Would you buy again?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Brokebrute, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. ThirdUncle

    ThirdUncle More will than skill Supporter

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    I bought mine new in '09, my first-ever new bike of the four I've owned. The regular service was expensive enough to shock, then annoy, but the bike has been entirely reliable (apart from steering head bearing failure every 7-10k km starting at about 45,000km) until this fall. The bike broke 90,000kms a few weeks ago and things are going wrong with it now, mostly normal wear -- but that doesn't make the parts any cheaper.:rofl

    Offroading, compared to the Triumph, the 800GS is a much more agile machine, especially as a steep hill climber. This we proved somewhat conclusively about a year ago when two different riders couldn't get an XC up the steep 'big view' hill in the Ganny. My bike had nearly bald TKC80s; the XC had brand new ones. I got up first crack, no sweat. The Tiger got stuck several times, and even with a fresh start, a good run up and an experienced offroad rider (he rides a KTM990, and hard), it had to be pulled up the last 100 feet by two guys yanking on slings wrapped around the forks, as the back wheel kept burying itself in the soft soil-sand-gravel trail. That rider said the bike felt 'weird and wrong' to him -- the weighting and ergos mainly.

    Would I buy another BMW? No. The main reason is that KTM lust has been steadily building in me the more I ride alongside them -- well, mostly behind them. That is not the definitive answer for the guy who asked the Q a few pages back. But I realized after my 10,000km Toronto-LA RT last spring that I don't love touring or tar nearly as much as I love dirt and technical riding of the type Ontario's forests offer. When I bought the GS I had not intended to ride in the type of terrain I now seek out each weekend. If you use it on roads, gravel and easy/moderately technical terrain, you'll likely be very satisfied. If you get a taste for the rough stuff, be prepared to drop it and damage your brightwork or worse -- even with crashbars, barkbusters, etc. -- and also to crave a bike more suited to this type of riding.

    The bike was mostly amazing for me -- until I reached a few of its offroad performance limitations. The things I don't like about the 800 when it comes to offroading:

    - High centre of gravity. It feels unstable and 'hunty' in rough terrain at low speeds, say 0-10kph; the bike is tippy and is hard to keep upright once it goes over past a certain point. I even find it tippy at those low speeds on pavement -- I sometimes weave around a bit when stopping and starting, even if I haven't had a beer.

    - Too effing heavy to lift on your own. I can only do this three times in a ride before my back pretty well gives up for the day. If it's loaded with touring cargo and you go down, forget it. You have to take it all off, then lift it up, put it all back on. This happened to me in the NM desert and took over an hour to sort, as I had to move the bike and bags 100m off the sandy terrain that had dumped it before I could reload it and carry on. I was one pissed off, sweaty mess by the end of that little moment.

    - The stock suspension isn't really up to the job, and it's at least 3 grand to make it right. That's too damn much.

    - The stock front rim is too bendable. I have to slow down for big rocks and roots if I've aired-down or I'll add more dings to my already well bent rim. Back one's a bit off, too.

    - My bike is very clacky and rattly over bumps -- the concert of floating front rotors and chain-slappage can sometimes make it sound like it's falling apart. Eventually, or now as in my case, the front rotors become so floaty and loose that they need to be changed. That's a grand.

    - The stock seat just plain sucks -- but that's more noticeable en route to the trails than in them.

    For touring it's pretty good. The engine buzz at 5k RPM never bugged me, just the seat and the still rather bad windage after three different screens -- a problem that seems only curable with an ugly $500 Britannia 2 fairing/screen kit. Too much cash just to redirect some air.

    The other thing is... BMW and some (not all) of its dealers can make for some damn arrogant and recalcitrant company. And these bikes are expensive to buy, and to maintain and fix -- even if you do your own work. But they are quite well made in my own experience, and that of the other BMW bike owners I know. But then, I'd bet most riders get annoyed at the manufacturers of their bikes at regular intervals, esp. for not fixing flaws for years after introducing a new model. To its credit, BMW has corrected many such things on the 800GS in recent years.

    All said, I have loved my BMW F800GS. Deeply. It changed my life very much for the better, intro'd me to an entire new way of life and the filthy cast of creatures that inhabit it. I have been granted a second childhood. I know I will miss sweet Naomi a lot (esp. the very tasty exhaust note courtesy the carbon MIVV can, sans dB killer) when I replace her next spring with, probably, a KTM 690 Enduro R.

    But I'm guessing I'll get over it quickly. :dg
    #61
  2. YAHBO

    YAHBO Grip and rip since 1983

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    ^^^^

    Good write up. Like any bike, I guess, there are good points and there are negative things that make you questions your choice.
    #62
  3. JustBob

    JustBob Uh...who me? Supporter

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    Well if expensive maintenance is a problem for you, you'd better do your KTM research. They are great bikes but kinda wonky so watch out. If you like the tight off road the 690 might not be the ticket as the turn radius is a bit wide. This bike started design life as an SM and didn't need tight turning. But it's a great dual sport bike. Basically gotta pick the bike for the mission. None of them do everything well.
    #63
  4. JustBob

    JustBob Uh...who me? Supporter

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    And OBTW this is my second F8GS and it is incrementally better than the '09 I had.
    #64
  5. ThirdUncle

    ThirdUncle More will than skill Supporter

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    Bob, Very curious to hear what things you like better abt the newer model. I rode a brand new one around a few blocks several months back and it felt like a completely different machine -- in a good way. So tight vs. mine, which clatters along like an old New York taxi.
    #65
  6. JustBob

    JustBob Uh...who me? Supporter

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    It does seem a bit tighter wrapped but this may be because it's new so time and miles will tell on that score. The forks are better....damping is about right and the whole front seems not as soft. Still not adjustable but about right out of the box. The shock seems about the same and the seat is way better. I had to put a Sergeant on my '09, but will keep the stocker on this. Maybe it's the new front and tires but it sure handles nice on the street. Will put some dirt tires on when the time comes. I really like having the extra gas and can't tell any difference riding but sure can pushing it around the garage and up onto the lift. So far with 2000 miles I like it very much. Oh and engine appears to be the same although I've stalled it a couple times starting off. Feels like lighter flywheel but it could be me.
    #66
  7. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

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    Would I buy again? Well, I have 2 :D

    The Tiger 800 is a bike that looks like a 800 GS but is more Straße and not so much Gelände imo. The GS is the better choice if you actually want a Gelände/Straße bike, and not just a bike that looks like a Gelände/Straße bike.

    I do love the triple engine on the street
    #67
  8. Kerfuffle

    Kerfuffle Mostly Harmless

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    Former 2010 F658GS owner. Good experience with bike. Liked it, no maintenance or repair problems. Raves: Manageable weight, decent ergos, good blend of power and mileage. Gripes: buzzy engine, twitchy throttle, sucky OEM tires.

    Would not buy again, but only due to engine vibes causing hand/wrist issues; all else was good.
    #68
  9. Snowy

    Snowy Long timer

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    There's an old bloke that lives in the city here. Must be about 70 or so (well, that's still "old" to me).

    He writes to the paper every couple of months complaining about all the people with their big gas guzzling cars.

    He has a Daihatsu Charade. Says it's perfect for him, and does everything he wants. Then he demands that the government should decree that everyone should be forced to own a similar car, because they don't need anything bigger, better, or different, in his opinion.


    and that, good people, is how I sum up threads like this one.

    The people who are happy with the F800GS will find every reason to cast doubts on anyone who isn't. If it's good enough for me, then he must be wrong.

    They will not concede that others may do things differently. That conditions may be predominantly different.

    So a thread like this will just degenerate into a "for and against" between the combatants willing to keep slugging it out.

    Summing up the new version of the F800GS in comparison to the old version is as simple as this:

    Same frame

    Same brakes

    Same wheels

    Same engine

    Same swingarm

    Slightly improved shock (subjective)

    Slightly improved forks (subjective)

    Improved fuel range (depending on model GS/GSA)

    Same ergonomics (even with the different seat, feels the same to me)

    Different plastics.


    So how in the world people can say it feels vastly better, or tighter, or God only knows what else is beyond me. I'll throw some new handgrips on mine and say it feels tighter, more precise.

    The new F800GS feels like a new F800GS. It doesn't feel any different to the old one when it was new. Hence - would I buy another one - no.
    #69
  10. murph76

    murph76 Been here awhile

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    spot on!
    #70
  11. YAHBO

    YAHBO Grip and rip since 1983

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    Mine is prone to stalling, also. Usually from a dead stop on the road. I don't really do any off roading with this bike save for the occasional dirt road.

    What are people doing for gearing? I'm thinking of going one tooth smaller in the front to help with the bottom end and perhaps ease the stalling. This motor is kinda buzzy as we know and I wonder if that will put it in the buzz zone on the highway.

    Any gearing changes experience that people can speak of?
    #71
  12. JustBob

    JustBob Uh...who me? Supporter

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    Not quite. Your ambivalence is as over-stated as the old man and his Charade. People are just giving opinions....as are you. So I would hardly consider you the arbiter of things F8GS. Dial it back a notch, Junior. :D
    #72
  13. JustBob

    JustBob Uh...who me? Supporter

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    One more soft data point....I traded bikes with a friend who has a Triumph 800XC. His comment was, he'd like to put the Triumph engine in the BMW chassis. I agree with this assessment, except when off-road as the BMW "tractors" a bit better and the new WP forks are better damped.
    #73
  14. TAMPAJIM

    TAMPAJIM Been here awhile

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    I agree with Snowy, even though he hates us old people. :muutt
    #74
  15. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    I never had an issue with stalling, but since the bike spools up so fast I think it does have a light flywheel.

    I went the other way and geared up one tooth. I had done that several years ago and went back to stock. Then tried more recently after adding a AF-Xied oxygen sensor spoofer to it http://sales.nightrider.com/AF-XIED-for-BMW-Control-Unit_p_54.html and changing the fuel mixture.

    It is not snake oil, it not only works, but the change in felt torque is immediate, especially in the first 4 gears. I have lugged it down to 800rpm without stalling, but things begin to rattle at that rpm.

    It has not had much effect on mileage when set at 14.2 AFR. Lose a little at high rpm and gain it back at lower rpm. I think the engine runs smoother at all rpms and 80mph is now 4,700 rpm.

    With about 6,000 miles on it, I have had no issues with it. The gearing is not suitable for serious off roading, but typical fire roads are doable.
    #75
  16. OKstripe

    OKstripe Adventurer

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    I did the same - except for O2 sensor/change fuel mixture - do not have the expertise or even knowledge base to have thought of that. Just geared up one tooth and the effect was exactly as described by itsatdm.

    Smooth sailing and can cruise the blue highways for 240 miles before the computer says I'm on reserve fuel.
    #76
  17. Kerfuffle

    Kerfuffle Mostly Harmless

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    +1. True both for the BabyGS / Tiger and the RT/Trophy.
    #77
  18. murph76

    murph76 Been here awhile

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    test drove the tiger when they first came out and for me...it was to top heavy but at least they got almost everything else right after copying the gs and faster at fixing problems than BMW ...probably listen to customers on here bitching and actually did something about it ....also got into the dealer to test the new 14 800gs/a...yes the suspensions a tiny bit better ,new colors and plastics but otherwise same bike with same problems that over half the people on this post have been bitching about since 09...and that fat 800gsa is a joke, fuck it looks wider than 1200...known variances bobby
    #78
  19. rumblefish

    rumblefish xxx

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    I originally wanted the Tiger back in 2010, but it took to long to appear so I went for the F800GS. Initially it scared the crap out of me - it was my first big bike and I'm a scrawny 6 feet (just) - but after a few drops I got over it and am glad I bought it over the F650GS (as it was).

    I think the biggest decision to make is how you are really (I mean really) going to ride it. If you are not going off road, then maybe the Tiger would be a better bet. If you are going off road, the F800GS is a great bike.

    I've yet to ride the Tiger, although I've ridden a Street Triple. If I could go back maybe I would choose the Tiger since I rarely take my bike onto trails. But it would be a very close thing.
    #79
  20. murph76

    murph76 Been here awhile

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    like the tiger too but that big heavy gas tank makes it top heavy and a pain in ass off road, the f800gs tank position is perfect but that being said i would not want to drop these things off road more than a few times during the day....i dont know anybody that owns one but was kinda wondering how the headlights compare between the two?
    #80