F800GS as a first ADV bike

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by ilyaon, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. ilyaon

    ilyaon Adventurer

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    Can somebody share they story if they have F800GS as a first ADV bike.
    What challenges had you experienced? If you could do it again, would you chose the same bike?
    #1
  2. greenthumb

    greenthumb b00b

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    Okanagan, British Columbia
  3. BillsburgGS

    BillsburgGS Been here awhile

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    Glendale - St. Louis, MO
    After owning a Honda Shadow 750 cruiser and then a Road King classic I got tired of finding so many narrow country roads and dirt/gravel roads that concerned me enough that I turned around...leaving me unfulfilled in exploring.

    Bought my F800 2 years ago and have 12K miles of fun. It's comfortable at 80 mph on the highway for a few hours ( but yes, most people need to add a gelpad to the seat or change the seat to do more hours than 3-4 in a day). It's perfect for days of maintained dirt/gravel and easy to learn on. I've added more offroad tires, risers and lowered pags to make my standup position correct for off road control, and a taller windscreen for those 2 hour rides on the highway for comfort and I think it's a great bike. On the highway I think the 1200 is more comfortable, but on dirt/gravel the 800 is every bit as good for most people and maybe better for some.

    There are less expensive true adventure bikes out there, but i think about $14k all in for a new bike with skid plates, hard cases, centerstand,heated grips, and a few personal ergo adjustments, I still think its a great value. I think the 1200 is great and probably overall more comfortable, but runs 5-6 grand more comparably equipped.

    I go anywhere I want. If you are new to adv riding, I think rider offroad experience and the need to learns skills are the limiting factors as to where this bike can go, not the bike itself. Good dealers (Gateway in st. Louis, Mortons in VA) offer intro clinics for offroad riding and then its easy to go almost anywhere shy of single track.

    My first adventure bike after cruisers and it has helped me have more fun riding than Iever had before, by far. All bikes have tradeoffs, I think the 800 is a great combination for country sweepers and twisties and then just turning onto a forest service road, dirt/gravel or a jeep trail. If you get a GS, not going down a road is a limit that will almost never due to your lack of confidence that the bike isn't up to it.

    Its fun to ride anywhere, get one and get out!
    #3
  4. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    F800GS was my first bike. I passed my test on a G650 X-Country, test rode an R1200GS and KTM 990 which I found not suitable before deciding on the F800GS unseen when it was first launched. I wanted a twin and felt the BMW fitted my needs better than the alternatives at the time which were those I'd ridden or the Honda Transalp.

    After my first trip, I changed out the sprockets to slow it down but after a year of riding, got bored with the lack of speed so swapped the sprockets back to stock.

    Would I choose it again? Yes. I'd probably test ride a Tiger XC as well but I think the BMW is the one I'd still go for.
    #4
  5. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV Long timer

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    What do you consider a "true adventure bike"?
    #5
  6. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    #6
  7. Farmholio

    Farmholio Smarmy Marmot

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    Haines, AK
    I got an 800 back in 2009 as my first dual sport. Most of my experiences reflect what others have noted. After one cross country trip, I felt a taller wind screen was a must and added one. Made a huge difference in the beating you get at highway speeds with the low one. I also added a peg packer for additional fuel capacity because if you ride it semi aggressively the range can get pretty small pretty quickly. The one additional thing I'd mention is that if you choose to go with the knobby tk's on it, watch out for the wobblies if you're loaded for a longer trip and cruising at higher speeds. I have a 1200 gs as well and have noted that the 800 is considerably more vibey which can make long days a little harder on you but sometimes that's part of the adventure. The stock seat is expectedly less comfortable than the 12 as well but its more of a dirtbike seat than the tractor buckets on the bigger bike. For what its worth, I've not found it bad enough to replace yet. The 800 has been a great versatile bike for me, just depends on what type of riding you're after. If its longer trips, the bigger bike is much more planted and refined. If you want to get down and dirty in the junk and don't have to go very far to get to there, smaller singles are a heck of lot more manageable. The 800, while a great and fun bike, is still a pretty heavy dual sport to pick up when you're riding it around places that get dodgy.
    #7
  8. Mtl_Biker

    Mtl_Biker Long timer

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    What's a peg packer? And how much additional capacity does it give you? The small fuel tank is for me the only serious shortcoming on this bike. I'm planning to add Zega Pro panniers and I was thinking of getting a couple of the 3 litre fuel bottle attachments.
    #8
  9. Farmholio

    Farmholio Smarmy Marmot

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    Location:
    Haines, AK
    Check here:

    http://www.bestrestproducts.com/p-180-peg-packer-2-gallon-unit.aspx

    Its a custom aluminum platform that replaces a rear passenger peg that you can strap a little jerry can to. I think he does a few sizes, I went for the 2 1/2 gallon one. I've not taken a hard digger on that side so I cannot verify its crash durability. I've usually got happy trail boxes on the bike though so if it was something slowish, I think it'd be alright. I've seen a few other systems that I really like (like those flat rotax tanks) but unless you put it on a rear/tail platform, there's not a lot of other real estate for them (at least on my narrowish boxes that open from the top).

    Oh and my other bike has those 2 liter black rear mount touratech bottles on the back and I absolutely loathe them. They were on there when I bought the bike. They're impossible to fill, a pain in the rear to empty into your bike and they swell up like bombs when you change elevation. I think their only useful purpose would have been for carrying water or liquor. I hadn't noticed that issue with the little jerry can and its pretty easy to deal with (especially if you mount it on the same sides as your gas filler (which would probably be recommended since the exhaust is on the other side).
    #9
  10. BillsburgGS

    BillsburgGS Been here awhile

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    I'm not going to step into that one. But... A " more or less adventure bike" is one that can ride on unpaved roads with adequate control vs. a street bike, probably requires pegs that you can stand on. And, the bike should be able to be dropped without the owner worrying about damage or dirt.

    No chrome. If someone sits on it wearing a doo rag or chaps the engine will not start.

    Fair minimum standards?
    #10
  11. Camel ADV

    Camel ADV Long timer

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    I mis-read your original post about "true adventure bikes". I thought it said an F800 was several thousand less than a true adventure bike which made me wonder what bikes you were referring to (assumed you meant anything less than a 1200gs or 990 wasn't a real adventure bike), and a heated debate would have followed. Apparently my reading comprehension is low this week so I'll shut up now.
    #11