To soggy Scot­land and back on F800GS

Wet Scot­tish ad­ven­ture sees mid­dleweight Beemer shine

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

This is my first year with an ad­ven­ture bike and rather than give my­self a gen­tle in­tro­duc­tion, I headed to the High­lands. The idea was to face a five­day bap­tism of fire (or rain as it would turn out) to get to know the bike and help me plan what to do on it this year.

Stam­ford to Mof­fat

Miles 253 MPG 51.55 I’d nor­mally dread mo­tor­way trudg­ing, but it’s a nec­es­sary evil if I’m to spend three solid days ex­plor­ing. Thank­fully the GS is com­fort­able, even af­ter be­ing sat on it for seven hours. Ini­tially the seat feels a lit­tle hard, but I quickly get used to it. The rid­ing po­si­tion is roomy and gives good views over traf­fic.

The only thing that dis­ap­points is the screen, which is very short and blasts the air­flow di­rectly at my head. BMW sell a taller screen so one of my next steps will be to try one and see if it cures the prob­lem.

The GS makes a good first im­pres­sion, churn­ing up dull roads in com­fort. Bring on the twisties.

Mof­fat to Bal­lachul­ish

Miles 268 MPG 52.9 The sun is shin­ing and the roads link to­gether to form a per­fect rib­bon. The GS dis­misses any doubts over its po­ten­tial for fun, sweep­ing ef­fort­lessly from bend to glo­ri­ous bend.

From Glas­gow, the A82 de­liv­ers in spades, even though it’s laden with hol­i­day traf­fic and car­a­vans. The road hugs Loch Lomond be­fore open­ing up to a moun­tain­ous vista with long straights and I watch the nee­dle wind­ing fur­ther to the right of the speedo as I ap­proach Glen­coe.

The clocks are old-school, with ana­logue speedome­ter and tachome­ter com­ple­mented by an LCD trip com­puter. It’s a bit Stone Age com­pared to many new bikes but I find it easy to read and fa­mil­iar to look at.

Bal­lachul­ish-isle of Skye-bal­lachul­ish

Miles 224 MPG 52.38 I ride swiftly through ever-in­creas­ing rain and the weather makes no dif­fer­ence to my mood. The road ahead is mag­nif­i­cent and the GS takes it all in its stride. It feels as if the BMW were made solely for this road alone. It’s soak­ing wet and I’m not push­ing as hard as I did the pre­vi­ous day. I ar­rive late to Skye and can only briefly ad­mire its wilder­ness be­fore head­ing back to my overnight stop. Af­ter re­lent­less rain I’m sod­den, but the GS yet again brings a smile to my face as I head back on the A87.

Bal­lachul­ish to Kin­lochleven loop

Miles 20 MPG n/a The weather has dried up, but my kit hasn’t, and with tem­per­a­tures still in sin­gle fig­ures rid­ing in a wet suit isn’t an op­tion. I’m able to get a lit­tle time on the bike in the early evening, but I stay lo­cal and cover a 20-mile loop to Kin­lochleven, thank­ful the roads are not as wet as the day be­fore. With the bike in Sport mode, I push on and dis­cover a lovely road that makes me feel less bit­ter about los­ing the rest of the day to sod­den kit.

Bal­lachul­ish to Stam­ford

Miles 410 Econ­omy 58.3mpg I know this is go­ing to be a long day but I am de­ter­mined to still have some fun. I start my jour­ney with the Kin­lochleven loop be­fore join­ing the A82 and dodg­ing car­a­vans again. The F800GS may be smaller in ca­pac­ity than its R1200GS brother but I never re­ally find it lack­ing. I don’t need more power, over­tak­ing is a swift af­fair with am­ple grunt to see me safely by the plen­ti­ful ob­sta­cles.

It does lack a lit­tle feel on the wet stretches of A82. The Pirelli Scor­pion Trail tyres are my first sus­pect and I will be look­ing to change them in the com­ing weeks to com­pare.

By the time I get home I can re­flect on an amaz­ing week­end. The lost day meant I didn’t get to see as much of Scot­land as I hoped, but leav­ing with un­fin­ished busi­ness gives me plenty of rea­son to re­turn. And with an F800GS to take me there, I couldn’t be hap­pier. It takes ev­ery­thing in its stride and per­forms well. I can’t wait to spend the rest of the year with it.

The drama and soli­tude of the High­lands can’t be ri­valled He’s got wet socks and a soggy bot­tom, but thanks to the GS James is still smil­ing

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