As soon as we rode the new BMW F 850 GS, we immediately knew that it was something special. It also had us thinking – why would anyone ever need a big adventure machine in India with this mid-sized ADV around? It’s got great character, and is without a doubt the most versatile and fun machine on our list.
The engine is quite exciting, with its beautiful refinement and thrilling performance. And the handling… well, it’s pretty much faultless. It’s also comfortable, practical and incredibly easy to live with. And, of course, the BMW badge on the bike just makes it even more appealing. You can’t really ask for more from a motorcycle, especially in the ADV segment.
And, as is evident from its lap time, it even set the track on fire. Sarath said that, in terms of handling, it was one of the best motorcycles on our list – and also that the bike was virtually track ready. The handling is like a ballerina, thanks to a stiffer new monocoque bridge-design frame, calmer steering geometry and a redesigned 15-litre fuel tank that nestles between your thighs to optimise the centre of gravity. On tarmac too, it’s incredibly fun. And even when you head off-road, the GS performs impeccably. The suspension is easily adjustable, and the dual-purpose tyres – on a 21-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel – make it perfect for dirt trails. But, irrespective of the road surface you’re riding on, the BMW always feels incredibly light on the move – with little feeling of excess flab. The 850 GS remains nimble at any speed, and also reassuringly stable.
You can ride the 850 GS all-day long without any discomfort, thanks to its comfy saddle, spacious legroom, slender fuel tank, natural bar position, aerodynamic bodywork and front screen. Despite its commanding stance, trail-busting suspension travel and big front wheel, the bike is an accessible machine because it’s not overly tall. The bike’s standing-up riding position is just as natural as sitting down on it. And the engine’s easy character makes it easier to manage on trails than the bigger ADVs on the market.
The new parallel twin-cylinder motor has a 90-degree offset. BMW has also upped the capacity from 798cc to 853cc, thanks to an increased bore and stroke. Power is rated at 94bhp, which means that it’s possible for the engine to reach its full potential. The engine is smooth and refined. The overall quality is the best in its class. BMW has also added two counterbalance shafts to iron-out the vibrations, and so the bike feels buttery smooth no matter how hard you ride it.
BMW has done something unprecedented in making the BMW F 850 GS the most versatile motorcycle available today. With top-notch quality, high practicality quotient, high accessibility, easy and agile handling and a fun, free revving engine, the 850 GS deserves to be crowned the ‘Best of 2018,’ if not one of the ‘best of all time.’ There is only one downside to this perfect motorcycle – its high price tag.