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Thread: Time to downsize to a midsize MC

  1. #1

    Time to downsize to a midsize MC

    Like all of us things are changing and for me that means that I need to downsize for numerous reasons, but here is where I am at and here is where I want to go. My wife and I full-time RV and haul two motorcycle with us. Hers is a 2014 F700GS mine is a 2016 Honda VFR1200X. The majority of our riding is pavement with the occasional dirt road. We have not done any fire roads, two track, single track, etc. So the VFR for me is a great bike and does mostly what I ask of it and on pavement it is fabulous. But I am 68 and it is time to move to something a little lighter. The VFR comes in at 608 which seemed light when I came from the ST1300. But the wife's F700GS feels like a kids toy as compared to those two bikes. So where am I headed is I have narrowed things down to either a F700GS or a F800GS.

    I have ridden the wife's bike a bit and it is fine but I must say I feel a little crowded on the ergonomics. I am 5'10" by 215lb. Even with an Air-hawk seat on my VFR I can flat foot as a measure so on the 700 with the comfort seat knees a really bent. I only use flat foot as a measure because that's what people think they need to do. I normally only have one foot on the deck when stopped. Meaning that a taller bike is not an issue. So I have a couple of questions since some research I find difficult to find answer for. FYI I am budget restricted to about $9k.

    From 2014 until the 750 and 850 came out were there years of the F700GS and F800GS where there were significant differences and if so what?

    Between the 700 and the 800 is there a major difference in handling on the pavement? We ride typically less traveled roads with you know this things they called curves and avoid slabs.

    Lastly I have seen articles on going tubeless on the 800 for pavement riding. Are there issues with the standard front rim and tubeless tire on pavement? Those article that I have seen don't seem concerned as long as standard tire pressure is maintained.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    There weren’t any significant functional changes to the F700/800 GS series bikes from 2014 on. The main question is: do you plan to do much real off-road riding? If so, you would want the F800, with its taller suspension, 21 inch front wheel, spoked wheels and protective guards, etc. if not, the F700 is probably the better road bike. The engine performance is basically the same, although the 800 has a bit more top-end kick, if that matters to you.
    2002 R1150R
    2016 BMW F700GS
    2021 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650

  3. #3

    650 vstrom

    I have a 650 Suzuki VSTROM as my second bike. You should try that.

  4. #4
    Registered User Motodan's Avatar
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    I'd second the 650 V Strom...only modification my former one needed was a rear sprocket change that lowered top gear (highway) rpm by 400-500 revs. A very capable bike with proven reliability.
    '17 RT
    MOA #46783

  5. #5
    I believe there are at least 4 different height “stock” seats that fit the 700/800, so you can get some adjustability there with some research. Bar risers are also readily available and another good way to make any bike fit you better. If your wife’s bike is a low model try cranking the rear shock preload up ALL the way to see how that feels. I personally prefer cast wheels for street use. They are often straighter and tubeless is a good thing for the eventual flat.

    The wee-strom is an excellent bike but i enjoy the 700, too. In the end it comes down to personal preference. Have fun making your choice!
    -Live as fully as you can as long as you can-

  6. #6
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    If you want to flatfoot the F800gs you could get a lower seat or go for the low suspension option.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the input and I kind of forgot about the VStrom. I will need to take a look.

  8. #8
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    I missed the link in your story that explained why you think you need a GS. You don't ride off-road you say, and you are on a really fine Honda. Why not simply get a smallish road bike? Say, something like a RNineT if you want more power, or a F800-series BMW, either an R model or a GT model. Those are less weight than your VFR. My F800ST weighs less than 450 lbs (owner's manual says 434). Nothing wrong with a GS if that's what you want, but it sounds like your riding does not require the size/height.

    Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  9. #9
    Royce I have had the ST1100 and the ST1300 Hondas, although the are good bikes from a reliability point of view I honestly didn't like the ergonomics. Maybe the F800GS isn't there right bike but going to a straight road bike won't cut it either.

    Even though the wife and I haul the bikes in the RV we still put on nearly 15k miles a year on the bikes. The riding position of my current VFR has great ergonomics for me. It has more power than one needs and handles great. But dropping 50hp to a mid-size will be a learning curve. I do like the upright riding position and a high saddle.

    Finding something new is always a struggle.

  10. #10
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Another bike that looks interesting is the Kawasaki 650 Versys LT.
    476 pounds wet without the bags.

    https://www.kawasaki.com/en-us/motor...EARNMORE#specs
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  11. #11
    Any dealer worth their salt will give you a test ride. I have ridden the 2019 F750GS and really loved it, handles highway speeds great, but is light enough for gravel. Having said that I have an older 06 F650GS, which I alo like. I have ridden a F350GS and thought that would be a good bike for when I need something lighter. Go to the dealer, test ride a few. If the dealer wont let ya go to another dealer. In Oregon that test ride at all dealers. In Tigard I test rode for 2 hours!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by orforester View Post
    Any dealer worth their salt will give you a test ride. I have ridden the 2019 F750GS and really loved it, handles highway speeds great, but is light enough for gravel. Having said that I have an older 06 F650GS, which I alo like. I have ridden a F350GS and thought that would be a good bike for when I need something lighter. Go to the dealer, test ride a few. If the dealer wont let ya go to another dealer. In Oregon that test ride at all dealers. In Tigard I test rode for 2 hours!
    Not quite sure I agree with this one. Over the years I've had a few dealers refuse a test ride, but ... the secret seems to be how you present yourself at the dealership. When I show up in ATGATT they always offer a ride, sometimes even before I ask. Like orforester, I have been able to ride almost any bike I want, sometimes for quite a long ride. Once they know and trust me.

    Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  13. #13
    Registered User easy's Avatar
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    How do the above bikes compare regarding vibration at roadway speed say 75 mph, and passing speed?

    E.

  14. #14
    I'll throw out my suggestion for the new F900XR if really don't need off road capability. Weight comes in between the old F700GS and the new F750GS, the suspension travel is the same at 170mm/172mm, better fork and brakes, carries a little more fuel (barely), and has better road/touring tire options than either with 17" wheels front and rear (120/70 and 180/55). It's basically GS ergonomics in a road bike and with enough suspension to still be fine on fire roads, and with more hp and torque. I switched from an 800GS to the 900XR over the summer and have been really happy with my choice.

  15. #15
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawrencecarlson View Post
    There weren’t any significant functional changes to the F700/800 GS series bikes from 2014 on.
    2016+ gained throttle by wire and some optional, additional riding modes.

    I'd take an F800 over a VSTROM 650, but I'm sure a lot of my assessment was because the F800 was set up for me, vs a stock VSTROM.
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
    MOA Member #:150400, IBA#: 37558

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