BMW has always done an incredible job of adhering to their brand image of precise and durable engineering. This immaculate consistency is personified through the revamped 2015 BMW F800R. In previous years, the F800R lay in the shadows of other BMW models and its competitors, notwithstanding its above-average capabilities as a bike. This, combined with its perceived lack of a definitive personality, is what led to its redesign and performance overhaul. Since the 2014 model, BMW has made some distinctly positive changes in terms of both styling and performance.
Though the 8-valve parallel twin remains the same, a modified fuel-injection system combined with major improvements to the exhaust raises the power output from 87bhp to 90bhp, a noticeable difference from the seat. The new fuel-injection system results in a finely tuned throttle that offers a glorious balance of precision and buttery versatility. With regards to the new exhaust, well, my ears were pleased. And even though I was enlightening my neighbours of the F800R’s beautiful sound, the parallel twin drank responsibly; this bike is pretty efficient – 6.1L/100km overall. It should only be fueled with super unleaded, but the 15L tank located behind the seat on the right-hand side of the bike, lasted quite a while.
The rest of the F800R’s electronic dash was intuitive, convenient, and informative. That being said, I would rather have an electronic speedometer over an analog one (in spite of the analog being more aesthetically pleasing, in my opinion). My reason for this is safety-oriented; the less time a rider needs to spend looking down, the more awareness he or she will have of the road around them. It is my opinion that, though one may get used to an analog speedometer, it is simply easier and quicker to gain the information from a digital reading. That being said, the bike’s dash is pretty. At night, BMW’s beautiful orange underglow lights up the speedometer and tachometer to the perfect degree.
The rest of the F800R is pretty darn good looking as well. The sharp edges and overall bulky look work well with the performance improvements. BMW’s asymmetrical side-by-side headlights, which gave it a sort of ‘industrial beauty’ look I rather enjoyed, have been abandoned for a single, centrally-mounted one. This makes it more stylistically similar to its competitors, which include the Ducati Monster, the Yamaha FZ-09, and the Triumph Street Triple as well. The taillight of the F800R, much like its sibling the S1000R, is particularly sexy. This is especially the case if you get the LED upgrade, which is included in the more expensive sport model.
The only one qualm I have with the design of the bike is the actual “F800R” badge on the bike. It is a cheap-looking sticker located on the rear end of the bike. When the rest of the bike is so beautifully engineered and solidly constructed, I don’t understand why the badge couldn’t at least be painted on. I suppose it does make customization easy if the buyer chooses to de-badge. Otherwise though, the F800R is pure BMW. All of the buttons are matte finish and have a pleasantly satisfying click to them. The turn signals are very well-done, with a convincing click to reassure you that you don’t look like a fool with your blinker still on.
The true prowess of the BMW F800R extends beyond its firm aesthetics to its impeccable riding experience. This sporty naked middleweight does exactly what you tell it to. Its nimbleness actually compares to much smaller bikes, which is incredible for a motorcycle that weighs 444lbs wet. The new stock tires are beefy and confidence inspiring. The chassis on the 2015 model has also been altered. Firstly, the suspension has been stiffened, as the front forks have been flipped upside down. An optional Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) system offers three modes to fiddle around with the rear shock’s compression. All three modes are relatively firm, and it does not add much to the bike’s already-established fantastic versatility. Braking systems have also been upgraded, with four piston radials on the front. The brakes are quite powerful, and BMW has included ABS as a standard feature on the 2015 F800R.
Since the 2014 model, the gear ratios of the first and second gear have been lowered as well, making the 2015 F800R much easier to ride in the city. A number of ergonomic changes throughout the bike have also been made to supplement this. A wider one-piece handlebar and slightly higher and more forward foot pegs contribute to a better and further relaxed seating position. The front edges of the seat did jut into my inner thighs when I attempted to squeeze my knees into the tank for the proper riding position. Even still, the BMW’s ride was one of the more comfortable rides I’ve had, with heated grips (an optional accessory) included on my test bike.
The changes made to the $9950 BMW F800R have definitely improved its standing amongst its competitors. Its stellar performance, great styling and optimal efficiency help it play in the same playing field as the Triumph Street Triple, the roaring V-twin on the Ducati Monster 821, and my personal favourite, the new Yamaha FZ-09.
2015 BMW F800R Gallery