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Thread: Tell me, why choose an F800GS or F700 GS over R1200GS?

  1. #1
    Cowboyatheart
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    Tell me, why choose an F800GS or F700 GS over R1200GS?

    I'm looking at switching from 2008 R1200 RT to a GS. So tell me your thoughts regarding the pros and cons of the F800, F700, vs R1200GS.

    Or maybe you want to chime in about the G650GS?

    Okay, given the threads below, (today is July 19, 2016), it seems I was way too vague for many people. Others chimed in, on an assumption of the question I was asking, and they made the right assumption. I am looking for your thoughts on pros and cons of the different models.

    However, to give you better background... I add the following information....

    My history: I am a street rider and ride a 2008 R1200RT with a low seat.
    I am 5' 8" tall and weigh about 156 lbs.
    I have a 28.5" in-seam with bare feet.
    I am 56 years old.
    I am not as "strong as a bull"; maybe a yearling calf.
    I have (maybe it is all in my head) a spirit of adventure with a desire to go off-road.

    Will I go off-road lots? I don't know.
    Will it be fire roads and a few trails, but nothing too hairy - most likely.
    Will I only go off-road a wee tiny little bit, maybe? I don't know yet.

    Stopping with one foot down is normal for me, but on the pavement or a gravel parking lot.
    I can pick and choose where I stop (99% of time). I expect off-road, I may not always have that choice of nice even ground or at least ground with the right camber.

    I rode a 2014 F700GS for two days in the Alps (regular suspension, low seat) in Aug 2014.
    I rented and rode a 2015 R1200GS, low suspension, regular seat, for two weeks on a tour of the Alps. (I LOVE the boxer motor...)

    I am interested in other peoples personal experiences, points of views and why they made the bike the choices for them that they do; re: the models above, or another off-road dual sport.
    My issue, if I go off road, is size and weight. That is the reason I am pondering and looking for other people's views on the other bikes.

    No, I won't buy a bike without riding it for a day, or more, to really be able to test it out, at least with a few hours in the saddle, even if it is on pavement only.

    A little jaunt, for me, doesn't inform me properly, I need more time than 20 minutes around the block a few times - which is what the local dealers will allow, if they allow you to get on a bike at all.
    I live near Vancouver, BC and the local dealers are pretty stingy about test rides.

    I likely will end up renting the F800GS for a day.

    In Aug 2016 I am taking a 6 hour off-road course on (250cc) small bikes.

    Likely in Feb I will go to California and take a two day course, Rawhide Adventures, on one of the three mentioned bikes above (R1200GS, F800GS, G650GS - which are the three models that I believe they have).

    I won't make a decision to buy a bike on what other's tell me they did, I have a curious mind; and am interested in why people chose what they chose. Some of those reasons may be applicable to me; some will not.

    Others may not care what anyone thinks or does, or why they made the choice they did. They make their own choices, based on their own assumptions and experiences, and as such believe, and perhaps are, omnipotent. I am not, and I have no problem admitting it.

    I hope the above provides enough explanation for the reader to understand why I ask...

    "Hey, can you share your thoughts, opinions and experiences regarding the models mentioned above so I can get a better understanding of some of the different things I might consider when choosing a new dual sport model?"

    Oh, and yes, I am subscribed to this thread and come back often. That is who I am. I ask a question, hope for feedback, and read what others write. I value your thoughts and experiences.
    Thanks in advance for posting...
    Last edited by nelliott; 07-19-2016 at 07:45 PM.
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  2. #2
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    I have a 12 and a 7GS. Had an 8GS. Do you have a question? Have you been on any of them?
    Marty Hill
    7 GS white

    Ride till you can't

  3. #3
    Tubeless tires on the 700.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  4. #4
    Registered User glenb's Avatar
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    This is a little off the subject but in late 2013, I traded an 800+ pound Victory Vision 8 Ball for a 2013 F700GS and it re-vitalised my riding.

    No surprise that the F700GS is quicker, brakes better, handles better and is better finished than my Vic. With the side Vario Cases, it can also carry more stuff (the 8 Ball Visions did not have the top case).

    I don't do off road, my GS is strictly a street bike, I like the riding position and it handles the highway at 60 to 70 mph, all day, no problem.

    However, a little more on the lines of your question, I just turned 64 and have a bad right knee (arthroscopic surgery in fall 2014) and a sometimes painful back; so, I really appreciate the ease of moving the lighter bike in a parking lot or the garage, etc.

    The R1200GS is a great bike and if money/space were no an issue, I'd likely have one as a 2nd (or 3rd) bike

    My wife rides so I don't need a big bike for two up.

    At 6' - 3" bike seat height is not an issue so that was not a consideration for me as far as bike size goes.

    I always said the only way I would have a bike with a chain is if I liked EVERYTHING else about the bike, never thought I'd find that, but the F700GS is that bike, for me.

    As Marty said, I can try to answer any questions that you might have.
    Niagara BMW Riders #298

    2013 F700GS (his), 2015 R1200RT (her's)

  5. #5
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    F800GS: 21 inch front wheel is better off road, more suspension travel, better ground clearance, lighter weight (but not a lot with accessories), chain drive (easy to change gearing), lower initial cost (also made up with mods and accessories).

    The 800 is my perfect GS and second (first?) bike. My K1200GT is a great tourer, so no need for one bike to fit both tasks.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  6. #6
    Registered User Rod Sheridan's Avatar
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    Hi, I have an F700 and Diann has an F650.

    The bike is smller and lighter than the 1200 which is a plus.

    Both machines have the chain oiler so maintenance is a once per year adjustment.

    Both machines have great brakes, suspension and fuel economy.

    Nothing bad to say about either one, except perhaps for their complexity..............Rod.
    Work is the curse of the riding class

  7. #7
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    You might want to read this article. I think it makes some very valid points.

    This is Not the Bike You Are Looking For: A Case Against Big ADV

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by daboo View Post
    You might want to read this article. I think it makes some very valid points.

    This is Not the Bike You Are Looking For: A Case Against Big ADV

    all depends on what you want to do, and what you want from your bike.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  9. #9
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    Definitely. Which really speaks to the original question posed by the OP.

    So often, we follow what the marketing folks tell us we need. They tell us bigger is better, when in fact, there are times when it isn't. I was only offering up a viewpoint from someone who I hope is given more credit for knowing what he's talking about than I deserve.

    Chris

  10. #10
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    These threads make me wonder. Rather than go ride the bikes and make a decision the OP's ask for an opinion from others. Do people really make decisions this way? I've owned and ridden all 4 of the mentioned bikes and can't believe that anyone would spend money without riding them to see if they fit their idea of a bike they want to own. Yes, they are all different in many ways.
    Marty Hill
    7 GS white

    Ride till you can't

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyhill View Post
    These threads make me wonder. Rather than go ride the bikes and make a decision the OP's ask for an opinion from others. Do people really make decisions this way? I've owned and ridden all 4 of the mentioned bikes and can't believe that anyone would spend money without riding them to see if they fit their idea of a bike they want to own. Yes, they are all different in many ways.
    ^ I don't recall the OP ever saying "tell me which bike to buy, so i can buy it sight unseen." Why would you assume that his his intent?
    I'd think with your knowledge of each model he's interested in you might have been a bit more helpful.
    JMHO.

    I bought a '09 F8GS on eBay in June 2009. Flew to D.C. to pick it up, headed towards home in CO the next day. Had never ridden one, but had sat upon, so knew the bike fit me. Great bike, lots of fun. Pretty nimble, handles quite well on the street or dirt (tho it's better off-road than I am), quick, fast enough, great gas mpg. Hot. Tubed tires.

    I just bought a 2016 R12GS. Big bike..... but wow. (beyond all the superlatives about the bigGS, i really just like the feel of BMW big twins over uprights)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #12
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyhill View Post
    These threads make me wonder. Rather than go ride the bikes and make a decision the OP's ask for an opinion from others. Do people really make decisions this way? I've owned and ridden all 4 of the mentioned bikes and can't believe that anyone would spend money without riding them to see if they fit their idea of a bike they want to own. Yes, they are all different in many ways.
    Hi. I am interested in other's points of views and why they make the choices for them that they do.
    I won't buy a bike without riding it for a few days. That is why I rented the 1200GS for two weeks last summer to tour the Alps. Great bike.
    I love the opposed twins. My issue, if I go off road, is size and weight. That is the reason I am pondering and looking for other people's views on the other bikes.


    A little jaunt, for me, doesn't inform me properly, I need more time than 20 minutes around the block a few times - which is what the local dealers will allow, if they allow you to get on a bike at all.
    I live near Vancouver, BC and the local dealers are pretty stingy about test rides.

    I will end up renting the F800GS for a day. I've ridden an F700GS for two days two summers ago; again in the Alps.

    So, no I won't make a decision to buy a bike on what other's tell me they did, I have a curious mind. Perhaps some don't.

    In Aug 2016 I am taking a 6 hour off-road course on small bikes. Likely in Feb I will go to California and take a two day course, Rawhide Adventures, on one of the three mentioned bikes above (R1200GS, F800GS, G650GS - which are the three models that I believe they have).

    If I was 6' 3"; 220lbs; 40 years old, strong like bull, had lots of off road experience, I would likely get a R1200GS without even enquiring. But I'm not. I am a street rider, R1200RT, 5' 8", 156 lbs, with a 28.5" in-seam; and 56 years old; and a spirit of adventure with a desire to go off-road. Lots? I don't know. Little, maybe? I don't know yet.

    Stopping with one foot down is normal for me, but on the road, I can pick and choose where I stop (99% of time). I expect off-road, I may not always have that choice of nice even ground or at least ground with the right camber.

    And so because you have ridden all four bikes, and know they are different in different ways - why wouldn't you share that wisdom?
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  13. #13
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    ^ I don't recall the OP ever saying "tell me which bike to buy, so i can buy it sight unseen." Why would you assume that his his intent?
    I'd think with your knowledge of each model he's interested in you might have been a bit more helpful.
    JMHO.

    I bought a '09 F8GS on eBay in June 2009. Flew to D.C. to pick it up, headed towards home in CO the next day. Had never ridden one, but had sat upon, so knew the bike fit me. Great bike, lots of fun. Pretty nimble, handles quite well on the street or dirt (tho it's better off-road than I am), quick, fast enough, great gas mpg. Hot. Tubed tires.

    I just bought a 2016 R12GS. Big bike..... but wow. (beyond all the superlatives about the bigGS, i really just like the feel of BMW big twins over uprights)
    Thanks for the support.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and thanks to everyone above you in this thread that shared their thoughts, although Paul's was the epitome of brief, and I'm not sure what to take away from it - good, bad, indifferent?

    Yes I too LOVE the opposed twins, and the R1200GS wethead (and the R1200RT wethead) has an amazing torque curve!
    Moringa, your body & brain will thank you! PM for discounts Smart Mix at TasteMoringa.com
    XM3 Energy, real energy for the body & brain, no sugar high, XM3.Energy

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by nelliott View Post
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and thanks to everyone above you in this thread that shared their thoughts, although Paul's was the epitome of brief, and I'm not sure what to take away from it - good, bad, indifferent?
    Tubeless = good. Having sat beside the road near Chicken, Alaska extracting a tube from a tire on my F650 I am not inclined to want inner tubes - technology of the 1920s - on my motorcycle ever again. I don't do jumps and otherwise pound my wheels and tires off road so don't need tubes and spokes.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  15. #15
    2014 R1200GSW Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyhill View Post
    I have a 12 and a 7GS. Had an 8GS. Do you have a question?
    Uh, I believe you clicked on his question to open this thread. And it is a very legitimate question to ask.

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