Here is Motorcycle.com's comparison of the three brand's expensive adventure models. Check out the weight of the F850GS, compared with the other models:
Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.
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Great article. They actually did far more than simply regurgitate the manufacturer's press info. It was pretty clear they liked the KTM and Triumph the best. The KTM, because it actually did well off-road, and the Triumph because it was a well balanced bike, doing off-road and touring well.
The BMW seemed to come out last. To wide, and to porky. I wonder how it would've fared if the top of the line version were tested instead? I also couldn't help wondering how the F800GSA would've fared.
I've noticed a change in BMW's marketing philosophy. It used to be that the only models imported, were the top of the line models with all the bells and whistles. When I looked at the F900XR in the showroom, it was a bare-bones model...much like the bike they tested here. New owners are all ordering the top of the line models. It's like they are trying to compete on price initially, then up-sell you to the version that really competes.
That surprised me.
When Eric pulled in from his final photo pass on the BMW after flogging the Triumph and KTM for the camera, the first thing out of his mouth was, “This thing is actually hazardous to your health.” To be fair, Eric later admitted he may have been a bit harsh on the F 850, but he’s not totally out of line. If you plan to do serious off-roading on your middleweight adventure bike, the BMW F 850 GS Adventure simply isn’t the bike to do it with.
Which made me wonder if a better bike would be the F900XR? Both have adventure-style ergonomics. Both have lots of suspension travel. And if neither one is good for more than occasionally going on forest service roads...which would be a better fit?
If your plan is to pound out the miles on pavement and graded fire roads, and you’re okay keeping the pace slow and steady once the going gets tricky, the 850 GSA will fit the bill just fine.
Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot RounderJohn 14:6
So, I've had this thought. Conti does make the TKC 80 in sizes that will fit the XR. It's not going to clear logs or rocks, but with a little extra grip I bet it would rip up the dirt roads. The thing is though, even the XR still needs an adjustable front end if you're going to change riding conditions that drastically. But if you're gonna do that, then might as well just throw some cartridges in the GS and level the playing field. I wonder how they would rate the GS if they resprung the front and rear and threw a set of Andreanis up front. Total cost would be under 1k and it would completely change the way the bike handles.
On the topic of the first round of XRs showing up as base models, I was talking to my shop today (mine is finally on the water heading to the US) and they said they heard from their rep that someone at BMW really screwed up by sending out base models, so I don't think this is going to be a trend going fwd.
That’s a poor comparison - they chose a basic GSA instead of a fully-featured GS. The Triumph and KTM were top spec. The motivation for buying an 850GSA is totally different to the KTM R version. The BMW midrange series could do with losing weight, however. The 790 is nearly 30Kg less than even the 750GS!