I’ve now hit the glorious 10,000-mile mark on the 2016 BMW F800GS and so far it’s been a great journey. Here are 10 of the things that have stood out for me so far…
Touring Is A Breeze On It
You might expect me to say an adventure bike is great for touring, but the 2016 BMW F800GS is very good at it. A trip to Scotland in March highlighted the need for luggage so I fitted BMW’s expandable panniers and I then supplement these with a 40-litre Givi rollbag for my tent and sleeping gear.
It’s Genuinely Good Off-Road!
Before this year, I’d never been off-road at all on a motorcycle. Fear gripped me whenever I started feeling the bike moving underneath me and with a bike as capable as the 2016 BMW F800GS, I couldn’t let this overcome me. With the help of the Adventure Bike Academy and Si Pavey’s BMW off-road school I’ve learnt to ride on the dirt, with the GS accompanying me the whole way. It’s a genuinely great machine to take off-road, with its 21in front wheel and some decent rubber, there isn’t much you need to shy away from.
Choose Your Tyres Carefully
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is how important tyre choice is on a bike like this. So far I’ve used the OE Pirelli Scorpion Trails, Continental TKC70s and more recently Michelin Anakee IIIs. The dual-purpose nature of the TKCs was something I struggled with on my near-weekly slog from Lincolnshire to Devon on the motorway, where the tyres felt unstable at speed. I’d not thought too much about this before the tyres went on the bike and that was a mistake.
Choosing tyres according to how you ride seems obvious now, but at the time I was trying to find something that would suit everything. I’m looking to cover decent road miles on the Anakee IIIs now. I’ve yet to use them in the wet but so far they’re showing great promise for dry road miles.
The 2016 BMW F800GS Tank Is A Little Small
It’s a minor gripe of mine as I use the bike a lot and regularly cover a 500-mile round trip to Devon. I can usually get 140 miles out of a tank before the reserve light comes on but I’d prefer the 26-litre tank that’s fitted to the F800GS Adventure and cover more miles between stops.
The Dynamic and Comfort Packages are Expensive, But Worth It!
My 2016 BMW F800GS is fitted with both the additional Dynamic (£680) and Comfort (£525) packages. The Dynamic package is worth considering, adding electronic suspension adjustment with three different settings, traction control and an enduro mode that is massively helpful if you take the GS off-road as it means much less interference from the ABS and traction control without turning either off. For both to be fitted though you’re looking at an additional £1205, bringing the initial purchase price to a meaty £10,055. The comfort package comes with heated grips, pannier fittings (but not the actual panniers) and a centrestand.
Don’t be Afraid of Heights
One thing that became very apparent to me from the beginning was its height. I’m 5ft 11in but living with the bike for the first couple of weeks was intimidating after previously spending my riding life on sports tourers. With an 880mm seat height, it’s no shorty but I’m used to it now. However for smaller riders there is a shorter 820mm seat option.
The Stock Screen is Naff
The first thing I changed on the bike was the tiny screen after I found the stock item to be practically useless. I changed it for the larger touring screen as soon as I could, which definitely helped to direct wind over my head rather than directly at it. Problem solved, however it does make me question why it isn’t fitted as standard because at £287 it isn’t exactly a cheap fix.
The past four months have definitely highlighted the 2016 BMW F800GS’s strengths when it comes to comfort. I’ve never had any problems with the seat, but it is a little hard. When I’m covering big motorway miles I set the suspension to Comfort mode and cruise on.
The Engine’s Pretty Good, but Not A Game-Changer
The engine’s adequate for everything I’ve used the 2016 BMW F800GS for. But, having ridden a R1200GS, it definitely lacks the spark that makes the 1200 such a brilliant bike. I think the F800GS is great, but with no budget restraints I know I would choose the 1200. It would only take slightly more punch to make this bike something special rather than an afterthought to its 1200 brother.
I’m Happy With the 2016 BMW F800GS So Far!
Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with the 2016 BMW F800GS. It’s done everything I’ve needed and then some. Other than having a couple of minor gripes, which have mostly been resolved, it’s proving to be a great bike. It’s friendly and easy to get on with thanks to the motor’s predictable power delivery, it doesn’t intimidate and leaves me feeling I’m getting the most I can from the bike.