2008-2016 BMW F800GS
£3900-£9500 84bhp 128mph 207kg (kerb) 798cc parallel twin
“An authentic, affordable adventurer”
I remember the moment I fell in love with the F800GS: a summer evening in 2011, after several days testing it with the then-new Tiger 800XC on backroads, motorways, muddy byways and even a sodden Brands Hatch. The Tiger should have chewed up and spat out the GS – more power, more cylinders, newer design – but that wasn’t what happened. The BMW’S thrumming parallel twin was a double-barrelled epitome of efficiency, making more torque and using less petrol than the Triumph’s whistling, wasteful triple. The F800 was lighter, slimmer and trimmer, like it had been down the gym while the Tiger sat around on the sofa. But most striking was the difference in character: the GS had the lithe, purposeful, pulsing sensations of an authentic adventurer; the Tiger felt like a road bike that had raided the dressing-up box.
The F800GS brought together everything I wanted in a true all-rounder. Big enough to ride all day in comfort; small enough to cut through clogged traffic. Genuinely capable off-road, but poised and precise on tarmac. Classy and substantial enough to feel proper pride of ownership, but keenly priced with modest running costs.
In 2014 I bought an 11-plate F800GS, with heated grips, Givi topbox, comfort seat and Barkbuster handguards. Just as impressive was that reality lived up to three years of fantasy.
The BMW F800GS was everything MFG wanted from an adventurer