First Riding Impressions: BMW F700GS and F800GS (2016)

Michael Mann - Web Editor, Bike Social
By Michael Mann
MannOnABike Web editor of Bike Social. Been riding bikes since he was four-years-old. Fast and smooth road rider, just about hangs on in a track day quick group.

Michael Mann with BMW's F800GS

The middleweight adventure duo from BMW get cosmetic changes for 2016 and the press launch for the refreshed bikes is taking place today in Portugal. Bike Social's Michael Mann called in with this early report on both models and his full double review will be published soon.

Despite the obvious difference in name, the F700 GS and F800 GS use the identical parallel twin-cylinder 798cc engine, the larger of the two bikes making 85bhp, 10 more than the 700. It also has a upside down forks and longer suspension, a larger front wheel which are spoked instead of cast - all pointing toward a more off-road bias.

The middleweight adventure market has become a highly competitive place to be in recent times with Triumph, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki all offering more budget-friendly, on/off road bikes, lighter than their GS-style counterparts and more approriate for hot-stepping through towns and cities.

BMW's F700 GS, updated for 2016BMW's F800 GS, updated for 2016

For 2016, BMW's F-series duo get a face-lift. New paint shemes, four different seats and five seat options plus a lower suspension option are the most significant and hear is what Mann had to say after riding both models:

BMW's two middleweight GS models continue with the same grunty and meaty twin giving a feel of low down torque.

They're both easy to ride, relatively light (209/214kg) and have a solid feeling particularly on the corners, nice given their purpose as more adventure style bikes. 

The 700 has a lower seat height and the suspension doesn't travel as far as the 800 and it feels it too, which would be ideal for those requiring easier access to flat foot both feet and certainly noticeable when you swap from the 800!

Both are comfortable and offer a superb riding position, protective from the wind with their fly screens, the 800's is slightly larger. Overall there's no difference from an engineering perspective from the outgoing model so the same BMW quality shines through.

Michael Mann with the F800 GS

So far today I've ridden both bikes on and off road. Naturally the 800 is more at home on the looser surfaces with its larger, spoked wheels, enhanced upside-down suspension and an Enduro mode. 

Both bike are really well suited as first adventure bikes and even as commuters and I'm looking forward to spending more time on them this afternoon. 

There'll be much more later.

For the full review of both bikes, tune in soon to Bike Social. Meanwhile, if there's anything specific you'd like to know then get in touch below, drop us a tweet to @bennetts_bike or @MannOnABike or send us a message on our Facebook channel, BennettsBike

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