The standard sport bike segment welcomes a new member from Germany. The 2015 BMW F800R just got better in every respect, and promises unadulterated riding thrills.
More modern, more powerful, and more dynamic than its predecessor, the F800R now has the ingredients to strike fear into the competition. It also reaches a new level of styling with a redesigned headlight, new radiator fairings, new wheels, and a more attractive front fender.
Highlights for 2015 include an upside-down front fork, Brembo radial callipers, and neatly machined parts such as the brake and clutch levers, triple clamps, and footrests. While fit and finish live up to the BMW name, certain components like the ignition box could be better concealed.
Once again, the F800R stands out from other bikes in its class with a fuel tank mounted under the seat to lower the centre of gravity, as well as a stacked, analog speedometer-tachometer arrangement.
Same displacement, more power
Contrary to rumours of a new 900cc parallel-twin engine borrowed from the late Husqvarna Nuda, BMW chose to give the 2015 F800R a 3hp gain for a total of 90 hp at 8,000 rpm, along with a boost in mid-range torque. At lower speeds, the machine proves fun to exploit, and when you get to the medium revs, there’s plenty of grunt to separate yourself from traffic. In fact, the best part of the action takes place from 4,000-7,500 rpm. The F800R continues to lack top-end power to match 3- and 4-cylinder rivals, however.
Typical parallel-twin sound effects call to mind the air-cooled Boxer of older BMWs. I love the wonderfully syncopated rhythm and the agreeable vibrations produced by this engine. In related news, the transmission is more precise and easier to use, so say goodbye to hard shifts and fake neutrals.
More dynamic up front
The 2015 BMW F800R fares pretty well on twisty roads where it proves surprisingly sharp and friendly when entering corners. The new fork makes the front wheel more precise while reducing nosedive under hard braking. It does a nice job overall, but doesn’t offer any adjustments. That being said, you can brake late without scaring yourself, and ground clearance poses no problem as long as you don’t try to emulate BMW Motorrad Italia racer Ayrton Badovini. The F800R keeps its poise and composure even when pushed near the limit. Furthermore, the suspension is ideally calibrated to maintain a solid pace and a comfortable ride on rough pavement.
By positioning the rider close to the handlebars, the F800R makes it easier to transfer your weight to the rear when braking and to the front when attacking corners. This riding position also minimizes stress on the wrists for excellent comfort. Add the available Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) system, and you can start covering serious ground.
The rear shock offers three different modes (Comfort, Normal, Sport) that you can select via the handlebar. Options include a cargo rack, small softcases, and black hardshell plastic cases that you can remove without tools.
|More modern, more powerful, and more dynamic than its predecessor, the F800R now has the ingredients to strike fear into the competition. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)
The 2015 BMW F800R is safe and perfectly sorted to have fun on the road. With more front-wheel precision, improved engine response, a longer list of amenities, and friendlier handling, this genuine roadster will appeal to naked-bike enthusiasts from coast to coast, especially at the same price as the outgoing model.
- Improved front-wheel precision
- More responsive engine
- Increased comfort
- Stylish new looks
- Non-adjustable fork
- Modest power given the engine size