2013 BMW F800 GT Project Bike

July 24, 2013
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
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His insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

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We go for a ride aboard BMW’s latest sport-touring mount that has been engineered to deliver more sport and touring performance in the 2013 BMW F800GT First Ride Video.

BMW’s F800GT made a mark on us from our initial First Ride report. And after another couple of months of living with the propeller brand’s latest middleweight sport tourer, it’s safe to say that this is the one motorcycle that we’d love to keep in our garage due to its proficient road performance and day-to-day functionality.

Since we took delivery of it in late April our orange Beemer has collected just under 2000 miles on the clock. And aside from fuel and its first break-in oil service at 600 miles it has been cost-free. Amazingly, the OE-fitted Continental Road Attack 2 tires still have considerable life remaining despite our best attempts of melting them down, most mileage accrued at a spirited pace with both hard cases fully loaded, and even an occasional passenger.

One feature that helps ensure maximum tire life is the optional Tire Pressure Monitor system. By using sensors in each wheel the electronics measure air pressure anytime the motorcycle is moving and displays it on the instrument panel. This helps us keep t

The F800 GT has a neat shelf-type ledge built into the removable hard plastic saddle bag. This makes it friendlier to load and keeps your gear in place.
On touring trips we averaged nearly 48 mpg. Even higher fuel economy can be had if you never stray from the posted speed limit.
Adaptiv Technologies TPX Radar Detector is worth its weight in gold. It alerts you to speed measuring equipment and gives you the opportunity to correct your vehicle speed in hopes of avoiding a costly traffic ticket.
(Top) The F800 GT has a neat shelf-type ledge built into the removable hard plastic saddle bag. This makes it friendlier to load and keeps your gear in place. (Center) On touring trips we averaged nearly 48 mpg. Even higher fuel economy can be had if you never stray from the posted speed limit. (Below) Adaptiv Technologies TPX Radar Detector is worth its weight in gold. It alerts you to speed measuring equipment and gives you the opportunity to correct your vehicle speed in hopes of avoiding a costly traffic ticket.

abs on tire pressure and serves as a reminder to air up or down the tires depending on conditions. For instance, when we were sport riding in the canyons with minimal luggage we deflated the tires to 32/30 psi (front/back) – allowing the rubber to deform more and create a larger contact patch during fast paced braking and corning maneuvers. Conversely, when touring on the interstate or traveling with extra payload, we set the pressure at 36/42 psi per the owner’s manual thereby reducing rolling resistance and boosting fuel economy.

Speaking of touring, the BMW impressed by recording an average of 47.5 mpg at extended high speed freeway blasts. This nets a range of nearly 200 miles. While fuel economy was better than expected, the F800’s limited 4.0 gallon fuel capacity limits how far you can travel between fill-ups. We home engineers can boost tank capacity by an extra gallon or two which will no doubt improve on its touring credentials.

Because we were going to spend a fair amount of time on the interstate we wanted to protect ourselves against overzealous law enforcement so we fitted a TPX-series radar/laser detector ($299) from Adaptiv Technologies. We attached it to the handlebar via its optional AdaptiveMount ($85). The apparatus has a clever articulating arm and vibration-free aluminum-mounting surface that secures the radar detector perfectly and appears like an integrated OE component. Installation was a breeze requiring access to the F800’s battery located just beneath the pseudo fuel tank cover (the F800’s real fuel tank is beneath the rider’s seat). After hooking up the power we routed the TPX’s bright LED warning light atop the gauges so we could see it without taking our eyes off the road.

The device is about the size of two decks of cards stacked atop one another. It is weatherproof and features large backlit control buttons making it easy to use day or night while riding with a pair of gloves. The Adaptiv radar detector has a number of different sensing modes allowing the rider to isolate interference and false alarms from other electronics. Since we ride primarily in the confines of the Los Angeles metropolis we utilized city mode, however when riding on the interstate outside of town we selected the highway setting, which reduces the detectors noise signal filtering. The idea is on desolate roads when it identifies radar, 99% of the time it’s going to be from a

BMW F800GT Maintenance Costs
Months in Service: Two
Accumulated Mileage: 1841
Aftermarket Accessories Cost: $384
Maintenance Costs: $220

speed-measuring unit – not a Walmart security system. The device responded accurately to both stationary and moving radar threats from police and with the bright LED warning light alerts were easy to see at a glance. Overall it’s a very effective tool at reducing the likelihood of a speeding ticket. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review in the future.

We really enjoy riding the F800 GT. Even still there are a few

BMW F800 GT Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Great fuel mileage
  • TPS helps rider manage tire wear
  • Comfortable with a passenger
Lows
  • Could have larger fuel tank
  • Engine is a little buzzy
  • ABS could be more refined

squawks that we have to outline. First, as mentioned the GT could benefit from a bigger gas tank. Second, the engine is a little buzzy at all rpm. It’s certainly not a deal breaker but it would be nice if vibration was further isolated from the handlebar. We also experienced an occasional mis-shift between fourth and fifth gear. Our final gripe is that you can’t manually disable the anti-lock braking function. For most situations the ABS works pretty well but when you’re braking over road reflectors or raised pavement markers the ABS intervenes aggressively making for a scary moment and increasing stopping distance over what a competent rider could muster without the rider aid.

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