Phil Floraday: Bavarian Bookends, Part II

It's funny how history has a way of repeating itself. Last June I sampled a BMW 135i and a BMW 760Li back-to-back and had a chance to reflect on the entire BMW range. Over the past weekend I sampled our Four Seasons BMW 750Li as well as a tiny BMW, but this time it was a BMW motorcycle.

Last year, the 7-series I drove was the oldest vehicle in BMW's line and now it's one of the freshest products. The BMW F 800 GS motorcycle I took for a ride on Saturday morning is also rather new to the U.S. market and it's quite similar to its four-wheeled cousins.

After spending any amount of time in a BMW automobile, it's the little things that really stick with you. For example, it's basically a given the engine, transmission, and chassis will be sublime in a modern BMW, so you can notice things like the high-definition navigation display, the soft leather seats, or the soft-close doors on a new 7-series.

The same holds true for two-wheeled BMWs. I immediately loved the gearbox on the F 800 GS, but then quickly shifted my attention to the digital display that reminded me which gear I was in. For those of you who have never ridden a motorcycle before, it's worth pointing out some modern motorcycles don't even offer actual gas gauges. The particular bike I sampled came equipped with heated grips, antilock brakes, and even had a plug for heated clothing or powering a navigation unit. Yes, these features have been slowly creeping into the motorcycle scene for a while, but this bike is capable of everything from commuting to crossing the Sahara. Incredible.

If you've driven a 3-series, it's hard to imagine actually buying anything else in the class. That's pretty much how I felt after sampling the F 800 GS. There are certainly a lot of other bikes that would work well for everything from commuting to crossing a desert, but few would be as comfortable or as posh as the BMW. Much like the 3-series, the F 800 GS costs far more than I actually want to pay for it, but I have a hard time imagining I'd regret the purchase if I decided to buy the bike. Kudos to BMW for offering everything from dirt bikes to luxurious limousines and making each one a great product.

I really like the gearbox on the F 800 GS, that displays the gear you're
hahaha :P i be concerned too! lol
Fred, I'd be more concerned if I ever find it... :)
the fz6 has a 7th gear? :S
I agree. For some reason, I always look for 7th gear on my Yamaha FZ6 when I'm on the highway. Just not much of a ratio difference between 5th and 6th. That wouldn't be a problem on the BMW!
the gear reminder display is very helpful for beginners or for when you just forget what gear you are in.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles