BMW F800R (2009 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£260|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
BMW F800R was placed as an entry-level, sporty, naked urban machine to slot in amongst myriad 600cc middleweight bikes like the Yamaha FZ6, Triumph Street Triple, Honda Hornet and so on – even though its engine is 798cc!
And we can cheerfully say it fits in. What the BMW conveys is the feel and ride of large capacity bike with a parallel twin engine that can be revved to give the excitement of a sports bike without intimidating anyone.
In fact, MCN is in a great position to let you know what the F800R is like, because we spent a year living with one back in 2015.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The feel of the BMW F800R is taut and precise. The chassis is stiff and the suspension has been developed to work in conjunction with the chassis. Under braking and through the turn the bike is settled and feels compact, solid and… great. The rear shock is a little soft for pillion use but adjustments made (spring preload, damping) actually work. Goodly amount of steering lock and low-ish seat height make the F800R a good traffic-buster.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The 798cc twin lump delivers a sweet mixture of low rpm torque and accessible horsepower. The harder you work it the more the body produces adrenaline. Fuelling is perfect around town and will return a very pleasing 54mpg even when ragged on back roads. But with this excitement, from 5000rpm and on, comes niggling vibrations though the bars and pegs. You get used to this.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
One of the best put together BMW bikes we’ve seen. Everything fits perfectly and the coatings, paint and parts are sweet. But there again most bikes are like this from new. We all assume BMW has a reputation for quality, but there have been a few more complaints over the past 3-4 years, which BMW said it will address. On the plus side the engine is a known quantity because it figures in four other models and is well sorted now.
BMW F800R owners' reviews on MCN
We've currently got 23 BMW F800R owners' reviews on MCN, with an overall score of 4.3 our of 5. It scores a whopping 4.7 stars for build quality and reliability, which is a remarkably high
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Very, very competitively priced to start with and there’s the benefit of BMW machines retaining high resale figures even with high mileage, but only if the service record is up to date.
To keep the cost down (at £5925 it is relatively cheap for a fun-time BMW) the F800R is as basic as its competitors, suspension and stunning front brakes aside. But if you’ve got the money to spare there’s a ruck of optional extras and accessories available from onboard computer, tyre pressure monitor, ABS, higher/lower seat option (FOC), fly screen, belly pan, panniers etc, etc.
BMW F800R Chris Pfeiffer replica
The bike was built in honour of the four time world and european stunt champion, and is based on a standard F800R. A replica BMW motorsport blue/white/red paint scheme was the standout change, complete with a sticker kit you fit yourself (or not).
The front wheel was painted white and the rear black, just like Pfeiffer’s own bike. The headlight cowl fitted to standard F800Rs is omitted for a stripped-back look, though a pillion seat cover is included.
An Akrapovic road legal end-can was fitted as standard as were a set of BMW genuine accessory LED indicators, and UK bikes had heated grips and an onboard computer as standard.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, parallel twin four-stroke. Six gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium dual beam|
|Fuel capacity||16 litres|
|Rear suspension||Spring preload, rebound damping|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm disc with 4-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||265mm disc with one-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||54 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£260|
|Used price||£3,600 - £7,500|
12 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||87 bhp|
|Max torque||63.5 ft-lb|
|Top speed||133 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||190 miles|
Model history & versions
2009: BMW F800R UK introduction.
The F800R’s chassis is based on half-faired sports F800S, but comes with a stiffer double-sided swingarm. There’s also the sport-touring version imaginatively called the F800ST. The same engine is used in the incredible F800GS Dakar-styled adventure bike and softer tuned F650GS (yes, yes confusingly it has the 798cc engine).
Owners' reviews for the BMW F800R (2009 - on)
21 owners have reviewed their BMW F800R (2009 - on) 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:||£260|
Annual servicing cost: £400
I went from a KTM 690 Duke to this and both were great but the BMW is quicker and smoother for longer runs. Front brakes are in another league, super feel and power. Engine is great if odd sounding except for 4k5-5k5rpm == 70-80mph in 6th.
Mine came with ESR, useless as far as I can tell. The compression damping is pretty hard all the time but it’s very planted. I haven’t reached its limits performance wise. Head can get a wiggle at high throttle settings when hitting cats eyes but st.damper keeps it in control. Easy in town thanks to a low seat and low CoG. ABS seems to let go too much and can run on a lot when activated over bumps. KTM system seemed higher frequency but weaker brakes.
Can tootle about below 4k5 without feeling slow, but staying relaxed. Changes can sometimes feel snatchy in 1,2 gears but you learn to minimise it. Above 6k to the redline it’s free breathing and pulls hard in 4th after which the wind is telling you to chill a bit. 5th and 6th are quite close and at 50-60 I have a hard time knowing which I’m in.
No issues with it so far but there are bits to clean which look like they’ll be a nightmare like the super complex wheels! Chain looks like it’s worn after only 4500 miles, maybe previous owners had it over tight.
Service and tyres about 400 I’m guessing per year. Running cost is about a tank (12l) per week (150 back road miles). About 20km (12.5miles) per litre.
Mine doesn’t have the computer so there’s no gear indicator and no digital speedo. The analogue one is a bit small and doing 30 without staring at the speedo is a challenge. 2nd and a crack of throttle but a TFT screen would be a godsend.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer, without a FSH, but 3k6 miles and in immaculate condition. I’m half waiting for a gremlin but already added 1k5miles without any issues.
25k in 3.5 years, like power, Handles great, did raise handlebar 32mm, don't like, left ankle gets hot, cluster reflection terrible, no cruise, grips vibrate..
Seat hard after long ryde, cushion pants helps. Can do exercises while ryding
Tyres $$$ michelin road pilot 4 24k service $$$$
Would like cruise control
Buying experience: Bought new 1 mile, all good, gave good trade in $$ on 2005 f650cs with 47k miles
Great all rounder.
Comfortable ride. I can do 100 miles without any discomfort. Good comfort for the pillion in its category. Very good brakes. Some vagueness from the front when cornering. Vibrates a bit from 5000+ rpm.
Great engine. Nice and smooth throttle response. Pulls from 3000 rpm.
5700 miles and on. No quality issues so far.
ABS and TC work very well. My bike has also ESA fitted, but I can't feel the difference between the suspension modes very much.
At 24k miles, Left foot ankle gets hot, did raise handlebars 35 mm.., only things i would change.
Added narrow bag on handlebar.. wish 12 volt plug was higher in centre of top cover
Buying experience: Bought New 1 mile, dealer gave good deal on trade of f650cs 48k miles, although wish i would have kept it too.
handlebars and foot begs buzz at 80 MPH
unusual parallel twin noise. vibration damper does not work as advertised
heated grip and starter switch required replacement
cheap as chips to run
Overall it is easy to ride and will only ever become boring to speed fans. It's not the most beautiful bike, I'll admit, but the ride is easy and you never feel misplaced. Common driving school bike here in Germany.
Seat is comfy enough for 200 mile trips or even more, depending on your butt. However, the handle bar is quite café-racer-like. I swapped mine for a Rizoma, wider, flatter and straighter. If you have the urge to go nuts in corners the F800 will not deny you. The suspension is good all around, so from comfy to edgy/sporty is very well possible. No adjustments though except for preload on the rear shock. Comes with adjustment tool under the seat for adjustment on the fly. The brakes are more than enough for this bike. Two large 320mm discs with two calipers up front and 265mm single caliper brake in the rear by brembo will always stop you. Plus ABS, so deceleration is covered.
The engine is usable between 1700rpm and 8500rpm, pulling steadily and without any surprises from 3500rpm onward. Speeds of 25mph in sixth gear are no issue, so it is useful for lazy shifters. It vibrates in the higher revs, but that was no surprise to me, since it's a twin. 360° ignition spacing are the main cause of vibration, which needs to be countered by a weight on a connecting rod. If high speeds are your regular goal then you should maybe look at the S1000R or MT-09 instead. With close to 90bhp it will get you up to around 140mph, but it will take some time. Acceleration is very sufficient though.
I've only recently bought this bike, but a friend of mine has owned his from factory to now 30,000 miles and has not had a single technical issue whatsoever. Apart from some chipped paint and lacquer (MY 2009), which I cannot confirm on mine with 14.000 miles (MY 2011).
Maintenance is genuinely easy on this bike, since the fuel tank sits underneath the seat rather than infront of the rider. Therefore the valvetrain etc. are easily accesible through the faux tank, which houses the battery and airfilter. Fuel economy is tremendous. I regularly clock in at about 58mpg when riding like a normal human. When I go nuts on open roads it's down to 48mpg, but that is still better than anything I've owned so far. Unlike most BMWs it's chain-driven, so die-hard chain-haters will have something to moan about. It doesn't come with a oil gauge, but with a dipstick as commonly found in cars.
I bought mine used and loaded with goodies nobody needs...heated grips, tyre pressure sensor, fuel gauge, gear indicator, LED signals (look much better than the standard ones, though), dash cowl, average fuel consumption, current consumption, average speed, thermometer..... MY 2009 also had a range calculator, but too many riders relied too heavily and complained about the function. MY 2010 and onward were delivered without the range calc.
Annual servicing cost: £190
Best Features: This bike is an excellent first big bike to ride. Due to the low centre of gravity it is excellent to manouvre at low and high speeds. It really is an all rounder and is just as happy touring round north Wales and beyond or going for a little play round the twisties. It doesn't struggle to keep pace with bigger motorcycles. It has plenty of pull when required and returns a healthy 55mpg based on normal/playful riding. It comes with plenty of kit options and people consider it to be a much more expensive bike than it really is due to the badge. I have the BMW side panniers and a 12v battery port which covers luggage and sat nav issues. Bad points: It's a naked so don't expect excellent resistance from the elements. The stock exhaust makes it sound like a lawnmower and is put to shame by other bikes when involved in a shouting competition. This is easily remedied by adding an after market can and accidentally removing the baffles. Once this has been done then the shouting competition is back on!
Very very good all rounder - happy in any environment. Possibly weakest area is motorway riding due to it being a naked.
Got plenty of grunt when required and has low down torque from the 800cc twin
Due to be looked at by BMW to identify why won't start in gear with side stand up??
Fuel economy is excellent
Really like the big gear indicator LCD display. Accessories to recommend would be 12v charger, side panniers and rear hugger
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer. Listed at £5000, bought for £4500 with additional options (panniers & 12v) fitted
An improvement over the old bike, very chuckable.
Has enough power for me just now, a torque delivery.
No issues as yet yet.
Very good mpg and reliable.
I added the touring and sport packages as well as tire pressure monitors and panniers. I didn't bother with either the Asc or the Esa as I didn't feel there would be a benefit. I opted for the black and matt blue colour scheme which cost me £45.00 initially but has reduced my monthly payments as the bike has a higher residual value in this colour.
Buying experience: Fantastic service from Harry Fairbairn Inverness.
Annual servicing cost: £200
powerful and very easy to handle and ride
main dealer service cost £200 not bad at all
Buying experience: I bought it privately and I paid bit extra for the extra fitted equipment which for me much cheaper in total.
Very easy to ride , great for commuting it has enough power when revved hard however easy to manage in London traffic when taken easy. Very Reliable bike so far so good !
I must agree that the bike can be a little snatchy at idle speeds but after some practice using the clutch to smooth things out it isn't an issue at all. Also agrees it can ping a little on heavy throttle at under about 2,800 but, again, no big deal here. I used a plug and play item that tricks the management system into thinking it's 20C cooler than it is (no problems here in Sydney) and that has richened up the mixture and helped a lot. No other issues though. A stable, great handling bike that inspires confidence, my friends on their 1000s and bigger are struggling to maintain pace in give and take situations. Top speed may be less but what does that matter on a naked bike. Fuel consumption can run to 70mpg doddling around. It is comfortable (for my 5'11 inches), well finished and has plenty of real world useable power. The vibrations they speak of are just no issue to those who are used to singles or twins. I have every factory option except panniers and flyscreen, plus centre stand, 12V socket and Oggie Knobs. If you can buy one with all the fruit it will sell better down the track. Best overall bike I've had
I've had my F800R (with all the options ticked) for 6-months or so now and have almost converted it to a F800RT, including Autocom, DAB Radio, IPod connection and Satnav. The only way I could find to add a touring-standard windscreen that works was to combine three diferent aftermarket products, but it's sorted now. I've also added bar risers and just need to improve the seat comfort for longer journeys, but it's great already for my daily commute. It's a fantastic bike that combines the right amount of performance with frugal use of the juice. If it had a comfy seat and an option for a decent screen, it would get 5 stars.
This bike just gets better... at 20K miles the engine is fully run-in now & pulls much more smoothly. Only fault I've had was an indicator switch replaced without question under warranty. New Skidmarx screen (£68) looks the part (fits over the stock screen) & makes m-ways a doddle. Taken it 2-up across Europe & got better economy (60mpg) than my normal 40mile commute. Luggage/pillion no problem. Even the chain is no hassle lasting longer & without adjustment than any other I've had (no Scottoiler). Finish is good enough to withstand UK winter use. When this has done too many miles I'll have another.
I thought I would just add a further update on my F800R following a weeks touring trip around the Scottish Highlands. I've got the BMW panniers with my bike and, coupled with a Kriega tail pack and Baglux system, the bike easily carried all the kit I needed for a week away. Prior to heading up North, I had a pair of the new Bridgestone BT023 tyres fitted - they're awesome in both wet and dry conditions! The bike hasn't missed a beat in over 1300 miles of day after day riding - it's economy is awesome, handling tremendous and performance more than enough to leave every other bike behind on the twisties. (I went with lads on VFR's, GSX-R 1000's and a mixture of big tourers! If you're considering a naked street bike you must try this one before discounting it - BMW have created a revelation! ;-)
Headlamp replacement £240!!!... it's very vulnerable on today's post-winter, gravel strewn roads... get a protector or petition BMW to sell the lens separately.
I have owned my F800R for one month and I am loving it. I have added quite a lot accessories to it- ABS, heated grips, Akrapovic end can, fairing, R & G protection, BMC air filter, Ilmberger carbon hugger, luggage..... This means it covers every angle. The strong points are the brakes, low weight, nice exhaust growl, comfortable seat and funky looks. There are no down sides. I did consider a Ducati 696 and Triumph Street Triple R but the Ducati is awkward in slow moving traffic and the Triumph makes a horrible supercharger like squealing noise. Also, the Triumph Street Triple R has the worst looking headlights of any bike I have seen in the metal.
Done 6000 winter miles on mine now & I can't fault it... rock solid engine, good handling, great OEM kit. I'm surprised BMW don't do a higher screen for it & the aftermarket suppliers haven't quite cottoned on yet tho there are some. Engine hasn't quite got the low rev punch of the singles or boxers but once you get it spinning it's fine... roll on the summer!
I have had numerous bikes from Supermoto's to a Honda SP-1. Prior to my new F800r I was running a Triumph Sprint ST (1050) as my main bike. Although very good it just didn't really stir my soul enough so I was planning on getting a Speed Triple. However, following an impromptu visit to Southport Superbikes I saw my F800r sitting there with panniers, ABS, heated grips, Acropovic can, BMW rear raxck etc, etc..... I took it for a test ride and what a surprise! O.K. so it's never going to be 'set your pants on fire' fast, but how fast do you want to go on a naked bike - believe me, 133mph is quick enough when your head is bouncing around in the wind!! All I will say is if you're thinking about it, give it a go - you might like it!! ;-)
@owensj Your review is so over the top and such a fabrication that I really have my doubts about your intentions. Let me tell you that I did make several test rides and have a completely different experience. The bike is very smooth, comfortable and easy to ride. Great fuel economy. At the end I did not yet go for it ($$), but its absolutely #1 at my shortlist.
This bike ticks all my boxes. Looks great, ABS, big tank range, BMW badge, quality, light and agile. But, and it's a huge but... I went on a 2 hour test ride but gave in after half an hour. The bike is snatchy and lurchy in first gear when doing under 5mph. It sounds like a tractor and vibrates a lot. When moving swiftly up the gears (3rd to 4th) I suddenly ended up in 1st. What's that all about? MCN say fueling is perfect round town? I was scared to go back into first gear. Had to pull in the clutch to stop the jerking. This test ride was a massive disappointment. I was glad to get back on my Z750 which is as smooth as you can get. ;-(
Well I have been riding my new F800R for a week now, both commuting through London and a weekend ride. All I can say is I love this bike. Being new it is turning head as obviously not many about. The bike is shaping up as a great all rounder, brilliant at commuting and well up for a longer ride. This is a very easy bike to get on with, I am a relative new rider and as a 1st big bike this is possibly as good a bike you could have. I test rode most of the nakeds out there, in my opinion the nearest to this is the Street Triple (which I really liked), I went for the beemer as it was the one I was most comfortable on. So far I have not for a second regretted my choice, it is a bike you can grow with.