BMW F 800 GS

Text: Ramona Eichhorn • Photography: BMW AG

With the long-awaited F 800 GS travel enduro, BMW Motorrad intends to continue their mastery of on- and off-road motorcycling. Power for this latest Bavarian offering comes from an 85 horsepower, liquid-cooled, vertical twin derived from the F 800 S/ST models. The high-revving engine provides immediate throttle response and excellent torque. Fuel economy is very impressive, delivering better than 50mpg. The under-seat positioning of the 4.2gal fuel tank makes for a lower center of gravity and is a big part of this bike's excellent dual-sporting manners. And thanks to a closely spaced six-speed transmission, the power to the ground is easily modulated. The 800 GS accelerates from 0-60mph in 3.8sec, with a top speed in the neighborhood of 125mph.

In the chassis and drive arena, the GS features a sturdy steel-tube frame and an aluminum double-sided swing arm with O-ring chain drive, a departure from the belt used on the other 800s. The slim steering head allows a steering lock of 42 degrees, providing a tight turning radius for easy handling. An upside-down fork provides a lengthy 9.1 inches of wheel travel up front that combines nicely with 5.9 inches of travel in the rear, allowing for greater ground clearance and a more ideal weight distribution. The 21-inch, spoke front wheel guarantees good riding stability, especially on loose ground. It has two fully floating brake discs up front, while a single-disc brake stops the 17-inch rear wheel. ABS is available as an option. With a ready to ride weight of 456 pounds, and a seat offered in two heights, 34.6 and 33.5inches, you don't have to be a giant to ride the 800 GS.

See the F 800 GS in action on the World Traveler's tour in East Africa.