The first-generation F800ST never made a strong enough case for GT enthusiasts and the media alike to embrace it, so BMW returned to the drawing board last year and created the all-new F800GT
. Believe me: The changes and improvements are much more extensive than you may think by looking at the machine.
First, there's a redesigned, wraparound fairing that contributes to a more handsome look, and a taller windshield that provides full head protection. Then you have a more laid-back riding position including footrests that sit 10mm closer to the front, slightly raised handlebars, a choice of three rider's seats, and a lowered suspension that will accommodate everyone. Let's not forget the side deflectors that keep hot engine air away from the rider's thighs.
The 2014 BMW F800GT's longer, single-sided swingarm not only enhances comfort, but also increases the wheelbase to maximize stability and precision. The end result is a highly versatile bike that combines long-distance comfort with riding excitement on slick country roads.
The twin-cylinder engine, shared with the F700GS
and F800GS enduro bikes, has been rejuvenated to deliver 90 hp (+5). Big-time thrills may not be part of the mix, but you will love the flexibility at low and medium revs: Acceleration is strong from 3,000 rpm, yet never violent.
The inline twin-cylinder sounds pretty much like the air-cooled flat-twin from older BMWs. Its syncopated operation and subdued vibrations are simply lovely and never obnoxious. The transmission, meanwhile, is sharper and more user-friendly than the previous one, eliminating hard shifts and false neutrals.
A GT with a true sporty side
|Big-time thrills may not be part of the mix, but you will love the flexibility at low and medium revs: Acceleration is strong from 3,000 rpm, yet never violent. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
Riding the 2014 BMW F800GT feels quite natural: The weight is reasonable (213 kg), the masses are beautifully centralized, and modern ergonomics put the rider out in front and ready to attack the road. Despite the extended wheelbase, the F800GT still proves very nimble through twists and turns. In fact, it shows nearly as much precision when entering corners as a sport bike.
Overall, you get a perfectly balanced and confidence-inspiring machine for all weather conditions -- especially if you select the available Automatic Stability Control (ASC) system to back up the standard dual-channel ABS brakes. These electronic nannies may be too intrusive during sporty riding, but they become precious allies whenever you start to lose grip.
What's more, thanks to the available Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) system, riders can adjust rear rebound-stage damping to road conditions at the press of a button. There are three different modes to choose from: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Other options include an anti-theft alarm as well as a number of convenient cargo solutions.
|Riding the 2014 BMW F800GT feels quite natural: The weight is reasonable (213 kg), the masses are beautifully centralized, and modern ergonomics put the rider out in front and ready to attack the road. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
With upgrades to comfort, rider protection, equipment, stability and riding dynamics, the new 2014 BMW F800GT is a highly attractive and versatile sport tourer. Plus, it costs just $900 more than the previous generation.
- New model eliminates 80% of its predecessor's flaws
- Fuel economy
- Versatile package
- Generous standard and optional equipment
- ASC and ABS are too intrusive
- Parasitic noise from the engine at idle