BMW F 850 GS And F 850 GS Adventure: Likes And Dislikes

Published On May 2, 2022 09:09 AM By Manaal Mahatme for BMW F 850 GS

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With the price drop and additional features, has BMW finally made the GS twins the Tiger 900 killer?

After a hiatus of almost two years, BMW’s middleweight ADVs, the F 850 GS and F 850 GS Adventure are back in the country. This time, not only do these bikes cost less but offer a bunch of new features. But is that enough to make the Triumph Tiger 900 sweat? We spent some time with the Beemers on and off the tarmac, and here’s what we liked and disliked about the bike:

Likes

Retuned Power Delivery

One of our major criticisms with the previous tune of the 853cc parallel-twin engine was its lack of accessible performance. You had a slight dull zone between 3000-6000rpm where the motor didn’t really feel alive and post that, it was too frantic. Thankfully, the BS6 tune has smoothened this dull zone out.  The engine now pulls cleanly from as low as 2500rpm, which doesn’t harm you that much even when running a gear higher. 

This is advantageous not just when you are tackling tricky terrain, but also when you need to overtake juggernauts on the highway. There is abundant pull to make swift moves, so you don’t really have to be on your toes all the time to extract the 853cc parallel-twin’s performance.

Price

BMW Motorrad’s new pricing for the F 850 GS twins is an outstanding move. While the GS is now affordable by Rs 45,000, the Adventure variant is an astounding Rs 2.15 lakh cheaper than before. Not only have the bikes become cheaper, but now come loaded with loads of features as standard which earlier were optional extras. But more on that later.

While the drop in prices certainly make these bikes all the more appealing, these are still brought to our shores as Completely Built Units (CBUs), which invites higher taxes compared to its arch rival, the Triumph Tiger 900, which come here as CKDs. So effectively, the on-road prices of these bikes are a tad bit higher than their British rival.

Features

BMW has gone all out to rattle the Tiger’s territory. The F 850 GS twins feature list runs really long, and now come armed with keyless ignition, two-step adjustable windshield, Riding Mode Pro (Dynamic, Enduro, Enduro Pro), Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment), heated grips, adjustable clutch and brake levers, all as standard. With all the bells and whistles, the bikes have practically everything that you’d expect from an ADV of this segment and even more. 

Enduro Pro Mode

The highlight of the 2022 BMW F 850 GS and F 850 GS Adventure’s feature-set has to be the Enduro Pro mode. This mode is designed in a way that you can extract the most performance on pretty gnarly terrain from these Beemers. The Dynamic ESA firms up the preload while the damping is continuously adjusted according to the terrain. Furthermore, the ABS at the rear wheel is turned off, while the traction control setting is at the lowest. This allows you to trail brake, and slide out of corners with poise and without having to worry about losing control of the bike. Although this makes it newbie-friendly, seasoned riders can now take the benefit of the improved throttle tune by switching off the traction control completely, something which needed some real courage with the BS4 model.

Dislikes

Lack Of Adjustability

While the Dynamic ESA offers a certain level of adjustability at the rear, the front has none, and BMW doesn’t offer it as an optional extra either. For my 75kg frame, the compression damping of the front suspension was too soft, and on the rocky terrain, the front-end bounced around a lot. The rear lacks a customisable setting for the suspension and uses preset ones which seem to be tuned as per European standards. Having an additional customisable mode would allow each rider to tune the suspension as per their riding style and weight.

Top Heaviness

You would expect a lower center of mass for an adventure motorcycle so that it can turn quicker and is more controllable in tricky terrain. However, it is quite the opposite with the Beemers. These bikes felt top-heavy and would be harder to manage for shorter riders if you end up in a tricky situation. This problem is all the more evident in the Adventure variant which, thanks to its big 23-litre tank (instead of the 15-litre unit on the standard bike), carries even more weight up top. This makes picking up your bike after a tumble even tougher, especially considering the kerb weight of 233kg and 248kg for the GS and GS Adventure respectively.

Even on tarmac, though the bike can take on corners at good speed, you can feel its top-heaviness when switching directions.

Verdict

The long list of features and the massive price cut have surely made the BMW F 850 GS and F 850 GS Adventure an alluring proposition. But being brought as CBUs, you end up paying more than what you would pay for the Triumph TIger. However, for someone looking to be part of the GS family, the 850s sure aren’t disappointing considering everything they have to offer.

 

 

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