BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle – Long Distance Love Affair

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When you’ve got to go the distance on your touring motorcycle holiday, having the right motorcycle is certainly the factor to enjoying the best results. The past two summers I’ve put the BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle to the test spending over 7,000 kilometres on both the 2009 and 2010 models. A majority of these kilometres were accumulated at one shot and within a full day’s riding.

BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle

BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle

I’d often spend longer than twelve hours on the bike only stopping to refuel and you know, visit the powder room. The terrain, the weather conditions experienced were all you could imagine! Days of riding in downpours of rain and even light hail. No matter if the bike was fully decked with top box, side luggage, and the occasional passenger; night or day the experiences enjoyed with the BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle have kept me and any woman motorcycle rider,  longing for more!

Entry Level or Not?

BMW as you may have noticed has been transforming themselves from its sober conservative image into an “unstoppable” powerhouse of forward-thinking motorcycle design. They also have expanded their model line making available a broader range of machines to suit riders of just about any persuasion. Models such as the BMW F800ST Sport Touring fill in one of those previously existing gaps. The F800ST fitting in their touring category is classified as their “entry level tourer”. This term “entry”, might cause one to think that BMW would hold back on features. But all they really did was bring it down to a manageable size without skimping on any of their usual renowned characteristics!

BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle

BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle

Flickable Handling on the BMW F800ST

The F800ST even when fully decked out with luggage remains light weight with its 187kg claimed dry weight and 209kg road ready, fully fuelled. The best fun is that it’s a bike with really two natures – a trusting peace of mind tourer and a performance pleasuring sport bike! Termed “flickable” by the BMW folks, they’ve used a liberal amount of aluminum throughout the structure lightening its weight and lowering the centre of gravity to meet this level of friendly manoeuvrability.

The fact the bike has two cylinders may seem surprising for a touring model, yet goes entirely undetected with its 85 horsepower engine output. The engine is equally happy to run along as a highway tourer or consume revs all the way to its 8500 RPM redline. It’s truly a performer for the experienced, utilizing all the thrills that the F800ST power and torque has to offer to ride the bike around corners and curves, navigate traffic, or hustle along Alpine roads. I’ve proven these characteristics in the corners this past summer through endless Austrian hairpins! There was no lack of satisfaction on my behalf!

BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle

BMW F800ST Belt Drive

The bikes 16 litre gas tank is deemed small for a touring model but this assists in its light weighted-ness and of course a smaller tank results in less weight. If you choose to use F800ST in an urban environment this adds to its ease of maneuverability along with its terrifically wide handlebar turning radius. Everything about a BMW is about the rider and the F800ST follows through by equipping you with ABS for ultimate braking ability. It comes to a terrific stop with twin floating disc hydraulics up front; a single floating calliper, and a single 265mm disc on the rear, also with a floating calliper. You’ll enjoy engine output management systems, a belt drive allowing for a smoother ride and deliverance of power- plus little maintenance compared to a chain! And let’s not forget heated hand grips – any rider’s favourite!motorcycling – MOTORESS -review BMW F800ST also great for slow riding in traffic congestion or tight turns on steep mountain roads.

BMW F800ST Sport Touring Motorcycle

BMW F800ST Instrument Panel

16 litre gas tank is deemed small for a touring model but this assists in its light weighted-ness

The motorcycle’s instrumentation is right in line with BMW quality – smart but simple. You’ll enjoy numerous features including the ability to dial through data while under way, with a simple press of the INFO button on the left bar. The handlebar reach fit me well and was an easy stretch away ensuring a nice forward but upright riding position. With my preference for the 815 mm lower seat choice, my body length of 167 cm placed well but still gave me decent leg room. For those on the shorter side, a lowering kit to 760 mm is available. The wind screen offers a good amount of protection and worked best when I crouched a little in the seat. I did ride over three hours on Germany’s autobahn at an average speed of 180 km/h in a downpour of pelting rain. And this scenario is exactly why a windscreen is beneficial – and the BMW Streetguard III Suit.

The Bridgestone Battlax BT-020 tire choice was an excellent compliment to the F800ST’S tour/sport personality. These choices provided a terrifically broad profile with treads up the side wall allowing deep turns on wet surfaces. Both times I’ve used the F800ST  I’ve ridden under poor weather situations but knew my riding performance demands would be met with such a good reliable tyre.

Dislikes? Well, I found the gearbox somewhat sticky / grindy and not always blending smoothly between shifts. This tended to occur at lower speeds. It could also have been a side effect of rain/elevation . This really has no effect however on overall efficient operation.

BMW have a range of amenities for the BMW F800ST. Standard Equipment such as: Heated Grips; Closed 3-way Catalytic Converter; Hazard Warning Flashers; Power Socket; Luggage Rack. Available extras such as ABS Brakes; Tyre Pressure Control; On Board Computer; Anti-Theft Alarm System; Low Seat (815 mm); Centre Stand; Luggage Brackets; White Turn Indicators; Lowering Kit (760 mm).

All this adds up to the F800ST being a superb long distance tourer while combining tremendous and satisfying sport bike performance!
It’s a great motorcycle for riders looking to enter touring. It’s manageable enough for newcomers or those returning to motorcycling after a break from the activity. And it’s entertaining enough for experienced riders who, like me, are looking for a lighter nimble ride and the fuel savings to go with it!

Specifications

Engine: 798cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, fuel-injected, eight-valve parallel-twin Power: 62.5 kW (85 hp) at 8,000 rpm (output reduction to 25 kW (34 hp) at 7,000 rpm possible); Torque: 86 Nm at 5,800 rpm (with output reduction: 55 Nm at 3,500 rpm);Transmission: six-speed; Front brake: twin 320mm discs, four-piston callipers Rear brake: single 265mm disc, single-piston calliper; Front suspension: non-adjustable telescopic 43mm forks; Rear suspension: monoshock, adjustable for pre-load and rebound; Seat height: 840mm or 815mm, lowered suspension: 760mm; Fuel Capacity: 16L. Tyres front:120/70 ZR 17; Tyres rear: 180/55 ZR 17; Maximum speed: Over 200 km/h; Fuel consumption over 100 km at constant 90 km/h: 3.4 l; Fuel consumption over 100 km at constant 120 km/h: 4.4 l ; Colours: Night Blue or Champagne Metallic (both pictured here)

Full Spec Sheet @ BMW Motorrad


MOTORESS director, Vicki Gray is a basic and advanced motorcycle instructor – certified for over 25 years. She is a motorcycle licensing examiner and has instructed, examined and licensed riders for European and North American road racing schools.


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