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A lurker in need (F850 vs 790ADV)

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Trirrad07, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Ohio
    I’ve talked to two dealers and keep getting a lot of smoke blown at me. I’ve been riding for years and dreamt of getting an ADV. I narrowed things down to the F 850 GS and the KTM 790 Adventure S (R is beyond my skill level).

    I need something to do A LOT of 2 up riding. When I’m not riding 2 up, I’ll be off road doing scrambles and fun stuff in the mountains near my area.

    The KTM seems like a shot of adrenaline in an ugly package (I think the headlight is hideous), but inexpensive for what it offers. The BMW seems like it better fits the bill (comfier 2 up) and is more reliable but with a higher price.

    Does this seem accurate to you all? Thought I’d bounce my thoughts off people who were owners and not salesmen.

    Fun side note/story: I’m in my early 30s so the salesmen behavior was fun to watch. I was looking at a Suzuki VStrom and the salesman seemed like he wanted to drag me to the KTM because it was the better fit in his mind. The BMW salesman seemed overjoyed that I was the age I was, and wanted to go Offroad with the bike. Not knocking neither salesman, just a funny observation.

    either way, thanks all. I appreciate any help.
    #1
  2. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

    Joined:
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    Unless you are doing your own service work I would compare service schedules and prices for parts and labor. I never owned a KTM but word is they are "Needy" when it comes to service due to their "Ready to Race" state of tune...
    I could be wrong but it's worth a look.
    I do my own services on my 850 and my wife's 750 so an oil change costs me $30 per bike which BMW specifies at 6,000 miles but I change ours around 3,000 miles because I feel shift quality starts dropping off around that mileage on the oil.
    #2
  3. jmcarter

    jmcarter Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Savannah Ga and Port Ludlow WA
    Test rode the 790S and a F750GS and then found a 850GSA here, I’m very happy with the decision. The 790 was quicker and more agile (slick shifter better than BMW). The BMW is so much smoother and comfortable, better ergos for me (small old frame) and weather protection is great with the adventure model (big range bump too). Believe a passenger would be infinitely more comfortable. One additional factor was all the reliability issues with the 790 as described on advrider and on the 790 FB page. Course you ask the orange folks and they’ll probably say the 850 is a heavy pig but it seems perfectly capable to me with my low level off road skill set.

    BMW has better TFT and interface by far.
    #3
    osufrdave and Kwafo like this.
  4. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    this is great info. I know the 790ADV has a 10k mile service interval, but hadn’t considered the bike just might need more attention in general. I can do oil changes and minor wrenching in my own but valve adjustments and stuff is foreign to me. I’m not opposed to learning this stuff but I’d rather it be on a bike that offers it as an option and it isn’t out of necessity.

    yeah this was my sentiment as well. I’m a road background with light offroad experience. I like what KTM is going for here but it certainly felt like I would be buying into an offroad focus at a time when I’m unprepared for it. Maybe in a few years of the BMW? Or better yet, maybe the BMW and I could get the cheaper KTM 390 Adventure in a few years to thrash around? Good take, thanks!
    #4
  5. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    Also, why the F850GSA over the normal GS? The GSA seemed intimidatingly large. I was worried about balance with all that fuel up high when I was doing something like a scramble in the Appalachians. Just wasn’t sure the increased price tag was worth it.
    #5
    osufrdave likes this.
  6. jmcarter

    jmcarter Been here awhile Supporter

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    GSA doesn’t seem intimidating to me and I’m 70 and 145 pounds. It has such better range and weather protection and comes with adventure pannier racks. Add panniers and top box and two up touring is very doable. Have had the 1200GSA and Africa Twin previously and the AT felt more top heavy and cumbersome.
    #6
  7. heatmizr

    heatmizr n00b-tastic

    Joined:
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    Depending on your (combined) size and luggage habits, any of these bikes are a touch small for a lot of 2-up touring.
    But it sounds like if you go bigger, your scrambles will suffer.
    A good idea, if possible, is to go and rent Any ADV on a vacation. It will show you what you might like more of, or less of, in a bike.
    All in all, I know this is a BMW forum, but the 790 sounds a bit aggressive for your needs. Especially if you want to handle any longer trips.
    #7
  8. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

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    I have a local friend who will ride the 790 through the woods with his wife on the back like he is in an Enduro... Been passed by him many times and I just shake my head and laugh... His name is Mike Lafferty.
    #8
    mtwillyman likes this.
  9. heatmizr

    heatmizr n00b-tastic

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    His wife must be a lot of fun to hang out with!
    #9
  10. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    Holy crap, well Mike easily outclasses me with his riding!

    but yeah I definitely would ride on longer trips from time to time, but not often.

    I hear what you all are saying and I agree. I’d love the 790, but the BMW fits the bill better. Honestly this is now a decision between the GSA and the regular GS. The GSA probably is better of a tourer, but the regular GS would seem more nimble and adept offroad. Does that sound fair?

    thanks a million for all the responses thus far!

    oh and our combined weight is like 330-340 pounds with no luggage. I’m 6 foot tall and my wife is 5’4”
    #10
  11. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

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    You know what they say about KTMs? Don’t forget to take your canine buddy along, so you have someone to walk home with.

    One serious point about the 790 ADV is the fuel tank placement. While it does a good job of lowering the COG, it also directs engine heat onto your lower torso. Very hot, I’ve read on different posts.
    #11
    PSYOP SGM likes this.
  12. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    I will say I’ve heard a lot of negativity about KTMs reliability, but every owner I’ve ever met seems dismissive of it. It’s really bizarre compared to car brands like Chevy that are constantly getting hammered for that stuff.

    interesting note about the heat though. As a Triumph Street Twin rider my legs are bathed in heat during the summer and it really takes its toll on your endurance on those hot summer rides.
    #12
  13. C330F

    C330F Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Baltimore
    What have you ridden before and what did you like/dislike about them?

    I had a F850GS for a week as a loaner, and test rode the 790R at a demo day. Both seemed like great bikes. KTM felt way lighter and the quick shifter worked better than any I have tried. BMW fit and finish did feel higher and the dash interface was the best I have experienced. Both brands don't have the best reputation reliability-wise. I think where BMW has the edge is their dealerships tend to take better care of customers. If I was choosing between those bikes I would base it #1 on which local dealer I trusted more to take care of any issues that pop up.
    #13
  14. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    I’ve actually ridden both. Love the low down weight of the KTM. It felt like a mountain bike, let alone a motorcycle. TFT was okay, I hate the headlight. Hate it. Otherwise the power was lovely, and the bike rode like it was an extension of my own body.

    the F850 GS was very nice. As you said, fit and finish was great. I didn’t like the weight of the bike standing still, but once in motion it was dreamy. TFT was great. Cruise control. Electronic suspension change for the rear. Center stand. All good. Price is much higher than the KTM though.

    Bmw dealer has been around a while and seems highly rated. The KTM dealer is amazing. They sell bikes out all over the states. They’re known in my area as having a legendary service department. And the salesman is a neighbor so I can always harass him.
    #14
  15. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    The 850gs is at least 40 lbs heavier than the 790, and we won’t discuss the 850gsa. It’s even heavier, might as well just go for the big Boxer GS at that point. BTW, the 790 has an 18,000 mile valve inspection interval. Then there is suspension. The ktm has fully adjustable both front and rear. The 850 forks have 0 adjustments. I you were always solo, I would say ktm, but for two up, you may want to look at the triumph 900 Tiger. The triple engine should do well 2 up. It’s lighter than an 850 and has fully adjustable suspension. The rally pro version even comes with a heated seat.
    #15
    mantan likes this.
  16. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    The 790 Adventure S only has an adjustable rear. The R the front is adjustable. Unless I’m mistaken. The BMW is only rear adjustable. That was my fear of the GSA. Just too much weight up high for off-roading that goes beyond a fire road and becomes a 2 track or 1 track. I’ve heard the solution is to put less fuel in but..... then what’s the point haha?

    So the BMW dealer also sells triumphs. I called about the tiger 900 and he felt the BMW was the better fit. He noted better resale, durability, and warranty than a Tiger. His words, not mine. As a Street Twin rider, I kind of wanted to stay in the family but have maintained an open mind. Ah well.
    #16
  17. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    Damn, you’re right about the ktm S model forks being non adjustable. Same with the new base Tiger forks. Only the rally pro and gt pro have the full stuff, and of course the ktm R has the full adjustable stuff.
    #17
  18. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    So I just looked at the Tiger 900 Rally and there is some adjustability in the front forks on it. I am not sure if it is FULLY adjustable like the rally pro. Actually the Tiger 900 Rally has a load of value at $15k. Interesting.
    #18
  19. C330F

    C330F Been here awhile

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    That mountain bike feel is what makes me want a KTM too. If I had a dealer like that near me they would be at the top of the list. I actually like the current sci-fi headlights, but am not crazy about the rest of the orange styling. I wish Husqvarnas didn't command such a serious markup.

    When I first hopped on the F850GS loaner after dropping off my Multi it felt super sluggish. Then I remembered to use more of the rev range and it got fun, but didn't make me wish I had gone with BMW instead.
    #19
  20. Trirrad07

    Trirrad07 Adventurer

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    yeah if the dealer near me wasn’t so good, this wouldn’t even be a question. Good problem to have right?

    the ride I had on the BMW was in a city and pretty slow moving. So I know what you’re saying. Seems like having fun requires really getting after the throttle and that’s frowned upon on a test ride, apparently lol.
    #20