Thread: Bmw F800gs Q&A
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:15 AM   #58
RTW Motorcycling OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: B.C.
Oddometer: 112
Originally Posted by DoctorIt
40 to 47 mpg, not too bad at all!!
(I heart google, it does conversions for you, just type in "20 km/L in mpg" )

RTW - thanks for all the fantastic info and impressions! I sold my 12GSadv before moving to Oz, and when I go home to the US in a few months, I'm strongly considering the 800 for the generally shorter, smaller road/off-road riding I enjoy most.

I do have one question: did the 800 ever feel "light in the front"? On my 12GSadv, when it was fully loaded, complete with the Mrs on the pillion, the bike would feel like the front wheel was barely touching the ground. The 21" on the 800 makes me think of that.

Random thought: what would an F800GS with a 19" front be like?
Hey Doc,

Lol, it would probably work like gang busters - it's called the new 650 twin! Seriously though, I haven't ridden the 650 (same motor as 800 as you know) so can't say how much the reduction in wheel size changes the feel of the bike. They have certainly tweaked a few different things to make everything fit together well on that bike so not a direct comparison, but likely close enough to get a good indication. It would be interesting to see how the 800 would feel with a smaller front tire, it won't be long before someone converts one into their own personal supermotard so that will be a good indication.

In regards to a light front end, I didn't find that it felt too light at anytime although I do know the feeling you refer to when are packing a lot and a pillion, there is so much weight on the rear of the bike that you begin to think you might be riding a chopper. Usually with really heavy loads I tried to make sure that the preload was cranked to near max. I turned up the preload on the 800 but didn't need to take it to near the max as I wasn't carrying a pillion for this leg of the trip. I would guess that for the odd time that you carry heavy loads and a pillion, it will be absolutely fine, but it wouldn't feel quite as solid as your GSA which is a big bike.

Side note: they have a funky two pronged tool located under the seat to change the preload. I just used my hand, the adjuster rotates about 20 full turns, I usually ran anywhere between 10 and 15 turns depending on how much stuff I was carrying and the terrain.

One suggestion that I would make in addition to making sure your preload and dampening are adjusted, is to try to shift as much weight forward as possible. I hadn't used them before, but I got some Aerostich tank panniers from a kind hearted adv'er and I am a converted man. They are great, you can put quite a bit of weight on the front, they fit quite a bit of stuff, they keep the wind and rain off your legs and knees, and if bad luck befalls you, they act a bit like bumpers on a sail boat and offer a bit of protection in tip overs.

The challenge is what to fit in these things that uses the space, weighs enough that it makes it worth it, and yet you aren't worried about it getting pinched or damaged in a crash. I ended up putting my chain lube and things like that up there. I would recommend that people should take a look at them and see if they work for their personal tastes. I would think that tank panniers should become more popular for this bike in particular because with the small tank space between you and the handlebars, your tank bag will be quite small and even smaller if you are a rider who likes to stand. Once standing and handling, there really isn't much room for a tank bag at all.

In your general description you mention shorter, smaller road/off-road riding as your main use and that's pretty much what I enjoy and all I can usually get away because of that four letter word called "work." For that purpose, I would say that this bike is well suited, and you'll find it lighter than your GSA for horsing around on mixed roads and if you see a trail wind up into the mountains wonder what's up there, you can crank the handle bars and ride off, without that niggling feeling that you are pushing your luck.

Happy riding!
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