Used Bike

Buyer Guide: BMW F650GS / F800GS

The ultimate buying and owning guide by the people who know these bikes best: those who’ve bought them, run them, broken them, fixed them, spent money on them and more

Click to view: BMW F650GS / F800GS owners reviews, specs and image galleries.

BMW is a manufacturer on a roll. No surprise then when the new F800GS went straight to the top of the mid-size adventure bike class when it was first sold in 2008. The bike was so good it revolutionised a stagnant sector and made it one of the most exciting two-wheeled classes. Mid-capacity twin cylinder trail bikes had always been dull but worthy. The new BMWs were light, fast and exciting.

Like all modern Beemers, the F800 and 650GSs are more conventional than older models. The parallel twin engine doesn’t have any radical technology but it provides a good combination of urge and economy. Suspension’s regular stuff rather than BMW’s unusual Paralever/Telelever set-ups. They’ve even gone for chain drive not shaft or belt but it all works extremely well.

Competitors are few. Honda’s latest Transalp’s a solid bike but heavier, less powerful, less exciting and much less capable off road. Suzuki’s DL650 V-Strom’s cheap and capable on the tarmac but once again, poor when you hit the trails. There are more hardcore options like KTM’s single cylinder 640 Adventure but that’s not a good bike on the road even if it’s awesome off it. The 800GS sits at the optimum point in the on/off-road continuum for most and it’s dynamically well ahead of the competition too; 85bhp pushing just 178kg dry weight sees to that. There’s even a cheaper, lower, lighter, more road-oriented version, called the F650GS but it shares most parts including the engine with the 800cc F800GS so we’ve included it here.

The bike was unveiled late in 2007 and sold from 2008 onwards. Some bikes are now outside the factory warranty so should you be wary if you’re buying a used one? Find out from the 77 owners who filled in our online survey. Sixty own the F800GS and the remaining 17 the twin cylinder F650GS. In total, they’ve done well over half a million miles on these machines so feel free to believe what you read.

Continue the lowdown of the BMW F800GS & F650GS

Owner Case Study: "I rode round the world on mine"

Clive Hale bought a new 2009 F800GS, did 4,000 miles on it before setting off on a four month, 21,000 mile ride from London to New York, via Siberia

“It’s a fantastic machine and perfect for the job. If I was going again tomorrow I’d take my bike rather than any other. We had nine 800GSs on the trip, an R1150GS Adventure and two R1200GSs too. The bigger bikes had longer fuel ranges but the extra weight counted against them. I ran my bike dry in the Turkmen desert. The console said it was empty at 230 miles but it made it to 263 before stopping. Fortunately the back-up truck wasn’t far behind.

“They do have a very sharp throttle response which can catch out the less experienced off-road. I’d only done a short course in Wales and really noticed it but the guys who grew up on motocrossers loved it.

“It suffered from the top engine cover oil leak as so many of them do. The BMW cure seems to be a tube of sealant which sometimes works. There’s a lot of talk of the standard chains being no good but the bikes on our trip with them still fitted had no problems. Apart from the oil leak, the only problems my bike had were two punctures and a headlight bulb blew. Considering it hasn’t had an easy life that’s pretty impressive”

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