BMW F 750 GS and BMW F 850 GS: First ride review

first_img Abhik Das New DelhiMay 9, 2019UPDATED: May 9, 2019 18:01 IST BMW F 750 GS and BMW F 850 GS are so impressive that the Triumphs and Ducatis of the ADV world better watch out for the Motorrad twins.HIGHLIGHTSPowered by an 835cc parallel-twin engine, the 850 GS produces a healthy batch of 95 thoroughbred horses and 92Nm of twisting force available at 6,250rpm.The engine has been developed by China-based Loncin Industries and it introduces a 90-degree offset crank.The BMW F 750 GS is designed to further lessen the initial intimidation of approaching a big ADV.For all the credentials declaring my professional credibility as an automotive journalist, I still go by a very basic gut instinct that tells me if the motorcycle is right or not. Feel. It’s what racers depend on to know if all the engineering geniuses and technological marvels have congregated into making one perfect package. Physical feelings transferred from the chassis, tyres, handlebars and footpegs narrate a tale of success or failure in seeing that chequered flag first or last in a race. For a road motorcycle, those feelings translate to long distance comfort, confidence in handling, the kind of power delivery and most of all, its ability to put the silliest of grins on the rider’s face. Unique DRL design makes the motorcycles easily identifiable as one from the BMW GS line.Hopping aboard BMW’s new F 850 GS gave me those right feelings and after only about a 100km on the saddle, I was grinning from ear to ear inside my lid. Although, these emotions didn’t quite come instantly as a fair bit of critical assessment went into evoking them. Intimidation is a fear that comes naturally with an imposing adventure motorcycle. ADVs are inherently tall given their long-travel suspension and high ground clearance. Unless family genes have awarded you a height of over six-foot and hours in the gym have resulted in biceps broader than the 150 section rear tyre, even a middle-weight ADV like the F 850 GS is bound to put in a little self-doubt of inability to handle the motorcycle. I don’t have the height or the biceps but experience tells me that riding the motorcycle would reveal more. The 860mm seat height isn’t low enough for the average Indian height and tip-toeing to reach the floor and move the motorcycle wasn’t adding much confidence either. A sharp rasp of the exhaust note upon thumbing the starter then nudged at my trepidation. First gear, rolling off to a start and almost magically, the F 850 GS transforms into the friendly beast that it is.advertisement 305mm twin front discs with 2-piston callipers are basic but offer great stopping power and feedback.The intimidation of a big motorcycle is countered by the confidence afforded by the rider’s triangle. I found myself sitting comfortably upright, easily taking weight off my upper body and concentrating it around the wide but contoured fuel tank. Given the brilliant and natural ergonomics, I would imagine a rider of any size and weight finding the commanding stance and roominess of the rider’s cockpit instantly likable as well as comfortable. Hand guards standard on the 850 only, small windscreen doesn’t suffice against wind blast at high speeds.Not just the ergonomics, confidence also stems from the balance of a motorcycle. The front-end of a motorcycle is the most stressed, carrying the majority weight bias of the engine, which gets amplified with momentum. Front-heavy motorcycles tend to push the grip threshold of the front tyre especially under heavy braking thus making them a fair bit scary. The 850’s weight distribution is spot on, not only affording it brilliant balance but greatly influencing the ADV’s handling abilities. Even with a 21-inch front wheel and 90 section tread width, I could confidently chuck the 850 into a corner and as easily switch back to the other side on twisty sections. No drama, no flex from the chassis or suspension, just immediate response to inputs that makes the handling intuitive. Rotary controller for menu navigation is easy to use, notice the optional electronic suspension adjustment switch.Powered by an 835cc parallel-twin engine, the 850 GS produces a healthy batch of 95 thoroughbred horses and 92Nm of twisting force available at 6,250rpm. Winding the throttle brings forth a mild-mannered mein herr until the twin-cylinders starts pumping faster than 5,000 revolutions where the rage of a crazed metalhead at a Rammstein concert brings out its alter ego. The little to no excitement of keeping the revs down surely helps in traffic and tighter situations but dropping a gear or two unleashes the relentless, torquey acceleration and a great rush of speed that this engine is capable of. Devoid of vibrations or stresses, the parallel-twin runs smooth and is tractable at any speed and rpm. I reckon that this could very well be the best twin cylinder motor on a current middle-weight adventure motorcycle. BMW Motorrad Connected app helps beam navigation data on the optional 6.5-inch colour TFT screen.The engine has been developed by China-based, Loncin Industries and compared to earlier generations of the 700/800 GS, this new engine introduces a 90-degree offset crank, 270/450-degree firing order, dry oil sump and twin balancer shafts. The engine is mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed gearbox that has shorter initial ratios and wider fourth to sixth gears. Ride-by-wire affords the use of two standard riding modes that are preset, however, “Dynamic” and “Enduro Pro” modes are optional. If you’ve managed to pick up your dropped jaw from the floor then brace for the fact that the 6.5-inch colour TFT is also optional and that’s a real bummer considering the competition offering these as standard equipment.advertisement Optional electronic ZF suspension unit allows remote adjustment for pre-load according to the riding modes.What might also confuse you are the names of the motorcycles that hint at two different engine options but the F 750 GS and F 850 GS are both powered by the same engine. Does that make both motorcycles the same? Well, no. This is where BMW has managed to make them stand apart as two different motorcycles despite sharing the same engine. Where the 850 comes across as a proper adventure package, the 750 is aimed at those aspiring for adventure while learning the ropes on the road. One of the only big ADV motorcycles to sport a steering damper, helps minimize effects of a tank slapper.With a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear alloy wheels, narrower handlebar, lower seat height, conventional front forks and 77bhp, 83 Nm of power outputs, the F 750 GS is designed to further lessen the initial intimidation of approaching a big ADV. The lesser power output makes the power delivery friendlier while the smaller front wheel translates to sharper steering geometry. Astride the 750, it manages to feel like a much smaller machine that’s a hoot to ride even in packed traffic. The 43mm USD forks on the 850 are stiffer for off-road use compared to the 41mm conventional, road-focused forks on the F 750 GS.The 850 is the one that stole my heart and impressed more than the 750 could. The beefier 43mm front fork shod with upside down fork may be non-adjustable but offers sublime ride quality and damping over varied surfaces. There’s even a steering damper (on both models) to minimise the effect of tank slappers, a feature that’s uncommon in this category of motorcycles. Off the tarmac, the 850 stay just as planted and poised, soaking up the rough terrain that trails have to offer. The rear suspension gets electronics by ZF and is fully adjustable with a dedicated adjuster button on the handlebar. Braking also is an area where BMW hasn’t compromised as the motorcycles come to a surefooted stop under heavy braking and brake pressure is easily modulated with the feedback from the lever. BMW will offer a comfort and Rallye seat which are higher than the stock seat height.As good as the motorcycles may be, the 750 and 850 GS’ do come with their share of flaws. While the front brake offers a good amount of feedback, there is considerable nose dive under heavy braking. Feedback from the rear brake is nearly absent making the disengageable ABS for off-road use a bit pointless. The rider’s triangle is perfect for standing on the pegs and riding off-road but the rear brake lever and gear shifter operations are greatly hampered due to the lever lengths and angles. There’s also no feedback from the tyres of the surface that the motorcycle is on. And a shocking miss by BMW is a taller windscreen with adjustability for height.advertisementVerdictIt would be easy to conclude the story by stating the obvious. Yes, the 750 is suited to the road and 850 for all or no roads but there’s so much more that they offer and that’s where their appeal lies. The 750 GS in fact, is a supremely friendly package that has been well thought out for a new rider. The lower seat height, alloys, conventional forks are not just basic equipment but are also identifiable as road-going cycle parts similar to standard motorcycles. The 850 is the full-blown beast that tugs at an experienced rider’s heart strings while offering more equipment and power that justifies the lakh rupees it commands over the 750. The motorcycles are so impressive that the Triumphs and Ducatis of the ADV world better watch out for the Motorrad twins.ALSO READ | Cristiano Ronaldo is not the owner of Bugatti La Voiture NoireALSO READ | MG Hector first production version rolled out from Halol manufacturing facilityALSO READ | Hyundai Venue: Launch, features, specifications and everything else you need to knowGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byVarun Singh Tags :Follow BMW bikesFollow BMW motorcyclesFollow BMW F 750 GSFollow BMW F 850 GSFollow BMW F 750 first ride BMW F 750 GS and BMW F 850 GS: First ride reviewBMW F 750 GS is suited to the road and BMW F 850 for all or no roads but there’s so much more that they offer and that’s where their appeal lies. The 750 GS in fact, is a supremely friendly package that has been well thought out for a new rider. The 850 GS is the full-blown beast that tugs at an experienced rider’s heartstrings while offering more equipment and power.advertisement Nextlast_img

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