Nearly a thousand miles in and the F800R and I are becoming good friends. We’ve not been on any particularly meaningful adventures yet; it’s been a more a case of several, shorter liaisons, but over that time I’ve begun to remember all the reasons why I fell for its GT cousin a couple of years ago. It’s all about the handling, something that this 2015 R Sport model has improved upon even further over its already competent predecessors.
I don’t remember the front-end being particularly skittish on any of the previous F800s that I’ve ridden, but even so the steering damper seems to have tightened the control up something lovely. A few, over-enthusiastic throttle-openings have – on occasion – launched me into tightening-buttock territory but I’ve been reassured by the bikes’ calming nature. It’s allowed me to get away with some pretty aggressive riding whilst still not interfering so much that it feels as if it’s telling me off.
A lot of this has to do with the electronics of course (this model has traction control and ABS), but when married with the immediacy of the dual, radial-mounted Brembos up front and the upside-down forks the package is quite striking. In fact, we’re getting on so well now that I’ve just booked up for my first trackday; and I have a sneaking suspicion that the F800R is going to be an altogether more angry beast than the F800GT I took out to Rockingham for a few laps a couple of years ago.