First Ride: 2006 BMW F800

This is the bike BMW hopes will snare them a new generation of customers. And guess what? It's pretty damn good.

Posted: 20 September 2010
by Niall Mackenzie
Straddling a solid white is three point, Niall. Be careful out there
Failure to be in proper control of your vehicle is three points, Niall. Be careful out there

Click to read: BMW F800 owners reviews, BMW F800 specs and to see the BMW F800 image gallery.

THE F800S AND ST are BMW's first entry into the middleweight market. Both are aimed squarely at newer riders who hanker after the kudos and quality associated with the German firm.

These slender middleweights are the most user-friendly bikes BMW has ever built. Powered by an 85bhp, 798cc Rotax-developed parallel twin, top rpm is only 8500rpm but 5000rpm is where this engine works best. The six gears need working to maintain momentum - normally fun, but I did find false neutrals, which became frustrating.

I'm obsessive about fuelling and throttle response but the 360-degree twin is hard to fault. From pulling away to maximum revs the engine feels sweet. There's a tiny amount of vibration although most is cleverly eliminated by an extra pivoting conrod helping to balance engine forces.

Engine spec is identical on both models but the minimalist S appealed to me more with its lower bars and half-fairing. The slightly sportier riding position also makes it more responsive to rider input giving a more engaging, satisfying ride.

The more sensible ST comes with luggage racks and a centre stand, but these can also be fitted to the S. Tyres are Metzeler RoadTecs; the S gets Conti Sports. An excellent ABS system is also available, but I wouldn't bother if you're mainly into sporty riding.

Suspension on both bikes comes via 43mm telescopic forks, not the bulky Telelever system. The rear suspension is also conventional with a superbly engineered single sided swingarm incorporating the toothed belt drive.

From some angles I thought this bike looked attractive, from others it's definitely very German. Go to your local BMW dealer, have a look for yourself and, more importantly, go for a blast. Many boxes are ticked: price quality, functionality but, most important of all, fun. A BMW for the youth of today! Whatever next?

VERDICT

BMW has pulled a real blinder out of the hat. Aimed at a younger market this could be the bike that makes BMW cool for kids.

BMW F800 Specs

SPECS
TYPE - SPORTS TOURER
PRODUCTION DATE - 2006
PRICE NEW - £6495 (ST), £5995 (S)
ENGINE CAPACITY - 798cc
POWER - 85bhp@8000rpm
TORQUE - 63.4lb.ft@5900rpm   
WEIGHT - 182kg
SEAT HEIGHT - 820mm   
FUEL CAPACITY - 16L   
TOP SPEED - 130mph   
0-60     - n/a
TANK RANGE - N/A



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Discuss this story

Hmmm! 130mph from 34bhp. -- BMW/Rotax must make very special engines.
This 800 twin is magic.

Posted: 01/04/2008 at 17:24

2sideways wrote (see)
Hmmm! 130mph from 34bhp. -- BMW/Rotax must make very special engines. This 800 twin is magic.
only a typo!  higher up in the piece it shows the correct 85bhp! 

Posted: 01/04/2008 at 17:36

I've had an F800S for just over a year and have done around 6K miles. I'm in a Love - Hate relationship with it, the Good points are:-

1. Fuel economy better than 60mpg(Imp.) giving over 200 miles on a 16ltr tank (Brits are allowed to mix Imp and metric measures).
2. Factory fitted alarm and luggage operated by just one key.
3. Comforable seat for all day touring.
4. Rear suspension adjustable for pax.
5. The wife likes it and she normally hates M/Cs

Bad points:

1. Handlebar vibration, which begins at 4000rpm (70mph in top) and is very intrusive at 5000rpm ~ 87mph. Hands can turn numb after only a couple of hours at motorway speeds.
2. Stupid indicator switches. The indicator cancel switch is almost dangerous because it means releasing a proper grip on the bars.
3. Suspect engine reliability, especially on the electrics. Mine occasionally cuts out. This is not an uncommon problem and there are a number of causes for this. Mine's been back to the dealer for new airbox hoses, which haven't helped.

Other points:
1. The front and rear road holding is good for mass market for suspension. The steering damper is superfluous and has been removed. I reckon the feel and handlig would have been better if it turned a bit quicker and I might a 60% profile tyre.
2. Gear box can be iffy although getting the position of the lever just right has helped a lot.

Posted: 03/11/2011 at 21:46

For me every day transport i'll stick with my VFR 800 pre V-TEC thanks, fooking bomb proof (reg/rec aside) cheap,fun,comfy and sounds awsome at full chat no bd killer.Simples.

Posted: 03/11/2011 at 23:02

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