O First Ride Bmw F Soor

GOLDILOCKS' PORRIDGE

Like the fantasy foodstuff, this bike has everything just right, according to manufacturers BMW. Kenny Pryde wields his tasting spoon...

Words: Kenny Pryde Pics: BMW

Some bikes are intimidating, aren't they? Some circumstances are intimidating (do you remember the first time you rode away from a bike shop on your new bike?). And when you put both scary bike and stomach-churning situation together, it detracts from your riding. Well, I think I'm on safe ground when I say that nobody - or almost nobody - would be intimidated by the new-for-2009 BMW F 800 R. And I mean that as a compliment. Who the hell wants to be intimidated every time they thumb the starter button of their bike?

BMW designers and marketing teams reckoned that what the world needed was a real newcomer-friendly bike which would still have enough 'fun potential' for more experienced riders. Which is a tall order when you think about it. The design brief was to produce a bike that's not too big, not too powerful, not overly complicated, that can amuse and entertain everyone who can throw a leg over the low seat height of this naked 798cc parallel-twin. It's the ' Goldilocks and the three bears' porridge of the bike world, although we're talking porridge with a BMW roundel on the petrol tank.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of oat-based foodstuffs and can eat it till it's coming out of my ears. It's easy to deal with, reliable and hard to screw up, uncomplicated and unfussy even if it's not that exciting. (You can see where this is headed, can't you?) It's...like this bike!

The launch test was a two-parter. One session was a reasonably 'spirited' road ride around the highways and byways threaded around the Midlands near Silverstone and the second entailed buzzing around Silverstone's short

Stowe circuit. In other words, there was time enough and a range of conditions disparate enough to form an opinion on BMW's first effort in the mid-sized 'dynamic naked' market.

The first thing that strikes you about the bike is how low the seat is, which is almost always a good start. (In fact, BMW's seat option is a seat-raising modification). There's something reassuring about planting both feet firmly on the Tarmac. Somewhere in your brain, you feel reassured; here, you think, is a bike I can boss around. And this subliminal

O WHAT MAKES IT TICK?

There seems to be no real shortage of ground clearance considering the F 800 R's road-biased brief. Commendably slim profile too

'Asymmetrical' boss-eyed face is not pretty but we agree it is distinctive. Flyscreen is a useful £85 option

Specification response is bolstered by what feels like a relatively light bike to lift off the sidestand. For a firm famed for making bikes hewn from the granite and iron of the Bavarian Alps - high, hard and hefty - this is another plus point. So far, so good.

The steering lock is so wide it almost turns in on itself, although the rear brake could have done with a little more bite, but, forget that because without much more ado, we were bouncing through the backroads, giving it large handfuls of throttle as cars were overtaken quite possibly at speeds slightly in excess of the national limit.

Which was fun because already it was becoming clear what this bike was capable of. To wit: suspension well able to cope with bumpy winter-ravaged British backroads (check!); a bike and Metzeler Sportec M3 package combining to engender confidence (check); accurate fuel )

Engine

Type: 798cc. 8v. Ic parallel twin

Bore x Stroke: 32 mm x 75.6 mm

Compression: 12.0:1

Carburation: BMS-KP injection

Gearbox: six-speed, chain drive

Max power: [email protected] (claimed)

Max torque: [email protected],000rpm (claimed)

Cycleparts

Chassis: aluminium twin spar

Suspension: (F) 43mm fork, no adjustment

(R) spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable.

rebound adjustable

Brakes: (F) twin floating 320mm discs.

four-piston calipers. (R) single 265mm disc single-piston floating caliper

BMW ABS optional extra

Wheels/Tyres: Cast aluminium wheels

Metzeler Sportec M3

Wheelbase: 1.520 mm

Fuel Capacity: 16 litres

Rake & Trail: 25<790.7mm

Dry Weight: 177kg (claimed)

Supplied: BMW Motorrad UK 0870 5050 160

www.bmw-motorradco.uk

'Asymmetrical' boss-eyed face is not pretty but we agree it is distinctive. Flyscreen is a useful £85 option

snocK nas a wacKiiy-painteu spring but offers only basic adjustments - preload and rebound

under the seat. Parsimonious fuelling makes it last though

O WHAT MAKES IT TICK?

under the seat. Parsimonious fuelling makes it last though snocK nas a wacKiiy-painteu spring but offers only basic adjustments - preload and rebound

There seems to be no real shortage of ground clearance considering the F 800 R's road-biased brief. Commendably slim profile too

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