A few questions for 800GS owners

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by No Coast Rider, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. No Coast Rider

    No Coast Rider Been here awhile

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    Heyo all. I currently ride a 2008 Aprilia Tuono as my every day commuter, tourer, and occasional corner carver, but my back and neck have finally had enough of my 900 mile days on naked sportbikes and I'm thinking of getting into the dual sport/tourer game for the upright riding position and ability to go off road. I've never ridden dirt but if I had a bike capable of doing it I'd be seeking out the dirt as often as possible.

    The two bikes I'm looking at are the Stelvio NTX and F800GS. I like that the Guzzi comes with all the accessories already installed, but the BMW is a few thousand cheaper to buy and I can get panniers and engine guards later. I'll be looking at 2013 models of both bikes. My questions are these:

    How buzzy is the motor through the bars? I have carpal tunnel and high frequency buzzing puts my hands to sleep. I had a Yamaha FZ1 (Inline 4) that I couldn't ride due to the buzzing. But the bigger vibrations from the Tuono V Twin don't bother me at all even though it vibrates a lot more, it's a low frequency vibe that I kind of enjoy. I know parallel twins can be buzzy, if that's the case with the 800 it'll probably be a deal-breaker.

    On the low suspension model, are the front and rear both lowered equally to maintain the same geometry, or is just the rear lowered? I'm 5'5" with a 29" inseam, if I can hack it on the size model l I will, just so I can have the centerstand, but if need be I'll probably go with the low model.

    How good is the 800 on really long trips? Like multi day cross country rides, would I be much better off just saving up the extra cash for the Guzzi?

    What are the valve service intervals, how easy are they to check and how often do they actually need adjusting? The 12000 intervals on the Aprilia are annoying.

    Would the F700GS be a better bet for me? Most of my riding will be on road but I also want a bike that will be capable off road and not just look like it is. I probably won't be jumping logs or anything, but riding on trails here in the Northeast.

    Thanks.
    #1
  2. Schai

    Schai Adventurer

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    Not buzzy at all. There is some rubber isolation in the handlebar mounts. I've felt a slight bit of buzz in the footpegs, but nothing to notice if I wasn't looking for it.

    Front and rear must be lowered equally or the handling gets strange.

    Checking the valves is a bit of a chore. There is a whole lot of stuff to unbolt to get the heads off including fairings, battery, air box with plumbing, etc. Check them every 12,000 miles, but they seem not to need any adjustment for a lot more. When you finally need to make an adjustment, remember - shim and buckets need the camshaft pulled.

    I'm 5'6" with less than a 29" inseam. If I had a do-over, I would get the F700 over the F800. You lose the spoked rims and a bit of suspension travel and ground clearance. However, as a newbie to off road riding, you won't be riding obstacles that would give much advantage for quite a while.

    You might consider a used dirt bike that you can drop over and pick back up without much consequence off-road. You'll more easily learn to read the ground and learn the connection of the bike responding to body input. However, the difference between an F800GS and a real dirt bike (under 300 lbs) is a bit less than a Hummer to an ATV.

    #2
  3. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    This, the F800 is excellent, I have taken it in places that it had no business going and the bike did fine, but's not the machine to learn dirt on. Get a SMALL and light $1000 beater and beat it until you know what you are doing. Even after you know what you are doing, the SMALL light dirt bike will be much more fun and will take you many more places than the 800.
    #3
  4. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    F800GS Vibrates like a....vibrator thingy.....

    I get carpal tunnel in my right wrist. It will buzz itself numb after a couple of hours on a freeway run.

    Other than freeway I don't really notice it.

    But freeway hurts.
    #4
  5. DrydenRider

    DrydenRider Sun Seeker

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    800 is buzzy above 4500 rpm (approx 65mph), there are lots of riders who complain about it. I just accept it as normal in a parallel twin. One way around it is to change sprockets to gear it like the F700/650 which raises your cruise rpm and puts the buzz in around 75-80 mph

    Have you looked at the Triumph 800XC? Very comparable bike and price, little less "off road" capable but not significantly. Triple cyl is butter smooth and has an adjustable seat.
    #5
  6. No Coast Rider

    No Coast Rider Been here awhile

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    Thanks guys. Ive been wanting to get into dirt for a long time with a 125 or even an 80 but here in Connecticut AKA the armpit of New England, there is no public area where it is legal to ride a dirt bike. The only people who can ride dirtbikes are the ones who own enough land out in the sticks where their neighbors don't mind them riding on their property, or if you go to one of the very few supercross sized tracks there are scattered throughout the state. Unfortunately I live in the city, so getting into dirt for me means obtaining a vessel to transport my dirtbike out of state where I can actually ride it. That's why I look at dual sport bikes as a means for me to be able to ride the bike out of state to some light trails, and then go off road.

    The buzzing sounds like it may give me issues, I'll have to see about a test ride, but those usually aren't long enough for me to see if my hands will go numb. The upright seating position would take a lot more weight off the wrists than the FZ so that may make the buzzing not an issue, just can't be sure.

    The Tiger is a good suggestion, I used to have a Street Triple and I loved that bike to death, great motor. I'll have to see about getting a test ride on one, though even with the low seat option, it's not as low as the low suspension GS. Unfortunately the Triumph dealer near me stopped selling Triumphs, but there is one about 20-25 minutes away, though they are also an Aprilia dealer and I know they're not fun to deal with and they don't even want you to sit on their bikes, nevermind give a test ride. The BMW dealer (Max BMW) is about an hour away and I've never dealt with them before.

    Either way I've got to sell this damn Aprilia first...
    #6
  7. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    I think the F700GS might be a better match for what seems to be you riding style.

    I have a F650GS (the 800cc twin which is the precurser of the F700GS) with lowered suspension. I have had it since 2010, 37,000 miles, 10k mile trip to alaska last year. I have done quite a few 500 mile days. I bought this bike because the ergonomics is like the R1200RT but the bike weights 100lbs less.
    Valves first checked 30k(dealer said they"sounded ok at 12 and 24k. Evan at 30k miles there where no shims charges so I don't think anything was changed. Only repairs have been tires, brake pads (need new front again now) and a chain at 30k miles. (did replace the stator at 32k miles as preventative maintenance...new bike have a better bmw design now)

    Why I think the F700 is a better match for more road (paved and dirt) oriented riders

    -- It is not so tall, I can flat foot mine with the lowered suspension. Long travel of the F800GS is NOT needed unless you do serious off road. I have done thousand of miles of dirt roads now with my F650gs.
    -- gearing is longer Ie 5000rpm is 85mph. This is the rpm where vib occurs...not bad on my bike some some complain.
    -- The wheels are cast so they are stiffer for better handling in the twisties (the 19inch front helps here too) Also the front tire is wider, bigger road contact patch for better braking...more grip in twisties.
    -- It has plenty of power....cruises easily all day at 85mph...will to 110Plus but after that it does slow down. NOTE the more power of the F800GS come from a hotter cam and is ALL above 5000 rpm...so it is only of value if you intend to ride at those high RPMs The F650GS/700 has slightly better torque below 5000 rpm than the F800gS.
    --Gets better Miles per gallon than the F800GS
    -- oh it cost less too.

    It does handle the twisties GREAT too

    Take one for a ride check it out
    #7
  8. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    If you intend to lower the F800gs, you will lose ground clearance and suspension travel, so I would buy the F700 or 650.

    The vertical twins, do get buzzy above 5,000rpm which on mine is 80mph. I use bar cozy's. You can gear it up with the F650gs counter sprocket, that will raise the speed where it gets obtrusive.

    I suffered the numbness initially, but either the bike has gotten smoother or I have gotten used to it. It no longer bothers me.
    #8
  9. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    Just some thoughts on ground clearance....which is very important if you do true off road riding

    It is obvious that the ground clearance when a bike F800GS is unloaded ..the suspension travel is some what reduced (approx 1/3?) when loaded and riding normally.

    But when the suspension is fully compressed ( as when hitting a rock hard) or nearly fully compressed when corning hard on pavement...the ground clearance is essentially the same on the rear on the F650GS/F700GS/and F800GS..the 21 inch wheel does give some advantage(some what compromised by the height aspect of the narrow tire) on the front.

    Some skid plates really eat up ground clearance too.
    #9
  10. txtallywhacker

    txtallywhacker screw schedules

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    Bmw parallel twins are wonderful road bikes. But in stock form, they dont belong on on any terrain a pickup couldn't navigate at 5 miles an hour without costly upgrades to suspension and rear shock mount. They also have weak subframes, laterally anyway, and the rear passenger pegs will tweak the rear end of your bike if you drop it enough. Do not ever get it off the ground, wether intentionally or not. That being said, I do enjoy owning it very much and about to start the process of grafting better suspension into the frame of my f800gs. Very simple bike to maintain and a joy to steer with the rear tire in loose soil or wet pavement. When it comes time to kill the abs, the weight is what will get you, mine fully fueled ready to go is 491 lbs. almost 3 times my weight. Get a smaller bike first, trailer it to some trails 5 or 6 times. it will save u money in fairings and bent sub frames alone.

    So will it eat pavement all day and still take you to a nice camping spot ?
    ABSOLUTELY
    Should you get a much smaller bike and get used to dirt before you take a brand new 500 lbs GS offroad?
    ABSOLUTELY
    #10
  11. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    Nay on the last point. Just put crashbars on it and you'll be fine. The number of guys that bend the subframe and rear shock bold on this forum can be counted on two hands... don't you worry too much about it and get the bike that pleases you. You only live once. The only thing that makes me wonder is why you hesitate between NTX and 8GS. Wouldn't it compare more to a 12GSA? Just confuses me but so be it. I'd go with the 8GS just because it's lighter, easier to maintain (and isn't that important for a big new adventure bike?) and it will take you where you want. It isn't perfect and has no point where it would outrange another dual sport bike, but it is good at everything and if you want to improve it to make it even better there is a ton of aftermarked support out there.


    Oh and since I got involved in this thread here my 2cts.

    This bike is a good road bike and can swallow a lot of road in a day but for that you'll need to buy a new screen and seat. 21 front isn't ideal for that purpouse and I'd tell you to buy the 700 instead. The buzzing really depends. I almost never notice it and sometimes it gets buzzy at 120kmh and sometimes only at 140. Always makes me wonder why the buzzing isn't steady. Some bigger grips should solve that problem too (?).
    If you still want an 21 front that is a better road bike than really try out the tiger. The engine of the 675 has been smothen out and is linear as it could be. I really disliked that fact. Made be think that I had no real tork and I'm not a fan of the 3 cylinder whistling. but that is just me. I did put 35000kms on mine in 14month and love it every day a bit more. Often I need to take the highway, at least once a moth to get 700kms done to see my famely. I don't get tired or numb fingers. I love it both off and on road and it happens quite often that I take a 12 hours or more day ride to reach my destination and still won't have enough of it.

    These twins are great and you can't go wrong with them :eek:)
    #11
  12. DoWorkSon

    DoWorkSon Been here awhile

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    I learned/am learning how to ride dirt on my F8... It is possible even though many say its foolish... You just can't be afraid to drop it, have some get offs and be willing to get some scratches on it.

    The upgraded suspension really helps too. New forks are a must. A new shock is also ideal. It's a much better bike with these two upgraded

    I'm sure if i was going from a dirt bike to my F8, I would complain. Since I have nothing to compare it too, I love it. It's challenging to ride in certain areas, which to me, makes going riding fun. I like the work and challenge of a big bike in areas for small ones. If that's you, don't worry about it.
    #12
  13. Full Power

    Full Power Long timer

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    "How good is the 800 on really long trips? Like multi day cross country rides"
    Best cross country bike I have ever been on. Fuel capacity ( range ) is only limiting factor, soon to be upgraded 2 gallons with the addition of a "CamelTank"
    .
    #13
  14. awlittle

    awlittle Being awesome1/2 the time

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    I haven't done much dirt in 20 years but I recently did the f800 from AZ to CO (spend 5 days riding twisties) and then rode to Louisiana and did several days tirps in GA. I've done a lot of long road trips and the f800 is a great multi-day road bike. I do have a bmw comfort seat and the bike came with a Cee Bailey windshield. :1drink
    #14
  15. txtallywhacker

    txtallywhacker screw schedules

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    Heck I am coming from a dirt bike, and i still dont have anything to complain about ( besides suspension ). It is so well balanced with a low center of gravity that it doesnt really feel heavy at all if you keep your speed (5 or 10 mph). I was in the Coast Guard with another guy who sold his f800gs for a tiger xc, and he said he wished he wouldv gotten it from the get-go, however, he would POOP A SQUEALING WORM if he ever got mud on his helmet, much less his bike.
    #15
  16. No Coast Rider

    No Coast Rider Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all of the input. I'm going to look at the BMW and Triumphs tomorrow. At this point I'm kind of leaning towards the road version of the Tiger 800, I'm pretty certain the XC will be too tall. The roadie is $1000 cheaper than the BMW and there is a promo right now where you get a $1000 in accessories from the Triumph catalog when you buy it which will allow me to get the topcase, crash bars, skid plate, and gel seat for free. That could make the deal for me right there, unless I end up really liking the BMW. I think the roadie Tiger with the right tires could handle the light off road stuff I think I'll get into.

    The Stelvio as a bike compares more to the GS1200, but it's price is more comparable to the 800 which is why I was looking at it. Plus it has exposed cylinder heads with screw type valve adjusters which makes top end maintenance an easy job.

    I'm pretty excited at the thought of having a bike that can actually handle the riding I do. I ride my naked bikes in rain, light snow, on long iron butt rides, and even took the Aprilia through 10 miles of rutted out mud and rocks in Northern Vermont this summer (Not intentional, but fun.).
    #16
  17. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    Great

    Ride them both. Get the one that makes you smile the most? You'll have it for a while
    #17
  18. DrydenRider

    DrydenRider Sun Seeker

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    Agree with VTBob, take the one that makes you smile. Don't think you will go to far wrong with either bike for the riding you plan to do.

    As for the Triumphs, Here is a link to a ride test completed by 2 gals out of Vancouver. They took a couple loaner Triumphs up to Alaska and back. These were introductory bikes when they first came out in NAmerica. http://advgrrls.com/final-triumph-tiger-review-plus-gear/ (they loved the bikes but they now own BMW F800GS)

    I know they raved about the gel seat so that would be one accessory I would not pass up on.
    #18
  19. No Coast Rider

    No Coast Rider Been here awhile

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    So as I type this I'm at Libby's in New Haven buying a Tiger 800 ABS. the offered to give me the 1000 in accessories as cash off the bike so I did that bringing the bike price down to 10k and they gave me 5k for the Aprilia. Overall I felt like the Tiger is a fun to ride bike that just felt like a higher quality/more well put together machine than the F700GS I was looking at. I also preferred the triple motor on the road to the parallel twin. The BMW is a great bike too but the Triumph just suits me better I think, as you said, it made me smile more.

    Thanks for all the advice here. Can't wait for the ride home, I'll be going the long way today...
    #19
  20. txtallywhacker

    txtallywhacker screw schedules

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    :clap
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