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

  1. #31
    Fuse lit.... PittsDriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelliott View Post
    Thank you Marty, your comments are helpful. I love the 1200GS and the RT. Maybe I need to do weight lifting to increase my strength.

    I find on pavement, I can handle either, but moving around in the garage is tricky, never dropped it, but they are tall and heavy, especially with a full tank of gas. The new RT has a lessened inner leg curve that helps with getting both feet on the ground, and when I took one for test ride (when it came out) I thought WOW this is the bike for me.

    But it won't do for off-road. Maybe I'm kidding myself about the off-road bit, but I really want to explore beyond the payment.

    If I lived in the Alps, not sure I'ld care. But in North America, good paved roads are limited (within an easy driving range) AND there are a ton of off-roads all over the place.

    The off-road course I take on the 250's will likely compel me to pursue or turn me off of off-roading. So one step at a time.

    I plan on changing up my bike to a new one in the early spring. So want to decide by Jan/Feb.

    I am heading for the F700GS, but will need to ride the F800GS to compare the difference.

    I am also going to take a two day side car course by http://evergreenmotorcycletraining.org to determine if a Ural might be the off-road vehicle of choice. Never ridden a hack, but my wife, who is 10 years my senior says she would consider coming in it. She will never get on a mc as a pillion.

    I am a Professional Engineer, and one could say I analyze too much, live too little. That might be true.
    However, I do have a budget, and a spouse, and she supports my passion, but there are limits with her tolerance for my spending.

    In a perfect world, I would have 2 or 3 bikes of various types. Not sure I could afford the insurance living in Canada. I have over 25 years driving without an accident, so I get the cheapest rate available, but the RT still costs about $2,000 per year to insure. so three bikes would be upwards of $6,000! That's a lot of money in my world.

    I envy your position to have both the F700GS and R1200GS.

    Thanks for sharing.
    A couple of thoughts/observations related to some points you made in this post:

    - It's counterintuitive, but none the less true, that it's easier to pick up an R1200GS (with proper protection guards) than it is even a 650GS or anything in between. The reason for that is that it rests on the crash bar so you're not lifting the bike from laying flat but sitting up at a angle. This makes a big difference and I can definitively state that it's easier to pick up my 1200GS than my 650 KLR (which on paper weighs 80lbs less).

    - the 1200GS has a low CG making it easy to maneuver it tight places if your technique is proper

    - the 1200GS has a hydraulic clutch making it much easier crawl along using the friction zone to control the bike when moving slowly over challenging terrain.

    - I'm 5'9" with a 30" inseam and my feet are closer to the ground on my standard high GS than the other bikes.

    I recently returned from the BMW Performance Center Off-Road School in Greer SC. BTW, there was a gentleman from BC there on his own GSA taking the class that had ridden it there. They have the full range of GS bikes available for their 2 days of challenging skills training available for student use. It's the feeling of the instructors there that the GS is the easiest bike of the lot to ride in challenging terrain. According to the instructors there, they've had many students sign up for a 650GS only to swap it out for a 1200GS by mid-day after their hand cramped working the cable clutch.

    These 1200GS/A bikes are amazing machines. How wonderful is it that the most capable off-road adventure machine made by BMW is also an amazing bike for traveling long distances on the road! This past weekend, I rode my 2016 R1200GS about 300 miles on the road to get to the Allegheny Mountains. I took everything I needed for two nights of camping in Marienville PA on the bike. We spent the entire day Saturday riding very sloppy, wet, rocky ATV trails - some pretty challenging parts with steep climbs and descents. Then returned home the following day 300 miles running as fast as any traffic on the expressway. All on the same bike, same tires. Now that I've got several thousand miles on my GS, been to the off-road school, and put many hundreds of miles on it off-road, I feel like it is more a broad array of capabilities than any kind of compromise bike.

    It takes some special skills and proper judgement to take any of these big bikes off in the woods on challenging tracks. But if you're up to the challenge, it opens up some amazing experiences.
    2012 K1600GT, Vermillion Red (for the epic road trips) (gone but not forgotten)
    2013 S1000RR, Granite Gray (for the track)
    2014 KLR 650, White/Black (for the TAT)
    2016 R1200GS Triple Black (for all of it)

  2. #32
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by PittsDriver View Post
    A couple of thoughts/observations related to some points you made in this post:

    - It's counterintuitive, but none the less true, that it's easier to pick up an R1200GS (with proper protection guards) than it is even a 650GS or anything in between. The reason for that is that it rests on the crash bar so you're not lifting the bike from laying flat but sitting up at a angle. This makes a big difference and I can definitively state that it's easier to pick up my 1200GS than my 650 KLR (which on paper weighs 80lbs less).

    - the 1200GS has a low CG making it easy to maneuver it tight places if your technique is proper

    - the 1200GS has a hydraulic clutch making it much easier crawl along using the friction zone to control the bike when moving slowly over challenging terrain.

    - I'm 5'9" with a 30" inseam and my feet are closer to the ground on my standard high GS than the other bikes.

    I recently returned from the BMW Performance Center Off-Road School in Greer SC. BTW, there was a gentleman from BC there on his own GSA taking the class that had ridden it there. They have the full range of GS bikes available for their 2 days of challenging skills training available for student use. It's the feeling of the instructors there that the GS is the easiest bike of the lot to ride in challenging terrain. According to the instructors there, they've had many students sign up for a 650GS only to swap it out for a 1200GS by mid-day after their hand cramped working the cable clutch.

    These 1200GS/A bikes are amazing machines. How wonderful is it that the most capable off-road adventure machine made by BMW is also an amazing bike for traveling long distances on the road! This past weekend, I rode my 2016 R1200GS about 300 miles on the road to get to the Allegheny Mountains. I took everything I needed for two nights of camping in Marienville PA on the bike. We spent the entire day Saturday riding very sloppy, wet, rocky ATV trails - some pretty challenging parts with steep climbs and descents. Then returned home the following day 300 miles running as fast as any traffic on the expressway. All on the same bike, same tires. Now that I've got several thousand miles on my GS, been to the off-road school, and put many hundreds of miles on it off-road, I feel like it is more a broad array of capabilities than any kind of compromise bike.

    It takes some special skills and proper judgement to take any of these big bikes off in the woods on challenging tracks. But if you're up to the challenge, it opens up some amazing experiences.
    You make interesting points here. I plan on taking the Rawhyde class or the BMW class in Germany. So maybe I opt for the r1200gs to try it out.

    Anyone support the remarks made by Pittsdriver?
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  3. #33
    Peter D dunc723's Avatar
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    I've been riding a R1200RT for a couple years and a K1200GT for a couple years before that. Last winter I got talked into trying dual sport (by some very bad men), and decided to start with a F650GS Twin. I've had a couple falls and near-falls (like stalling in a stream crossing), and every time I was really glad I had the lighter bike, either to stop the fall or pick it up. That alone is enough to keep me on the F bike for dual sport. I am a mild to intermediate dual sport rider, and I feel like the 650 is entirely adequate.

    That said, I still have the RT for road riding... if you have to have one bike for both dual sport and road, the R1200GS is a better choice, IMHO, especially if your dual sport plans are pretty mild. Some of the more serious dual sport riders I know stick with the small bikes, up to the F800GS, because of the weight and handling.

    THAT said, I have a friend who rides a F650GS Twin over long distances and is very happy with it. It's strictly a street setup, though - he never does dual sport.

    Oh yeah... with the F bikes you have to take care of the chain. More frequent but less intense maintenance, and if it really fails it costs a lot less to fix.
    Pete
    When life throws you a curve, lean into it. (Seen on a t-shirt at MotoGP Indy)
    '06 R1200RT, '12 F650GS, '04 K1200GT (Sold)

  4. #34

    Tell me, why did you choose and F800GS or F700 GS over R1200GS?

    I test rode a 1200 GS 10 months back. It was perfect. Great balance. Very agile. Superb braking and enough power. It was a 30 minute test ride. I didn't feel that it was heavy or big but when I came back I told the salesperson that I didn't smile once. The bike is perfection but it didn't excite me. This march I test rode a 2010 bmw f650gs (twin) as it was a good deal on CL and the owner said let me show you some nice roads and you can follow me. 30 mins later I bought it as it was super light but it was the twisty roads that gave me an opportunity to see what this bike can actually do. Only after owning this 2010 bmw f650gs (twin) did I start realizing how much thought BMW puts into their bikes. I still have my Triumph Thunderbird Sport but the BMW is for the non coffee shop runs or the charm filled rides. We were leaving on a 2800 mile trip and I had to bring the 650 for its 12k service. The Devils at max BMW gave me a 2015 1200gs for 24 hours so that I could come pick up my 650 the next day.

    I still have my 2010 bmw f650gs (twin) but the day I get a good price to trade it in for a new 1200gs i'll do it in a heartbeat. Those 24 hrs showed me that even though the 1200gs is heavier (and mind you I never liked the boxer engine) in 24 hrs you really get to see what that beast is capable off. Just my 0.02$


    Zee
    2000 Triumph Thunderbird Sport
    2010 BMW F650GS

  5. #35
    2009 F650GS SirRonny's Avatar
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    Tell me, why did you choose and F800GS or F700 GS over R1200GS?

    Like the original poster, I too had an 08 1200RT that I truly loved, but with being 63, having bad knees, 5' 10" and 30" inseam, it was a little much when I came to a stop. In fact, I dropped it a couple of times and had to have the bags repainted. It is ironic that after retiring I was finally able to afford the bike I always wanted and then wasn't in shape to hold the bike up at a stop, especially if there was any loose gravel around. So, I found a guy that had a 09 650GS that wanted an RT and we made a trade. I am much, much more comfortable on the little GS and it will run 80mph all day, fully loaded for camping. I miss the cruise control of the RT, the heated seats, the wind and rain protection, and not having to lube or clean a chain. But with that being said, my confidence is 10 fold over the RT when stopping in gravel or even just at a normal stoplight. Do I miss the boxer and the comforts, you bet, but I will get by with my 650. Sometimes we have to make a trade off when we want to keep riding as long as we can. Hope this helps and good luck with whatever decision you make.

    Ron
    Ron Morris
    Cape Girardeau, Missouri
    2009 F650GS
    AMA, BMWMOA #153389, IBMWR and NRA

  6. #36
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    My wife is 5'7" and she rode for years a G650GS and liked it. Then she rode an R1200GSA (lowered) and loves it. She says the balance is better. She and I just completed a 1,600 mile trip with 500 miles of it being in gravel/dirt/mud on some very challenging terrain - 20% grades, narrow roads, two-track and she did absolutely great on it. She said the bike is built for standing up and taking bumps and tight slow speed turns. She went so far as saying it was way easier riding than her G650GS. The only time she dropped it was in heavy stop-and-go traffic at the end of the trip - she forgot it was in 2nd gear and it stalled.

    I rode the trip on my F800GS and thoroughly enjoy it too. I am a taller rider - 6'3" with a 34" inseam so the F800GS fits me well. I do like it's nimbleness, get-up-and-go, and balance. I believe it's a bit heavy in the rear so I stand up a lot to put weight on the front when riding challenging off-roads and terrain. On pavement, I don't like the vibration at higher speeds when you got to do those highway sections. Also when road touring on it it's higher up and so I don't take the corners as fast. If you're doing long hours in the saddle it's not as comfortable - suspension, seat, vibration - as my RT. So if I'm going to go far on pavement it's the RT for me.

    My wife however, says her 1200GSA rides great whether on pavement or off-road. She had an R1150RT but she says her 1200GSA is a way better comfort machine. Smooth at high speeds and on pavement corners. Better handling at low speeds. Better balanced feeling. She loves the many riding modes it has (Rain, Road, Enduro, Dynamic) and uses them to her advantage depending on conditions.
    20160717_134720.jpg
    Last edited by nakwakto00; 08-16-2016 at 04:06 PM.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  7. #37
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakwakto00 View Post
    My wife is 5'7" and she rode for years a G650GS and liked it. Then she rode an R1200GSA (lowered) and loves it. She says the balance is better. She and I just completed a 1,600 mile trip with 500 miles of it being in gravel/dirt/mud on some very challenging terrain - 20% grades, narrow roads, two-track and she did absolutely great on it. She said the bike is built for standing up and taking bumps and tight slow speed turns. She went so far as saying it was way easier riding than her G650GS. The only time she dropped it was in heavy stop-and-go traffic at the end of the trip - she forgot it was in 2nd gear and it stalled.

    I rode the trip on my F800GS and thoroughly enjoy it too. I am a taller rider - 6'3" with a 34" inseam so the F800GS fits me well. I do like it's nimbleness, get-up-and-go, and balance. I believe it's a bit heavy in the rear so I stand up a lot to put weight on the front when riding challenging off-roads and terrain. On pavement, I don't like the vibration at higher speeds when you got to do those highway sections. Also when road touring on it it's higher up and so I don't take the corners as fast. If you're doing long hours in the saddle it's not as comfortable - suspension, seat, vibration - as my RT. So if I'm going to go far on pavement it's the RT for me.

    My wife however, says her 1200GSA rides great whether on pavement or off-road. She had an R1150RT but she says her 1200GSA is a way better comfort machine. Smooth at high speeds and on pavement corners. Better handling at low speeds. Better balanced feeling. She loves the many riding modes it has (Rain, Road, Enduro, Dynamic) and uses them to her advantage depending on conditions.
    20160717_134720.jpg
    Great shot. Not sure how she is flat footing that beast! I don't think with my 28" inseam I would even touch the ground! Never sat on a GSA, they just always seemed too tall.
    Thank you for sharing!
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  8. #38

    RawHyde

    Quote Originally Posted by nelliott View Post
    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...
    Did you attend RawHyde?

  9. #39
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbglass007 View Post
    Did you attend RawHyde?
    No I have not attended Rawhyde.
    Too pricey with the exchange rate between USA $ and CDN $

    I did phone them a couple of years ago, and the lady who spoke to me (staff admin?) suggested I rent one of their F700GS based solely on my inseam (28").
    That would be debatable, given I have read others on this forum talk about how the Performance Centre in the eastern USA says it is easier to ride the R1200GS off road than the 700GS (handling?).
    I will admit though, the lighter the bike, the easier, is my guess.
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  10. #40
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Below are my observations and opinions.
    I have an F800GS (as well as an '06 R1200RT). My wife has a '16 !200GSA. She loves it. She had a '10 G650GS and a '04 R1150RT. She likes her GSA better than both of those bikes. She says that it handles so much better and is better balanced. She searched and searched for a bike that she likes the handling and feel for on and off road riding. Again, she found that the GSA was a perfect fit for her riding.

    I can say that riding my F800GS is way different than my RT or her GSA. Here's what I believe the difference is, the paralever suspension, the motor (design and weight), and drive train. My F800GS is "twitchy" that is, you think turn and it's already turned - it's very nimble compared to either the RT or the GSA. Either of those bikes I believe you work at turning them. Even her G650GS rode differently than my 800GS. It wasn't as high, and I suspect had a longer front fork rake, although it was more like my GS than other bikes. The biggest issue is the height of the F800GS versus any of the other bikes. The height makes it top heavy versus the other bikes. My wife's inseam is similar to yours so she got a factory lowered GSA. So the Center of Gravity is very low. It fits her perfectly. She rode through the Chilcotin and Fraser River Canyons off road in BC very capably through thick mud, gravel and large cobbles. She's also done long road rides. The only downside is when on the kickstand any strong wind can and will blow it over - it just doesn't have much of a lean. So, she's always careful of where she parks it.

    When I first started riding my F800GS I was quite unsure if I made the right purchase - twitchy turning, top heavy had me concerned. At the gym I met a trainer who said build my core muscles and work on balance and it will get easier. It did! I took riding classes, but my gym workouts were the best training for my F800GS. Since then my riding on it has greatly improved and now I prefer it versus my RT. I use my RT for long distance pavement rides and my GS for everything else. As far as exercises... I stand on a Bosu Ball, do legs (for standing on pegs), and lots of core exercises (back, shoulders, abdomen).

    Hope the above help you in your decisions and riding.

    BTW, I am very familiar with your location as before I returned to riding my wife and I boated through your area for 25 years - beautiful country.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, and '16 R1200GSA (wife's)

  11. #41
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
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    Cool f7GS

    IMG_2270.jpg Recently sold Recently sold my 11RT, which I loved, and started riding a 2016 F700 GS. I chose it for a couple reasons; I really want to go to Alaska before they throw dirt in my face (I'm 66), and think this is likely a better machine to deal with the mud and slop etc. Maybe it'll let me find some more remote or exclusive camp sites. I've also found that I've always had more fun on smaller bikes. I'd ridden the 800 GS for a day and really liked it, but Paul convinced me that the cast wheels were also something I valued. Many posters here, and the dealer thought the 700 was a more street oriented version, whereas the 800 was more off-road oriented. 98% of my riding is likely to be on pavement. I've always had sport tourers, and admit that so far, I often miss the protection. Tho as the weather heats up, I'm liking the breeze more and more. I'm hoping an "improved" windscreen will make it more comfortable for a full day on the slab....you gotta get from Chicago to the mountains somehow, you know. The bike is fast and quick and handles like magic. After I changed the Heidenaus for Metzelers. The BMW "comfort" seat is just what you'd expect from BMW; buy an aftermarket saddle if you expect to sit on it more than an hour or so. (What is WRONG with those people!?) I've put aluminum bags on and now I can put a full-face helmet in one! I miss being able to put a big-ass tank bag on, but that seems a small compromise. With a duffel, that I usually use on trips, I should be able to carry about the same amount of junk and necessaries. The size of the gas tank I suppose might turn out to be entertaining somewhere down the road, but at my age I need to stop to offload fluid about every 200 miles anyway
    Last edited by 26667; 06-21-2017 at 01:54 AM.
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