2008 BMW F800 GS

This fall, the legendary GS gets even more legendary with the incredible new F 800 GS. It’s lean. It’s mean. It’s ready to tackle everything from dual sport rides in the woods or desert to long-haul adventure touring. With a lightweight design and eye-opening power, The F 800 GS is the most off-road oriented GS ever built. A parallel twin engine with 85 charging horses and 62 lb/feet of torque give it startling speed and breathtaking acceleration.

Throw in a dry weight of just 392 lbs, six-speed gear box, switchable ABS, wide foot rests and a 4.2 gallon tank located under the seat for a low center of gravity, and you get a enduro light enough for amazing handling no matter where you’re headed. If you want all the capabilities of the GS in a lighter, tighter, totally aggressive package, the destined-to-be-a-classic F 800 GS is your ride.

Once upon a time, back when the big Adventure tourer market had its feeble birth (late eighties-early nineties) BMW had the GS, Cagiva the Elefant and Honda the Africa Twin. All derived from Paris-Dakar racing successes. With the introduction of mammoth 1000-1200cc soft adventure touring motorcycles the midrange bikes have disappeared from the market. Honda and Cagiva stopped making its 750cc twins a long time ago and the BMW GS have just grown bigger and bigger into the premium section of the market.

The first indication of a revival in the mid-displacement adventure segment came in 2006 when BMW introduced its new F 800 range for the first time. Then the F 800 S and ST, but BMW have since then been fairly open about the fact that there would be an F 800 GS. A lighter more agile GS was a mouth watering prospect and here it is! I had the privilege of being in the first group of journalists testing the new GS in various terrains in South Africa.

Last night upon my arrival in South Africa, lively Zulu music accompanied by the smell of grilled lobster was interrupted by some torrential rain. We all feared that what promised to be the most exciting experience on the GS, the offroad part, could be jeopardized. All the F 800 GS test bikes were fitted with the standard Bridgestone Battle Wings. I guarantee you that they are no good in deep mud or on wet grass!
Luckily for me, the next day was cloudy but dry. I chose to do the more challenging “black route” for a proper enduro experience on the F 800 GS. Slightly daunting it was as I understood that the route really was challenging and particularly on a Battle Wing shod F 800 GS. ONLY EXCERPTS of the full article for now…

Brakes
The braking duties are handled by two fully floating brake discs (300mm in diameter) clamped by double piston sliding callipers. The rear brake utilizes a 265mm single rotor with single piston sliding callipers.

Engine
The parallel twin familiar from the F 800 S/ST models forms the basis for the GS drive. For the new usage, however, some aspects of the engine have been modified. In order to allow longer spring travel with a wheel spacing that remains moderate, plus an ideal distribution of weight, the cylinders are now only angled forward by 8.3 degrees instead of the 30 degrees with the F 800 S/ST.


Frame
A new steel frame designed specifically for the GS model, is built as a tubular space frame and offers a range of improvements to enhance the already extraordinary off road capabilities of the F 800 GS. For example there is a slim steering head that allows a lock stop of 42 degrees for an improved turning radius on tight trails.

Headlight
For night time duties the F 800 GS features an asymmetrical double headlight with plastic cover in a new plastic housing. Two H7 bulbs handle the illumination. Another interesting feature is that when the high beams are turned on, the low beams also illuminate to provide maximum lighting.

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