After polarizing fans and journalists alike for nearly six years, the F800ST transforms into the F800GT, offering a fresh look and a list of features that will turn its siblings green with envy, led by dual-channel ABS. BMW's small sports tourer flexes its muscles, drinks less, offers friendlier ergonomics, and dons an attractive new dress for 2013.
Enthusiasts are in for a real treat: available Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), a tire pressure monitoring system, an on-board computer, LED turn signals and brake light, a centre stand, an anti-theft alarm, and navigation. Touring cases and Automatic Stability Control (ASC) can be added, too.
There's been little change to the engine and frame. The 2013 BMW F800GT retains a bridge-type, aluminum frame, a sexy single-sided swingarm, and a belt final drive. Only the rear section is different, and the result is a new capacity of 11 kg. Safety is improved thanks to extended mirrors and thermal protection around the muffler.
The F800GT still relies on a Rotax-designed parallel twin-cylinder, although output is up from 85 to 90 hp following the addition of a performance exhaust system, not to mention revised engine maps. Fuel consumption amounts to 4.3L/100km at a constant speed of 120 km/h, which is remarkable given the engine's displacement (798 cc).
Compared with the outgoing model, the 2013 BMW F800GT boasts revised geometry, ergonomics and suspension settings that enhance comfort and riding dynamics.
The lowered suspension and 50-mm longer swingarm will improve stability at high speeds, while the excellent Metzeler Roadtec Z8 Interact tires are sure to deliver the best possible grip. After all, they won most comparos on dry and wet pavement last year.
Moreover, the 20-mm raised handlebar, lowered footpegs, and 20-mm lower, narrower seat should make most riders feel comfortable on the F800GT, both at idle and on the go. However, purists won't like the dismissal of BMW's unique turn signal control, which has been replaced by a single button near the left-hand grip.
In many ways, though, the new 2013 BMW F800GT looks like a definite improvement. For sure, it will prove more versatile and comfortable, while the numerous available features make it an ultra-modern package.