THE UPGRADE IS RECOMMENDED, SIR
And it’s just as well that BMW has nailed the chassis set-up because the last thing any of us needed was the old F800GS set-up loaded up with the extra 15-kilos of kit that the Adventure model brings (a claimed 229kg as compared to the 214kg of the standard model). That would have been a disaster. Instead the new set-up is a triumph (not a Triumph, and for sure in Hinckley, the makers of the Tiger 800XC must be concerned too...).
So the next most significant in the list of Adventure add-ons is the 24-litre tank (up from 18 litres), which brings the fuel range up to a certain 250 miles or 400 kilometres (depending on your continent). Now the F800GS was already very fuel efficient and the fuel range was already – in my opinion – good enough for 95% of the planet, but I guess if you wanted to go deep, deep, deep into some desert (and back), well, now you can. The tank adds some width to the rear but BMW has been savvy enough to keep the width around the rider’s position suitably narrowed. They’ve also added a framework around the tank that is combined pannier mounting system and crash bars in one. BMW inferred this was some kind of an exoskeleton in that it added strength to the structure of the rear sub-frame but I’m not so sure – I’m not seeing the triangulation nor the structural connection points.
Atop the big tank sits a bigger seat too. Its 10mm deeper, say BMW, for added comfort. It’s definitely more of a comfort option than the standard seat and despite being quite sculpted it’s got great ergos whether for riding seated or standing. It is a lofty perch, mind, and even tall dudes (or dudettes) are going to have to stretch their toes to find terra firma. There is a low-seat option which brings the rider 30mm closer to earth. Perhaps more importantly – for many owners: super-importantly – the pillion seat has been hugely improved with a pad that at last has real depth and width so as to (for the first time) make this a serious two-up touring proposition.
The result of these improvements at the rear must have made the front of the GS look a bit feeble for BMW has bulked out the front end too. The fairing is now wider right out to the ‘beak’ and the screen is taller. Pleasingly, neither are to any detriment – the added wind protection is much welcomed and when riding off-road neither the screen nor fairing seem to in any way impede the rider in terms of vision or movement.
BMW has also added a set of engine bars, and having seen a couple of Adventures ‘fall over’ in the soft stuff I can stand witness to these bars doing a very fair job not only in saving the engine but the fairing too – you’d have to slam the Adventure into the deck pretty hard to nail the bodywork. Again, this speaks of clever design.
Also adding to the off-road spec are some decent serrated footpegs and these are at last wide ones, not too-narrow as before. The rear brake lever has gained adjustability with a flip-down second tip that works better for riding stood-up (off-road). Pity a folding tip wasn’t added to the gear lever (for crash protection), but let’s not get too pedantic. There are also hand guards fitted, but these are only plastic with little reinforcement (let’s call them wind deflectors). If you’re seriously going off-road you’d immediately upgrade these.
Finishing off the Adventure spec is an extended electronics package that gets close to bringing the F800GS up to R1200GS standards on rider aids. ABS is fitted as standard but now there’s an option of both Automatic Stability Control (ASC) and Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA). ABS has previously been an automatic switch-off for off-road riding but if you take the ASC package you now get a much finer set-up which increases the ‘limited slip threshold’ to suit loose terrain (you select ‘enduro’ mode for this). The ESA meanwhile allows a variation from comfort to sporting modes, which again means you can access better stability in high-speed riding.