Originally Posted by HighFive
Have you ever ridden an F800GS more than around the block? Just curious.
I've sat on the f800 bike twice, once at the Long Beach Bike show, and once at a local bike shop. And during this second introduction the owner (who was with a friend getting service on a Kawa KL650) exchanged looks and small talk. This led to us sitting on each others bikes and upon on his mention, we rode each other's bikes 1/2 blk through traffic and then on to the I90 expressway, a 5 mile straight stretch of freeway that's never policed. It was the same route I tested my first 950 on.
You're right, it was technically a ride around the block. Not enough to give a full technical review, like what I'd expect to read in Cycle World by Ryan Dudek. And since my 950 was already ergo'd to me it was like going from a broken in baseball glove to a brand new one.
Things that struck me immediately...seating was a slightly forward lean, seat felt narrow and bike felt low, "street bike low". Suspension didn't have that "kush" feel but cushioning felt positive. Engine sounded smooth and felt very "japanese" in a good way. Reminded me of the sound of an EX650, almost electrical, with minimal vibration. The bike felt easy to handle at those few traffic stops once my feet were off the pegs. Didn't like how my feet felt on the pedal at a stop though, almost tucked back. Motor felt smooth through all gears but felt tall. I got the bike up to 90 easily and the engine was smooth, but my shifting of the last two gears was early and bogged. I needed to wind it a bit more.
I did have to watch as the guy riding my bike felt no etiquette toward me and wound my bike hard and was way out ahead of me. It was the first time I could hear the exhaust note from behind my bike... sounding very pitchy from behind. The brakes felt better on decel then on my 950. We both turned around and headed back on the I90. I gave it a bit more throttle which the bike handled smoothly after the initial FI roll. The stock exhaust note was nice. The bike was much quieter then my 950 when it was stock. The motor felt nicely balanced.
We rolled into traffic on the way back which kept things pretty tame. The seat seemed to feel stiff to me, but so was my stock 950 seat which I replaced with a nice gel one.
This is a pretty lame account. Not one I had much time to plan for either. It just sort of happened.
But the guy who was riding my bike had a much greater impact from it then I had.
Hi vocal impression of the experience was something like "Wow", with a grin. Then he made sure to point out how "tall" my bike was, intended to be his knock on it. I mentioned how smooth his bike was, even at higher speeds.
We both noticed how much hotter the area around my motor felt compared to his, but that's normal... nothing in the range for concern. But point taken.
We parted ways, but expressions say more then words and I got the feeling his adrenaline level was increased much higher then mine.
I didn't not even think about seeing how much easier his bike would have been to pick up. It didn't feel much "lighter" in overall weight, but had NOTICEABLY lower center of gravity, so that would make a difference standing it up from a fall.
But riding that f800 for the first time didn't have the same exhilarating feeling that I felt on my 950 test ride.
This is not meant to be a "review" because it's as you say... a ride around the block. And as a review it would suck ass. So sorry for the waste of words. But, you asked for it. So there it was, from what I could remember two years back.
However, I can positively say that the f800 felt WAY SMOOTHER during this on road biking experience then my 950 ever would be. The motor is very smooth, the exhaust sounding nice and contained, the brakes felt a bit quicker. That's a definite impression I took away from it.
But I didn't buy my bike to be a city bike, this bike wasn't marketed to me to be a city bike and I wouldn't be shopping for a city bike if I was test riding this bike anyway. So, no... the f800 wouldn't have been what I was looking for. It would have confused me as to what it was trying to do for me. If I was looking for a "street bike", I would not go this route.
You are right in the fact that most people don't take their bikes off road. So in that case, it would make sense if you didn't plan on doing much offroading, if at all. But that is just too foreign of a concept for me to prescribe to, "buying a dual sport looking street bike for intended street use."
What most, if not all of the KTM Adventure owners found, was a nice surprise in the bikes on-road capabilities.
My KTM 950 has become an obsession to ride, and I find myself making all kind of excuses to run errands on it. And I now ride it into work more then I drive the cage there. I think it was a big surprise for 950/990 owners as well as the factory- at how well the bike is as a daily driver. The secret was in the balance of the bike, the "kush" suspension and the feel of the motor. This was an added bonus, not what most of us even expected.
To set the record straight on these KTM Adventure bikes... some people experience wind buffetting, those with taller upper torso that extend beyond the draft of the screen. I don't ( probably a similar body type to the designers and test riders), but there are simple fixes, altering the venturi at the screen line, either up or down.
The bike is a lot of motor tucked under the bike, it generates a lot of central heat. It is manageable but there are simple aux fan kits that when easily installed minimizes the still heat issues. A permanent solution for under $150.
The clutch slave cylinder problem was caused by the engine heat breaking down the simple slave bellow. These "gaskets" wear in time, not quickly. Replacements are easy or aftermarket slaves use a heat resistant bellow... another permanent solution solved for under $150.
My carbs have incredibly ACCURATE throttle response. The carbs have definitive jet and float settings that were not completely mastered by the factory. This perfected information is standard info to knowledgeable KTM technicians and bike owners now. There's no excuse if your carb'd bike isn't running at peak performance at this day and age. The carb version of the KTM Adventure is a simple, solid design, although geared more for performance then fuel economy. But were talking about a $1.75 more per fill up. I find that cost is well worth the performance I gain rather then a concern for fuel economy. And my motor runs very smooth. For those carb'd bike owners who never had the opportunity to experience the newer setting dial in's, I'm sorry you missed out on this improvement.
As was mentioned earlier, I am a "good reader". And ALL the information about any problems and their solutions for all of these bikes can be obtained by simple research prior to making any unsure of or risky decisions.
This website has been incredible for all who take the time to research the nuances of the products out there, and THEN IMPLEMENT what you've uncovered.
It's almost more valuable to have a product that's been used the most, with tons of feedback on potential problems and ingenious solutions... then to purchase a new product out of the box that's never really been tested before.
One thing I always recommend to those looking for a new bike is to try to find a newer model USED, one that has had some break in time done where the previous owner worked out some of the production bugs... and also added some much wanted farkles along the way.
This is a great scenario regardless of make or model.
Pantah, good luck with your next choice and keep us all in the loop as to how things have worked out.
But beware, there are some very exciting new motorcycles soon to be released that may be worth waiting for.