Unfortunate ergonomics - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    There's no doubt that the F800GT is a modern, capable bike.

    But I have to say, with my last 3 Beemers, an R850R, an F650CS, and now my F800GT, BMW has gone further and further away from the airheads that I knew so well, and loved so much.

    My F800 performs well, has many features and accessories to suit a discerning owner, but after 6 months, I'm barely warming to it.

    Let me count the ways!

    . the handlebar is supremely wide! Is that really necessary? Roads where you'd take the bike are not sand, gravel, or mud any more. I've thought about replacing the bar, or sawing off a couple of centimetres from each end, like I've done with a couple of other bikes, but that would interfere with the bar-end plugs.
    . the mirrors. I don't recall having a handlebar wider than the mirrors on any of my 16 previous bikes. I get a great view of the bar-ends, my gloves, and upper arms. Perhaps that's a consequence of the handlebar risers fitted by a previous owner. Not convinced they are of any benefit, or suit me. They take up the slack in the brake hose so I can't adjust the lever control any further to suit my hand.
    . the Kaoko throttle lock is a great idea (my last 2 Beemers didn't have a throttle lock), but it disengages as I work the throttle.
    . the "tank". I don't mind the tank under the seat, but why replace it with several kilos of lead? Remember, I'm used to non-top-heavy airheads. My F650 had a "stuff bay" here.
    . so many controls! Every time I grope around for something, I'm reminded of the basic but effective and sturdy /5 controls.
    . the LCD screen blacks out when I wear polarised sunnies. Not that legible at the best of times.
    . the toolkit. Nothing says "you belong to us" better than a screwdriver and a plastic suspension widget. Fond memories of my airhead kits.
    . suspension is way harder than I'm used to. Maybe a PO fitted heavier springs. Yes, I have selected "COMF", and played with the preload.
    . the seat is a factory Comfort seat, and it is relatively comfortable (my pillion loves it), but it's so slippery that I slide forward with every bump or when I touch the brake. And there's a big step in it, so I can't slide back when I'm un-pillioned.
    . had a drama with the (factory) topbox lock. Wouldn't unlock, I poked and prodded and the barrel FELL OUT. Took the whole bike to the locksmith, he did nothing more than look at it, and couldn't fault it. Working perfectly now... until...
    . and the biggie: the shift lever. This is positioned so high that I have to lift my foot off the peg to change down. It looks adjustable, there's a lock nut and a threaded rod with cup ends, but I can't figure it out. Can't loosen the screw holding the linkage onto the gearbox either.

    Maybe bar-end mirrors are the go. Try taking off the risers. Should probably clean the Kaoko. Maybe check the springs, or change the fork oil to ATF like we used to put in the airheads. Could get the seat reshaped and recovered with a suedish vinyl. Maybe talk to the dealer (1 1/2 hours away) about the shift lever.

    Why don't I just buy an airhead? Well, I would, if I could find a decent one at a sensible price. 30- and 40-year-old bikes are getting a bit thin on the ground; people like me are just keeping them, and asking big money when they don't.

    BMW doesn't make that sort of bike anymore. So I'm looking at Guzzis, specifically the 750 Breva. Old school, longtitudinal twin, shaft drive, double-sided swingarm with dual shocks, negligible fancy electronics, relatively light weight, good accessories, just as much heritage as BMW... a lot like the R65 that I rode to death over 15 years, or the R80 I never had...

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  3. #2
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    My, My how picky. I loved my ST. I changed the mirror position a bit and got a different windshield to suit myself. Found the power plentiful, the fuel economy way better than any airhead I had and the handling was vastly superior to the airheads. Mine was lost to a stinking deer that ran out in front of me. I still miss the bike.
    Do go for the Guzzi. They made some great looking bikes. Just be patient when ordering parts.
    I test rode a used DL650 when my ST was being serviced. Now I have 2. Great bike. Everything my BMW's were and more..

  4. #3
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    Gary, sounds sorta like BMWs are not for you any longer. That's OK. There are lots of other brands that might fit you and you might love. Try them all. The Breva is a nice bike (I've ridden several), but the dealership network and parts supply line is thinner and slower than BMW, so be aware of that issue.

    My advice: make sure and buy something that fits you from the get-go. Lots of folks fall in love with the looks of a bike, buy it and then spend years and $$$ trying to make it fit them, with different seats, windshields, pegs, handlebars, etc. I don't understand that approach, when there are so many different brands/makes and models and almost certainly one that fits properly.

    Good luck and hope you find what you're looking for.
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  6. #4
    flyrider's Avatar
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    Maybe a Honda Grom would be more suitable...

    I'll bet you walked to school every day as a kid...and it was uphill both ways...

    All in jest...I'm 73 and there are some things I wish hadn't changed, but wishing doesn't make it so. Gotta roll with it, even if it's as ridiculous as having texting millennials try to run you off the road.

  7. #5
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    You struck a nerve with the comment about the screen blanking out with polarized sunglasses. My F800GT did that, Tracer GT as well -but its the whole display as well as the Garmin XT. I probably need to get some new sunglasses anyway but next time going to ditch the polarized option. I agree with the simpler is better but wait - love curse control on new bike - had same issue you do with the Kaoko throttle lock. But then I find myself liking and enjoying so many of the features like cruse control and light controls, controls for heated gear that oops Im there with lots of stuff.

  8. #6
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    Re: Polarized sunglasses. Pilots with glass panel multi-function displays learn very quickly not to use polarized glasses because they do just what was described here, and in the air the information on those displays can be critical. So, yeah...ditch 'em.

  9. #7
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    I can't help but wonder if you sat on the bike before buying it.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  10. #8
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    Antigramp I think you should ditch your bike.

    We can all put up with a few niggles or even downright flaws if we love the bike - ANY bike. Some call it 'character'. But it really sounds like its not for you, you don't love it. Running through your list I'm sure there would be nods of agreement from somebody in here on each and every one of those items. I laughed at the farcical 'tool kit', too.

    Too little time to waste on what's not right. Me, I'd love a Guzzi 'Stone' but Guzzis just make me feel nervous about something falling off them. A past reputation that is probably unfounded these days. Crikey, we're all BMW riders in here, so we ignore things that infuriate us, the bits that break and fall off and the fact that it can take months for spares to come from zer fachtory.

    Get the Guzzi and get out there riding I say.

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    Gary, RidaMile makes a valid point. Life's too short to waste it riding a bike that doesn't work for you. Check out the Guzzi and find one that floats your boat. Wish you success in your search.
    2013 F800GT Graphite Metallic-Gone to a new home
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  13. #10
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    Seems like a lot of the issues are due to changes made by previous owner or that could be relatively easily fixed. Shift lever too high, adjust it. Seat comfortable but slippery? Get an AirHawk, it gives a bit more grip and (for me) added a little bit more cushion so I could sit on the comfort seat and but in 575 mile days and then ride 500 the next day and 450 the following day. Cant help you with the Kaoko, it is a bit fiddly but when hand/arm is cramping it is nice to have. Now I have cruse control - bliss! The F800GT is a bit top heavy but much better than the sport bikes I had before. My first ride on my F800GT was when I rode it home from the dealer, initial impression was wow this bike is so soft and comfy. IMO one of the F800GTs issues is that it does a lot of stuff well but no one thing great. This tends to make people not love the bike like they do when a bike has a single outstanding feature.

    Although Ive never ridden one have you considered the Indian Scout? A cruiser but with more capability and soul than many.

  14. #11
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    Anti: At the risk of being labelled "slow to change", I agree with you. I got a 2013 F800GT to try it to replace my old faithful 1995 airhead R100RT. I'm not getting any younger or stronger, and I thought something lower and narrower might be a replacement for my R100RT. Am trying to grow into the GT, but try as I might, I still prefer the R100RT. The jury is still out.

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    [QUOTE=antigramp;2860773]There's no doubt that the F800GT is a modern, capable bike.

    But I have to say, with my last 3 Beemers, an R850R, an F650CS, and now my F800GT, BMW has gone further and further away from the airheads that I knew so well, and loved so much.

    Agree, agree agree!!! You left out "creaping weight!" Give me a break, anything over 530 lbs is too heavy for me. I got a 2015 R1200R because I wanted the waterboxer power but did not want the GS, ST or GT weight. Problem is, the suspension is as hard as can be. Indeed, the only BMW I have been able to get that has comfortable suspension, a relatively flat seat, and a good weight (420 lbs wet) is....a 2014 G65GS single. To get those attributes I have to put up with a buzzy engine at slower speeds (it does smooth out at 60+). It also has very low gearing (fixable with sprocket change), and, sigh, not much power (when on is used to a 1200 or a Ducati 996). I also do not care for he complexity of the four-valve setup on the newer boxers (or the 650, for that matter). Which brings us to the Guzzis. The Breva 750 (almost bought one several times) fits me perfectly. Should have gotten the last one I had the opportunity to buy. BUT, they have no power! 44 HP or something like that, with matching torque. I keep telling myself that will befine. And my BMW G650GS keeps reminding me that is is not fine. I am used to much more power. I am used to a jump in acceleration when I crack the throttle. Everyone else tells me I will hate the 750 Guzzis, either the Breva of the newer V7 Stones. People who know the bikes tell me to try the new 850 V85TT. The only think that is holding me back is living 450 miles from an in-state Guzzi dealer and that dealer's reputation. WISH LIST: 750-850 AIR COOLED TWO VALVE BOXER THAT WEIGHS 430 READY TO GO! It would make around 60-65 HP, and have around 58 Ft Lbs of Torque. AND A FLAT THICK SEAT!!!

  16. #13
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    [QUOTE=pybailey;2861421]
    Quote Originally Posted by antigramp View Post
    There's no doubt that the F800GT is a modern, capable bike.

    ...You left out "creaping weight!" Give me a break, anything over 530 lbs is too heavy for me. I got a 2015 R1200R because I wanted the waterboxer power but did not want the GS, ST or GT weight...
    Hmm...everything I've read says the "wet" weight of the GT is 470lbs.

    The suspension can be modified pretty easily and I don't find mine to be "as hard as can be". Are we talking about the same F800GT?

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  17. #14
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    I actually weighed my 2009 F650GS on two electronic scales at the same time (one under the front wheel and one under the back wheel), which is probably lighter than a GT. With a full tank of gas it weighs 486 pounds.
    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. 

  18. #15
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    it would be nice if someone could actually confirm the real weight of our wonderful GT - i don't trust the published weight from bmw --------- but for me, it's not as important as how it feels and how it rides - and after putting almost 2k miles on mine, it has never felt heavy - at least by my finely tuned feel-scale --
    '13 F800GT
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  19. #16
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    James (jtvisions) says that often when a truck scale is "closed", the scale display is turned around so you can see it through the window. He's weighed his bike that way in the past.

    I'm curious, but not that much. One of my first bikes when I started riding again was a Suzuki Burgman 400. It weighed 470 lbs wet also. But it felt far heavier than my GT. I can easily push my GT around in the garage and driveway, and even back it into parking spots that are slightly uphill using my toes. (I'm short, so toes and the balls of my feet if I'm lucky, are all I get down to push with.)

    When I rode my Honda NT700V after buying the F800GT, I had one word that kept coming to mind. "Pig" Whatever the weight of the F800GT comes out to be, it feels far lighter than some other bikes I've owned, and is a delight to move around.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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  21. #17
    Richard230's Avatar
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    I also weighed my 2016 R1200RS. BMW says it only weighs 520 pounds. But my bike with the all of the factory accessories that you get with a new model and with a full tank of gas weighed 552 pounds on my scales. I am pretty sure that the BMW weight claim is for their stripper model, which is never on the showroom floor and would have to be special ordered by a customer, who would then have to wait for months for it to arrive. That very rarely happens in the NA market.
    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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  23. #18
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    I've had 2 F800STs, a 2009 and a 2012, which I collectively put about 60k miles on. Great bikes, but I had to tweak them for me. After a few mods, the bikes were both all-day rides.

    1.) Heli-Bar risers
    2.) HyperPro progressive springs front and rear - night and day difference!
    3.) Mirror extenders
    4.) VStream windscreen
    5.) Grip Buddies

    Since I only have room for 1 bike at a time, I have since defected to Honda, and purchased a 2018 NC750X, which is great fun. I do have some sellers remorse, but the cost of ownership/service/parts on BMW (Bring My Wallet) was enough to switch brands.

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