First ride: BMW F800GS on and off-road

Published: 20 February 2008

MCN road test editor Phil West is out in South Africa to ride the new BMW F800GS on the roads around Durban in South Africa. He has just ridden the bike for the first time and phoned in to give us his first impressions of the all new middle-weight trailie.

"BMW has set out with its new F800GS to extend its adventure bike family by creating an adventure version of the 800cc twin that falls between it’s popular outgoing F650 single and the best selling R1200GS. On this first impression it’s definitely achieved that by being the best of both worlds.

"It’s substantial, yet well proportioned. Slim enough and light enough to be a serious off road tool yet it’s also easy to get on with and relatively un-daunting for novices.

"The engine, unchanged from the F800S, is punchy and exciting, handling neutrally and predictably.

"There’s the usual raft of BMW accessories available from luggage systems and sat-nav to extended body work, to make it a true continent crosser. I bet if Ewan and Charley had the choice they’d have gone for this.

You can read Phil's full test of the new bike in the February 27 edition of MCN and watch the video online next week.