New Bikes

BMW F850 GS and F750 GS first impressions

Visordown's Laura Thomson is enjoying the 'liquid sunshine' on the middleweight GS launch in Southern Spain...

WHOEVER said that 'the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains', clearly didn't know what they were talking about. 

It falls everywhere - mountains, coast, and motorbike launches - the launch of BMW’s new F850 and F750 GS models to be specific. 

Visordown's Laura Thomson is currently sitting out the latest downpour at her hotel in Mijas, after a wet afternoon's riding yesterday.

Here's what she has to say about the two new models (and the weather):

‘After battling Snowmageddon to make it to Spain, the launch of BMW’s new F850 and F750 GS models has been somewhat of a washout.

‘Ok, somewhat is an understatement. Thunder, lightning, rain and gale force winds prevented us from riding yesterday morning, and it wasn’t until well after lunch that we finally got out on the bikes.

‘Of course, the storm left a trail of devastation in its wake, completely changing the terrain.

‘I’m not just talking about a overturned gazebos and soggy golf greens…

‘The planned off-road route had become a raging torrent and the twisting mountain roads were slick and strewn with debris.

‘Unfortunately, this meant that we didn’t get to test the new GSes to their true capabilities, on or off-road, but after what miles we did manage, I can assure you that the new GS is a different beast to its predecessor.

‘This is thanks to the new 853cc powertrain, which has a new crank and firing order – its now 270/450 degrees as opposed to the 360/360 set up of the previous unit. It promised to give a more V-Twin feel than its predecessor, and this is certainly the case.

‘Acting as a stressed unit in the new steel bridge frame, this parallel twin sounds much better, feels much better (that’s helped by a ride by wire throttle) and most importantly, performs much better.

‘Coupled with the revised gear ratios (first to third are shorter, while four to six are longer), this unit provides a much smoother ride on road, both at low speeds and high, although it did feel a little bit gutless at very low revs. 

‘The awkward, but weirdly cool, underseat tank of the last F800GS has been moved forward to lower and centralise the bike’s centre of gravity and that certainly makes a difference when it comes to handling. The bike turns in easier and feels much more planted than the flighty original.

‘There’s a much more advanced suite of electronics – some standard, and much more optional – including electronic suspension adjustment, with up to five riding modes. Dynamic mode proved to be the goldilocks option yesterday, with rain and road feeling a tad on the springy side.

‘The two new bikes, as before, are like non-identical twins – one being the outgoing, over-achiever, and the other the sensible, well-rounded sibling.

‘While one gets high grades - 95hp and 67.8lbft in the case of the F850 GS – the other (the 750) trundles behind, making 77hp and 61.2lbft.

‘While one wears long(ish) travel inverted forks, the other shops at Clarks for its sensible suspension.

‘What I’m saying is that as impressive as the new 850 is, it’s not for everyone. And BMW know that, which is why the 750 is much less intimidating, lower in both in power and stature, and far more manageable on the road.

‘Both come in Standard and Sport versions, with a £1,250 difference between the two. The 850 will set you back from £9,400, while the more attainable 750 costs from just £7,950.

‘The F850 GS has a wicked new look, although you can’t help but feel that Rallye scheme mimics a certain other adventure model. As for the 750, I’m not keen on the shiny monotone panels but to each their own, and despite being yellow and beaked it’s certainly no ugly duckling.’


Rogerborg's picture

And focussed on the "offroad" version. As your review says, you fannied out from actually riding it in challenging conditions, confirming that it's a softroader at best. The cheaper, worse versions are far better for the conditions in which 99% of riders will use them 99% of the time. BMW's marketing is deranged. The "offroad" version doesn't need more powertorques, it needs less.

Do yourself and your readership a favour and call them out on this idiocy, rather than fawning over them because they're paid for your room and board. That makes you a hoor, and after that we're only discussing how cheap you are.

Shame. This comment is abusive. "..that makes you a hoor, and after that we're only discussing how cheap you are."
The article is only about a couple of motorcycles for goodness sakes! It doesn't need to attain the scientific objectivity of a peer-reviewed article in the BMJ.
We should cherish women who ride and write about motorcycles.

There are a few things I didn't like about the f700gs. I felt the suspension was to soft. It bottomed out on trails easily and was bouncy going through corners. Under braking, the forks dived a little too much.

The engine sounds wasn't the most interesting. At higher revs it's hard to avoid comparing it to a lawn mower.

It looks like they might have fixed both these issues in the f750gs with the dynamic ESA and the cross plane crank.

Shame the front end still looks lopsided. The Triumph Tiger 800 is a much better looking bike.

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