscular than the F800. The Monster feels much more powerful. Much more grunt. It's purely subjective, but the way the power is delivered by the engine matters.

Vibes didn't bother me. The Monster vibrates more, but what vibes the F800 made weren't very fun -- whereas the Monster's vibes are part of the "charm." IMHO.

I dunno. Would love to rent one for a week and put a couple of thousand miles on it. I think I'd grow to like it more, but I'd be very sad if I had to give up the Monster to own one.

-Henry
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:27 PM   #500
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I weigh about 215 lbs in full gear and find the suspension to be pretty good, after a bit at the rear, when I add the luggage loaded for travel ipt feels even better.

As for the motor..... A demo bike has not yet finished the break in period and the motor will be tight. My bike, with about 3.5k miles, I s just starting to fell smoother and more powerful. My f800s had over 12k on the motor before it seemed to be completely broken in. The 800cc motor is a bit week under 3.5k rpm but power and speed will build nicely above that..... but it is no 1100cc Monster.

But hey, if you're getting bad vibes this is not the bike for you.
Paul
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:27 AM   #501
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadscum View Post
I weigh about 215 lbs in full gear and find the suspension to be pretty good, after a bit at the rear, when I add the luggage loaded for travel ipt feels even better.

As for the motor..... A demo bike has not yet finished the break in period and the motor will be tight. My bike, with about 3.5k miles, I s just starting to fell smoother and more powerful. My f800s had over 12k on the motor before it seemed to be completely broken in. The 800cc motor is a bit week under 3.5k rpm but power and speed will build nicely above that..... but it is no 1100cc Monster.

But hey, if you're getting bad vibes this is not the bike for you.
Paul
I bet monster has shorter gearing too, making the difference even more dramatic.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:23 AM   #502
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The Monster is actually geared pretty tall. Stock, it's really not happy under 70MPH in top gear. I changed to a one-tooth smaller front sprocket, which helps. But that's minor. The comparison isn't fair because the Monster has a 300cc, 10HP, and 13 ft. lb. advantage over the F800. And is 60 pounds lighter.

I'm definitely not trashing the F800. It's a very appealing bike on many levels, and has a lot of features I wish my Monster had. I agree the engine will probably improve considerably with break-in. Again, to compare with the Monster, my bike was practically unrideable when new. The motor is so, so much better now that it has 13K miles on it.

I really liked how friendly and easy to ride the F800 was. Suspension and motor are hard to understand and appreciate until you spend some significant quality time with the bike. I think it's fair to say the Monster is designed to provoke a strong visceral reaction from the rider, whereas the F800 is intended to be a friendly, relaxing, distance rider.

My R100 is in a hundred pieces right now pending rebuild. When it's up and running I choose it two out of three times precisely because it is such a calm, composed bike to ride compared to the Monster. The riding season has just started and it took me a few days to adapt to the frenetic pace of the Monster. One of the things I like about owning these two bikes is that the riding experience is such a contrast between them.

So much of how you relate to a bike is subjective. I will say there is a sense of the old boxers that they are super high-quality machines, and that is lacking a bit in the F800. The F800 is a fine machine, but BMWs of late, especially the entry-level machines, don't give off quite the same aura of solidity that the old ones do.

All that said, I see the appeal of the F800 bikes. I definitely understand why people would like them a lot. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was putting down their choice to own one.

-Henry
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:15 AM   #503
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Originally Posted by Roadscum View Post
Certainly I agree with you, we both know you're always right!

And you would agree with me that the 800 motor is not "fatally flawed".

Paul
It be fair, I usually am.

I think (there, happy?) it is a flawed choice for a touring bike. Fatally so, in that the choice makes the bike is no longer a very good touring bike.

If you never take it on the interstate, you'd probably never notice.

In the US, at any rate, any bike that purports to be a tourer has to be able to manage slab duty in reasonable comfort - even a sport-tourer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by op48no1 View Post
Vibes didn't bother me. The Monster vibrates more, but what vibes the F800 made weren't very fun -- whereas the Monster's vibes are part of the "charm." IMHO.
This is a good way of putting it - most bikes vibrate in one way or another, but some patterns are more pleasing than others. My bike shakes just enough to let me know it's on at idle (more while cranking up - ok a lot while cranking up, and pretty negligible at speed). The F800GT hardly shakes at all at idle, as I recall.

A monster's 90 v-twin (or L-twin as they like to call it) will tend to be much smoother than a 360 twin, even if it happens to shake more at idle.

I can't imagine finding -any- f800 bike exciting if your other ride is a monster. Back when I still had my DL650 the saddest I ever felt getting off a testride bike and back on my DL650 was after riding a Monster 696.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:39 AM   #504
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For what it's worth, (probably not much) I've got over 10k miles on mine, a lot of them interstate and I don't have a lot of problems with vibrations. My 07 ST was much worse for vibrations and also starting in 1st gear. Killed that one constantly starting in 1st, haven't killed this one once. I'm really happy with the GT overall... however I'm not all that hard to please like you guys that are more into the technical stuff than I am. I just enjoy the ride. I think maybe I'm more of the intended target demo for this one... female rider looking for a smallish touring bike that can keep up with the boyfriend's FJR if he doesn't get all crazy on me.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:11 AM   #505
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"In the US, at any rate, any bike that purports to be a tourer has to be able to manage slab duty in reasonable comfort - even a sport-tourer." Ya can't get much mor subjective then that ph0rk, but of course your right, you alway are!

So tell us, how much "slab duty" have you done on a GT?

Paul
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:14 PM   #506
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krickett View Post
For what it's worth, (probably not much) I've got over 10k miles on mine, a lot of them interstate and I don't have a lot of problems with vibrations. My 07 ST was much worse for vibrations and also starting in 1st gear. Killed that one constantly starting in 1st, haven't killed this one once. I'm really happy with the GT overall... however I'm not all that hard to please like you guys that are more into the technical stuff than I am. I just enjoy the ride. I think maybe I'm more of the intended target demo for this one... female rider looking for a smallish touring bike that can keep up with the boyfriend's FJR if he doesn't get all crazy on me.
I definitely enjoyed my test ride on the F800GT and wish I could spend some more time with it. It's a very user-friendly motorcycle. I also think it looks great, and the sport-touring ergonomics are perfect. It's really too bad this segment of the market isn't popular now. A bike like the F800GT with the 1200 boxer motor would be killer.

There's absolutely nothing wrong in general with the F800GT. Unfortunately, I can't own all the bikes that interest me...

-Henry
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:25 AM   #507
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
snipped....
1 of the pair is testing an AF-XiED.
more snippage....
So is the AF-XIED making any difference? There are several of these mixture modifiers out there and I'm curious about the potential tradeoffs in using them.

Another mod I'm interested in are the RICOR Intiminators.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:36 AM   #508
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test ride

Brought my 011 GS in for service a while ago and took out an F800GT for a test...went up Mt Lemmon, a local favorite, and then on the highway, back to the dealer on surface streets (or what passes for that here in Tucson).


The look


Like most things, either you like it or you don't. I do...I've always liked the look of the ST, and the GT looks even better proportioned. Not too big, not too little, typically great BMW fit and finish. It comes off as a high quality piece. Looks good in white, looks great in the metallic charcoal, don't know about the orange.


Photos here:


https://picasaweb.google.com/106347748873199547405/F800GT?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJO1yZL72_ffngE&feat=directlink



Seating position


Slight cant forward, but not extreme. Pegs are perfect for the position, but clearly this is less upright and roomy than the GS, which is to be expected. Everything falls naturally to hand and foot, doesn't feel cramped to me at all. Later in the day, my wife and I went back so she could sit on it...got a thumbs up. She liked that she was not much higher than me (as she is on the GS) and didn't feel cramped in the pegs (she's 5'4" for reference). Also liked that she didn't have to "climb" on as she has to do on the GS; the bike is low enough that she can swing her leg over from the ground.


The demo had the standard seat; another bike in the showroom had the "comfort" seat, which is slightly higher and in fact much more comfortable. Same for the passenger; it has a slight hump to keep them from sliding forward and is also better padded.


Front of the seat is very narrow, so at 5'8" I'm completely flat foot, a nice feeling after being on tip toes for my last 2 GSs.


The motor


Perfect fueling, absolutely perfect, and no drive lash at all, none. Very linear power, builds from off idle, and simply climbs. The first thing you notice, however, is the vibration, significantly more than my R1200, more like an older 1100, kinda vibey everywhere...BUT...after about 20 minutes I simply didn't notice it any longer. Just felt like character, not intrusive. There is a big sweet spot between 90-100 mph...feels serene.


Power-wise, it is not going to set your hair on fire, but you've got "adequate" thrust for the street. Has a very broad and linear torque curve; very good roll-on response. If you're looking for a rocket ship, this isn't it. Acceleration feels about the same as my GS, maybe slightly slower.


The gearbox


Best part of the bike...like buttah...probably sourced from Honda.. ;) Seriously, it is very, very good, light, quick, positive, up and down. No drama, no thought.


Suspension


The test bike had the ESA, which adjusts the rear shock's damping only. It works, and you can feel some difference, but it is subtle. Preload is by rotary knob. Handling is light, turn in quick but stable; very nimble, feels lighter than it is. It is fairly plush over the bombed out surface streets, stable on the Mt Lemmon sweepers and comfortable on the highway. Fork is a bit soft, but provides good feel.


Fairing


On the highway, it punches a nice clean hole, no helmet buffeting, and very quiet. Good heat management, you feel some coming off the left side near your ankle/shin, but not bad.


Luggage


Wasn't able to see the luggage in person, but the mounts are unobtrusive. You can also get a tail trunk.


Overall


Have to say, I was impressed. I've long thought that a "sweet spot" for sport touring would be 450 lbs and 100 hp, and this comes pretty close. We've got a trip to Scotland this July and have reserved one of these for 10 days, that should be a good test.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:58 AM   #509
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Nice write-up!
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:13 AM   #510
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Nice write-up!
and completely accurate assessment.
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