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

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