Time to say goodbye to the understated but decent BMW F800R

Time to say goodbye to the understated but decent BMW F800R

I bought my BMW F800R back in August 2020, now just about three years on it’s time to say goodbye to the F800.

I bought the bike from Derby Kawasaki a dealership that I had sort of randomly stumbled across when browsing the web and it’s fair to say I had great service from and was happy with the deal when I traded one of my bikes for the F800R. You can check back on the post I wrote when I picked the bike up at Derby Kawasaki by using this link.

What was I looking for?

I’ve had my fair share of bikes (18 I think) –  including four GSX-Rs (a couple of 600s, a 750 and 1000), a CBR 1000 Fireblade, a Z1000 SX and a CB1000 R. In many ways I ‘had done’ that hard edged sports bike thing, and had a decent amount of  experience of  bikes with remarkable levels of performance.

I had also criss crossed much of Europe and perhaps, as you might expect over the years, ridden in a real mixed variety of weather conditions on a  mixed variety of roads.

I have toured and done big mileage on almost all of the bikes I have owned. Perhaps with the single exception of the Kawasaki Z1000 SX none of them would really be described as obvious touring bikes.

Up to the job

But actually and without exception they were all more than up to the job – including a terrific couple of weeks around Spain and Portugal on a BMW RnineT as well as a couple of weeks (Spain and Portugal again) with my wife on a Kawasaki 650 Vulcan S!

So when it came to changing to the sporty middleweight twin that F800R is I wasn’t looking for lighting fast acceleration, nor was I looking for a bike whose exhaust note would shake the neighbours out of bed.

I just wanted a different bike. A bike that was a decent everyday ride and that was good enough to tour on. But given what I have already said about bikes that I have toured on then I would say my bottom line is that I think you can tour on just about anything.

The best bike to tour on is the one you have.

So what’s the F800R like.

It’s certainly a well finished bike with good quality paint, good quality fittings and decent plastics. Over the almost three years I had it I had no problems at all.

It’s an easy bike to ride, the suspension seems to work pretty well although to be honest I’m not certain the ESA supension on this bike makes a huge difference nor was I ever really convinced about the different riding modes making a really significant difference.

I think one of the things that I noticed on one of my first road trips on this bike (Scotland) was just how decent the bike felt in corners,  it’s ability to hold a line and never really feel unsettled was very good.

Brakes have always been good enough, reliable and well matched to the bike. I don’t think I actually changed much on the bike. It came with a decent Puig fly screen, Puig hugger and BMW rear rack. I fitted a sat nav (Zumo 550) and bought the SHAD SH 40 top box.

The SH40  was easily removable and although not ticking many of the aesthetics boxes has proved to be a sound buy and has served me well on a number of trips. You can read about that luggage on the F800 at this link.

The bike is a little tricky for fitting a tank bag to – as what looks like the petrol tank isn’t the petrol tank. I use Givi tank lock bags, and if you’re going down that route with one of these bikes then it’s  the Givi BF 16K kit that you need.

I liked the looks but …

Beauty as ever is in the eye of the beholder.  Sometimes what we think of as beautiful (or not) is dictated to us by others, by trends and whims etc – but such is life.

I always liked the look of this bike, especially in the Motorad colours that mine was decked out in. Having said that it would be something of a stretch to say the exhaust added anything in the looks department. It’s pretty big and pretty horrible, but to be honest completely fit for purpose and I had no strong desire to change it.

A parallel twin is always likely to sound more like a sewing machine than a finely tuned engine. But after years of riding many bikes and spending long days on the road there’s something to be said (in my opinion) for an exhaust note that’s doesn’t sound like a heavily tuned Moto GP bike and that isn’t droning away all day long. But don’t get me wrong, I’d have settled for a better soundtrack from the bike, but it was never really a priority for me, I get that elsewhere.

The twin Ackrapovics on my RnineT take care of that need and if that’s not enough my Moto Guzzi V7 cafe makes the most magnificent road music.


Is it comfortable?

When it comes to comfort on a bike, whether we’re talking reach, seat height, seat comfort, height of foot pegs, quality of suspension  etc etc, then all of these will be impacted by the riders own size and weight and of course what sort or riding, over what sort of distance and for how long will all impact on comfort. So I can only really comment from my perspective.

I generally found the comfort levels acceptable. When I’m away I tend to be on the road for maybe eight plus hours a day and it’s never really been a problem.

I’m sure the comfort could be improved and I know some folk go down the route of after market seats from the likes of Sargent and Wunderlich and so on, but it was never something I really considered.

Probably the only ergonomic change I should have made was to do something about the span adjuster for the clutch – the reach to the clutch was always a little bit wide (for me) and I thought the clutch and brake span adjusters were pretty poor really – I ought really to have changed to some after market levers with more adjustment. Oh and BMW heated grips are the absolute business!

Any good for trips and tours?

I said earlier on, that I think you can pretty much tour on anything – so I always start with an open mind.

As I have said I’ve done four Scotland trips as well as three trips to Ireland (one of which was a full ‘circulation of Northern and Southern Ireland) on the F800 then I think the answer is a resounding yes. Fuel economy is quite remarkable and is better than good. This bike has consistently averaged around 74mpg!

I fitted Bridegstone T32s to it and was pretty impressed with dry and wet weather handling as well as their durability. They are probably the tyre’s I’d go for on the F800 replacement as and when the time comes for new rubber.

So in summary

I think the F800R is a cracking bike – some people will say it lacks character and is a pretty bland bike to ride.

I had it just shy of three years, did a reasonable number of trips on it and never once came home not having enjoyed my ride.

It’s an easy bike to ride and an easy bike to get along with. Ultimately it depends what your looking for and perhaps a case of horses for courses – but to be honest I’ve really enjoyed owning this bike.


For more words and pictures from some of the trips and tours on the F800 you might want to check out the links below:

Ireland 1;

Ireland 2;

Ireland 3;

Scotland 1;

Scotland 2.

Picture gallery and whats next?

Clicking on any of the images below will open a picture gallery that can be clicked or scrolled through. You can read about what replaced the F800 at this link.