The F800GS is an all-new addition to BMW’s popular GS lineup, a smaller off-road capable mount utlizing the Parallel Twin from the F800 model line.
Short adventure-touring aficionados of the world, rejoice in the glory of BMW’s latest offering: The 2008 F800GS. Based on the same Parallel Twin that powers the user-friendly F800S and ST models released last year, the F800GS has all the ingredients to be a hit. The rest of the GS line-up was not forgotten either, as a revised R1200GS and GS-Adventure is in queue too. And for the moto-heads among us, let’s not forget about the 2008 BMW G450X motocross machine either… All four off-road capable designs made their debuts at the EICMA Milan Bike Show.
The big news in this episode of As the Motorcycle World Turns is the much anticipated arrival of the F800GS. Finally, a go-anywhere GS that doesn’t require a long inseam or a Herculean physique to man-handle it off-road. BMW claims 392 lbs without fuel, which equates to somewhere in the neighborhood of 440 lbs with all fluids and a full tank of gas. A trellis frame is mated to an inverted fork and standard two-sided swingarm with chain final drive. Combined with wire spoke wheels and dual-purpose tires, the new F800GS chassis should make it easy for riders stepping up to this bike to feel comfortable and familiar right away.
Anyone who has ridden a Boxer-powered GS knows it’s a little different than the more standard Parallel Twin in the new F800. With a claimed 85 horsepower and 61 lb-ft of torque on tap, the new GS should have enough power to get where it needs to go while the 4.2-gallon fuel tank, located beneath the seat in the same fashion as the F800S/ST, should be enough to make sure it can handle the adventure part of the equation. Fuel economy on the S and ST models is pretty impressive, so as long as this bike is in that same ballpark, it should have a decent 200+ mile range.
Having already sold over 100,000 units, the GS series is BMW’s most successful to date. The new F800 version figures to add on the sales.
Expect a comfortable seat and rider-friendly ergonomics courtesy of its wide, flat footpegs, high bars combined with a tall windscreen and bodywork that extends out to cover up the radiator and provide some semblance of protection from the elements. An assortment of BMW amenities includes ABS and a 400-watt alternator capable of supporting an assortment of accessories, which should make the touring side of the equation livable too.
The little brother of the R1200GS is scheduled to be released this spring.
R1200GS – Adventure
For the hearty adventure-touring types, the R1200GS Adventure returns with a few updates aimed at smoothing out the riding experience a bit. The most notable addition is the inclusion of the Enduro ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment), that allows the rider to adjust suspension characteristics on the fly. We’ve loved this feature on the street and cannot wait to sample the goods off road. Like you, we’ll have to wait a few months to see how this little piece of technology works in the real world.
Other updates include two-piece hand guards, a taller windscreen and a claimed 5% boost in power. An adjustable seat and optional ABS are standard fare on BMW bikes these days but the 8.7-gallon fuel tank, assortment of crash protectors and knobby tires give the Adventure the ability to get the bike deep into unchartered territory and back again.
The 1200cc Boxer versions of the GS Beemers will come with the Enduro ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) – a feature which allows on-the-fly suspension adjustment.
After four years, the R1200GS gets a few nip/tuck cosmetic enhancements, starting with stainless steel knee covers on both sides of the gas tank, which should provide additional protection from the elements. Both the fork tubes and cylinder head covers have also received some ‘sporty’ design treatments to go along with the new five-spoke wheels.
In addition to the aesthetic upgrades, the GS also receives the same claimed 5% increase in power as the Adventure. A two-way adjustable handlebar mount allows for a comfy position, whether riding seated or standing up. If you are seated, then the thicker seat padding should be a bit more comfortable than last year. The Enduro ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) option is also available on the R1200GS.
Beemer fanatics, make sure to check back for our accompanying article outlining the new 2008 BMW G450X motocrosser.
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