BMW F 800 R – Test Ride

The BMW F 800 R, not the most popular of the BMW bike line up like the 1200 GS or 1000 RR but still a bike one should consider if you are looking at bikes about the RM60,000 range. Comes with that distinct headlight and performance that could actually surprise many riders even though its not the top of the range from the company from Munich.

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The engine is a watercooled 798cc parallel-twin with a dry-sump system. Power is rated at 87hp @ 8000rpm and 86Nm @ 6000rpm. Its a very docile below 4000rpm but at the same time have enough power to strut along with the city traffic.

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It is also very smooth from all the way down at 1500rpm however as soon as you get close to 5000rpm things start to get a bit too buzzy. While most parallel-twins have this buzziness at the top end of the rev range, the F 800 R engine develops this earlier at about 5000rpm and it goes away as soon as you pass 6000rpm where the max torque comes in and you suddenly feels a stronger surge of acceleration.

Not much of a problem if you are riding spiritedly and utilising the whole rev range all the way to the redline, but it does get to you if you have to stay in between 5000 to 6000rpm once in a while negotiating in traffic. The buzz or vibration could be felt mostly on the hands through the handlebar and it actually gets annoying and numbs your hands if you stay there too long.

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Fortunately thanks to the tall gearing that happens very seldom and I noticed that I tend to use it as a marker for me to shift up through the gears. And on the highway you are just barely above 4000rpm on sixth gear to cruise at 110kmph.

Transmission wise the F 800 R uses a six-speed manual transmission with a wet multiplate cable operated clutch. The gearbox is actually integrated into the engine crank case thus making things more compact and lighter.
You can actually see how compact things are and if not for the ABS module on top of the gearbox there would be big gaping hole in the middle of the bike.

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Moving on to the chassis department, the F 800 R comes from the budget end of a premium make. So while the fork maybe conventional and the rear monoshock suspension comes with minimal adjustment, its held together by a nicely designed bridge type cast aluminium chassis.

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As with the compact engine and gearbox configuration, BMW also move the 16L fuel tank from on top of the engine to under the seat. This gives the bike a lower center of gravity and helps with the handling. The big thing on top of the engine is basically the airbox.

So as mentioned though its one of the lowest in the BMW price list, the bikes rides like no budget machine. Even the quality of parts and fit and finish is top notch, it is a BMW.

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Sitting position is slightly forward while the seat is low at 800mm (755mm for low seat or 825mm on the high seat), the foot pegs are quite high up so the rider’s legs are a bit crunched up. Slightly cramped in the saddle but it’s comfortable, my hands didn’t get tired even with the slightly forward riding position as it usually would on some bikes. There is a steering damper but the handlebar still moves effortlessly.

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At about 177kg, the bike feels light to be thrown around and size wise it does not feel bulky. The instrument panel uses analogue gauges fro the RPM and Speedometer while the rest like fuel and mileage are digital, all easy to read especially the gear indicator.

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I would say if you are new in biking and you want to go off with a BMW, this bike is a safe bet. Friendly in the traffic and you can have a blast in the hills. Could even use it as a commuter but not really as a touring bike. Its got good mileage, good build, handles pretty good and instant recognition thanks to the brand. You will be able to own it for a while before trading up. Experienced riders would also enjoy it but not all will go for it.

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The bike I tested had an optional Akrapovic slip-on and gives a nice rumble and a few pops on downshifts to this quiet bike. Price starts at RM63,455.00

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