BMW, the German motorcycle and automobile manufacturer, gives its dual-sport F series motorcycles powerful, parallel twin engines. In 2009, the company released two new on-and-off-road models under the F umbrella, the F 800 GS and the F 650 GS, and one new sport bike, the F 800 ST.
All three bikes have 798cc, liquid-cooled, parallel twin, four-stroke engines; the 650 in the F 650 GS’s name does not indicate 650cc at all. The chief difference between the 650 GS and 800 GS is that the 650’s engine is detuned, so it produces about 14 less horsepower than the 800 GS. All three models have dual overhead cams and fuel injection, as well as six-speed manual transmissions. The two GS models have the chain final drives typical of adventure motorcycles; the 800 ST has a belt final drive. All have hydraulic disc brakes in front and back; the 800 ST has dual front discs. The 800 GS has an inverted fork with nine inches of travel; the other two models have telescopic front forks. All three have twin-sided swing arm rear suspension, with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping.
Reviewers found the two GS models nimble and agile off road as well as on. BMW offers a wide variety of accessories, from anti-lock brakes to side cases, so each bike can be tailored to the use the owner has in mind. If you wish to turn it into a tourer, you can switch out the seat, add a windshield, install an onboard computer, and head for the open road, secure in the knowledge that gravel and rutted dirt roads won’t stop you.