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Old 05-05-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
rockycraig OP
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Laugh Which is better 1200gs or 800gs for 1st gear riding?

This question is for people who have ridden both machines on jeep trails , not real rough but some rocks here and there (ouray and silverton CO. is where I do a lot of riding). I usually ride in first gear, sometimes second on this stuff. I'm real close to buying one of the two machines and having a hard time deciding. Too bad I can't test these on the dirt? Any help would be great. Alot of people say the 1200gs is like a tank and can chug along at walking speed but I'm worried about the weight and the 800 could handle this but I don't want to be slipping the clutch all day.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:41 PM   #2
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will you be riding alot on tarmac?

the advantage of the 800 is you can change sprokets. I like them both.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:48 PM   #3
rockycraig OP
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I'd say 60 tarmac and 40 offroad, I know both will be good for me on road cuz I tested both of them on rode about 25 miles a piece but I didn't have a chance to test them offroad. I wish I knew someone who owns them.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:52 PM   #4
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I've only ridden an 800 once but can't imagine you would want to be in first gear all day on a 1200GS..that's like torture
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockycraig View Post
This question is for people who have ridden both machines on jeep trails , not real rough but some rocks here and there (ouray and silverton CO. is where I do a lot of riding). I usually ride in first gear, sometimes second on this stuff. I'm real close to buying one of the two machines and having a hard time deciding. Too bad I can't test these on the dirt? Any help would be great. Alot of people say the 1200gs is like a tank and can chug along at walking speed but I'm worried about the weight and the 800 could handle this but I don't want to be slipping the clutch all day.
Thanks
Odd question considering the amount of time being spent in 1st gear even off-road is a mere % of the time riding overall. IMO you can gear the 800 easier so it would get my vote if this was a consideration. I rode my 12GS off-road and my HP2 most of the time and never had an issue with 1st gear. Most of my riding was and is on jeep and atv trails, hydro lines etc. involving a lot of rocky terrain.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:05 PM   #6
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With a popular up size of the front sprocket on the F8 you can ride first gear all day in dirt. I've done it. With a 17T up front the F8 will cruise comfortably in first from Zero to about 40 mph without asking for a shift. But I usually ride 16T or 15T sprockets for more torque down low and don't mind going back and forth between 1'st and 2nd.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:00 PM   #7
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I've owned both bikes, and I think the 1200 was a better crawler. If you're looking at new, you can improve it by getting the "Adventure" tranny. I know I would, if I were buying the bike new.

My F800GS is much better now that I've dropped a tooth in front, added a G2 throttle tamer, and a "boosterplug". The combination has given me a smooth and slightly lower first gear. The bike is much better now on the trails you're talking about. The "snatchy" throttle response of the F800Gs has been identified by many riders as a turn-off, but it can be improved.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:22 PM   #8
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Well I was on a ride with a friend on a 1200 and he was in first gear and had to slip the clutch to get up the steep and rocky forest service road. He didn't make it all the way to the top of the road because he was worried about his clutch and had to rest at a flat section along the way. Supposedly that is a problem with the 1200 - first gear. The Adventure has a lower gearing but he was on the normal 1200.

Funny enough I rode up in second gear no problem with the 800 with stock gearing. 800 wins hands down!
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:40 PM   #9
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not sure about the 1st gear thing, but I am in the process of downing my 1200gsa into a f800. I too am in the silverton area (3 mi north of ouray) , I also have a 450exc to play solo. But my concern is that I want to ride 2up on a lot of the jeep trails and the 1200 is a bit of a pig. My woman rides a f650 and it is super tall in first gear, but she doesnt do much more then the gravel roads so its fine for that (+65mpg). As mentioned the gearing is a easy swap when its chain and sprockets. The rider weight and skills to manipulate the bike is probably more of a concern then the actual 1st gear thing. Thats just my opinion. I will be the first to admit I am not a great dirt rider (im old and break easy) and I feel my skills lack more then the bikes ability to creep in 1st gear. I get on that 250lb KTM and I ride 5x better then on my 1200. I would guess that the 800 is a better choice for you. Actually 40% off road is a LOT of off road . I hope my 800 will see that much (If I ever get to a dealer to buy one). I would love to hear people who went from 1200s to 800s chime in on this, maybe it will push me to make the move sooner.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:10 PM   #10
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I'll repeat myself to make the point. I have owned both bikes. I rode the 1200GS all through Baja and Copper Canyon. It had $7,000 in farkles. I sold it to get the F800GS believing that it would be a vast improvement. I can speak from thousands of miles of experience that it isn't. In stock form, the snatchy throttle is "dangerous" on trails. I whiskey-throttled mine last summer in Redmond at the BMW Rally, and it caused $5,000 in cosmetic damage. I used the insurance money to improve the suspension, as well as the throttle. Now I really enjoy the bike, but it is vastly different from stock.

I have had the opportunity to ride with Jimmy Lewis on his R12GSA. He is "not" a tall person, but he is so acrobatic(and skillful), he handles the GS like a KTM 250. He has been quoted as saying the F800 is not a dirt bike. I think he means that it is not what BMW advertises, or people think they are buying. Everyone calls my XR650L "the Pig", but it is much easier off-road than the BMW. "Much" easier.

I would only buy the R1200GSA if I thought I was going to use it 2-up, or travel 80/20, 85/15 interstate/offroad. Otherwise, the F800GS wins hands-down, if it is modified to fit the mission. Don't believe the BMW hype, or rely on an opinion of someone that hasn't experienced both. Keep researching before you decide.

Good luck!
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Old 05-06-2011, 02:18 AM   #11
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Stock, I'd say the 1200 beats out the F800 at a crawl on singetrack/jeep trails. Reason being the snatchy throttle on the F800. You'll kill your clutch hand if you're on that kind of terrain in first gear all day. The 1200 chugs through that stuff with a fraction of the clutch action. Also, you'd be surprised how nimble the 1200 is once you really get into it.

I would imagine the F800 performs better than the 1200 once the throttle tamer is installed.
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:18 AM   #12
rockycraig OP
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Laugh

Wow those are great respones, thanks olyrider for your input. It is a huge purchase and that's why I'm asking all these questions. I did notice the jerking throttle on the 800 and that would be a deal breaker but everyone on here says it can be modified through sprockets, exhaust etc.... The 1st gear riding is only certain sections then some in second, then once we're out it's the highway. I could go faster but I like to just cruise along on the dirt sections since most trails have 100's of feet of sheer cliffs on one side. We do alot of dirt and gravel road riding as well which both would be fine. Any one else with experience on both would be great!!
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Old 05-06-2011, 05:26 AM   #13
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F800

The throttle is snatchy but you get used it and then it feels responsive! I have gone down a tooth on the front and added a booster plug and now it works great. Coming from an 1150GS I had to change my riding style since the 800 doesn't have that heavy flywheel effect and loves to rev. It is a wet clutch bike and so using/abusing the clutch isn't as big a deal as on a dry clutch bike. My 1150 let off some pretty intense smells on occasion. Even if you abuse the crap out of the clutch and need to change it (it is a wear item) you don't have to break the bike in half like on the boxers. Check the vids in my sig to see where my poor F800 has gone despite my poor riding skills and I think you'll see the bike will do fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockycraig View Post
Wow those are great respones, thanks olyrider for your input. It is a huge purchase and that's why I'm asking all these questions. I did notice the jerking throttle on the 800 and that would be a deal breaker but everyone on here says it can be modified through sprockets, exhaust etc.... The 1st gear riding is only certain sections then some in second, then once we're out it's the highway. I could go faster but I like to just cruise along on the dirt sections since most trails have 100's of feet of sheer cliffs on one side. We do alot of dirt and gravel road riding as well which both would be fine. Any one else with experience on both would be great!!
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:22 AM   #14
OlyRider
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It's not too expensive to modify the snatchy throttle on the F800:

From memory: Boosterplug $150
G2 throttle tamer $90
Front sprocket $35 (reduced MPG about 5%)

I think my after market pipe is not much more than weight reduction and a better look.

Magura makes a "drop-in" hydraulic clutch for about $380 that some people love, but I don't think the pull is excessive on the F800, and I have arthritic hands.
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:45 AM   #15
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I've had both...

The 1200 is a better crawler. The 800 very much feels fuel injected (abrupt)in offroad lowspeed situations, and the accelerator module helps smooth the abrubtness quite a bit. Riding technique can be adapted to help some. But it is still jerky. Noticeable, but liveable. The 800 chassis is better suited for offroad and particularly so the more aggro the trails get, although it is not as easy to ride very slow as the 1200.

I used to bottom the stock suspension on my 1200 every time I rode it. Same trails on the 800 (with hyperpro springs)-no bottoming. Lighter weight makes a difference.

If you get off your 1200 and think to yourself, this frame is going to be stretched out and the footpegs are gonna be droopy if i keep this up, you should look at an 800 (or something even more dirt oriented). If not, the 1200, for my money, is a better all arounder, because it is excellent on tarmac, excellent off road down to .1mph, and very good in many other areas, doesnt suck at anything.

Another issue I have with the 8 vs 12, is the front end of the 800 is not, to me, as trustworthy as the 12 on road. the 12 is very confidence inspiring, period. Like, as good as you can imagine. Quite suprising for a bike that looks like does. The 800 not as much. I've never raced them against each other, but the 1200 feels like it would stomp the 800 through the twisties...

The 800 is more focused to the offroad side of the scale, and it is also a great bike, but my next one will be a 1200 GSA, piggyness notwithstanding.
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