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Old 05-06-2011, 01:42 PM   #16
rockycraig OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Mar 2011
Oddometer: 279
Just got back from another test ride on the 1200gs, I do like it except for that funny feeling from revving the motor at a stoplight, it feels like the bike gonna tip to the right but I guess you get used to it and downshifting seems like it backfired a bit (had a leo vince exhaust on it) not sure if that is normal? Through the twistys it is unbelievable and on the highway it's good but didn't get a chance to go dirt but did some slow riding in the parking lot, seems like you need zero space to turn around, that being said it does feel like a big bike(cuz it is) and the 800 seems more like a dirt bike ride feel. Not sure what to do???? Not sure how many times I can test ride these without the dealer getting sick of me?
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:22 PM   #17
Mommys Lil Monster
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Honolulu via Mariana Islands via Raleigh, NC
Oddometer: 3,096
Ask yourself how you are going to use the bike. If you are street oriented go with the 1200. If you are dirt oriented go with the F8. The 1200 will do dirt roads just fine but it doesn't do "dirt" very well. By dirt I mean off the graded and maintained dirt roads. The F8 tends to love the dirt and will do highways but hates to run above 75 mph on the tarmac. F8 with a shorter 1'st and taller 6'th would bridge the gap nicely. I ride my F8 like a dirtbike but sure wish it didn't argue so much on the highway. Even a 5 mph difference in 6'th would make a huge difference in it's highway manners. Can't imagine even thinking of taking the 1200 where I ride the F8 in dirt. I'm sure I could do it but would it be fun -> nope.

I hear the Super Tenere is a good alternative . Wink. Nod. . But seriously, if you are struggling with it, go ride a KTM 990 Adventure. It might be the bike you are looking for.

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Old 05-06-2011, 03:25 PM   #18
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Rocky Mountains
Oddometer: 1,153
Test Ride back to back on the same roads (hopefully off roads too) then compare ? Or buy the 800 and come over by me and we will trade back and forth and see whats what ?
Maybe I can get to a dealer in the next couple days and can report on both with back to back rides. So far there has been some good information passed along here. I am still on the fence about swapping down.
One thing for sure, if you had to pick each one up from laying over : your back will like the F8 more.
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:51 PM   #19
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Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Northern NSW
Oddometer: 1,199
I have never owned a 1200GS, but I did have an 1100 for a long time.

I go riding with a lot of different people with different skill levels on a wide variety of bikes, but mostly BMW's. The best riders can out ride the average riders (including myself) on any surface by a wide margin on any of the bikes. However sticking to the the average there is no doubt that the 800 riders (including myself) have far less trouble in real off road conditions than those of equal skill who ride 1200's. Of course those with 650 KTM's or XChallenges have less trouble again. The main difference here I think is the weight. An 800 is a big heavy bike, but a 1200 is an even bigger, heavier bike.

Either an accelerator module or a booster plug will make a big difference to the 800. and probably the 1200 as well. My 800 has an accelerator module, a Unifilter and a Leo Vince muffler and this has absolutely transformed the 800's throttle response to a point where I am sure its the most consistent, smooth throttle response I have ever had on any powered vehicle ever! Really ... it feels like it must use the dark arts of magic compared to the standard bike ... KTM 990 riders would probably sell their souls to have this (and the 990 power of course)! You should probably consider the KTM, but I couldn't own one unless they improved the throttle response and made the maintenance procedures slightly less insane.

On the road, I guess the 1200 is better, especially standard. I like my 800 on the road now, but I have a Brittanica Composites screen and a modified seat.

My summary is that the F800GS is a great compromise bike, its pretty good at everything, not best, but it makes a good account of itself in most conditions that you could expect. It's fairly powerful, very responsive, fairly light and there is a huge number of modifications you can do to tailor it to what you want. Because it is chain drive you can alter the gearing if you want to do a lot of highway, or a lot of off road (just not both at the same time without changing sprockets!).

I have a XChallenge as well now, so in about a year I might look at something like a Multistrada to replace the 800, because I now have more than one bike, so I can go a little bit more towards the off road end with the XC and a little more towards the road/touring with the MS. If it could only be one bike I'd keep the 800.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Bourke Irish orator, philosopher, & politician (1729 - 1797)
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:20 PM   #20
Guaging racefully
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Eagan or Knife River, MN
Oddometer: 264
I've had both. The torque of the 1200GS at low RPMs, especially if coupled with the GSA endure trans makes for an excellent low speed crawl. I have not (yet) installed any of the low speed mods on my 800, but am liking the idea of the wet clutch.

I never had any clutch issues with the 1200, but it was always in the back of my mind. The 1200 is a vastly superior road machine IMHO. The wind protection and the stability provided by the additional mass is quite noticeable. The front suspension has been described by some as 'vague' but I never felt any uncertainty. YMMV

Yes, I miss my 1200GSA.

The 800GS has a higher payload capacity. This intrigued me as a bigger guy who likes to load up the bike and disappear for several days. The 100 lb pre-farkle weight difference is also a huge bonus once on the trails. I plan on trying a smaller front sprocket for the trails. If it works as well as I am hoping, I will have the crawl capability of the GSA in a bike that's much easier to pick up! Until that time, my impression is that the 800 low speed capability is not as good as the 1200GSA.
Scott Shelerud
2007 R1200RT
2011 KLR650
I cannot change the laws of physics....
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:58 AM   #21
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Grand Valley, Colorado
Oddometer: 4,873
1`st gear in the dirt...... the low end torque of the 12gs wins..... If said dirt section is any other than easy dirt....the maneuverability of the 8gs wins. It`s as simple as that.....imho.

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