Bore x stroke:
Valves per cylinder:
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Rear tyre dimensions:
Front brakes diameter:
Rear brakes diameter:
Reserve fuel capacity:
Weight including oil, gas, etc:
Front suspension travel:
Rear suspension travel:
Rake (fork angle):
Ever since a younger self laid down a 2001 1150GS - famously made of cement factories and bits of planet - resulting in summoning help from a passing old woman to right it on the sand with the tide lapping at my feet, the lighter F800GS was always a dream. I hadn’t expected the 2010 to be fifty kilograms lighter yet have the same horsepower as my old war-horse. I probably still need an old woman at hand to pick her up though, it should come as standard.
Despite being a liquid-cooled twin, it isn’t quite as smooth as the old, or rather older, girl. The F800 is very comfortable on the highway, with good suspension travel and sits without a murmur on 130kmph easily. Am finding the throttle very twitchy at low speeds though. I oscillate between pedestrianly grandma stepping out on a warm Sunday, and then forging ahead like a stabbed rat, frightening myself as much as those around me. Large double-discs at the front and single at the back help of course, but generally it’s very easy to handle and I should have made the purchase years ago. The six speed gear-box provides ample power through the range, and with the fuel tank right underneath the rider, it adds to that lower sense of gravity rather than feeling like you’re trying to steer an angry tiger by holding its nuts.
The ABS was an optional extra until 2012, so am fortunate mine came with it. The instrument cluster is simple and well laid out, with the usual useful information such as kilometres left before needing a refill. Although really, you’re left to believe what you like: a feature of the fuel gauge is the ability to ride for an hour or so without registering any deficit whatsoever. I firmly believe that mine just has a lot on its mind, or is just terrible at maths, so sticks with the belief that a full-tank will get us two hundred kilometres or so, but only starts counting at about one hundred kilometres into the journey.
If I’m honest, I would have preferred a shaft drive over chain drive as it’s less maintenance, and a few more litres in the tank would be swell, but there are always compromises. Due to legs borrowed from a hobbit, I was lucky to purchase a factory lowered version with a very comfortable gel seat, making travel a little easier on the butt-cheeks. Clambering onto a 2015 in the shop, my legs could barely touch the ground. I tried a 1200GSA once and needed firemen to come with a trampoline like I was jumping from a burning building. As with almost every GS, after-market lights will be a necessity, along with crash bars and replacing the heated grips over time. My 1150GS handlebars were hot coals yet these at full-tilt feel like an asthmatic dog is breathing on my hands. Cruise control would also be useful but again aftermarket additions can be bought fairly cheaply.
It's an attractive bike, especially the orange-and-black, yet in the details it’s like taking in the features of Anne Hathaway. Collectively gorgeous, but when you break it down there are these oddities: the wheels are 21 and 17 inches respectively; there is no space under the seat to pack anything of use whatsoever; there is no helmet-lock which I really liked on the 1150GS; the original seat is made almost entirely of broken buttocks; and I constantly feel like I need a thumb-extension to cancel the indicators. They are apparently self-cancelling after 200 yards or 10 seconds or on a February waxing crescent moon every third Tuesday.
Despite having the same basic twin engine as the now defunct F650GS and F700GS and the other 800’s (GT, R and ST), peak power is left for the GS. In my research, the 800GS holds their value better than the other models, especially with low-mileage and wire-wheels. Having had hard-luggage with the 1150GS, I’ve adopted soft-luggage this time around and am really pleased with the Nelson-Rigg gear which seemed pretty competitively priced. I haven’t had to pick her up yet, but will be sure to try and find an extraordinarily muscly old lady when the time is right.