Known issues include but are not limited to what BMW calls "campaigns" where they replace parts (with labor) for free:
chain (replaced with sprockets)
front brake disc bolts (F650GS not sure about the F800)
shock bolts (upper one bends)
air filters (can collapse)
cracked gas tanks
fueling issues (pumps and injectors)
rear wheel bearings
rocker cover gasket leak
side stand bending
overall finish with paint cracking, fading, peeling, etc...especially around the starter motor
exhaust finish is a cruel joke
the stock seats are torture devices
the mirrors give you an excellent non blurred view that is crystal clear...of your shoulders.
Not all of these faults affect all models. All can be fixed, but it will get pricey if you don't have a warranty and are doing it with your money.
There have been two redesigns that are important. The newest air filters are much stronger and more automotive in design with the wire mesh top for support and different silicone composition for the edges. Also, importantly, the original design of cam chain tensioner is being changed. I was informed of this when I ordered one and was told it was no longer available. Impossible to get from Motorrad Mexico. When I questioned Motorrad I was told a new design was coming out and would be shipped to the local dealer for me to pick up. I had waited 7 weeks for the old one and didn't get a call or anything until I started pestering Motorrad Mexico directly. They didn't even bother telling the local dealer. Don't expect any kind of quality customer service from Motorrad and dont buy an F800 unless you really like and trust your local dealer. But the dealer, don't buy the bike, headaches with the F bikes will be a real pain for you if you get a duff one and you have to travel to another dealer because your local dealer sucks. Sniff around for a good used one or wait for the 2013 models to arrive in a month or so. They've had some re-designing going on with suspension and a few other pieces (I suspect the cam chain tensioner for one thing). A good used and sorted one with decent mileage and few extras might be a very good option for you. Don't be afraid to look at the F650GS twin which has the same power output except for the extreme top end, is way cheaper, can handle a lot of off road situations that will surprise most people (especially with good tires), you might find it to be more of what you are looking for if you are doing less than say 25% of your riding off road. The great majority of F800 riders, I suspect, really never use their bikes that much off road. If you are doing a lot of off roading, there are better choices than the F800 anyways.
Nothing has been done by BMW about the stator issues, this seems to affect bikes with higher mileage.
Some remaps were made available so make sure your choice of bike is running the latest software.
A $350 GS-911 tool is nice to have if you are doing your own maintenance and most of the maintenance you can do without the dealer.
They are good bikes but not really the best choice as a round the world type bike.
I've got more than 40,000kms on my F650GS mid year 2009 all in Mexico and on surfaces ranging from highways to rough rock off road at above 14,000ft elevation.
The design of the F800/F650 is pure genius, however, the engineering of certain parts and systems leaves something to be desired.
Have you though about a clean and lower mileage GS1100 or 1150 pre-2002 model? That's what I am looking for. Easier to work on.
MikeMike screwed with this post 08-11-2012 at 10:19 AM