1200gsa to f800

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Eddywoodgo, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Eddywoodgo

    Eddywoodgo two wheeled nomad

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    Has anyone made the transition from a r1200 gsa to an F800?
    If so, what are your thoughts now. Would you do different in hindsight?
    cheers :ear
    #1
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Long timer

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    In my Castle!
  3. SportFaller

    SportFaller Dirt dont hurt, MUCH

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    I did it this year, mostly because i wanted a wet clutch, 21in front, and adjustable gearing. Almost went with a used HP2, but availability was an issue.

    If money wasnt an option, I woulda kept the GSA and set it up for touring w/ street tires etc. and bought a g450x or some other 450 dirtbike
    #3
  4. a57m2000

    a57m2000 Been here awhile

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    I have 2008 GSA and GS. A few days ago I've rented F800 with Anakee tires in SLC to do GS riding in southern UT.
    At the time of rental I immediately noticed that I would need handle bar risers, and lowered pegs. being 6'4"

    On the road - somewhat more squirly on the higher speeds 90-100 mph, more sensitive to cross winds. Noticeable heat dissipation from the engine similar to old K bikes. Relatively short range with good mpg.

    Off road - on gravel, ankle deep +/- sand, sand washes and rock gardens very similar feel to 1200GS, same heavy to pick up. In the sand sometimes more difficult to pick up due to lack of a sticking out boxer cylinders. SW-Motech guards were great to protect the bike, and there was no damage to turn signals - unlike with off road stock GS.

    Both are great bikes with similar in my hands off-road performance. Since F800 by no means is a dirt bike, I would probably stick to 1200GS especially that is noticeably more powerful on road, more easily able to go 2-up. It would be easier for me to ride GS from IL to UT and than slip off-road with it.
    #4
  5. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    I have both a F800GS and a GSA.

    The 800 is a wonderful bike as long as you don't compare it to the GSA.
    #5
  6. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    If I had both, I'd sell the 1200 immediately.
    It's way too big for anything remotely resembling fun.
    #6
  7. abj

    abj Adventurer

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    I had a R1200GSA from 2006 and I turned the 1200 in for a 800. I don't regret it so far.

    I ride 180miles a day of which almost 90% on highway and with a new aftermarket seat and windscreen there is no problem at all.

    I bougth a 800 because of its funfactor, light weight, cheaper, lower fuel consumption and better looks.
    #7
  8. tentative_rider

    tentative_rider Wanna Be On Gravel

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    The GSA has always been my dream bike, ever since I first saw one back in 2001 or so.

    I just sold my my 07GSA which was fully equipped (ohlins front and rear, wunderlich bash plate, and just about everything that touratech made for it) to a friend that I ride with. We ride in a group of 3-4 and take 2 long trips per year (7-8 days) riding forest service and BLM roads as well as private roads in WA, OR, NV and CA. I bought a '12 800GS, and have just finished putting on the 600 'break-in' miles.

    I rode about 15,000 miles on the GSA, and thought it was the best long distance tourer I have ever owned, great wind protection, power and handling on both pavement and gravel, and it was tough for me to sell it, but my garage is only so big, and I can only ride one bike at a time.

    I will admit that with my height of 5'6" and 140 lbs the GSA may have been a bit much for me. I did learn to handle that thing (which earned the nickname of Beluga, like the whale) over some reasonably gnarly terrain, but after a couple of hours of hustling that behemoth over sketchy loose surfaces I was always wasted. And at the end of a long day's ride, when I had spent a lot of time riding near the edge of my ability, I would become very irritable and many times our toughest segment would be trying to get up to a high spot to set up camp. In essence, the bike was getting in the way of the group's experience.

    So my initial impression of riding the 800 over wet potholed forest service road very positive. I had a great time. I never had a single twinge of the anxiety that I routinely felt on the GSA whenever the road became a bit slick. Bumps are handled with much more control, and the combination of lighter weight, centralized mass (gas under the seat) and 21" front wheel make rough gravel a treat, rather than a chore. I have even decided not to lower the bike (I had originally ordered the touratech lowering kit).

    Now admittedly that was the unloaded bike. But I have really made an effort to minimize my camping kit, and will be using the Great Basin bag, and a small tank bag instead of the huge amount of gear I used to carry.

    So in summary, I had some of the best experiences of my life on my GSA, but am fairly certain that the upcoming riding experiences will surpass my former trips in every respect. If I had to summarize my feelings about the reasons my switch, see below.

    Attached Files:

    #8
  9. Y E T I

    Y E T I Unpossible

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    I went from a 1200GS which had the Adventure shocks, etc. So it was basically an Adventure without the big tank.


    Now I ride an 800GS. I got the 800GS because I thought I was going to a single bike garage and wanted something better in the dirt than the 1200.


    IMHO, the answer to your question lies in how much dirt you ride and what kind of dirt you ride. If I was going to do it over again, I wouldn't, I would have kept the 1200. I just don't ride my 800 in the dirt enough and the 1200 was much better (again IMHO) on the freeway, especially for long distances.


    When I first got the 800 I did ride it in the dirt a lot, even on single track and in rutted out, sandy whoops, etc. it was much better than the 1200.


    Hope that helps.
    #9
  10. GrommettAZ

    GrommettAZ Adventurer

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    I had the 800 and traded it in for a 1200GSA and I am so much happier...yes the 800 is better in higher speed woops and ruts, but the suspension packs up too much for me and the 1200 fits me better and have had no issues handling it in the rough...just a little more finess required. Keep the 1200 and if you want a dirt bike go find a nice 450/ 650.
    #10
  11. VintageBandit

    VintageBandit Cat in the Hat

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    I have an 800GS. Just bought it 4 weeks ago, and I cannot wait to trade up to the R1200GSA! I got to spend some time one one recently and my dream bike is just a dreamy as I'd hoped it would be. The 800GS is great, but needs a lot of aftermarket farkle to get it to where the GSA already is.
    #11
  12. B-B

    B-B out of my lane

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    Test rode a GSA not to long ago, and it felt big and slow like a touring bike. My F8 handles better for me and is more fun to ride. I'm sure the GSA would be more comfortable for long hauls.
    #12
  13. conrado

    conrado Been here awhile

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    +1
    #13
  14. JustBob

    JustBob Uh...who me? Supporter

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    I have both and enjoy and use them for different purposes. The 12 is a regular road bike for me....a trip bike...a two=wheeled SUV. The F8 is a forest service road bike, moderately gnarly dirt/rocky mountain roads...it gets dirty. I'm not good enough to do single track on it but I know it is up to whatever I am brave enough to try as long as I have decent tires. If I could have only one, I would go with the 12 for road and some FS roads and keep the Honda for real dirt.
    If you are a good off-road rider then the 12 gets the nod again. I've followed a buddy who has a 12 and he flies ANYWHERE. But he's quite accomplished and pretty fearless to boot.

    So....I guess it depends on your skill level.
    #14
  15. Y E T I

    Y E T I Unpossible

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    I wish I had kept my 1200GS. If I could find the guy that has it, I would try to trade bikes with him.
    #15
  16. RRVT

    RRVT Wild and Crazy Guy

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    I've had an F800GS since January 2009 and always loved the bike. A few weeks ago I bought an R1100GS with the intention of putting a sidecar on it eventually, but in the meantime use it as a long distance/highway touring bike. I admit I was so thrilled by the "new" boxer, especially with being able to ride faster in the twisties, that I briefly considered trading up the 800GS for a 1200GS, especially since I don't really push it hard enough offroad. But after resuming riding the F800GS again I just realized that there are too many things I like about the bike - it has certain character, lighter weight, better fuel consumption, and cool look that generates a lot of turning heads, etc... Call me shallow but I like having a "trophy" bike :D

    So one thing to consider to have best of both worlds is this - for the price of a 1200GSA, you could get new or almost new F800GS, and also an R1150GS or GSA. These days they go for about 6-7K and they are very good bikes. This way you can have one bike for fun solo riding offroad and as a commuter, and use the other bike for longer trips and riding two-up. That's roughly my plan once I rig the 1100GS, but by then there might be 1200GS bikes available for 7K or so. I've been watching prices the last 3 months and by now have seen several 2005 or 2006 models going for less than 8K.
    #16
  17. reinerka

    reinerka Been here awhile

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    Different bikes for different purposes. Taking the F800 from CA to MA won't be fun - with the GSA it will :D.

    Taking the GSA on a trail - different experience.....

    Reiner
    #17
  18. dscarborough

    dscarborough McMuddin Supporter

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    I rode an 07GSA until this summer when I traded even for a well farkled 2010 F800GS. This is a decision I made after spending two weeks working the high mountain passes of western Colorado. I do mean work. The GSA was perfectly capable but slow and pendulous. My buddies on an F800 and KTM990 didn't have to work as hard. I loved touring on the GSA; on the road it was smooth, comfortable and fun. For the kind of riding I prefer though, the F800GS is a better dirt bike. It does require some serious aftermarket upgrades to approximate the GSA but once you do that, IMHO it's a better ride if you plan on getting dirty a lot.
    #18
  19. LJRAT

    LJRAT LJR Adventure Tours

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    I think everyone will have a different thought on this but here's my two cents.

    I owned a very nice R1200GSA with farkles for several years. When it came time to replace it, I moved to the F800 platform and similar farkles. I, like others on this thread recognize the significantly different character of these two bikes. But given the chance to have either one for free, so that money is not in the equation, I would choose the F series every time.

    Yes, I do acknowledge in stock form, the superior road performance of the R model but I am NOT the "fly down highway 80" kinda guy. I ride looking for adventure and I prep my bikes my way. That said, a well prepped F model is just as capable of serious road work as the biggest R model.

    Consider these things in your comparison:

    1. Chain drive versus shaft. Having lost a bearing in my shaft drive "twice" makes readily available cheap chains seems worth the minor inconvenience of some chain lube now and then.

    2. Fuel tanks are at the opposite end of the spectrum. one may be too small while the other may be too big?

    3. Fuel mileage: about 8-10 MPG difference.

    4. Weight: 564#s versus 455#

    5. Available options; much greater on the R model.

    6. Better two-up seating on the R.

    7. Better off-road prowess on the F

    So there ya have it. - maybe that was three cents worth!
    #19
  20. Callao3181

    Callao3181 Mike Rafferty

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    I made the switch from an 07 1200gs (not GSA), which I really, really loved, to f8gs and am very happy. It is NOT as smooth and stable on the highway, but neither is it such a handful in the dirt. What I miss most is the planted behavior the paralever produces -- especially with ohlins on board.

    The biggest problem (for me) on the 1200 was the combination of a fairly high first gear and a dry clutch. Loaded heavily and riding a two lane mountain pass with lots of trucks, in the dark, slipping the clutch to keep speed down made too much heat and after a while, left me at the side of the road hoping none of the trucks swung wide.

    I love my oil bath clutch. really do.
    #20