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Thread: Considering F800S

  1. #1
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    Considering F800S

    I am considering replacing my R1150RT with an F800S or ST. The RT is just not well suited to the relatively short day trips I usually make, and is both heavier and more complex than I would like. Curious to hear the pro's and con's of such a swap, if anyone has been there. Here's where I am at:

    F800 Pro's
    1. Lighter weight
    2. Non linked brakes
    3. Has ABS
    4. No clutch splines to worry about
    5. Still capable of 2 up for short rides
    6. Big capital cost savings

    Con's
    1. Unproven reliability
    2. Some weird problems with cutting out
    3. Weird looking "gas tank"
    4. Maybe too light for 2 up
    5. Belt drive

    Thoughts? There is an '07 S near me with 7k miles for around $6k. I am not familiar with the evolution of the model, are there years that are preferred or to be avoided? Price of all years is much less than the GS's I am also considering, which is a good thing.

  2. #2
    Just South of Eden mrich12000's Avatar
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    Well I sold my K75rt to finance my trip to Calgary for a new job with transit here.
    After several months without a bike, I purchased an old Honda interceptor,It's been
    more trouble than it was worth!!! Engine OK but the trans was shot (it's apart now and being slowly restored) I found a Yamaha Venture Royal 1983 unit. This was a good replacement for the 'K'. I would have like to buy a Beamer but monetary restraints prevented that. This is the first posting since Nov.08. Well last week I was getting some parts for the Venture (oil leak) mid gear cover, well I saw this bike, I had seen it before at the Calgary bike show. Vtwin V Star. and it was discounted three time the price, I inquired about it . went on autopilot(sic) and bought her what a nice bike nimbleness not top heavy like my K was. So now I have three bikes. Still looking for a good K as well maybe 2 yrs I get a new Beem.
    I like the F twins, but can't afford one, I looked at them here in Calgary,

    So I'm still here and will still post occasionally Mike in Calgary. Good luck on your bike buy's ..
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  3. #3
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    That belt drive is very reliable. Will never have to worry about final drive issues.

    800 CCs is a good sized engine. 500 CCs used to be considered large enough to do it all.

    Paul
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  4. #4
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    I had a r1100RT which I traded for a R1150R which I traded for an 800S 3 years ago last month. I now have 69,000 miles on it. I have don a 1000, 950, 870, 750 and several 600 mile plus days. I find it just as comfortable as the R bikes were. It doesn't have the weather protection as the RT did but that is a plus in the hot weather. I have Givi luggage on it and a taller windshield. I had the belt replaced at 49000 miles and have had 2 battery replacements, the steering head and cush bearings. Also, I just had to replace the rear shock as it was leaking. I may get a 800St in the future or find a used 800S.

  5. #5
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    I have not ridden the S, but spent a some time on an ST and a 800GS, and all I can say is my next BMW will be an 800. I love the motor, sounds good, lots of torque, revs freely, great fuel economy, lighter than the boxer. I rode 2 up on both, and there is ample power and room, especially on the 800GS.

    I think you will be happy with one.

  6. #6
    Registered User teepke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuaneM View Post
    Thoughts?
    Hi DuaneM,

    As a f800s owner (coming up on 1 year in aug. 5K miles since then) and a forum member at f800riders, I'll try to address your questions here and point you to some more info to help you along the way.

    First off...with respect to the "evolution" it appears (from my reading) that 06 and early 07 had the usual new model bugs to iron out... including software updates to address your CON #2 issue. That said, not every 06/07 had issues. There's an excellent "buyers" thread on F800riders that I found very useful when I picked up my F800S demo. You'll see some of your concerns addressed there.

    The bike's weight is (for me) a huge plus, especially coming from the CS. It's very user friendly without feeling too lightweight (as the CS did). It does blow around a little bit but crosswinds tend to do that. What's true with this bike is that there's always a good solid bit of torque at hand at any speed/gear (unlike the CS) to steady your course.

    The ABS is indeed a plus, but it has garnered some complaints from those who find some of the applications of it (rough terrain setting it off) unsettling. I'm pleased with it perhaps because my old subaru wrx abs would "trigger" in similar rough road/braking conditions. It's not perfect, but I've been grateful to have very solid quick stops that I can control.

    I do see many people 2 up on the ST... I'm not so sure if the more sport riding position of the S is as accommodating to that. So, if you're primarily 2 up-ing, I'd think you'd be wise to make sure that S would do it for you, or rather, the ST. The S isn't as "crotch rockety" (seating position) as the looks of it might suggest. In fact, some K100 owners who've ridden my S say it's similar seating... without as much wind protection.

    Regarding capital savings... no question... I got a crazy good deal on my S... but I was in the right place at the right time. I'd probably still be on my CS if this opportunity to "upgrade" had not come along as it did.

    Unproven reliability for sure is a question mark. I got lucky on my demo w/a warranty until 2012, if I were buying used, I would hem and haw over this a bit... unless I was totally sold on everything else about the bike and had a fair and earnest service department at my disposal.

    Aesthetics are aesthetics... I like the looks (incl. faux-tank) and found that it's free space can also be your friend if you want to add on electronics and such. Plus, putting the gas under the seat gives the bike a very planted/low feel.

    For me, the belt drive is not a con at all. Near zero maint, good longevity, what's there not to like?

    I really enjoy my S as it was the perfect upgrade from the CS, extra CC's, extra gear, way more reliable... it's not perfect, but it's perfect for my use. It's a civil sporty 800. I've done a few things to refine it to my tastes and will probably do a few more over the next couple of years... including trying some different shoes and maybe getting some progressive fork springs.

    I hope this is helpful, thanks for asking and keep us informed with your R&D!

    -tp

  7. #7
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    I appreciate the feedback. At this point, I have had the whole range of BMW's (an F, K and now an R), so probably may as well consider the F.

    I went to the dealer to check out an R1200R as a possible replacement for my RT, and saw the F800ST. From a rider and passenger geometry, the ST is a great compromise. It is sporty enough with enough forward lean that she can see over my head (in contrast to the RT), but still comfortable for me. I very much liked the light weight and other factors I mentioned.

    I have my brother's R1150GS on loan, and enjoy that bike a lot. I wonder what the F800GS is like. A relatively close by dealer has a demo they are selling for around 10k, which I may check out (also, they may be a good place to consign my RT). There are a few S's and ST's for sale used, and the prices seem attractive. The reliability of these concern me a little bit, but I did have good experience with my F650, and it is sort of a relief to not have to deal with things like splines and throttle body sync's.

    Comments are appreciated!

  8. #8
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    I just bought a used S, fitted with aftermarket superbike bars (similar to the ST bars.) I love it so far.

    I agree with most of the comments, especially the pros about the belt drive. I've only had my little brother on the back of it (I weigh 165 at 6'1'' and he weighs about 90 lbs) but I found it was easier 2-up than my R1200ST when cruising around town, mostly because of the friendlier powerband.

  9. #9
    Tame Racing Driver Stig's Avatar
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    Hi Duane,

    I basically did the opposite of what you are asking and went from an F800ST to an R1200RT. I would agree with all of your pros about the ST. I have read about various ABS issues on earlier models, but I never had any ABS problems to speak of. In fact, I'm confident that it saved my bacon a few times without any drama. As far as the cons, I don't think most of them are really of concern. My bike had just shy of 7,000 miles on it when I traded it in and I never had any reliability issues. Always started, never cut out. Only issue I had was a ruptured coolant hose, which pumped most of the coolant out onto my right leg in 95 degree heat. That was replaced under warranty and the bike never overheated. The side mounted gas filler is actually, IMO, easier to use than a traditional top mounted filler, and as others have said, the belt drive is reliable and low maintenance.

    I never ride two-up, so I can't comment on that aspect, but here are two other issues to consider. First, wind protection is almost nonexistent with the OEM windshield. I added an MRA Vario windshield to mine, which significantly cut down on buffeting, but is still no match to the protection offered on an RT. The other issue that I had was the heat. The heat from the engine on very warm days is almost unbearable if you get stuck in slow moving traffic since the heat from engine is channeled up through the fairing and exits right by where your legs contact the frame.

    Other than these two issues, I really liked my ST and would probably have kept it along with the RT if finances allowed. Hope this helps with your decision!
    Craig
    New York's Hudson Valley Region
    2009 R1200RT
    MOA #146131 IBA #55715

  10. #10
    Registered User teepke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuaneM View Post
    I have my brother's R1150GS on loan, and enjoy that bike a lot. I wonder what the F800GS is like.
    I echo that! Keep us posted wrt your findings!

    -tp

  11. #11
    Steve rockbottom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cscatola View Post
    The other issue that I had was the heat. The heat from the engine on very warm days is almost unbearable if you get stuck in slow moving traffic since the heat from engine is channeled up through the fairing and exits right by where your legs contact the frame.

    Interesting. I've put a little under 31K on my F800ST in a bit under two years, and have never noticed that.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuaneM View Post

    I have my brother's R1150GS on loan, and enjoy that bike a lot. I wonder what the F800GS is like. A relatively close by dealer has a demo they are selling for around 10k, which I may check out (also, they may be a good place to consign my RT).
    F800GS is lotsa fun. all the power you need (we always want more, but that's another discussion), easy handling, & smooth performance to well past the legal. heat exists, but much less than any 1st gen K-bike, well controlled with riding pants.

    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  13. #13
    Tame Racing Driver Stig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    Interesting. I've put a little under 31K on my F800ST in a bit under two years, and have never noticed that.
    I suppose everyone has different sensitivity levels to heat, but I've heard several people comment on the ST's heat issues in hot weather. Or maybe I'm just spoiled by the RT's engine layout now
    Craig
    New York's Hudson Valley Region
    2009 R1200RT
    MOA #146131 IBA #55715

  14. #14
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    I just rode my new to me '07 F800S home from Arkansas to Big Bend, TX so have about a thousand sMiles of experience with it.

    I'm loving it. We took backroads most of the way so had it in tight twisties to dead flat straights and gusty winds, even some rain. Rocky just ate up the miles. One day of 500 miles tells me this is also a long distance machine. The airflow with the stock screen is such that it shield my body but lets my head be in the airstream.

    Smooth. Quiet. Competent!

    The onboard computer gives my head great numbers to play around with. The tire pressure monitor gives me confidence that all is well. And, with a tail wind, the final stretch yielded 60 MPG!

    I'm sold.

    Voni
    sMiling
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  15. #15
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    So, barring any last night buyers coming forward, I am putting the RT up at consignment at a dealer this weekend. That will leave a void in the garage and so I will be looking at the F's. It is too bad that the F800GS does not come with cast wheels (or at least tubeless wire wheels), since flatting with a tube tire is not a good thing. The bike seems very nice otherwise. The ST is a huge contender, especially with Voni's review. I will give an update after riding a few of them!

    Thanks for all the advice.

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