Ask most fanatics to call a BMW motorbike and the reply you’ll seemingly obtain is, “The GS.”  And by GS, they’ll seemingly imply the big-bruiser, dual-sport, world-conquering Boxer-twin (the newest instance of which ideas the engine scales with 1300-cc displacement), which might cross continents and ford streams and sand dunes with the identical formidable ease with which it navigates city jungles and highways.  However within the BMW Motorrad line-up, the GS F-models supply a much less cumbersome, extra nimble possibility as effectively.

BMW has taken the wraps off their newest up to date middleweights, the F 800 GS, F 900 GS, and F 900 GS Journey, which exchange the F 750 GS, F 850 GS, and F 850 GS Journey respectively.  Every bike advantages from a revised and up to date engine, vital weight financial savings, new suspension, and a completely upgraded digital suite.

Testing The F 900 GS Off-Highway

Lately, BMW Motorrad invited BMWBLOG and different media members to Las Vegas, Nevada, to check out the brand new smaller GS (particularly, the F 900 GS), in addition to spend a day of city play with the brand new CE 02.  (Discuss a examine in contrasts!)  Whereas the brand new GS bikes are actually smaller and extra to tossable than their huge brother, they’re removed from diminutive.   BMW refers back to the trio as becoming into the “higher midsized phase,” and this appears right for such succesful, substantial machines.

“Stick out your sweet on the skin of the flip and rock your weight down on the skin peg. Simple as that.”  Trip chief Gina, an teacher on the RawHyde Adventures driving academy in California, gave out this fundamental recommendation like she was speaking to an MSF Fundamental RiderCourse scholar, however I latched onto her phrases and repeated them like a mantra.  (And for the file, when Gina stated “sweet,” she was referring to a sure physique half that rhymes with “mutt.”)

As a comparatively novice off-road rider surrounded by seasoned gravel professionals, this easy however particular recommendation from an skilled teacher was a welcome lifeline. “Stick out your sweet” I repeated silently to myself with each sharp flip and rutted washout. My focus was fully on avoiding “doll’s heads” (slang for child-head sized unfastened rocks scattered throughout the path) and tire-destroying rock shards; as one fellow rider dryly provided, “while you see the sharp rocks sticking up, strive to not hit them.” Nice recommendation, although pointy rocks and doll’s heads appeared to make up thirty % of the path.

Thankfully, the newly svelte and succesful F 900 GS had my again.

2-Cylinder Engine, As much as 105 HP

The mid-sized Journey phase is probably probably the most thrilling and progressive within the motorbike business, the place all of the cool children need to be, with KTM being the 800-pound gorilla with their succesful and interesting 890 Journey R.  Triumph slots into the #2 place when it comes to market share (with the Tiger 900 being the stand-out), with BMW Motorrad trailing shut behind.  The brand new trio of F-bikes goals to shut that hole significantly, with the KTM the clear benchmark (although I believe it seemingly we’ll be seeing extra head-to-head with the brand new Ducati DesertX as effectively).

To energy the brand new bikes, the Motorrad began with the 2-cylinder in-line engine already used within the BMW F 900 R and F 900 XR, tossed it within the engineering shaker, and poured out two subtly completely different variations on the theme.  Considerably confusingly, every new variation displaces 895-cc capability (the engines in each the 800 and 900 have the identical half quantity), so the distinction is basically right down to tune. The 900-series bikes generate 105 hp at 8,500 rpm (up from the earlier 95 hp) and have a most torque of 68.6 lb-ft at 6,750 rpm (up from the beforehand 67.8 lb-ft), whereas the 800-series mannequin has an output of 87 hp obtainable at 6,750 rpm (up from the earlier 77 hp), in addition to 67 lb-ft of torque at 6,750 rpm (up from the earlier 61 lb-ft).  With 4 valves per cylinder and twin overhead cams, the liquid-cooled engines have two counterrotating stability shafts to reasonable undue vibrations. With a 90-degree offset crankshaft with 270/450-degree firing order, the engine sounds nothing a lot like a V-Twin, throaty, raspy, and deep.  A lightweight clutch pull and up-and-down quick-shifter are normal.

Vital Weight Financial savings

An emphasis with the brand new bikes is weight financial savings, and BMW has pared down the F 900 GS by ~30-lbs alone.  Most of that financial savings comes from a brand new gasoline tank design; the brand new plastic tank shaves almost 10-lbs off the outgoing bike’s metal tank, with additional weight discount from the redesigned tail part and new normal Akropovic exhaust (which additionally accentuates the in-line twin’s native burble).

On the launch, my bike for the day was a F 900 GS with the Off-Highway Package deal, a bunch of choices designed to make the bike considerably extra biased in direction of off-pavement efficiency.  The package deal comes with extra shift and experience modes, a extra compliant suspension (with beautiful gold Showa forks in entrance and a ZF Sachs rear shock, adjustable for preload, compression, and rebound), handlebar risers, higher engine safety and enduro hand protectors, and extra aggressive off-road tires.  This package deal targets the KTM 890 Journey R particularly, and whereas the specs of the 2 machines don’t line up completely, the variations are actually within the margins and can come down to non-public desire.  The GS Trophy paint scheme on the brand new mannequin is very fetching and I think about could have a excessive take-rate, although the Sao Paulo Yellow can be hanging.

Designed For The Off-Highway

Ergonomics have additionally been redesigned to intensify the off-road bias of the brand new bikes.  The handlebar is 15mm increased than earlier than, with 24mm extra extension obtainable on bikes geared up with the Enduro Professional package deal.  Foot pegs are 20mm decrease than earlier than, and have a brand new extra rounded, self-cleaning design.  I’m 5’11” tall, with a standard inseam and arm size, and I discovered the geometry of the brand new smaller GS to be squarely within the Goldilocks zone, particularly when driving off-road.  All hand and foot controls are simple and pure to make use of on the fly, and the design of the brand new foot pegs and slimness of the brand new tank design made transferring weight and gripping the edges of the bike with my knees pure and comfy, particularly when driving whereas standing.

A 6.5-inch TFT show is normal, which is vivid and legible and managed by BMW’s ubiquitous multi-controller on the left handlebar.  If you happen to’ve ridden any BMW motorbike previously few years, you’ll shortly grasp the way to navigate the menus and sub-menus, which flex relying on which choices are configured on a given bike.  And the BMW Motorrad Linked app is absolutely built-in, as you’d think about.

My specific GS had 4 obtainable experience modes obtainable: Highway, Dynamic, Enduro, and Enduro Professional (which disables ABS on the rear and retards traction management even additional than in Enduro).   (The Rain mode was disabled for some purpose, although not of concern round bone-dry Las Vegas).  After taking part in with every setting, I settled on Dynamic and Enduro because the go-to modes for the day’s experience, with Dynamic mode adjusting every thing from throttle response to suspension compliance on the fly, and Enduro mode slowing every thing right down to a manageable stage, whereas permitting the bike to be considerably extra tail (path?) completely satisfied within the dust and rock.

A Excessive Degree Of Customizations

As anticipated from a member of the GS household, BMW Motorrad got here out of the gate with a bevy of accessible equipment. From a full line-up of aluminum aspect circumstances and canvas high baggage to numerous Enduro enhancements and engine safety bars, to completely different seats to accommodate riders of all sizes, customization is sort of anticipated with the GS.  And the after-market will inevitably add to the chances considerably.  An F 900 GS Journey outfitted with a full complement of baggage actually does appear like a full-sized GS washed in sizzling water (sans the bulbous cylinder heads, or course).

Carving Up The Canyons

On the street, the F 900 GS is a nimble, playful barnstormer, considerably shocking for a motorcycle with such an off-road bias.  With the comprehensible limitation of the off-road tires however (a sticker on the sprint admonishes to maintain it under 100-mph vMax), the bike handles neutrally and predicably.  On the elegant and twisty roads via the Spring Mountains to the northwest of Las Vegas, as much as and down from Mt. Charleston, then twisting round Purple Rock Canyon, the GS leapt from nook to nook with eagerness, and responded shortly and predictably to fast mid-corner steering changes to keep away from the ever-present mid-apex rock falls.

I anticipated the entrance finish to clean out extra readily than it did, notably with the compromised tires, and was initially tentative with my strains and velocity, however as confidence grew with the grip and common suspension compliance, speeds picked up accordingly.  The bikes in our group geared up with extra road-biased rubber had a definite benefit, however I believe most of that simply got here right down to psychology; the GS I used to be on dealt with every thing requested of it on the mountain street switchbacks with barely a squeal, and each throttle response and traction management have been predictable and largely unobtrusive.

I Want The Windscreen Was Adjustable

Consolation on longer, flatter runs of pavement was additionally a shocking sturdy go well with.  A small irritation was the non-adjustable windscreen, which usually directed wind squarely on the center of my head.  A taller “Dakar”-style windscreen is on the market as an adjunct and is one for which I’d seemingly decide if I used to be going to experience the bike primarily on the street.  (The bigger windscreen additionally appears to be like cool.)   However general, that’s a small nit, and our ~220-mile experience (with 70% on varied paved roads) was snug and comparatively stress-free.  Whereas the brand new smaller GS isn’t any mileage-eater fairly like its huge brother bike, it’s additionally not purely an off-road plaything.  Versatility was clearly excessive on the design and engineering transient.

Feels Lighter Than It Is

When the pavement runs out, the brand new F 900 GS actually shines.  The brand new ergonomics, coupled with the burden financial savings and playful suspension, mix for an incredible stage of confidence when path circumstances get messy.  The bike responds instantly to even the slightest weight switch (“stick out your sweet, stick out your sweet!”), and the upgraded suspension soaks up shocks that frankly look like they need to deliver the machine to its knees (or the dust, because the case could also be).  The bike’s general eating regimen pays added dividends with agility offroad, and the sophistication of the general tune makes the bike really feel even lighter than it’s.  It’s fairly a magic trick.

I discussed I’m not an skilled off-road rider by any stretch, as the majority of my driving years have been on roads or tracks.  However the F 900 GS was a worthy and affected person tutor, smoothing over my initially ham-fisted inputs and tendency to experience extra slowly than suggested.  As my confidence stage grew and my speeds elevated, the bike lightened up and responded much more intuitively to throttle inputs and weight switch, and I discovered myself driving tougher and quicker over what the extra skilled riders described as “intermediate to advanced-intermediate” terrain.  The GS was unflappable, with Enduro mode permitting simply sufficient playful room to discover my very own limits with out concern of catastrophe.  When pavement lastly confirmed again up, my solely thought was, hey, can we flip again round and do this once more?

Candidate For One-Bike Storage?

My expertise demonstrates the great thing about bikes on this class and Journey bikes on the whole: That of flexibility.  As an all-rounder, the F 900 GS is playful within the twisties, snug on the open street (particularly in GS Journey guise), and confidently planted and nimble within the dust and rock.  It’s a motorcycle with immense persona, considerably extra so than its speedy predecessor.  With the flexibility to discover a number of limits, the F 900 GS makes a worthwhile candidate for a one-bike storage.  The “child” GS has actually grown up.

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