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2011 BMW F800GS Comparison Review Photo Gallery

See the 2011 BMW F800GS in action as it fights for supremacy in the middleweight adventure touring category. Read the full details in the 2011 BMW F800GS Comparison Review article.

Slideshow
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BMW is the current king in this relatively new market segment, and for good reason.
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The only bad thing about the F800GS is that it hasn’t seen any revisions since it was introduced. In that regard, BMW was able to sit back and wait for another manufacturer to step to the plate.
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At the heart is a 798cc engine which, like other BMW machines, has a torque-laden delivery. The Parallel Twin lines up a set of 82mm x 75.6mm cylinders pumped up to a compression ratio of 12.0:1.
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The front end is a weak link, but the Brembo brakes are strong.
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Not only does the BMW make just over two foot-pounds more peak torque, but it carries a significant advantage from about 4500 rpm to nearly 8000.
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BMW's F800GS has been the definition of the middleweight ADV touring category. It's prowess on the road and exploring off-highway have made it a favorite traveling companion.
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The switchable ABS ($900) is operated by the left thumb once the bike comes to a standstill, which makes it easy to forget while transitioning from street to dirt without pausing.
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On a sharp-edges, G-outs or water-breaks the Beemer’s rear end bucked a bit more than the Tiger. It never swapped or got out of line, it’s just a little springy.
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Having the fuel tank below the seat helps keep the bike’s midsection thinner which is most notable when standing and squeezing the faux tank with the legs.
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The BMW is slightly more affected by a severe throttle chop simply because its front end is so soft.
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Vibrations from the F800 keep us shifting around 5-6000 anyway, which is right in its sweet spot. It’s perfectly happy loping along at low revs.
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Now the Germans, and the buying public, have something to compare against, which makes the GS’ faults a bit more tedious.
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Over the course of our testing, the BMW logged an average of 48.1 mpg, that’s 22% more than the Tiger (39.6 mpg).
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Simple changes to the controls would go a long way but mostly it needs to rethink the front fork. Once that is up to par with the rest of the machine, the F800 will be tough to beat.
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The clutch works better than the Tiger’s, but the transmission doesn’t. Negotiating the BMW through technical off-road, or simply coming to a stop on the street, is much easier on the F800 because it only requires two fingers on the lever.
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2011 Middleweight Adventure Touring Comparison - Horsepower
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2011 Middleweight Adventure Touring Comparison - Torque
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The rear shock mount is located on top of the swingarm and the performance was acceptable on all terrain. A hand-operated preload adjuster makes setting up for a passenger or luggage very simple.
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Functionally the mirrors are the same, but BMW definitely gets the styling nod for its teardrop shape.
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The wide aluminum handlebars make for a secure grasp and we didn’t have to adjust anything other than removing the rubber peg inserts for better traction.
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Our machine was also equipped with the low seat option which comes at no charge from the dealer.
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A center stand is extra ($175) and it would have been nice if we needed to do roadside maintenance. Instead it rattled during off-road riding.
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The brake lever is way too low and we constantly search for it while standing, occasionally finding the case guard by accident and locking up the wheel. It’s a poor design.
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Dual trip meters were extra nice and managing the information system is much easier on the BMW despite that it has more options to toggle through.
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BMW equipped our test unit with the upgraded computer package ($295).
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It does not handle jumping very well, but the bigger issue is that it moves quickly into a mid-stroke spike on smaller impacts.