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Long term update: The rough with the smooth

Published: 05 August 2015

Updated: 21 October 2016

After several hundred miles on the BMW F800R this past weekend, I’m confident I’ve got the measure of it. I’ve discovered all of its little foibles and have learned to love some of its elemental characteristics. I believe we’ve come to an understanding.

I love, for example, how supremely responsive it feels. The slightly retuned, lower-down grunt of this 2015 version provides plenty of torque and the revised gearing encourages short-shifting, which makes it feel as if you’re putting the down power quickly. But, almost within the same breath, it’s becoming slightly aggravating that once this initial surge has gone, the midrange seems thin.

The BMW is powerful when you’re within its narrow power band, but slightly weedy when you’re really intent on winding the throttle open for any length of time. This makes the naked great when fizzing around town or along smaller roads, but frustrating when you really want to make your moves stick over a greater distance or on that important overtake.

The vibrations are starting to wear my patience, too. I’ve previously mentioned that this F800R feels less refined than its GT stablemate, and as a result of all the vibes I’ve now all but given up on looking in my mirrors anywhere above 5000rpm. It’s the same with the footpegs; due to the oscillations coming up through the pegs, my toes nearly always go numb, so I’m on the lookout for a solution.

Happier though are my general experiences of the bike. Because it’s so light, nimble and the engine so familiar, I’ve found myself forgiving most of its limitations simply because I can chuck it into corners so sharply and with so much poise that the grin on my face erases any previous traces of a frown. It’s swings and roundabouts, I guess!

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