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Old 07-25-2013, 12:19 PM   #1
73datsun OP
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Review: 2013 BMW F700GS after 9kmi trip



I just got done with a three+ week trip. From Minneapolis, through Canada, Alaska, Arctic Circle, and then back via the southern route.

I'm trying to get all of my thoughts down about my gear, route, etc. Figured the bike deserved it's own thread/review.





I had the dough to buy the F700 or F800 and even the 1200. I wanted new, to get the road side assistance and the assurance that I knew exactly what had been done to the bike. I didn't want to be in the bush, trying to solve someone else's problem. In the end. The 700 won out. I felt the most comfortable on it. I'm 6ft with a 30in inseam. So standover is constantly and issue.

Anyways.


I farkled accordingly, find list here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...1#post21940851


The bike is a 2013. It's equipped with ESA, heated grips, computer, etc

My thoughts/comments should be taken with a grain of salt. I'm not an expert. Just a 30 year old guy who bought a new bike and went on a long trip.


Suspension:
I had no problems with the suspension. I suppose if you were going fast off road trails, you'd need a beefier suspension. But as it stood, it handled the Dempster in both wet and dry. Washboards. Frost heaves. And fast pavement. I never once thought that it wasn't up to the task. However, there were a few times on the pavement where the suspension felt a bit soft. Nothing I couldn't live with.

ESA on the other hand, gimmick. The dealer spent all this time telling me how great ESA is, that you can select ride modes, touring, sport, 2up, etc. I think he confused that with the ESA on the 1200. I can select Comfort, Sport and Normal. While dicking around with it, you can feel an ever so subtle change. Basically, it just runs a BIT stiffer in sport mode. Normal and Comfort have no discernible difference between the two.


Brakes:
2013 marked the joy of getting two front rotors. The brakes were fine. They did there job. The bike is also equipped with ABS. Again, everything did it's job. I had multiple panic stops (deer), and the bike and brakes were completely stable. If anything, the brakes outbraked the tires (TKC 80).


Tires:
OEM Bridgestone Battle Wing: I'd heard many horrible reviews about this tire. I found it very stable in most pavement conditions. Including torrential downpour and areas where hyrdroplaning should have occurred. On the ride to Alaska, I had to go through multiple gravel and loose dirt areas. These tires simply will not give you the confidence in doing so. But you could make them work for a short trip.


Front: TKC-80; put this on the front in Anchorage. I didn't like how it rode until scrubbed in. After that, I loved it. I had no problem on pavement in quick twisties. It was extremely capable in all gravel, dirt, mud and off-road situations. It does provide a bit of a buzz/vibration at 75+mph. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

Rear: Heidi K60; a lot of people swing off of the nut's of this tire and say how much they love it. I'm going to be the minority. Once scrubbed in, I initially, loved the tire. And through the mud, dirt, gravel -- perfect! But then the rear started getting squirrley. Damp. Wet. Rain. Dry, but with tar snakes. The back end would get loose, at speed, in the same conditions as the OEM tires. Sure they wear incredibly, I've only got 4500mi on them and they look like they could go double that. But I did not dig the random unstableness.


Engine/Power
Naked, the bike feels perfectly adequate. Not once, prior to this trip, did I ride the bike and think that I needed more power. Part of that is probably the torque. Because, realistically, the bike doesn't do much above 4k RPM, other than get louder. Once loaded up, and on a fast highway (75mph) in windy conditions, I was not able to keep the bike at speed or get out of the wash of semis. I was certainly longing for a bit more weight and power.


Transmission:
Probably the weakest part of the bike. The shifting feels clunky. I'm having a lot of issues with the shifting. Sometimes it shifts, sometimes it doesn't. Basically, it works like this; start in first gear, shift up, revs into neutral, clutch in, pull up, find second gear. Gear pedal doesn't return "down," it's stuck in the up position. So I have to tap it lightly to get it to drop and then shift into third. It usually then gets stuck in fourth and fifth. Sometimes, I can feel it smack back down on the top of my boot. Really have no idea what caused this.

UPDATE: slightly bent shifter, all fixed, no issues, shifting is great

Fuel Economy:
If I'm going 55-60'ish mph, I'll return 50-58mpg. Once I start hauling ass at 70+, mileage drops off quickly. Range is mostly good, unless I'm doing a ton of freeway, I easily pulled 250+ miles. The new (for 2013) reserve mileage tracker is pretty useless. There were times when I'd traveled 30+miles on the reserve/low fuel, only for the bike to only take 3.5 gallons. Then other times, I'd have 10 miles on it and it would take 4.1. I also don't understand the lack of a full fuel gauge. Telling me greater than half a tank is pretty worthless.



So would I buy it again?

Not sure. For 80% of the trip, I would say absolutely. This was the best tool I could have purchased. But for 20% of the trip, the most miserable, I would say, no. If I had the power of the 800, I might be in a different boat about that 20%. If you're going to do a TON of highway riding, to the likes of I-90, where the traffic is fast, the winds are strong and the trucks are plentiful, you might be like me and feel a bit let down.

UPDATE: yes, I would buy it again, I'd probably just choose different tires, perhaps the Karoos vs the K60/TKC80

Some parting bike porn:






73datsun screwed with this post 12-14-2013 at 08:50 AM
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73datsun View Post





Transmission:
Probably the weakest part of the bike. The shifting feels clunky. I'm having a lot of issues with the shifting. Sometimes it shifts, sometimes it doesn't. Basically, it works like this; start in first gear, shift up, revs into neutral, clutch in, pull up, find second gear. Gear pedal doesn't return "down," it's stuck in the up position. So I have to tap it lightly to get it to drop and then shift into third. It usually then gets stuck in fourth and fifth. Sometimes, I can feel it smack back down on the top of my boot. Really have no idea what caused this.
Maybe someone dropped it and slightly bent the shifter shaft? That could cause it to not return.

but as far as shifting, with past BMW's I learned to "preload" the shifter and have just always done it since.
Sifting sequence:
start to lift the shifter with your boot until you feel resistance,
let off the gas as you pull in the clutch
continue to lift your boot all the way through the travel
let clutch back out as applying throttle.

the only problem I have is if I pull up to a stop and its in 3rd or 4th gear you have to think about it to get it back into 1st. You have to watch the transmission indicator as you keep stabbing down on the shifter until it says 1.

the first time this happened I learned the hard way. I came to a stop, hit the shifter down 2x but never put my feet down. as I started rolling as I let the clutch out and bike stalled and fell over in slow motion. It was in 3rd gear.
I caught it just as the pannier and the hand guard just hit the curb (causing personality marks)
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73datsun View Post
Transmission:
Probably the weakest part of the bike. The shifting feels clunky. I'm having a lot of issues with the shifting. Sometimes it shifts, sometimes it doesn't. Basically, it works like this; start in first gear, shift up, revs into neutral, clutch in, pull up, find second gear. Gear pedal doesn't return "down," it's stuck in the up position. So I have to tap it lightly to get it to drop and then shift into third. It usually then gets stuck in fourth and fifth. Sometimes, I can feel it smack back down on the top of my boot. Really have no idea what caused this.
Wow... from someone who is considering an F700GS, this sounds really concerning. Is this typical on this bike or is it just a problem with your bike? Are you going to bring this up with your BMW service dept?
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:41 PM   #4
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Terrific report and photos! Thanks for posting.

On my 2013 F800GS I'm just about to change from my second set of TKC80's (front and rear) to Anakee 3's. The best I get out of the 80 on the rear is about 4,000 km before I start to feel it loosing grip on wet roads. I think and hope the Anakee's will more suit my riding and give me less rapid wear.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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Glad you had a fun, and safe trip.
Sounds to ME, as if the F800GS will be the perfect bike for your NEXT trip.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:51 PM   #6
73datsun OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TowPro View Post
Maybe someone dropped it and slightly bent the shifter shaft? That could cause it to not return.
It's been dropped at a complete stop (parking lots), but the panniers, etc were on. The shifter didn't look to be able to come in contact. But I'll double check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
Wow... from someone who is considering an F700GS, this sounds really concerning. Is this typical on this bike or is it just a problem with your bike? Are you going to bring this up with your BMW service dept?
Please don't assume the worst. I love the bike. It will get sorted out. It's brand new and under warranty. Don't let my review dissuade you. I'm taking it in for service next week. I'll report back. Hopefully they are able to replicate. Again, this doesn't happen ALL the time.

Quote:
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Glad you had a fun, and safe trip.
Sounds to ME, as if the F800GS will be the perfect bike for your NEXT trip.
Agree. The 800, with a low seat or lowered an inch, would probably be a bit better fit. And an even better all arounder.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
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Great post. Re: Transmission . . I've never heard of these shifter issues before. I have a 700GS with a couple thousand klm on it and have never experienced any of these symptoms. I suspect your dealer could rectify that for you easily, either under warranty, or at a charge if determined it's caused due to some road damage. Would be interesting to know what you find out.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73datsun View Post
It's been dropped at a complete stop (parking lots), but the panniers, etc were on. The shifter didn't look to be able to come in contact. But I'll double check.



Please don't assume the worst. I love the bike. It will get sorted out. It's brand new and under warranty. Don't let my review dissuade you. I'm taking it in for service next week. I'll report back. Hopefully they are able to replicate. Again, this doesn't happen ALL the time.



Agree. The 800, with a low seat or lowered an inch, would probably be a bit better fit. And an even better all arounder.
I don't think the 800 would be any better unless you do more dirt than highway. You are punching a BIG hole with those big and wide bags! I took the Jesse's and top case off of my F650 this weekend and it fees like a different bike. You can drop 1 tooth on the CS sprocket for more pep but it will be as buzzy as the 800 is at 70+. Look past the 800 to a 1190 if you want power! GH

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Old 07-25-2013, 03:31 PM   #9
73datsun OP
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Originally Posted by ktownbobski View Post
Great post. Re: Transmission . . I've never heard of these shifter issues before. I have a 700GS with a couple thousand klm on it and have never experienced any of these symptoms. I suspect your dealer could rectify that for you easily, either under warranty, or at a charge if determined it's caused due to some road damage. Would be interesting to know what you find out.
Agreed. The oddity is that it isn't regular. It happened once this morning. And never on my ride home tonight. With multiple stops and starts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GH41 View Post
I don't think the 800 would be any better unless you do more dirt than highway. You are punching a BIG hole with those big and wide bags! I took the Jesse's and top case off of my F650 this weekend and it fees like a different bike.
You are probably right. I rode it into work today and it felt like a much more nimble and powerful bike. Totally dug it.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:43 PM   #10
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73Datsun, CONGATS DUDE!!!!

ON A RIDE THAT MANY HIGH MILEAGE KEY BOARD RIDERS ON HERE DREAM ABOUT!! And most will probably never do ....What a great ride to look back on. Well done sir!

I say go buy the F800 if that's what you want...life is no dress rehearsal.

Congrats on a great review and sharing the trip.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #11
73datsun OP
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Thanks. This site has been an immense help to me, so I wanted to pay it forward to other folks who might be searching and trying to decide on what to purchase.

The 700 is absolutely capable in gravel and dirt/mud situations. With the right tires.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:01 PM   #12
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Thanks for the report! Last April, we put a deposit an a 2013 model in the same color as yours, with delivery stated to be by the end of this month, July. About the first of June, the dealer called and said that BMW canceled the order. Apparently, BMW takes orders right up until the time they stop producing for a given model year and then refund deposits.
We elected to order a 2014 and maybe it will be delivered by October.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 73datsun View Post



ESA on the other hand, gimmick. The dealer spent all this time telling me how great ESA is, that you can select ride modes, touring, sport, 2up, etc. I think he confused that with the ESA on the 1200. I can select Comfort, Sport and Normal. While dicking around with it, you can feel an ever so subtle change. Basically, it just runs a BIT stiffer in sport mode. Normal and Comfort have no discernible difference between the two.
I'm not sure if it is different on the 700 but on my 1200 you have to be at a stop and hold the button to select the 2up, luggage, etc. On the fly with momentary push gives you normal/sport/comfort.
Either way, I'd agree with you. I wouldn't go out of my way to get one equipped with ESA.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:13 PM   #14
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Well hot damn. I'll screw around with it more in the am. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:28 AM   #15
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I have a 2013 f700 with 1800 miles and have not had the gear pedal sticking but sometimes when downshifting, to any gear, it wont go into gear and the gear indicator shows blank--I find that if I let out on the clutch just a little it will go ahead and shift. I also have had the bike stall thinking I was in first ,but trans had not downshifted to first. I thought I was maybe lazy with my shifts but sounds like maybe a problem with trans--this is my first BMW always rode HD s until now.
Thanks for the trip report
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