BMW F800GS (2008 - 2018) Review
- Adventure bike is a great all-rounder
- Will tackle off-road or crossing continents
- Loads of customisation options available
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The BMW F 800 GS is virtually unique: a 750/800 class adventure bike, that to most degrees offers the best of both worlds. It was replaced in 2018 by the BMW F850GS. In 2016 we spent a year living with a BMW F 800 GS - check out the long-term test here.
- Related: Best adventure bikes
It’s light, slim and perky enough to be a credible off-roader yet it’s also substantial, grunty, roomy and potentially sufficiently well equipped to tackle crossing continents. It’s also got a price that’s hugely tempting too.
BMW F 800 GS vs F 800 GSA
The BMW F 800 GSA (or F800 GS Adventure) is a more premium take on the adventure motorbike recipe, with a larger underseat tank, extended bodywork and a host of options. Read more in our BMW F 800 GSA review.
BMW F 800 GS updated for 2017
In July 2016 an update was announced for the F 800 GS. The 798cc water-cooled parallel-twin motor was updated with a new exhaust which also get a new design of stainless steel silencer. An HP sports exhaust made by Akrapovic was also redesigned and was available as an accessory.
The whole F 700 GS and F 800 GS and F 800 GS Adventure range also now got ride-by-wire throttle control of the engine which means they can have rider modes made available. Each bike had the choice of pre-programmed Rain, Road, Enduro and Enduro Pro modes to suit the riding conditions. Enduro and Enduro Pro modes were only available as accessory options on the F 800 GS and F 800 GS Adventure models and are intended for lighter and more demanding off-road use.
The entire range gets new instruments which BMW claim are more easily readable. The dashboard also gets a mandatory Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) which warns of something amiss with the engine. Riding mode information is also displayed on the dash too.
BMW F 800 GS Trophy and Triple Black special editions ridden
Ever since I rode the brilliant Triumph Tiger 800 I've known with complete certainty that it was the best 800cc motorbike on the planet. Until now. Now I'm not so sure. I've just ridden the BMW F 800 GS Triple Black and F 800 GS Trophy Special Edition and they're very, very good.
The F 800 GS Triple Black comes with a deep black paint finish, with fork tubes and rims in anodised black counterpointed nicely by chrome spokes. The frame is granite grey and the swingarm is a colour BMW calls Nurburg Silver.
All this costs £8145 compared to £7950 for the standard model. It's undeniably stylish, but if all that black isn't your thing, a more colourful choice is the £8345 F 800 GS Trophy, inspired by the biannual GS Trophy enduro event for ordinary riders.
What you get with the Trophy is an aluminium bash plate, handguards with spoilers, a two-tone black and grey seat and a tasty blue and white paint job.
The power delivery in first and second is a mite snatchy until you get used to it, and the nose dives under hard braking. But it's a bike you grow to love very quickly, and before long it's bounding around corners like an excited hound, dragging you with it.
Keep the revs above 4000rpm, crank the throttle and it takes off like a nun on a trampoline. The handling is not quite as precise as the Tiger's, but there's not much in it, and the BMW's lightness and slimness works in its favour when filtering through traffic and manoeuvering at low speed, particularly with a featherlight clutch and steering lock which city commuters will adore.
BMW F 800 GS 30 years GS
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out what this GS was all about: celebrating 30 years of the GS brand. It got BMW Motorrad Motorsport three colour stripe,"30 Years GS" decals on the airbox cover, hand and protectors with stainless steel hoops and bigger spoilers, red seat with embossed GS stamped into it and a tinted windscreen.
Watch: BMW F 800 GS video review
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Unlike the 1200GS the 800’s no monster. Though tall and ‘proper’ the F 800 GS is lithe, slim and light, enough to both remind of conventional, single cylinder enduros, from, say KTM, and to make it a doddle, at least compared to the 1200, to manhandle and manouvere, thanks to masses of steering lock, decent suspension, lightness and assured weight distribution.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Derived from the F800S unit, but with a more upright block, the BM parallel twin is intoxicatingly invigorating. 85 horses might not sound like much, but its more than enough. It’s perky and fruity, has a deliciously raspy exhaust note and is responsive, progressive and yet yearns for more and more revs up to the redline. Wring its neck and duck yours behind the reasonable screen and you’ll see 125mph, which is more than ample, thankyou. The rest of time it just delivers what and when you want it.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
BMW rules again. Although there have been occasional hiccups in recent years, there should be little to worry about with the new F800GS. The F800S/ST upon which it’s based has proved mechanically reliable and solid and the engineering is proven. Unusually, for a BMW though, you’ll have to maintain a drivechain.
Our BMW F 800 GS owners' reviews show a mixed back of results. There are a few mentions of expensive servicing and reliability problems, but there isn't anything that stands out as a prevailing issue.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
At £6999 new, the price was possibly the new GS’s biggest trump card of all. That represented fabulous value compared to the £2000 dearer 1200 version and there really was nothing else close to it in terms of all round ability. But if you wanted better value still, go for the in many ways identical F 650 GS.
Its main competition comes in the form of the 2010-2014 Triumph Tiger 800.
Group test: BMW F 800 GS vs Honda Africa Twin vs Triumph Tiger 800 XCX
First published in MCN 1 June 2016 by Michael Guy
Our verdict? "Whether you’re riding on the motorway, off-road or on the twisties, the Africa Twin is the winner. But given that it is up against two smaller 800s – one of which is eight years old, its victory was expected. What surprised me was that its winning margin wasn’t greater. Before the test I expected it to whitewash the competition, and while it was the clear winner when it came to covering high speed motorway miles and it was the most capable off-road, it’s real world on-road performance was only marginally better than the BMW."
Being a BMW the F800GS's fairly basic standard but with the usual myriad accessories and factory fitted options available. Different seats, screens and bars are available; as are the usual sophisticated luggage systems such as a tank bag, plus creature comforts like sat nav, heated grips and the like.
BMW F800GS GPR Powercone exhaust
This Powercone exhaust from GPR for the BMW F800GS is claimed to add 2.7bhp without requiring any engine remapping.
Handmade in Milan, the exhaust is fully road-legal, is claimed to save more than half the weight of the original can, and also features a removable db reducer (held in place with a circlip) and a removable baffle.
The stainless steel exhaust costs £375 and comes with all the necessary link pipes and fittings.
BMW F800GS AC Schnitzer supermoto
Aachen-based AC Schnitzer is probably more famous for its BMW car tuning side, but its bike division thanks is catching up thanks to a vast range of aftermarket wheels, exhausts, styling kits and small but helpful additions like mirror extension blocks. Its latest upgrade parts are all geared for the popular F800GS adventure bike. Except AC Schnitzer has modified this F800GS to the point it is now a brilliant supermoto.
More info: 01636-605105, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gpr-motorcycle-exhausts.co.uk
|Engine type||8v parallel twin, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||16 litres|
|Front suspension||45mm inverted forks, no adjust|
|Rear suspension||Single shock, preload and rebound damping adjust|
|Front brake||2 x 300mm discs|
|Rear brake||265mm disc|
|Front tyre size||90/90 x 21|
|Rear tyre size||150/70 x 21|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£200|
|Used price||£5,000 - £8,000|
12 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||85 bhp|
|Max torque||60 ft-lb|
|Top speed||130 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||140 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2008: BMW F800GS launched.
- 2018: BMW F800GS replaced by F850GS.
Owners' reviews for the BMW F800GS (2008 - 2018)
16 owners have reviewed their BMW F800GS (2008 - 2018) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
This bike is awesome for me
Annual servicing cost: £300
best : -engine / fuel consumption /low insurance bracket worst: -eating stators (every 80 -90 k) , steer head bearings (45 -50k) ,the suspension is not the best / clutch kits are very expensive at the dealer, but now we can buy aftermarket from bike teile service.
Still have the bike ,using it almost every day, now just past 195000 kms and still feel the thrill, just can't get bored of it.
Buying experience: privately
Annual servicing cost: £200
nothing bad about it,
Buying experience: absolute bargain, bought it private 2 years ago and could probably get my money back, very good quality, solid bike, nothing snapped off or worn.
Annual servicing cost: £140
Great bike, not quite 'do it all' but does such a bike exist? I wanted to find a bike that can do the singletrack lanes, light trails, roads, and everything else in between. Initially wanted a KTM 690 Enduro R, but were sold out everywhere so I tried a GS. If you can manage the weight, and have the leg length as well you'll probably manage it better off tarmac than I do. However, it is a great bike all round. With the exception of the seat. Awful, bloody awful, kills my backside after just an hour, agony by the end of a day. Bought mine (well, borrowed really, it's on a PCP lol) from BMW dealer with just 800 miles on it, in pristine condition. Has the centre stand which is handy, if a bit rattly off road, heated grips, active rear suspension, abs, and traction control. Which I personally find annoying. Can catch you out by killing the engine if you set off on a bit of gravel which wouldn't normally be a problem. If I was buying again, I'd make a point of getting one without the bells and whistles, but that's just me and my opinion. Handles great on road, yes it gets a bit weavy as speeds increase due to the 21" front, but off tarmac that comes into it's own. Off road, well, initially I was disappointed, as was hoping i could use this to replace both a road bike and an enduro bike. Way too heavy for that, weighs twice that of a lightweight off roader. However it has it's place, I use mine for recce'ing off road runs I'm putting together, I just keep away from anywhere particularly slippy as my little legs and porky body get overwhelmed by it's mass! Can stick a passenger on and not notice them there, or a load of camping gear etc. I actually wish I'd bought an older, tattier example, simply because I know I could do more off road with it, and the bike is up to it, but I don't want to knacker it, after all, it's not really mine! Would I buy another? Yes, I reckon I would, but only once I've tried a 690 Enduro R to see if that can really do it all.....
Find the front brake a tad snatchy, though the abs works well. Took me a while to get used to it as first bike I've had with abs. Can be switched off if req'd while off road. Rear pedal travels too far before biting. Suspension works well, if under damped off road, and no adjustment at all up front, which on a bike of this price, is pretty poor. On road, it feels fine, even with the TKC80 semi knobbly tyres you can still get a wriggle on, if it's dry at least!
Never been a fan of twins in general, but this does have plenty of go. Only thing I'd mark it down for is it has very little flywheel effect and can stall easily at low throttle off road where you'd normally expect a bike to keep going. Can be ridden around, but a slight change in gearing or heavier flywheel would help.
So far, no issues in 6000 miles, other than a 12V socket that packed in, and an occasional engine quit while changing gear, that was sorted with ECU reprogram while under warranty.
Normal service between 120 and 140, next one will be a tad more I guess.
Can't fault it, good spec on mine and no problems with any of it so far bar the 12v socket playing up. Was replaced under warranty and all ok since.
Buying experience: I paid £8000 in October 2014, was 6 months and 800 miles old from a BMW dealer, with 18 months warranty remaining. They were great, and service and warranty work I had done at a different dealer were also spot on.
Annual servicing cost: £140
Looks great, lovely motor. Throttle a bit snatchy at low speed off road, but in all fairness worked well in the snow when commuting last winter. I have other bikes, a K12GT and a BoxerCup. Both of which are obviously a lot faster than the F8GS but the GS is so flickable and easy to ride it never fails to please :) I've not taken it over 80 mph and seems fine at that.
Rides well on the road, seat initially felt a bit uncomfortable but after a couple of thousand miles it beds in (or my backsides got tougher :) )
Really like the engine, nice delivery up to 5000 rpm, which is 80mph in top gear. I've not taken it over 5000 revs as it goes well enough without doing so :) The fuel economy is fantastic. Normal A road riding brings around 60+ MPG. Motorway about 55 mpg.
Been flawless so far, and with the help of FS365 weathered the winter ravages and came out unscathed in spring.
Only had the 6000 service so far but seems reasonable, especially compared to other marques servicing costs
The underseat fuel tank takes 16 litres, of which 2 are reserve, so 14 litres of normal tank. This can give a range of around 180 - 190 to reserve. Would be nice to have a bit more range I guess but there's always the adventure version if that's an issue. Thing is the mates I ride with tend to need fuel at 150 miles so the range is adequate anyway as I'm limited by their bikes range.
Buying experience: Bought new from Williams BMW Motorcycles Manchester. Great people to deal with and very friendly.
17 months, 17,000km, still going well. Mostly used for 30 minute daily commute, with weekend rideouts, and one weekend trip of 2500km in 3 days. Easy to live with, peppy enough for most of what I want to do, excellent fuel economy, 10,000km servicing, nothing gone wrong. Before buying I also rode the Triumph, they are really similar, I just preferred the sound of the twin.
I've had my F800GS for 11 months now and absolutely love it. I'm surprised the average rating isn't higher. The engine has loads of character, far more than the Tiger 800XC and it isn't as rattlely as the R1200GS. The fuel economy is excellent and the grin factor is off the scale! On the negative, i've had issues with the right heated grip not heating up correctly, my seat split after just 3 months and there's paint currently coming off the engine casing but, so far, I've found the BMW warranty excellent and things have been sorted out quickly. My bike's going in at the weekend to get the paint sorted out. The outcome of that may change my opinion but so far all the issues haven't put me off and I would recommend it to everyone.
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Had my F800GS for 6 months now. Superb bike. Took it to europe and found it wanting for nothing. Only thing i've changed is the seat, as the standard was really uncomfortable past 100 miles. Still think it looks better than the new Tiger 800 too!!
It is just the kind of bike I was looking for...light, powerfull, good handling, good for long and short trips...I does everything and does it all well...besides, it's BMW
Just got rid of my F800gs after 13,000mls & 18 mths. After 7 recalls, numerous warranty issues of my own and finally my 3rd survival of electrical breakdowns whilst riding in traffic, I traded it last week. In my experience, this is a seriously flawed and dangerous bike to ride due electrical and mechanical failures. I've had 3 complete electrical and fuel supply related breakdowns whilst in heavy traffic and lucky to have avoided being run over by a tanker last week near Loch Lomond and at home in Ireland. I'd lost all faith in the safety and reliability of this bike. I've had more trouble with this bike than all of the Japanese bikes I've had in 25 years of riding - never had a Jap bike breakdown either! Having spoken to other BMW owners and recovery operators, the vast majority of breakdowns is ALWAYS BMW'S! They sell you the myth of cutting edge technology but negate to tell you they have 'stone age' reliability. No doubt the BMW 'Brand Slaves' will denounce my posting! All I can say is if you value your life, don't buy one!
This review based on test ride only (4 hours worth though) I'm currently a Fazer 600 owner, its an 08 plate, and although i had a test ride its completely different in real life to what i was ALLOWED on the test ride. Its too revvy and vibratey for me, and i hate it big time. I'd heard good things about the 800 GS. I originally wanted a GS1200 but funds didnt allow. I found the 800 GS to be very quick,with an exhaust note that you wont really forget, nor want to. It's light quick, goes well stops well, and i can see myself readily ditching the FAZER if the finance company stop taking ADVANTAGE,LOL.Are there any down sides, err yeah unfortunately, the standard screen is too low to be really comfortable on the motorway. The seat height is also a bit of a bone of contention as im 5 ft 9 tall, and at a few traffic light stops i had worried looks from some car drivers as they thought i was gonna lose my footing and make a bike shaped dent in their cars.I also noticed that the seat is quite uncomfortable after a few hours , but I'm gonna get some sort of air cushion seat affair, and see if that helps. If i can get rid of my Fazer then my name is going on a new F 800 GS. As an afterthought i should mention the fuel consumption,which after several hours of errr spirited (sorry OFFICER,LOL)riding had dropped to the appalling figure of 57 MPG!!! Perhaps it was over reading but guesstimated on tank at start and refill to tank level at the end of the ride I dont think its that far out.
Today I spent two hours on the 800GS on a test ride and was definatly impressed. To start of with I felt quite precarious sitting right up there and the brakes felt like they have too much grab for the forks (this is commuting through heavy traffic, say 15-20 mph). Get myself introduced to the indicator switches and get moving properly and it's just great. I find myself toying with the MPG readout, how high can I get it (109 mpg in 6th at 40 mph), how low can I get it (37 mpg excelarating to the red line). The engine first felt weak until I started taking note of the speedo. It shifts well but you don't feel it surge forward, maybe down to a good shock and not much 'squat' or just a really smooth power delivery but it does move. Then I start playing with the roads doing everything I don't on my GSX, aim for the bumps, aim for the man-holes and go straight over the speed bumps (no need to slow down). I tolk it to one of my favoured roads which is very bumpy and it loved it! The tyres the the chassis the brakes the suspension, everything was ideal. After a play with the hand warmers it was time to turn back, onto the dual carrageway. It was a VERY windy day and upto 70mph felt fine with a bit of buffeting from the screen. 80 mph felt ok but alot of buffeting. 90 mph and above the vibes kick in, quite bad at 120. Back into traffic it felt brilliant, now that I'd got used to it, it's good at slow speed and the stearing lock is massive. After two hours my butt didn't want too much longer in the seat which dissapointed me. After the test ride I'm going to get one! I'll put a taller screen on and get a gel pack put inside the seat, which was the low one and even at 5'10" I needed the low one really. I'll get used to the indicators and definatly will take it off-road even if it's just to get dirty! Definatly recomended.
I have just passed 5 months with the F800GS and am still as enamoured as ever. I have splashed out some extra cash and bought a powerbronze high screen and rear hugger. The screen has made a massive difference to both the looks and buffeting whilst the hugger stops the rear shocker and engine getting covered. As for riding, this bike has got me riding at night and in the wet and loving every minute of it. The bike has plenty of torque and just loves going up the gears, you'll soon be over the speed limit before you know it and thats at just 5000rpm. A and B roads are where this bike comes into its own, it is so easy to tip it into a corner and accelerate out with ease. Its sheer grin factor everytime I go out to do this. As for the motorways, the bike will cruise comfortably along two up with no problems and no aching wrists at the end of a decent journey. Around town, its a joy, very nippy and easy to handle. The seat, I am 5'11 and can get my foot down at traffic lights no problem and thats with a standard one. Does my rear go numb after a long ride ?, a little but thats what an airhawk is for ! The aftermarket bits and pieces are slowly trickling through and adorning my bike as and when cash dictates. I intend to have the bike fully laden with extras ie hand guards, bash plate and aluminium luggage early next year so me and the missus can do some grand touring. As for off road, I cannot comment as not been there...........yet. To sum up, if you want a lightweight alternative to the excellent GSA for considerably less money this is the bike.
(Review based on test ride) I was looking forward to this bike enormously. The quirky looks of the bigger GS without its enormous bulk seemed appealing for me at 5'10. Initially I was really impressed, the motor pulls well from low down and only runs out of guts and feels a little vibey at fast motorway speeds - perhaps 6th could be longer. It was quickly evident that its native territory was back roads where the power was plenty and punchy, overtaking and cruising with ease. Gearchanges and braking faultless. After the initial "its very different" transition from my usual rice-rocket, I discovered quickly that its so rideable. You can flick it through bends with a heave on the wide bars and you can see over all the cars and hedges... It gives you the impression that you're in control of the bike - and perhaps even the road. However, the little screen offers scant motorway protection and after only about 15 miles in the close wakes of swathes of weekend travellers I was aching to get away from the buffet and finger numbing vibrations. A desire I haven't experienced since the 100cc commuter I left behind in my teens. This was disappointing because on A-roads at similar speeds the bike was entirely composed and the buffet much reduced. Anyway, as soon as I was back on the A and B roads, the GS was happy again. Soaking up the ripples of the poor road surface and whipping along country lanes. Its a long way down though - stopping at junctions I found my leg sometimes wafting about helplessly rather than planted on the tarmac...but some careful planning when you stop sorts that out. I imagine the health and safety warning stickers on the packing crate read 'Not recommended for use with less than a 29" inside leg'. An optional lower seat is available, which brings us conveniently on to the torturous device that BMW have applied for your seating enjoyment. A fair old slope on the saddle ensures that your buttocks are inexorably tugged towards your shoulder blades unless you sit at the front of the seat, where the curve up to the tank hoists your uhm, nether regions, forcibly upwards and outwards. Neither solution was tolerable for very long. Half an hour at a time was about all I was prepared to endure with frequent standing-on-the-pegs intermissions. Perhaps if you're several stone heavier than me (11st / 70kg) you might flatten the angled seat with the assistance of gravity. I enquired with the dealer whether this issue could be fixed with the suspension settings but he didn't seem hopeful. So, all in all. Great looking (confirmed by child and father at crossing), fun torquey performance (unless you want warp speed), seemed good economy maybe 40-50mpg from what I could tell. But not a friendly saddle. The BMW switchgear is largely OK, with a dash of bizarre. Not sure why they persist with 3 controls for the indicators. Very odd. My recommendation: Ride it for more than 30 mins before you buy it. If you find it comfy, I reckon you'll love it. Otherwise you won't want to spend days on it. Loaded up with touring gear, it might be a different story... As for me, I'll be testing the 1200 next. I spied a flatter saddle there. I truly wanted to love the 800GS, but it definitely wasn't for me.
some pictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/25539574@N00/