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2010 BMW F800R First Impressions


by Pascal Bastien ,

For 2010, BMW’s parallel-twin F family will include the all-new F800R naked bike, in addition to the F800GS (dual-purpose), F800S (sport), F800ST (sport touring) and F650GS (lighter-duty dual-purpose). Along with its own specific engine characteristics, the R boasts the usual F family traits: the rare left exhaust/right chain setup (like the GS) and the under-seat tank for a lower center of gravity. The R family also weights significantly less than the larger R and K families from the German manufacturer.

Look quickly and you can see some of the K1300R attitude in the smaller machine - I like it!

A more efficient engine

The nearly-vertical, 798-cc parallel twin-cylinder relies on the same technologies and advancements as the K1300 engine, particularly with regard to the cylinder head, intake system, ignition and injection mapping, and semi-dry sump lubrication system (the oil supply is held in the transmission, a separate chamber from the crank). Other F800 models use a dry sump with external tank, which is heavier and more complex. The engine of the F800R also produces two additional horsepower while peak torque arrives 200 rpm later. Furthermore, the 6-speed transmission gets shorter ratios for the three higher gears in order to deliver stronger high-speed accelerations to counter the naked bike’s reduced aerodynamic performance.

Déjà vu

The chassis is directly derived from S and ST models, except that the single-sided swingarm and belt final drive have been replaced by a conventional dual-sided swingarm and a chain final drive -- all in the name of a more affordable machine. Fortunately, the F800R retains the Brembo braking system backed by an advanced, more effective ABS. The wheelbase, meanwhile, has been extended a little due to the longer fork rake, resulting in increased stability.

Well dressed

In terms of ergonomics, the newcomer offers a lower seat (800 mm vs. 820 for the ST and 850 for the GS) and a slightly more upright riding position (compared to the ST) thanks to closer-mounted handlebars. The footpegs are in the exact same spots as those of the S and ST.

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