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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I gave this its own topic.

Here's hoping this is written OK, and not too PI.
First ever bike review, so be gentle guys. :)


I arrived at my local BMW dealership on Saturday morning after having booked in for a ride the day before.

My head and heart were saying to me... "You know you want the Sprint. Just give these bikes a quick fang, then go order the Trumpy".

Now some may blame my mindset for a negative outcome, but I can assure you all I rode the Triumph Sprint ST with the same thoughts recorded above - but for the Suzuki GSX1400.

So although I had my heart set on the Sprint, I knew that if the Beemer was for me, I would swing.

The two bikes are essentially the same as far as I can tell except for the following things;
1: S has clip-ons. ST Handlebars
2: ST has larger screen and fairing
3: ST has shorter seat height

So greeting me at the dealers were the two guys I had spoken to.
One of them asked me if I was in the market to buy, so I answered honestly and said that I am all but ready to order a Sprint ST.
"Oh well, everybody makes mistakes" was the smart ar$e reply. I think that soured it from the start. I hate sales smart ar$es.


The F800S:
I was there to test ride the very pretty yellow F800S.
Got the ***** from the dealer about "please don't cane it, as its only got 159ks (100miles) on it".
They took me over and showed me the BMW blinker switches, then started it up.
OK. I admit to a BIG SMILE :) there. It sounded great. Parallel twin gurgling away. Sounded awesome really.
On with my helmet and gloves and threw my leg over. Felt quite high for some reason. Kind of sitting OVER the bike. I'm 6' tall (and 100kgs - 220lbs), so don't normally have reach problems. I could touch the ground alright, but still felt stupidly high up. Not "part of the bike".

Outside and in the carpark.
So I had to let the clutch out almost half way for it to allow 1st to engage... ***??? Dealer said thats because its new. Seemed silly to me. Really didn't want to stall it at the dealer and make a fool of myself.

On the Road:
So I putted out and down to the traffic lights. OK so far, but I hadn't exceeded 30kph.
For those that know the area, I was at Worthington's BMW at Somersby, on the Central Coast of NSW, and had a perfect morning to go as far down Wiseman's Ferry Rd as I wanted.
For those that don't know the area, It is a riders paradise. Undulating tree lined roads with a great mix of left and right handers that just go on an on for about 75k's (40 something miles).
So you think to yourself, you've got a possible 150k test ride to go for it on. Unreal.

I got through the traffic lights onto Wiseman's Ferry Rd, and negotiated the mammoth Roundabouts that signal the start of it I initially though that I felt more "with" my push-bike than this thing.
You know how it feels on top of some dirt bikes? Really "high on top" of the thing, and not part of it.
Well that is how the Beemer felt. I felt disconnected from it, and that is not a good thing in my guts.

Through the gears it was predictably smooth going up, but felt notchy coming back down. Could be the newness of it.
In a straight line it felt smooth and responsive. But still felt very "not with" the bike.

Big gripe here. The master cylinder sits very high off the right clip on and jumps around with road vibration more than a kid who just sat on and ants nest and has had his arse bitten a hundred times.
Right in your peripheral vision and annoying as hell.

Similar power feel to the Honda VFR800. You know you're accelerating, but you don't have to "hang on". Much better sound though than the Honda. Not as good as the Sprint either.
I do not know how to describe this very well, but backing off the throttle produced the most disgusting wheezing and rattling sound from the drive-train. May have been the belt drive, as I've never ridden one before.

Cornering sucked. I felt it over-steered and I was wide into every bend. It certainly wasn't like I was going too fast. I just couldn't turn the thing at all. Never ever had that problem on that road on any bike I've ridden before, and certainly not on my old Zooki.
I look, I point, it goes. This thing. I look, I point. I turn the handlebars, and start shitting myself, cos it don't wanna go where i want it to.

In truth, I felt like a learner going for his first ever ride alone. Not confident at all on this thing. ;-(

7.6 k's into the ride my right wrist started aching (old injury that is the reason I don't like sports bikes - can't load weight onto them for too long.), so I turned it around and rode it straight back to the dealer.

Told them not for me. No probs there. It did sound good though.
15 minutes later the guy who had the ST arrived back..


The F800ST:
The bloke who rode the F800ST right before me got off it and was talking price to the dealer before his helmet was off, he was so impressed.
"Wow, maybe the handlebars make a huge difference." thought I.

The other bloke said it corners like it was on rails, and was seriously talking price and delivery date as I got on. Hmmmm. I thought the S cornered badly.

Seat height lower, and I could touch the ground with no worries on this as well, but still that "On top" feeling was there.
Handlebars were more comfy and the screen was higher.
OK. The ride.
Handled exactly the same ;-(
Master cylinder sat higher and bounced around MORE. Grrrr. It was all I could see.
Lots of chest buffeting form the screen that was also shaking more than a Parkinson's sufferers convention.
Cornered like***** as well.
Oh, and the larger sides on the fairing helped produce a lot of heat that annoyed the ***** out of me.


I know the Sprint has its own heat issues, but the day I rode the 06 Sprint was hotter and more humid than last Saturday, and was nowhere near as annoying as this thing was.
I took it for about a 35k run only because it was slightly comfier, but turned around because I was bored stupid on it.

I suppose the most "like" bike I can compare it to is Honda's Deauville 650.


So thats it.
Not a fan at all. Maybe it was me because that other bloke loved it. He was a bit shorter than me and at least 25kilos heavier by the look of him.

I'd still like to take a big R1200GS for a ride one day, but for now I cannot wait for my Sprint to get here. ;-)

Cheers,
Mike
 

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Very useful review, Mike, and not what I expected! The S was on my list to test next year if I decided to change my RS, so your comments are helpful. I wonder what bike the other guy rode that made the ST feel so good? Thanks.
Enjoy your Sprint! :)
 

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I don`t know how much they cost. Can anybody help out with this? In August this year, The BMW F650 GS single was the same brand new price as a Tiger, that should have helped a few of the dual sport crowd to make a choice!
 

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You touched on a lot of stuff that I've been(am) interested in.

I traded a GSX1400 torque monster which I liked very much for my RS Sprint when the sprints came on special in 2004.

I am ready to book an F800S at Tom Byrnes for a test ride. A parallel twin with a similar capacity but a lot more guts than my 2001 Bonneville which was just too lame for my liking.

My wife and I are right now in the process of booking a Euro holiday which will include a week on a R1200ST around Bavaria and the Swiss Alps.

I must admit I've warmed to this bike with its adjustable seats, screen and bars.
All sportstourers must have this adjustability in the future because we're not all the same.
 

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Mi-Key, thanks for a very good review. The fact that you were able to try multiple makes/models in a relatively short time period really helps and is the way to compare (Wish bike mags would routinely do the same without waiting for big multi-bike shootouts to compare obvious details).

I love my Triumph twin and twins in general. There was so much new technology on the BM800's that put it on my short list of sport touring choices. The R's have some appeal, but are way overpriced ( as are these 800's when adding options for anti-lock, bags, etc.) and the big K's are even more bike and $ than what I want. Duc/HD/Guzzi each interesting with their own negative issues.
1050 Triumph continues to be #1 choice for overall package.

Must... hold..... out .....un..til...07.......Tiger...can.....be......ridden.....must....not.....give in....to....lust.........for new ST :chug: :-g :-g :-g :-g :-g Cheers and enjoy her!
BobW
 

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Cornering sucked. I felt it over-steered and I was wide into every bend. It certainly wasn't like I was going too fast. I just couldn't turn the thing at all. Never ever had that problem on that road on any bike I've ridden before, and certainly not on my old Zooki.
I look, I point, it goes. This thing. I look, I point. I turn the handlebars, and start shitting myself, cos it don't wanna go where i want it to.

In truth, I felt like a learner going for his first ever ride alone. Not confident at all on this thing. ;-(
Perhaps a dumb question.... when you take a left turn, do you push out with yout left hand?

Your description sounds like a friend who used to ride but never understood the "push to turn" concept.


I ask because I can;t imagine any new MC made that just doesn;t corner well.....
 

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I've got a new FJR1300 on order, and it sure looks like my 02 ST will become a full fairing'ed RS in the spring, that's when it get warm over here to you upside downers in OZ :-D . I looked at the new BMW R1200R. Looked great until I looked at the tag, $14,500 USD and that was the base ABS model. There was a second one with just a couple extra's like bag "mounts" that was $15,000. ARE THESE GUYS NUTS? That's just a frickin' naked bike, and not one with all that exciting of a performance package. Let's face it too, BMW is reliable but not any more reliable than anyone else these days. That's a kind way of saying, those boys have their screw ups too. Mi-KEY the Triumph is the best decision "IF YOU HAVE A GOOD DEALER." I throw in that last part to show my total dislike of Triumph Customer Service (what an oxymoron).
 

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Hi Rodney,
I think you are getting a lot of bang for your buck with the FJ1300, not my personal cup of tea but they are realkly good bikes and very well priced.

I'll bet you love the FJ. :)

Davem :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
On 2006-11-15 08:36, JasonS wrote:

Perhaps a dumb question.... when you take a left turn, do you push out with yout left hand?

Your description sounds like a friend who used to ride but never understood the "push to turn" concept.


I ask because I can;t imagine any new MC made that just doesn;t corner well.....
Yep, I was taught the countersteering technique very early on in my riding by my dad when I was about 14.
I think it had more to do with me feeling "On top" of the bike and disconnected, as opposed to being part of the bike (which I immediately felt with the Sprint) that made it feel hard to turn.

I get mine just about Dec 14.

BM Pricing:
F800S on road in NSW with ABS and Trip computer (still cannot believe this isn't std) $17500.
F800St on road in NSW with ABS, Trip computer and panniers $19,200.

Oh, and Worthington's said it was a 3 month wait.

Thanks for the positive feedback as well guys.
 
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I used to ride a 97 R850R and always had the exact same feeling. The front end is a lot more rigid and you feel like you're on the bike rather than a part of it. I rode my CBX750F exclusively for a few months then hopped back onto the beemer, the first street corner that I tried to take like I was on the honda almost resulted in my death, the bike bucked under me like a horse with ginger up it's jacksey...
 

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Great review, Mike. The F800's are due to finally arrive in the States soon. Pricing on the F800ST is about the same as a Sprint. The Triumph is a lot more bike for the same money.
 

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Brilliant review Mike, Shame a mate of mine didn't see it before he bought his Beemer. He took note of all the whining about heat,brakes,after sales service etc that seems to get banded about on here. Put him off the Sprint. No bike is perfect and as a customer of what is a "smallish" manufacturer we should be telling people what a brilliant product they are producing and work WITH Triumph to come up with fixes for any REAL problems they have. He now catches up to me eventually and can't understand why I always have a grin when I get off, and mine's an old 955 model. Saving for a new one as I type.
Good on-ya mate. :chug:
 

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I rode the BMW R1200ST for an hour or so today. Procycles guy told me I could have it half a day if I liked.
My wife's impressions were of a generous comfortable seat, clever pannier mounting points that didn't get in her way and a nice smooth trransition up thru' the gears with the shaft drive.
My impressions;
*I like the vibes at idle
*adjustable seat, screen and bars should make it to all tourers
*nice and comfortable riding position, great two-up for those European tours
*seemless changes thru' the shaft drive take far less effort to be smooth
BUT
*where my Triumph shines at 2,000 around town the big 1170 twin didn't. At those revs my 955i would eat it alive. The BMW rep actually agreed "it's hard to beat those Triumph triples".
*throttle low geared and stiffish
*the telelever front feels somehow disconnected compared to the Triumph although I was becoming accustomed to it after the hour. "Turn in" takes a lot more effort
*my Triumph is much the sharper performer. And you can't put a $25 18T on the front of a shaft drive to boost performance
*the rubber boots on the underseat adjuster mechanism were falling off as I changed positions. I could have lost them forever had someone else not seen this happen
* this bike is much more tourer than sports. This is at present too much of a step in the wrong direction for me.
I like it but wanted to like it MORE. With a Staintune it would sound better

This bike was a 2005 8,000kms demo and I was told they would do the swap over for my 25,000 kms 2003 RS for AUS$10,000.
I would only do it if I planned a lot more two-up touring.
Besides, as my oldest son remarked " you could keep the Sprint AND find a decent Mk3 Norton Commando with that $10,000
 
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Thanks for the review, Mike. I was just talking to my brother about the new BMW F-bikes the other day, wondering how they will compare to the Sprint. Now I know.
 
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