Eval­u­at­ing the F850GS’S elec­tronic ex­tras

RiDE (UK) - - Contents - GARETH ASHMAN

I’VE BEEN LIV­ING with this fully loaded F850GS Sport for al­most 3000 miles, so it’s about time I took a closer look at its but­tons and bolt-ons. And there’s a lot.

Al­most all new BMWS are bought with some sort of ac­ces­sory or up­grade ‘pack’. They can be ex­pen­sive but the trade-off is they add to the bike’s fu­ture value and of­ten only in­crease a monthly PCP pay­ment by a few quid. Be­yond the ex­tras listed here, our bike has many other avail­able up­grades — a two-way quick­shifter, cen­tre­stand, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tors, flashy paint and so on (and on). Some come bun­dled as part of one of BMW’S many up­grade pack­ages, but here’s how our ev­ery-box-ticked F850GS looks from the seat, with what each op­tion would cost in­di­vid­u­ally.

1 Cruise con­trol £400

Not so use­ful in the UK be­cause of con­ges­tion but bril­liant on longer trips and par­tic­u­larly good on the Con­ti­nent. It lets your arm and hand re­lax, de­liv­er­ing a much more re­laxed ride. Not top of my per­sonal list but a re­ally lovely fea­ture. Worth it? Only if your rid­ing in­volves fre­quent mo­tor­way trips.

2 GPS prepa­ra­tion £200

Su­perb. It’s re­ally handy to slot a BMW Nav­i­ga­tor VI (£699) straight in and con­trol op­tions with the thumb­wheel on the left-hand grip. I use it all the time. Worth it? An ab­so­lute must.

3 Dy­namic ESA £440

Bril­liant semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion, with a range of ad­just­ment and a plush ride. That said, it only con­trols the shock — the forks have no ad­just­ment at all — and for reg­u­lar road rid­ing, I only ever use the Dy­namic mode, as Road is way too soft and it re­bounds like a pogo stick. I do change it when I add a pil­lion and lug­gage, which raises and stiff­ens the whole rear end, or go­ing off-road. Worth it? Yes. But con­sider your needs.

4 Key­less Ride £280

When I first got this bike, I thought the key­less ride fea­ture was just a silly gim­mick but it’s in­cred­i­ble how quickly you get used to not hav­ing to fum­ble about for a key. I just leave it in my jacket pocket and for­get about it. It works re­ally well and the bike just starts, stops and locks on the push of a but­ton. Also op­er­ates the fuel-filler cap but you have to re­mem­ber to turn the main ig­ni­tion off, oth­er­wise it won’t en­gage. Rid­ing bikes with a key now feels like go­ing back in time! I love this — bril­liantly con­ve­nient.

Worth it? Yes.

5 In­tel­li­gent Emer­gency Call £295

Have I used the SOS but­ton? No. Would I use it if I was stranded in the mid­dle of nowhere, pos­si­bly in­jured, and ask a nice man from BMW to come and res­cue me? Of course I would. It’s peace of mind. Worth it? Per­son­ally I wouldn’t bother.

6 Heated grips £250

BMW makes the best. Three heat lev­els from a mild tin­gle to the full toasted crum­pet, these let me ride in sum­mer gloves even when it’s freez­ing. I reach for the but­ton the minute there’s a slight hint of a chill in the air. Worth it? Def­i­nitely.

7 Rid­ing Mode Pro £375

Ex­pands the stan­dard Rain/road rid­ing modes to Dy­namic/en­duro/en­duro Pro, and smartens up the trac­tion con­trol and ABS. In truth, 95% of the time I ride in Dy­namic mode. I could soften the power in the rain and off-road but I’m happy to do that with my right wrist. Worth it? Yes, to get Dy­namic mode.

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