Comparison test of the BMW F 800 against the BMW R 1200 GS


Comparison test of the BMW F 800 against the BMW R 1200 GS

Comparison test of the BMW F 800 against the BMW R 1200 GS

Good morning, GS

It was the dream of some BMW development engineers: to build a little sister of the GS that would inherit all the virtues of the 1200s. But it is much cheaper and continues off-road where the big GS brushes the sails. If the dream comes true with the F 800 GS?

An American world traveler once put it wonderfully: ?? You fight your way, reach the end of the world exhausted, find this small, completely overgrown beaten path that takes you to the cliff of the earth. To where it is flat, lava and oceans plunge into nothing. Maneuver your motorcycle along the path with the last of your strength. And where things really can’t go on, a lonely BMW GS rider is already sitting by the campfire and grilling a steak you’ve caught yourself … ??

This is of course grossly exaggerated, but if you believe the promises in the BMW brochures, now more likely than ever. The F. 800 GS should be an extremely off-road travel enduro. A sturdy tubular space frame paired with easy-to-swallow, long suspension travel in connection with an off-road 21-inch front wheel plus a robust, economical parallel twin. Sounds good. MOTORRAD has sent the unequal sisters to exchange blows on winding paths around the Canyon du Verdon in southern France. What can the little one do better or just as well as her big sister??

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Comparison test of the BMW F 800 against the BMW R 1200 GS

Comparison test of the BMW F 800 against the BMW R 1200 GS
Good morning, GS

Can the engine of the little ones keep up with that of the big ones??

The parallel twin of the 800s.

Immediately after the start, both engines behave in an exemplary manner and, despite adverse weather, only run with a slightly increased idle speed. But both the 1170 boxer and the 798 cubic parallel twin need around a kilometer or two before the cold start enrichment stops working. In this driving state, the throttle response in the partial load range of the 800 is a bit rough, the engine braking torque of the parallel twin is noticeably strong. Pleasant from the first meter: the sound from the thick, high-quality stainless steel silencer of the new? wonderfully dull grumbling. With a 360 degree offset, the ignition interval is the same as with the Boxer. The 800 actually sounds like one too. What still sounds enjoyable in city traffic is simply torn away by the airstream on the motorway: At constant speeds of over 100 km / h, all that remains is a sewing machine-like nailing out of the parallel twin. So let’s get it nailed …

The well-known boxer engine of the 1200s.

South of France, ten hours later. The sky seems like the bottom of a nightmare: surreal swirls of clouds that reach down to the ground, drizzle, cold. Warming up with strong coffee, a first summary: The cases are waterproof, and the mechanism with which they can expand their volume by 8.5 liters is simply ingenious. No surprise: the boxer’s seating comfort and weather protection are way better. The 800’s windshield is low, the helmet is in a laminar flow. Nevertheless, the small GS is suitable as a kilometer eater. After all, it’s not as uncomfortable as the bench was when it was first tried on, only the side edges are a bit annoying. In addition, the knee angle is more relaxed than on the big sister.

At a constant 130 km / h, the boxer lets its crankshaft whir 5,000 times per minute. The parallel twin turns 5400 rpm. While under 5000 tours the twin looks like packed in cotton compared to the boxer, the ratio is reversed above this mark. The reason for the smoothness up to the middle range: A balance weight moved by an auxiliary connecting rod below the engine eliminates vibrations. The consumption of the small GS is completely okay under the adverse test conditions: At a constant 130 km / h, the 800 with suitcases and light luggage and in mild head and cross winds only sucked 5.2 liters of super per 100 kilometers from the 16-liter Tank. Her big sister needed 6.3 liters under identical conditions.

The twin’s engine always feels powerful

The big boxer pulls the skin over the ears of the smaller 800 when it comes to acceleration.

Next morning: The weather is better. Dream curves loll in front of the wheels. It’s just fantastic how the twin hangs on the gas. Its measured maximum output of 88 hp is only just before the red zone at 8200 rpm, but the drive surprises with an elasticity that you hardly expect from an 800: Basically, touring riders only need third gear. No matter if 2000 (30 km / h) or 8000 tours (125 km / h) ?? the engine always feels powerful. The background to lazy shifting driving: The twin produces a torque plateau that never falls below 70 Nm between 2500 and 8500 rpm (peak: 82 Nm at 5600 rpm). Okay, changing gears every now and then can’t hurt. And it’s even fun: this BMW transmission shifts easily and precisely.

Shift-lazy touring is of course the parade discipline of the 110 hp boxer. However, its power output is far from being as homogeneous as with the parallel twin. The slight drop in torque around 4000 / min and the enormous pile-up of Newton meters from 5000 / min (peak: 118 Nm at 5600 / min) suggests in many situations that the thick GS doesn’t get out of the quark around the bottom, but goes off in the last third of the speed as a thoroughbred sports engine. As I said: suggests. Ridden side by side, it pulls the fur over the ears of its little sister in every driving situation.

The relationship between the two BMWs is obvious.

From the Canyon du Verdon and the smallest passes around the city of Grasse back to the Col de l ?? Espigoulier. Especially its northern side with its closely spaced alternating curves challenges man and machine almost like a pylon course. Handiness and steering precision are put through their paces here. Fascinating again and again: How light and manageable the 1200 series is through the winding curves. Perfectly balanced, low center of gravity, crankshaft rotating lengthways to the direction of travel, no annoying brake nodding and the slight steering corrections that this entails: just aim at and hit the road. It feels like you’re on rails. And at the same time it is like sitting on a ball that can be angled in an absolutely neutral and casual way in all directions. Super. However, one must not forget: 256 kilograms can spin around dynamically, but at the latest when maneuvering or circling through the urban jungle you can feel them again.

On pass roads and country roads, on the other hand, the only things that are disturbing, albeit only slightly, are the load change reactions of the cardan and the fact that the hindquarters hardens when accelerating ?? which is particularly uncomfortable on bad roads. Speaking of bad roads: The test machine was equipped with the ESA electronic chassis: the spring base and damping of the fork and shock absorber can be adjusted to various driving conditions at the push of a button. Once enjoyed, you don’t want to do without this advantage again. It works almost perfectly. Healthy evolution. hats off.

GS riders in droves at the end of the world

With a view to costs and off-road capabilities, BMW decided not to use the cardan on the 800 GS.

The switch to the 800 series shows that evolution comes before revolution in this special case. Despite 20 kilograms less weight and identical tires, only in smaller dimensions, the little one is more stubborn. It is neither so precise in steering, nor can it be pushed so easily into the curve. Hmm … is that just the bigger wheel diameter, or is the 21-inch wheel heavier than the 19-inch GS? The reweighing is 14.7 to 11.7 kilograms in favor of the 800, so it is three kilograms lighter. The larger diameter is therefore responsible for this unwillingness. But if you don’t have a 1200 with you to change over, you will get used to the steering properties of the little GS in a flash and be able to live with them.

Likewise with the chassis. BMW went the conventional way here: chain instead of cardan, upside-down fork instead of Telelever. The reasons for turning away from traditional BMW concepts: On the one hand, it was important to design the machine as suitable for off-road use as possible, and on the other hand, both costs and weight were to be saved. However, the chassis only shows its advantage on country roads of third order. There, where the cardan hindquarters of the fat one tramples when accelerating like an angry ox and passes this unrest on to her pilot, the little one irons over it calmly. The tuning of the shock absorber was successful all round. It responds sensitively, is directly linked and works ?? like that of the 1200s? travel-dependent: The pressure stage hardens with increasing compression.

GS riders can be found in the most remote places.

The fork reacts a little insensitively to small edges, dips heavily when braking, but remains puncture-proof even in pillion operation. Both BMWs decelerate at a high level, with the braking distance of the 1200s from 100 km / h at 40 meters being exactly 2.4 meters shorter than that of the little sister. In addition, thanks to its stiff front suspension, the large GS remains more stable than the small one. Their ABS is constantly regulating, probably through impulses from the rollover detection. In addition, the pressure point is more spongy than that of the 1200s.

Off the road, off into the terrain. Now the 800 pilot gets his money’s worth. The 21-inch front wheel guides you precisely and takes bumps on the road with ease. No matter whether standing or sitting, the little GS conveys trust and does not disappoint. Targeted, clean and long drifts are just as possible as slow balancing over bucket-sized boulders. The little one behaves optimally on fast gravel roads: does not push over the front wheel, does not break out in an uncontrolled manner and can also be easily directed with thigh pressure ?? pure fun that only the road-friendly tires, Bridgestone Battle Wing BW 501, limit.

The boxer masters the same route, but only sweaty. Here it’s work, no more fun, because the smaller front wheel leads less precisely, the breaking machine is by far not as easy to catch as the 800. Inexperienced users will at least get some support from the optionally available TCS traction control. The two-stage mode ?? Terrain and road ?? works perfectly and makes it easier for newbies to approach the scree mountain in the terrain level. Drifts can also be carried out in a targeted manner. On the road, the TCS prevents sudden slipping or spinning. Wheelies are therefore only possible with very good grip. It’s good that the TCS and ABS can be switched off.

Ultimately, it remains to be said: The American mentioned at the beginning will probably not only meet a few GS riders at the end of the world, but whole hordes. Because from now on there is a base for extreme trips: Equipped with a larger tank, the F 800 GS is predestined for crossing Africa.

Comments MOTORCYCLE scoring

One thing is crystal clear: of course, there is no substitute for displacement. The boxer lies in front of the twin in every driving situation. Its strengths are its homogeneous power delivery, the almost perfect gearshift and low load change reactions. Live something, speak vibrate, do both of them. The boxer tingles rather unpleasantly in the middle, the twin sends its beats more in the upper speed range in the handlebars and footrests.

Landing gear:
Surprise: The fat 1200er barely shows any nakedness on the country road and shines with excellent steering precision and good stability. This results from their tight chassis set-up plus stiff front wheel guidance. However, the Telelever also ensures that the driver hardly receives any feedback. The 800 has to be pushed into the corners with more effort and wants to make bigger turns than the driver is aiming for.

Everyday life:
A matter of taste: With the 1200 GS, the rider sits in the machine, while on the very high 800 he sits enthroned. Both offer a good feeling for the motorcycle. Only when things get down to business in the field does the new one lie ergonomically miles ahead of its big sister. 221 kilograms of payload for the little one is a record in this class. Not so great: the F 800 GS with luggage can only be lifted onto the main stand with difficulty.

Hardly any criticism: The ABS of the 1200s works almost without any criticism. The stoppers of the little ones are harder to dose due to an indifferent pressure point, those of the larger GS are devalued because they suddenly grab very hard. Overall, the ABS control behavior is more noticeable on the 800.

Lower consumption, cheaper insurance class, lower tire costs ?? here the small wins out over the big ones.

Price-performance winner: BMW F 800 GS
Those who don’t like pampering aroma and performance can confidently reach for the 800.

MOTORCYCLE test result

1st place: R 1200 GS
In terms of travel, comfort, equipment and suitability for everyday use, the big one has the upper hand. It can also keep the little one in check in terms of driving dynamics.

2nd place: F 800 GS
Made-to-measure debut. But the bar is too high. The new one is a great country road motorcycle with off-road strengths and definitely the basis of a long-awaited long-distance travel motorcycle for extremists.

Technical specifications

BMW R 1200 GS

Air / oil-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine, a balance shaft, each one high-lying camshaft, four valves, bucket tappets, bumpers, rocker arms, regulated catalytic converter, 12 V / 14 Ah battery, hydraulically operated single-disk dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, cardan.
Bore x stroke 101.0 x 73.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1170 cm3
Compression ratio 12.0: 1 rated output 77.0 kW (105 hp) at 7000 rpm
Max. Torque 115 Nm at 5750 rpm

landing gear
Load-bearing motor-gear unit, telescopic fork guided by a longitudinal control arm, adjustable spring base, aluminum two-joint single-sided swing arm, spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 305 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 265 mm, double-piston floating -saddle.
Cast aluminum wheels2.50 x 19; 4.00 x 17
110/80 R 19 tires; 150/70 R 17
Tires in the test Bridgestone Battle Wing BW 501

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1507 mm, steering head angle 64.3 degrees, caster 101 mm, spring travel f / h 190/200 mm, seat height 850/870 mm, weight with a full tank of 244 kg, payload 196 kg, tank capacity / reserve 20.0 / 4.0 liters. Warranty two years
Service intervals every 10000 km
Colors: blue, orange, black, silver
Price 12500 euros
Price test motorcycle 115,625 euros
Additional costs 269 euros

BMW F 800 GS

Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead camshafts, four valves, bucket tappets, regulated catalytic converter, 12 V / 14 Ah battery, mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain.
Bore x stroke 82.0 x 75.6 mm
Displacement 798 cm3
Compression ratio 12.0: 1, nominal output 62.5 kW (85 PS) at 7500 rpm
Max. Torque 83 Nm at 5750 rpm

landing gear
Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, aluminum two-armed swing arm, spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 300 mm, double-piston floating calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 265 mm, single-piston floating caliper.
Spoked wheels with aluminum rims 2.15 x 21; 4.25 x 17
Tires 90 / 90-21; 150/70 R17
Tires in the test Bridgestone Battle Wing BW 501 ?? G ??

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1578 mm, steering head angle 64.0 degrees, caster 117 mm, spring travel f / h 230/215 mm, seat height 880 mm, weight with a full tank of 222 kg, payload 221 kg, tank capacity / reserve 16.0 / 4.0 liters. Warranty two years
Service intervals every 10000 km
Colors: yellow / black, silver / black
Power variant 25 kW (34 PS)
Price 9640 euros
Price test motorcycle 210,800 euros
Additional costs 269 euros

Comment by Rolf Henniges – "Gap closed"

Rolf Henniges, test editor and ex-GLobetrotter to determine the location of the new 800 GS.

Anyone who complains now is your own fault. In my opinion, BMW acted consistently and showed courage. Because the 800 GS follows in the footsteps of the legendary first Yamaha Tenere. Sure, what’s missing is a big tank. But fans of the Honda Africa Twin, who have been eagerly awaiting its legitimate successor for ages, are well served with the new BMW. The basis for an adventure bike has never been better: the motorcycle is as narrow as some single-cylinder, about as heavy as so-called travel enduros à la V-Strom and Transalp, off-road like a KTM Adventure and ultimately has optimal performance for touring. With the small GS, BMW closes a gap that until now only long-distance travelers have lamented as such. In addition, a very good country road motorcycle was created. If Munich had set the price even 1000 euros lower, what would be ?? the world fine for me.

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