BMW dominates the European motorcycle market with its all-conquering R1200GS. But its baby brothers – the parallel twin F800GS and F700GS – have never made quite the same impact. That’s something the firm will be hoping to remedy with the all-new F850GS and F750GS revealed at EICMA in Milan today.
The slight name changes to the new models don’t do justice to the extent of the changes. The engines are revamped so completely that they’re effectively new designs, the transmissions are new and the combined package is bolted to a totally different concept of chassis to the earlier bikes. Add new styling and much improved technology to the mix, and it’s easy to see that the F-series GS models need to be considered afresh if you’re in the market for an adventure bike.
As in the past, the two models are distinguished by different styling, performance and attitude, but despite their names they actually share the same engine capacity. Whether you opt for the F850GS or the ‘750’ you actually get an 853cc parallel twin, up from the old bikes’ 798cc. That 55cc increase boosts the power of the F850GS to 95hp at 8250rpm – matching Triumph’s Tiger 800 – while the F750GS now makes 77hp at 7500rpm from its softer engine tune. There’s a similar difference in torque; 92Nm at 6250rpm for the 850 and 83Nm at 6000rpm for 750.
On both versions the DOHC parallel twin is bolted to new six-speed transmission that moves the drive chain to the left hand side. The old bikes had an unconventional right hand chain. BMW’s Gearshift Assistant Pro quickshifter is an optional extra.
Look at the pictures, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the new F-series bikes feature an aluminium frame. We certainly thought it looked like that when we got spy pictures of the new bike back in April. But it’s actually a pressed steel frame with a semi-monocoque design, replacing the tubular steel trellis of the older bike.
BMW says it intentionally avoided an aluminium chassis as steel is more suited to the rigours of off-road use.
As in the past, the lowlier F750GS gets right-way-up forks and alloy wheels while the 850 uses upside-downers and wire-spoked wheels. BMW’s Dynamic ESA electronically adjustable suspension is available as an option, but only on the rear. It adds various riding modes, although even the basic model has ‘rain’ and ‘road’ settings along with traction control and ABS.
Another option, ABS Pro, is also available, adding ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Enduro’ modes, plus ‘Enduro Pro’ on the F850GS.
In fact, the options list is enormous. Highlights include an optional colour TFT instrument display with media connectivity, an optional LED headlight and even BMW’s emergency call system. There are also more mundane optional offerings including a host of different seat heights, screens, keyless go, cruise control, a centre stand and, of course, luggage.
The bikes themselves can also be had in various cosmetic guises. The F850GS is offered in ‘Exclusive’ or ‘Rallye’ forms as well as its basic version, while the F750GS can also get the ‘Exclusive’ treatment, which adds hand protectors as well as different graphics and colours.
Prices for the basic machines start at £7950 for the F750GS, and £9400 for the F850GS, but you’ll clearly be able to ratchet those figures up quite significantly if you dip too deeply into the options.
Engine Water-cooled 4-stroke parallel twin, DOHC, 8-valve
Capacity 853cc 853cc
Power 77hp@7500rpm 95hp@8250rpm
Torque 83Nm@6000rpm 83Nm@6000rpm
Kerb Weight 224kg 229kg
Fuel capacity 15l 15l