BMW F700GS and F800GS 1012

By Kevin Ash - 25/09/2012

BMW has facelifted its popular middleweight GS twins, the F800GS and F650GS.

The new models were shown for the first time at the annual BMW Biker Meeting in Garmisch, with most of the changes concentrated on the F650GS, which is also treated to a bigger-bore name change to F700GS. It's still an 800 though...

Compared with its predecessor, the 700 gains a second front disc, while the power and torque have been increased to 74bhp (75PS, 55kW) at 7,300rpm and 57lb.ft (7.8kgm, 77Nm) at 5,500rpm, up 4bhp and 1.5lb.ft. BMW doesn't specify how this has been achieved but does say the F700GS now requires 95 octane premium fuel where the 650GS was happy with standard 91 octane, so it's likely an ignition mapping change alone is responsible, in conjunction with the higher octane fuel.

F700GS (left) and F800GS

Buyers though can specify an engine map suited to 91 octane fuel if required (and presumably sacrifice that 4bhp gain). At the same time the gearing has been lowered by fitting a 42 tooth rear sprocket, in place of the previous 41 tooth item. Power on the F800GS is unchanged at 85bhp (86PS, 63kW) at 7,500rpm.

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For the first time on bikes at this level, the ESA electronic suspension adjustment is available as an option, along with BMW's ASC 'stability control' basic traction control system. The bodywork on both bikes has been refreshed for a more masculine look, according to BMW, while more pragmatically, on non-ESA versions the rear spring preload is more easily adjusted via a handwheel.

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The handlebar switches have been renewed, possibly to deal with reliability issues, while there are cosmetic changes to the instrumentation. The F700GS also gets a new screen, and both bikes come with ABS as standard, with BMW's latest two-channel system being fitted.

The differences between the two machines aside from the power outputs include inverted forks on the 800 with higher spec rear suspension, wire-spoked wheel on the 800 versus cast on the 700, a more off-road biased 21 inch front wheel on the 800 with aluminium as opposed to steel handlebars, and a lofty 34.6/33.5in (880/850mm) seat height, where the 700's is 32.3/31.1in (820/790mm). The 800's kerb weight is 472lb (214kg), the 700's is 461lb (209kg).

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