BMW F800 GS Adventure First Ride Impression and Buying Experience

The 2016 BMW F800 GS Adventure Motorcycle

The 2015 BMW F800 GS Adventure Motorcycle

After riding Harley’s for the last 4 years, a Super Glide custom for 2 years and for the last 2 years an Electra Glide Classic, I found I rode less and less. The main reason the Harley Electra Glide stayed in the garage and not on the road?…it was so darn heavy. Just lifting it off the kickstand somedays made me think I had the strength of Gumby. So after much sole searching I decided to get rid of the Harley and buy an adventure bike.

With the 870 lb Harley Electra Glide I would still be on the road leading into here.

With the 870 lb Harley Electra Glide I would still be on the road leading into here.

So I started spending my nights researching Adventure Bikes and quickly narrowed in on the BMW. I liked the look of it and after reading the reviews and watching YouTube videos it looked like a good fit.

I drove to one of the 2 BMW dealers within 2 hours of me on a really rainy Saturday to take my first look at them in person. I arrived at Country Rode Motorwerks and was greeted by a super friendly salesman who ended up being the owner . He had both a R1200 GSA and an F800 GSA right in stock.  He took me right to the R1200 GS Adventure and showed me all the features. It was a gorgeous machine and at $23K it was fully loaded. He spent about 20 minutes going over the bike with me before passing me off to Clay who was just as friendly and helpful. This dealer did not take non-BMW bikes in on trades (completely understandable) but explained they had a wholesaler and to email them pictures of my bike and they would get me an offer from him.

After arriving back home I sent the pictures and in the end, after several phone calls and not hearing back within a week of our last phone conversation, I assumed their wholesaler was not interested in my bike. I really would have preferred to buy the bike from them as I really liked them but I guess it was not meant to be. No way was I dealing with the hassle of selling my bike myself so I decided to start contacting other dealers.

I absolutely will be back at Country Rode Motorwerks though as I liked the shop and they also are an authorized Zero motorcycle dealer! For those of you that don’t know what Zero is they are electric motorcycles and I just have to Demo one. I’ll let you know how that goes in another post.

Took some getting used to the height of the BMW F800 GSA over the Harley

Took some getting used to the height of the BMW F800 GSA over the Harley

So I kept going with my research after this and the F800 GSA really started to catch my attention. I wanted a lighter more nimble bike and though the weight difference from the R1200 GSA and the F800 GSA was not that much different many reviews said it just felt like a lighter more nimble bike. Of course I would be lying if I didn’t say the $7k lower price wasn’t attractive. For $7k I could buy whatever I needed for the F800 GSA and have money left over.

So I called my next closest dealer Two Jacks Cycle and they had a F800 GSA in stock that had everything I wanted on it. The salesman answered my questions over the phone and said they could take my Harley in on trade. So I took a drive down to look at it.

I liked the bike so we sat down and in 15 minutes hashed out the details. I gave him pictures of my Harley and he got to work and said he would call me later that afternoon with details on my trade. I drove the 2 hours back to work and later that afternoon the salesman called and gave me an offer on my bike. We didn’t agree on it but after a couple more phone calls back and forth we got the offer on my trade right where I wanted to be and I gave him a deposit. Done deal in just a few hours!

It’s worth noting I didn’t test drive any of the BMW’s before purchasing! Many people said I was crazy for not test riding it but it was a new bike and I couldn’t ride it any less than my Harley so I figured what have I got to lose!

Opens up a whole new world of riding.

The BMW F800 GS Adventure opens up a whole new world of riding.


I headed out on the Harley to pick up the BMW and it was pretty overcast and threatening rain. I fired up the Harley and headed out. As I turned the corner to the highway I thought to myself, “I know why they call these “HOGS”. Heavy and a sound that makes most people turn their heads.

A work of Art the Harley is Awesome to look at and ride. At 870 lb though I just wanted something lighter.

A work of Art the Harley is Awesome to look at and ride. At 870 lb though I just wanted something lighter.

The Harley is a gorgeous bike and would be great for a 2 up cross country trip with loads of luggage. But that is not the type of riding I am interested in doing. I don’t want to be limited to the asphalt. If I see an interesting road, and it happens to be dirt, I want to head up it.

The Electra Glide churns along at 70 MPH turning about 2300 RPM’s. The V-twin rumbles and shudders when I stop and I wonder what it’s gonna be like climbing off this 870 lb. behomoth onto the 490 lb. BMW. When I sat on the BMW F800 GSA I thought to myself, “Boy this is high”. You ride “in” a Harley and “on” the BMW.

I run into a couple small rain showers and my legs get a little wet but are dry by the time I pull into Two Jacks. I park the Harley, climb off it, give it one final glance back and go into the dealership.

German engineering and a backdrop of Urban Decay the f800 GSA looks right at home.

German engineering and a backdrop of Urban Decay. The F800 GSA looks right at home.

The F800 is sitting in front of the door gassed up and ready to go. I do the paperwork and it goes smooth and they wheel the bike out and go over it quick with me. I thought they could have spent a bit more time with me but more or less said read the manual after showing me the basics. Not a big deal but I did feel the salesman was trying to hurry me along. So I climb on, a bit nervous I may add, and make it out of the parking lot without dropping it. So far so good!

I turn left onto the busy 4 lane and start off down the road. What a contrast to the Harley. First off it feels light and nimble. I’m a little underwhelmed with the power but I think most of that is I need to learn how to ride this bike. I was shifting in the 3000 RPM range so I never really hit the power band.


With the Harley you shift around 2500 to 3000 RPM but not on these BMW’s. The break in period calls for no RPM’s over 5000 and avoid running steady at one speed. So after the 600 mile break in I can wind her up and see what happens when I hit the power band. BMW rates maximum torque at 61 lb-ft at 5,750 rpm. Despite this my first impression is I am going to like this bike.

I head North from the dealership to head out of town and love the way this bike feels on the bumps. The BMW F800 GS just seems to float along and pays no attention to rough roads. With 9.1″ of suspension travel in the front and 8.5″ in the back this baby is smooth.

After 15 miles or so the road turns from 4 lane to a smooth rural 2 lane winding through the beautiful mountains of PA. The clouds are starting to part and the sun breaks through so I pull down the sun visor in my helmet…which has Harley on it by the way. Guess I will have to see about getting that off of there 🙂

I was amazed at how much wind protection this bike offers. One reason I bought the Electra Glide was for the fairing. It was good but I have to say the BMW F800 GSA is BETTER. I know looking at it you might not think so. On the Harley the wind would just beat at your legs. Even with the soft lowers I bought put on it. The flapping of your jeans on your legs could get pretty annoying. With the F800 GSA though that front fairing keeps almost all the wind off my legs and that windshield is some piece of engineering. It pushes the air away for my chest and over my head though I do get more wind noise in my helmet. Leave it to the Germans to create a windshield that looks like that and actually works!

Oh and heated grips…greatest invention ever.

I’m cruising along still getting used to the drastic change. Floorboards to foot pegs, couch like seat to hard and firm, high up instead of low down, and…most noticeable of all…smoothness. Gone is the rumble and shake from the Harley. The handlebars on the Beemer don’t move when you idle. The Harley’s would jump up and down like a Jack In the Box on crack. Twist the throttle and shift through the gears smooth as silk. Part of me loves that manly rumble of V Twin power and I’ll always have a place in my heart for it. I guess I am getting older but the smooth, quiet BMW Motorcycle has me wondering why I didn’t just get this in the first place.

Stopped to hydrate and rest on the drive home from picking the Beemer up.

Stopped to hydrate and rest on the drive home from picking the Beemer up.

About an hour and fifteen minutes into the ride home I pull into a Mini mart to Hydrate and stretch. I struggle to climb off the bike without looking like a fool and manage to get off it with some dignity.

As I am sitting outside drinking my beverage a fellow pulls up next to me and climbs out of his truck. He ask me where I am headed to and If I need directions. Yes you will get that a lot on these bikes. With the Harley people would say nice bike…with the F800 GSA they will ask you where you are headed. They just spew adventure and travel and these bikes feel the least at home…well…when they are home.

The 6.3 Gallon Gas tank on the Adventure model means longer distances between fill ups. Plus it's under the rear seat location  reduces the center of gravity more than traditional Tanks. Plus it's easier to put gas in!

The 6.3 Gallon Gas tank on the Adventure model means longer distances between fill ups. Plus it’s under the seat location reduces the center of gravity more than traditional Tanks. And it’s easier to put gas in!

I finish chatting with the guy on the lot and get back on my way. I get on the bike, fire it up, and get back on the road. The sun is in full force now and I wind my way the last 45 minutes home 100% sure now that I made the right decision. I pull in my yard, turn the BMW F800 GS Adventure around and climb off. 92 miles home and after a short break I am back on it to cruise around town some more.

I am getting used to this bike and it takes me back to my dirt riding days when I was a kid. It all comes flooding back as I cruise around. I can stand on the pegs, your knees grip the tank in the corners, and it floats along over rough roads like a hovercraft. It’s not a 300 lb. dirt bike but BMW has done a great job at making this bike dual purpose. I know I could easily travel 300 mile days on it with the added benefit of going places my Harley could never get me to.

One other thing of importance. The brakes on this are out of this world. The ABS works like a charm and you can grab a handful of front brake with confidence. This bike stops on a dime. It really is impressive.

Not sure where this bike is more at home. On the dirt or on the asphalt. Actually I think that is what BMW had in mind for this bike. At home on either.

Not sure where this bike is more at home. On the dirt or on the asphalt. Actually I think that is what BMW had in mind for this bike. At home on either.


Wrap Up

So after about 340 miles I have really fell into a rhythm on this bike. I can easily get on and off it now by simply standing on the foot peg and climbing on…almost like I know what I am doing!

I ran out my first tank of gas and what a surprise when I filled it up. That under the seat gas tank is so easy to fill up. Stand next to the bike and no worries of getting gas all over your bike. It’s a little thing but what a pleasure. Plus going 300 miles between fill ups is sweet!

So I highly recommend this bike if you are looking for a dual purpose Adventure bike. As time goes on look for my longer terms thoughts on it but for know I think it is a winner. I didn’t go to much into the features of the bike here as I just wanted to give people my first ride impression. I’ll do additional post later on features as I get more acclimated to the bike.

Initial Things I loved About the Bike

  • Weight. Light and nimble
  • LED Fog Lights are a must. Really increase visibility
  • Smooth ride and large suspension travel
  • Under seat 6.3 gallon Gas Tank
  • Mounting brackets on back are handy
  • Windshield has a nice bracket great for mounting accessories. I’ll do a full post on that later.
  • Smooth power
  • Brakes are out of this world. This bike stops!
  • Wind protection is amazing. Virtually no wind on legs or chest.

Some initial cons on the bike.

  • Developed a rattle under front fairing but hopefully will get resolved at 600 Mile service
  • Front end pulses up and down but again 600 mile service I will point it out
  • Seat is a bit hard. This is very subjective though.
  • Height took some getting used to
  • Luggage is holy expensive!
  • Not really an issue with the bike but dealers are few and far between. 2 hours to my nearest dealers.

I hope my review of the BMW F800 GS Adventure was helpful to you.

My rating is:

Talon Knife Highly Recommended.

5 Stars.





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