BMW F800GT Review
What Is It?
The BMW F800GT is a mid-range touring bike with a belt final drive and the fuel tank positioned, rather uniquely, under the seat.
Engine: 798 cc Parallel Twin, 90 bhp
Economy: 55 mpg, 180 miles
Seat Height: 800 mm
Wet Weight: 213 kg
What Is It Like?
|✓||No chain maintenance, economy, smooth power delivery|
|×||It wont win any awards for looks, better for solo riding|
I moved to BMW bikes after having been let down by the quality of a Japanese brand (which I won’t name!). As I don’t own a car, I need a bike that is reliable and won’t leave me stranded at the side of the road, and BMW have certainly delivered. I was also looking for a bike that wasn’t a cruiser, but was low enough for me, as I’m vertically challenged.
I bought my first lowered F650GS in 2008 from Bahnstormer in Alton and haven’t looked back. I then tried out the F800ST, which was also lowered, and then the F800GT, only changing bikes due to the high mileage I was doing. I love the fact that the GT is belt driven – no more fiddling around trying to check and tighten the chain, no more oil all over the bike from the Scotoiler.
I part exchanged my F800ST at 32,000 miles and am now on my third GT, which doesn’t come with the option of lowered suspension, but does have a low seat, bringing the height down to 765mm, which is fine for me. Apart from changing to an Akrapovic exhaust, I haven’t made any modifications to the bike, as it is perfect as it is. I did try a touring screen, but felt I was buffeted far more by the wind and the top of it was in my line of sight, so I took it off again. I sold it to a friend, who also has an F800GT, and he loves the larger screen, so it is completely down to personal preference.
My current bike is just over two years old and is coming up to its 36,000 mile service. The service costs aren’t cheap (it is BMW after all!), but they are also not prohibitively expensive. BMW recommend changing the belt at 24,000 miles, but this really isn’t necessary, (unless it’s full of holes!). I had the belt changed at the 30,000 mile service, and only because there were a few teeth missing. Changing the belt isn’t cheap, at around £370, but this is still preferable to chain drive and the acceleration is a lot smoother. The fuel consumption is an astonishing 65 mpg, so very economical for commuting.
I do have two negative comments about the bike, and I am being really picky here. Firstly, the headlamp bulbs seem to blow with annoying regularity. This is slightly irritating, especially as it is really difficult to change the bulb unless your hands are double jointed. The second complaint is that they have changed the controls for the heated grips. There are two settings, and you can’t turn down the heat from 2, you have to turn it off completely, then back up to 1. Again, an annoying feature, especially as the controls aren’t easy to reach.
The F800GT is a dream to ride, and very forgiving. I rode 1,500 miles around Spain over two weeks, and it behaved beautifully, whether going around the tight bends through the Picos mountains or travelling along the faster roads. I will definitely be getting another GT in the near future.
- Erica B, 2018