Each marathon begins with one step. I’ve never completed a marathon, nor do I have a desire to, but you don’t need to run just over 42 kilometres to understand the saying.
We all have to start somewhere.
One foot in front of the other.
The same thing goes for adventure bikes. For someone with a shorter inseam and not a lot of experience off-road, it’s somewhat daunting to get on a full-size adventure touring bike.
Just looking at it, one might be discouraged mainly because of size. They’re generally tall, relatively heavy and can be intimidating.
But you’re not without hope.
BMW has a solution for you: the F700GS
A Little Bit of Background
When the F700GS was introduced as an all-new model for 2013, BMW said, “The new F700GS is geared more towards motorcyclists who do not yet need quite the same level of off-road expertise. Its strengths are a lower seating height, all-round capabilities for everyday use and more than sufficient power while also offering outstanding economy.”
The concept of the smaller adventure touring bike isn’t new. In fact, BMW brought out a predecessor in 2007, also known as the F650GS.
And with their GS models being the bestselling bikes in their lineup -- in both Canada and worldwide -- it only made sense to expand the fold; a fold that has been around since the ‘80s.
Giving the F700GS its gusto is a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, 798 cc, 2-cylinder engine. You’ve got 75 horsepower at 7,300 rpm and 57 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 rpm.
It’s the same engine in the F800GS, but its bigger brother, the 800, is tuned differently for more output.
It’s then linked with a 6-speed transmission.
|Giving the F700GS its gusto is a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, 798 cc, 2-cylinder engine. You’ve got 75 horsepower at 7,300 rpm and 57 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 rpm. (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
Just looking at this motorcycle head-on, it is distinctly BMW thanks to its asymmetrical front headlight design. And while that’s not a new styling cue, the body of this GS has been upgraded. The main areas for tweaking are the new side trim sections that offer a bolder and more noticeable presence. This breed of bike is growing up and evolving, and is no longer the shy and quiet bike it used to be.
The “beak” above the front mudguard of the F700GS now makes it a more potent splashguard.
I’ve been on the F700GS a few times now: First on a road ride, then at the BMW Enduropark Hechlingen about 170 kilometres outside of Munich in Germany. It’s a park that includes 26 hectares of enduro riding fun. Obstacles abound and it’s really a perfect proving ground for the GS.
I asked for a lowered bike since it’s always a bonus when I can put my foot down! More on that later.
When working with the transmission, I found the clutch to be light and easily engaged. This is particularly handy if you’re stuck in an unfavourable traffic situation or find that you need to shift often when roughing it in the bush.
Its nimbleness can be attributed to an unladen weight of 209 kg (461 lbs.) For someone of a smaller stature, like me, it’s much easier to maneuver in a tight situation.
Going Up or Down
|This breed of bike is growing up and evolving, and is no longer the shy and quiet bike it used to be. (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
As it stands, the standard seat height is 820 mm (32.3”), but you can swap seats to the lower one, which drops it to 790 mm (31.1”). Furthermore, you can factory-lower the suspension to 765 mm (30.1”). Or if you need to go the other direction, there’s a comfort seat that brings the height to 835 mm (32.8”).
Having a lowered suspension off-road isn’t ideal, but if you’re not doing anything too crazy like riding over huge rocks, through rivers or over large foreign obstacles, you should be just fine!
For those who ride mainly on road, you have the assistance of double disc brakes on the front wheel, along with standard ABS.
You’ll also be grateful for a comfortable seat, which proves beneficial for longer rides.
No matter what surface you travel on, the F700GS works with the rider to make each time out a pleasant experience. It has a personality that isn’t easily irked, making it ideal for those new to the riding style.
The adventure has to start somewhere, and the BMW F700GS is a great place to take off from.
The BMW F700GS has a starting MSRP of $10,750
|For those who ride mainly on road, you have the assistance of double disc brakes on the front wheel, along with standard ABS. (Photo: Alexandra Straub)
- Easy to manage for new riders
- Available low seat and lowered suspension
- On windy days, the bike does dance around a bit at highway speeds