2013 BMW F700GS & F800GS First Look

July 3, 2012
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
Off-Road Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog |Blog Posts |Blog RSS

Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA’s Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn’t matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

In case BMW’s G/F/R naming conventions weren’t confusing enough, the German team has introduced a new model for 2013, the F700GS, which replaces the previous F650GS – the one that wasn’t actually a 650 at all. The new 700GS uses the same 798cc Parallel Twin that powered the old version and is responsible for propelling the popular F800GS. These middleweight adventure touring motorcycles represent the mix between BMW’s affordable, friendly G650GS single-cylinder and the mega-ADV Boxer-powered R1200GS.

2013 BMW F700GS
2013 BMW F700GS
The 2013 F700GS replaces the 650 and features new brakes, upgraded engine, revised instruments and new bodywork.

The biggest differences between the two models are in the suspension, wheels and bodywork. Glancing at the 800 reveals a motorcycle that is much more rugged and targeted at off-road riding, where the 700 is more applicable for smaller, less experienced riders or those who will see a majority of pavement. According to BMW, “the new F 700 GS is geared more towards motorcyclists who do not yet need quite the same level of off-road expertise. Its strengths are a lower seating height, all-round capabilities for everyday use and more than sufficient power while also offering outstanding economy.”

At the heart of the 700 and 800 motorcycles is the liquid-cooled, four-valve Twin. The 700’s engine is detuned slightly, putting out a claimed 75 horsepower at 7300 rpm compared to the 800’s 85 HP at 7500 rpm. BMW says this is a slight increase (4 HP) compared to the older F650 with a tad more torque as well. The final gear ratios are slightly lower also (17/42 sprockets vs. 17/41 on the 650). EFI handles the fueling and the mapping can be changed to run on regular gas instead of premium, and it can also be detuned to 48 HP for very inexperienced riders – ah, the beauty of modern electronics. A six-speed transmission gives the bikes a low first gear for easy launches and technical off-road use while having the legs to easily run high-speed roads in comfort.

The 800 uses a 43mm inverted fork with 9.0 inches of travel, a shock with 8.5 inches of travel and rides on 17/21-inch wire-spoke wheels. The 700 has a 41mm traditional fork with 7.1 inches of travel, a shock with 6.9 inches of travel and 17/19-inch cast aluminum wheels. Both bikes can adjust the shock preload via a hand control knob, easily adapting to luggage, passengers or riding conditions. The 700 has a lower seat height (32.3/31.1 inches) and smaller front wheel, but the 800 can be adjusted to suit smaller riders also. Optional lowered suspension drops it by 2.36 inches in addition to the usual seat adjustments (34.6/33.5 inches).

2013 BMW F700GS2013 BMW F700GS2013 BMW F700GS
The gauges and switchgear are new and improved. The beak and side shrouds are updated. The 700 gets the same dual front rotors with the second-generation ABS.

Both models come standard with the newest generation of ABS brakes which are lighter and more compact. The inlet valves are adjustable and it uses new wheel sensors. The system is switchable so riders can elect to turn off the ABS for dirt riding. The 700 gets the same dual disc brake up front as the 800 which is a set of 300mm rotors grabbed by dual-piston floating Brembo calipers. A new brake fluid reservoir on the handlebar isn’t quite as chunky looking as the previous model. On the rear is a 265mm rotor and single-piston caliper.

2013 BMW F800GS
2013 BMW F800GS
The F800GS is the premiere mid-size ADV bike from BMW for
those looking to do serious off-road riding. It has a long list of
BMW accessories and the Kalamata color is pretty awesome.

Instrumentation is all new for the midsize GS family. Gone are the individual paddles for the turn indicators, replaced by a traditional combined unit on the left side. Switchgear uses Molded Interconnect Design (MID) which utilizes printed conductors instead of individual wiring. This helps reduce the overall size and offers a wider range of functions. The kill switch and starter button are combined into a rocker switch. All are mounted on an aluminum handlebar (F800) or steel handlebar (F700). The information display is all new with an analog speedometer resting above an analog tach. To the right is a digital readout which now includes a fuel gauge and coolant temperature as standard features. The F700GS uses a new windscreen to protect the dash and rider.

Beemer owners can outfit their 700/800GS with extra factory goodies like Automatic Stability Control (ASC), which is a form of traction control, and Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) which was previously only available for the big 1200 models. These can be installed together as the Safety Package for the 800. The package for the 700 also includes tire pressure control (RDC). A Comfort Package is also available with an on-board computer, heated grips, Vario case carrier and center stand (each can be purchased individually). There’s also the usual list of  luggage, crash bars, skidplates, hand guards, auxiliary lights, etc.

The 700 is available in Red Apple Metallic, Ostra Grey Metallic Matt and Glacier Silver Metallic. Colors for the 800 include Kalamata Metallic Matt, Cordoba Blue and Alpine White 3. There is no exact pricing information but both models can be expected to cost similar to the 2012 models. These bikes should start hitting dealers around September 1, 2012.