When BMW Motorrad is mentioned, models like the astounding S1000RR, HP4 and the do-everything R1200GS will definitely be the first ones to cross one’s mind. These are the models that lead the lineup and contribute greatly towards the company in terms of sales. But of course, with the impressive technology and dynamics, they cost an arm and a leg. For those who want a bike with a propeller logo but have just enough moolah to make it, the Munich marque has something priced just above RM60,000 in store for you. It is called the BMW F 800 R.
Released into the Malaysian market last June, the F 800 R is the naked model in the F series, sharing the same water-cooled 798 cc in-line two engine with the F 800 GS. It also wears the same asymmetrical headlights (some call it winking headlights), which is eye-catching, at least to the old guy I met at a stop. The rest stop worker, who looked to be in his late 50s also pointed out the exhaust can and the fuel tank cap that is unusually located on near the saddle. These features, according to him, make the bike stand out among the Japanese bikes. I couldn’t agree more.
Atypical features aside, the F 800 R is also ‘deceiving’ in terms of dimensions. Measuring 2,145 mm with a 1,520 mm wheelbase, the bike looks daunting and bulky like the K 1300 R from far but it is in fact, not. Approach the bike and you’ll find that the size of the build is just right. Getting on the saddle is easy enough and the big fuel tank now doesn’t look as big as you reach for the handlebar. The pegs are positioned slightly higher than expected but you’ll get a sportier riding position and a balanced geometry. Combine all that with a ready-to-go weight of slightly over 200 kg, you get all the right ingredients for an entry-level player.
The parallel twin engine makes around 87 hp at 8,000 rpm and generates maximum torque of 86 Nm at 6,000 rpm. With help from the standard-fit Akrapovic exhaust can, the engine produces some sweet rumbling sound typical of a twin-cylinder engine. It’s not as loud as your mom shouting at you for not doing the dishes but the growl is there and still able to serenade the motorcycle-loving crowd.
The engine gives you a pleasing mixture of low RPM torque and adequate amount of top-end speed. It operates smoothly at lower RPMs and the gearing doesn’t demand you to constantly upshift, making it an ideal machine to gallivant around town. But there is this unwelcome vibration that kicks in as the bike approaches the 6,000 RPM mark, where the torque peaks. You can either maintain the speed, feel the buzz creeping through the handlebar and some part of the chassis and get used to it, or you can open up the throttle and pull away until the vibration is gone. I find the latter more fun to do.
The entry-level naked bike then makes up its engine’s lack of refinement with plenty of vigour in its handling. Unlike the hardcore HP4 and the fresh-from-the-oven S 1000 R, this machine is not backed by the German marque’s Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) but still has the audacity to take you on a fun ride around the corners thanks to the basic yet adequate setup consisting of 43 mm telescopic forks at the front end and a central monoshock at the other. The front end, with help from a damper, feels solid enough, even in hard braking situations, while the rear shock needs some firming up to take on corners better. Though the setup is just fundamental, it combines aptly together with the bridge-type frame, resulting in a composed chassis.
To say the F 800 R is the perfect choice among the motorcycles in its class would be misleading; it’s not the perfect street naked you are looking for but it’s not bad either. Apart from the engine’s tendency to get shaky at mid-RPMs, there’s not much shortcoming on the F 800 R. Sure, the plastic windscreen works as effectively as a pair of sunglasses in a cinema and the instrument panel looks like it was designed some 8, 9 years ago but beyond that, the bike is all about quality and reliability. The build is sturdy, everything seems to be screwed on tightly enough plus fit and finish is what we can expect from the Bavarian outfit.
But it comes with a price. At RM63,800 (OTR without insurance), the BMW F 800 R is the cheapest new Motorrad you can find but not the most affordable street naked on the competitive Malaysian market. Purists or seasoned riders understandably won’t be paying too much attention on this bike but newcomers who are toying with the idea of owning a two-wheeled BMW would be enticed by the bike’s eccentric appearance, sufficient performance and solid build especially.
|Price||RM63,800 OTR without insurance|
|Engine Type||4-Stroke, Water Cooled, In-line Two Cylinder|
|Power||87 hp @ 8,000 rpm|
|Torque||86 Nm @ 6,000 rpm|
|Gearbox||Constant Mesh 6-Speed|
|Weight (Dry)||177 kg|
|Frame||Bridge-Type, Cast Aluminium|
|Front Suspension||43 mm Telescopic|
|Rear Suspension||Double-sided Swingarm|
|Seat Height||800 mm|
|Fuel Capacity||16 Litres|
|Tyres||120/70 17 (F), 180/55 17 (R), Tubeless|