Tag Archives: BMW F800GS Adventure

The Best Middleweight Adventure & Dual Sport Motorcycles

BMW F800GS - Middleweight Adventure Motorcycle
BMW F800GS – Middleweight Adventure Motorcycle

In adventure motorcycling terms there is a (very) small group of true middleweight ‘all rounder’ motorcycles that are ready for the adventure rider. It’s the combination of a larger engine size and a greater power coupled with a relatively light frame and fairing that works. It’s a good mix for off road – up to a point – and fine on the road for long distances and riding comfort whilst on the tarmac.

Definitions

Middleweight in this market segment is probably around 700 – 850cc. The engine designs vary but many are versions of v-twin or parallel twin layouts.

Here’s some of the main factors to consider;

Overall Weight

If the bike is too heavy (mostly caused by being designed for predominantly on road use) then it’ll handle poorly off road. The centre of gravity is likely to be high and possibly over the front; limiting agility and responsiveness and making for an uncomfortable trip on the dirt. A high weight also reduces MPG figures and can stress a frame when it’s loaded with overland gear and fuel.

Power

The power to weight ration should be the driving factor in a middleweight bike choice. If you’re in the business of trading off road capability for on road ability then you will want a punchy engine that can manage sustained high speeds for long distance work.

Handling

This is a critical area. There are many contenders for the middleweight adventure motorcycle segment but only a few are genuinely worthy of consideration. To be in this list the bike must be able to go off road properly. Many look like they could do but few actually cut the mustard once on the dirt. Road biased set ups will generally have limited ground clearance and soft suspension. Whilst this can be changed with a set of TKCs and an adjustment to the fork preload it won’t be enough to get a road bike into the ball park and competing with a Dakar design.

Here’s a list of some of the best true middleweight adventure motorcycles out there:

BMW F800GS

BMW F800GS Adventure Motorcycle.
BMW F800GS Adventure Motorcycle.

Released in 2013 as an upgrade to the F800GS model, the ‘Adventure’ F800GS comes with 798cc in a parallel twin making a claimed 85bhp @ 7500rpm.

Pros

• 24 litre underseat tank increases range and lowers the centre of gravity.

• Massive amount of touring accessories available.

Cons

• Expensive BMW premium.

• Still relatively heavy at 230KG.

motorcycle
BMW F800GS Adventure

Summary

A very capable top-of-the-range adventure motorcycle. Powerful and capable off road and equally impressive on road, it’s a good all rounder that minimises the compromises common to this market segment.  You get what you pay for; and in this case you certainly do pay for it!

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Triumph Tiger 800XC

Triumph Tiger 800XC adventure motorcycle
Triumph Tiger 800XC

A classic middleweight design; 799cc, 215kg wet weight and plenty of real world power with 94bhp @ 9400rpm. In line three cylinder engine produces plenty of low down torque as well.

Pros

• Great power – able to be used on and off road.

• Off road handling is very good. Low centre of gravity and high agility.

Cons

• Spare and parts availability likely to be limited outside US and EU.

• Short screen and (relatively) small tank at 19litres.

adventure motorcycle
Triumph Tiger 800XC Adventure accessories catalogue and list

Summary

A great all round option. The Triumph Tiger 800XC handles on and off road with the best of them. Triumph has taken on board the lessons of the big trailie era and in the 800XC has made a real tiger off road.

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Honda XRV750 ‘Africa Twin’

Honda XRV750 Africa Twin
Honda XRV750 Africa Twin in Dakar heritage livery.

The original Africa Twin was based on the Paris-Dakar NXR750 rally bike.  Produced between 1989 and 2003, the Africa Twin was an adventure stalwart. Combining legendary Honda reliability with a 742cc v-twin design it had loads of useable power and great ability off road.

Pros

• Build quality and parts availability.

• Close to perfect balance of power, weight and dirt riding credibility.

Cons

• Now out of production, also not sold in the US.

• Heavy and slow compared to the latest generation.

Honda_Africa_Twin_XRV750
Honda Africa Twin XRV750

Summary

As close as the last two decades have come to the holy grail of middleweight adventure hero – this is the bike you would choose for an overland expedition.

Baja California (y Sur)

More great ride reporting from my blogger buddy Eric. My favourite form his latest report;

“Chip told us about “Chip’s rule of 75″ which I will share. The first 25 years of life, according to him, are about getting your shit together. The next 25; about building a career, a family, and submitting to society’s whims. The last 25 are the most precious, he says, because that’s when you get to do all of the things you didn’t have time or money for in the first 50. However, given that the average age of men is around 75 years, there is always the dilemma that you may not have a chance to fully celebrate this time. His closing argument: “Life’s not for pussies, man.”

via Baja California (y Sur).

BMW Releases F800GS Adventure

Following the widespread success of the boxer-engined GS Adventure models, BMW Motorrad has decided to continue the “Adventure” range into its mid-sized enduro, the F800GS. Priced competitively in the marketplace and below the full-sized R1200GS, the F800GS has proven itself popular in a variety of adventure motorcycling circles around the world. The F800GS Adventure is equipped with the same liquid-cooled, 85hp parallel twin engine as the standard F800GS, but features an larger fuel tank with an additional 8 liters of capacity.

The additional fuel brings the total capacity of the F800GS Adventure to 24 liters, and extends the range of the bike by roughly 120km or 75 miles. To compensate for the extra weight of a larger fuel tank, BMW has also reinforced the rear subframe to ensure there are no fatigue issues over time.

via BMW Releases F800GS Adventure.