BMW F800ST Motorcycle Review

After about 8,000 miles on the BMW F800ST, I now fully understand its character and personality. And, I like it. It is exactly what I thought it was when I got it. It is an “old guys” sport bike. Hopefully BMW won’t find this insulting, but of all the sport bikes I’ve ridden, this one is the best fit. It has a more upright riding position than most sport bikes. However, it has enough forward lean to take pressure off my aging spine. It is also a more comfortable to ride than a traditional sport bike. I don’t know if this was BMW’s intent when they designed the bike, but it sure works for me.

When I was first looking at sport bikes, a read a lot of reviews. The BMW F800ST jumped out at me. It has received a lot of good reviews. At 800-cc’s, it seemed big enough, without having too much power to get me into trouble. And, 8,000 miles later, it has lived up to all of my expectations.

BMW F800ST Model Overview

The BMW F800ST is classified as a middle-weight sport-touring motorcycle. In BMW’s product line, the F800ST is considered an entry level motorcycle. And, it fits in this category very well. The F800ST is powered by a water-cooled, parallel twin-cylinder engine producing 85 horsepower. Although it looks like a sport-bike, it has a full fairing, high windshield and touring-oriented ergonomics, such as raised handlebars. The F800ST feels equally at home riding around town, carving twisty mountain roads, or doing some light long-distance touring. Weighing only 450 pounds, the F800ST is much lighter than most touring bikes such as the BMW R1200RT, Kawasaki Concours 14 or Honda ST1300. This makes the bike light and maneuverable, and not very intimidating. The gas tank is located under the seat, lowering the center of gravity, and further improving the F800ST cornering and handling. The Brembo brakes add excellent stopping power, and optional ABS rounds out the safety features.

Performance and Specifications

The BMW F800ST has 85 hp (62.5 kW) at 8,000 rpm and 63 lb/ft (86 Nm) of torque at 5,800 rpm. This is more than enough power for most riding, even highway passing. There is enough power and torque at low RPM to put along with traffic, while at mid to high RPM the F800ST performs more like a high-performance sport bike. Don’t mistake me, this isn’t a Yamaha R1 in racing form, but it will add excitement to your ride. On the touring side, the windshield provides reasonable wind protection, especially compared to most sport bikes. However, you will find that long rides at highway speeds can be tiring after a few hours.

The instrumentation is very nice, with an analog speedometer and tachometer, and digital screen with an optional on board computer. The onboard computer will tell you things such as how many miles until you run out of gas, when your tire pressure is too low, how many mpg you are getting, and when you are ready for your next service.

The Brembo brakes work very well, providing more than enough grab for a quick stop.  The ABS system also works very well. You don’t feel too much pulsing even during hard stops.

One of the key features of many BMW motorcycles is the seat height options. Tall? Short? No problem! The F800ST has a standard seat height of 32.3 inches, with a low seat option at 31.1 inches, and a low suspension option lowering the seat height by approximately 2.4 inches.

I’ve had endless complements on the look of the F800ST. Even my daughter thinks the F800ST looks cool, and I don’t often get complements from her. I’ve even had riding buddies tell me how the sound of my F800ST turns heads of pedestrians as I’m riding by them.

I have only two minor complaints. Wind protection is good, up to a point. Long rides at 65 mph can get tiring, since the windshield channels considerable wind to the chest and head. You can always tuck behind the windshield, as most sport bike riders do, but that’s not comfortable for long rides either. The other issue is the mirrors. I have relatively broad shoulders, but not outrageously wide. Although the mirrors look great, and have very little vibration so you can see clearly behind you, I see as much of my arms as the road behind me. It is easy enough to move around on the bike to see behind you, but as they sit, they are better design for a narrower or smaller body than mine.

Is the BMW F800ST Right for You?

Is the BMW F800ST right for you? The F800ST has been right for me for the past two years. BMW positions the F800ST as a motorcycle for three types of riders. It is a middle-weight, sport tourer with a good all round bike demeanor for those that don’t want sport ergonomics or touring bike weight and bloat. It is a good size for those moving up from a smaller, starter bike in the 250-cc to 450-cc category. It is also a good bike for shorter folks, especially those who can benefit from the low-seat option.

If you want a sporty looking bike, but don’t want, or can no longer stand, the discomfort associated with sport bike ergonomics, the F800ST may be right for you. It is great for booting around town, commuting to work, and heading into the hills or country on weekends. However, if your view of riding is heading across the country doing 500 miles a day, the “touring” in sport touring may not live up to your expectations. Wind protection is only marginally better than a sport bike, and a long distance in the seat at highway speeds can be tiring.

review:

Picture tag: , , , , , ,

Comments

  1. Thanks for this review. Very helpful!

  2. Hi to all F800ST riders. I took a 2009 F800ST for a test drive, its the first time that I driven one. During the ride I picked up that you can here the engine roar under you. After the ride I asked the salesman about the roar, but he informed me that its absolutely normal on all the F800 bikes, he also mentioned that its the question that everybody asked after their first ride.

    What I want to ask from the F800ST riders is if they experienced the same thing as I had. Another question that I would like to know is what other problems did you experience with the F800ST.

    • I’m not sure what you mean about an engine roar. Every motorcycle has its own unique sound. I didn’t notice anything unusual about mine. After 8,000 miles, I never had any major problems. Only service other than break-in and 6,000 mile service was to replace the ignition key detector ring and an air intake hose. Both were warranty recalls. I never noticed any problem. I occasionally had a weird neutral indicator problem. I would put it into what seemed like neutral, but the display didn’t show it being in neutral or 1st gear, just blank. Dealership couldn’t find anything wrong. Never interfered with riding the bike, but occasionally I needed to play with the gear to find neutral when starting.

  3. Silvabak says:

    I have an 09, bought new with 7500 km on the clock now. Mine has ABS, tyre pressure monitor, factory panniers and top box, all of which are options on Australian bikes. Aust. models get the computer and centre stand as standard. My wife also has an 09, bought new, the factory low suspension model, but standard seat, with ABS. Low suspension examples lose the centre stand for clearance reasons. On standard pipes, ours sound reminiscent of the flat twins. They have a great feel to all the controls, maybe a little less vibration and high revs would not be unwelcome. A fairly upright riding position works well for we “over 50-but not ‘old’ riders”. No reliability issues with either bike. We love the sharp handling and flick-ability. The under seat fuel tank helps, as do the wide bars. Very comfy on a long trip, very thrifty on fuel. While the ST does not have huge power and torque, what is does have is delivered in a very linear fashion from low revs. I had an Aprilia RS1000T (Futura) and a VFR800 (pre-v-tec) previously. The BMW is 30-35 kg lighter than either of those, so the on-paper power deficiency well offset.

  4. cellunlock says:

    oldboystoys.com is full of interesting articles!

  5. Gordon Patrick says:

    I have not been able to test drive this bike yet, I’m still learning. However I like its look and paper spec and I’m definitely an oldie. However a younger acquaintance test rode one recently and said at low speeds it felt like he was driving a smaller bike (he drives a Honda VFR800 and a NTV) and that at cruising speeds i.e. 55mph and over there was a pronounced vibration in the lefthand bar. If the latter is correct I’d have thought BMW would have addressed the problem or would that have been bike specific?

    • The F800ST doesn’t have the smack you in the face acceleration jolt of some sport bikes. But, if you are just learning to ride, this may be a good bike to start on. I rode a Triumph Speed Triple not long ago. Crank the throttle and it just about pulls your arms out of their sockets. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’m more into the fun of riding, rather than the adrenaline rush. The F800ST has about 85 horsepower. There are 600cc sport bikes out there with over 100hp. Your friend’s VFR800 probably has about 110hp. If you are looking for the fastest bike around, the F800ST definitely isn’t it. However, it has a nice smooth throttle response, and pulls well from 0 mph on up. If you are justing learning to ride, 85hp is plenty, and you will be less likely to get into trouble with too much power. I find the F800ST upright riding position more comfortable than a sport bike. It has a nice balance of your weight between the seat, handlebars and foot pegs, while still looking like you are on a sport bike. As for highway speeds, I’d agree that there is some handlebar vibration, but it never bothered me too much. My biggest issue at highway speeds was wind. The small fairing seems to direct the wind right onto your chest. After about 3 hours of riding, I’m tired from the wind. If most of your riding will be 0 to 55 mph, then the F800ST is a fun bike. You definitely won’t regret buying it. If you plan to do a lot of highway riding, or track days, I’m not sure that I’d recommend it. I’ve never found the perfect motorcycle for all types of riding. My R1200RT is wonderful on the highway, but big and heavy for speeds below 55 mph. My Triumph Bonneville T100, at about 65hp, is probably the most fun for just tooling around town, but lacks the suspension for twisty mountain roads. It depends on what you want in a bike, and what type of riding you do. Take a test ride and decide for yourself. Let me know how your test ride goes, and if you have any questions after the ride.

  6. Chris Law says:

    I am thinking about the BMW 800, your review is a great source of information. I have an old ’82 CB750 which I love. I wondered if you could give me some comparison on the relative weights of each bike. I don’t want something much heavier than my old 750, do you think the BMW is heavier?

    • Chris, I once had a 1982 (or so) Honda CB650 custom. But, that was a long time. To the best of my memory, here is what I think. Your ’82 CB750 is probably quite a bit heavier than the BMW F800ST. Back in those days most motorcycle parts were made of metal. The BMW F800ST has a lot of plastic parts, making it lighter. The F800 twin cylinder is narrower than the CB750 four cylinder, and probably considerably lighter. I think the F800 might feel taller than the CB750, but its lighter weight shouldn’t make it feel more top heavy. Your CB750 probably has a more upright riding position than the F800. The F800 has a sportier forward riding position. You will also notice that the F800 has a stiffer sport-oriented suspension. The F800 is designed to handle twisty roads, so will have less sway, or sideways movement, in turns than the ’82 CB750. On the other hand, the stiffer suspension means you may feel road bumps a little more on the F800 than the CB750. A lot has changed in bikes since 1982, so I’m sure you will notice many more differences. Most should be positive, though.

  7. I have a 2007 F800ST. When I went for my first long ride, I thought to myself what the hell have I bought. The riding position was sooo uncomfortable…. 2 hours later I couldn’t feel my hands, both my neck and wrists hurt not to mention a numb bum, I was happy to get off the thing. Basically, the handle bars are too low and footpegs too high. Ok for 20 year olds but not for those of us who are older…..The good news is that with around $500 you can rectify the ergonomics and make the F800ST into a truely comfortable sports tourer. First thing I got was a set of Verholen Adjustable Handlebar Risers (plus an addition front brake hose extension as my bike has ABS) which raised the bars 70mm. Second thing was a foot peg relocator kit, this dropped the pegs about 30mm and bought them ~10mm forward. Having made these changes I now can spend a couple of hours in the saddle without pain, but I’m still considering an Airhawke seat cushion for longer rides. Having made these changes, am I happy with my F880ST? I certainly am Ollie.

    • My limit was about 3 hours. I had people suggest changing the handlebars. I wasn’t convinced that was my problem. Glad to hear it helped you. I explored getting a Corbin seat, but wasn’t convinced that was my problem either. To me, it seemed like the windshield funneled all of the wind onto my chest above about 55 mph. I think that was the route of my problem. Did you do anything with the stock windshield? On the positive side, I’ve ridden several pure sport bikes. They are even worse at highway speeds unless you tuck behind the bikini windshield. Compared to them, the F800ST seems comfortable.

      • I’ve left the original windscreen however, after you fix one problem the others seem to become more noticeable. Speaking of sports bikes, a friend bought a Honda CBR 600 RR and now it’s up for sale as he can’t ride it! He cramps up just after 30 mins and has to stop and stretch. He said that at high speed the wind on his upper torso actually alleviates the pressure on his lower arms but to do this he needs to ride above the speed limit. I have seen one or two F800STs with larger windscreens and would investigate if I was to plan a major trip.

        • I got a GIVI Double Bubble Windshield from F800depot.com. It’s 2.75 inches taller than the standard ST windshield. It helped somewhat. I could ride at about 65 mph, rather than 55 mph, before the wind started to bug me. I was told that anything taller and I would get too much wind buffeting, and it would defeat the purpose.

          • Although I try to avoid riding in the rain….How do find that GIVI in the rain? Is there any noticeable benefit ? Any dryer?

          • Although you wouldn’t know it given the last few months, we don’t get much rain where I live. I can usually ride 10 months of the year without any rain. Even when it rains, it is usually only a light sprinkle, not the huge downpours in many other areas in the country. I guess that’s a long way of saying I’m not sure. I try to avoid riding in the rain. I don’t recall much of a difference, but I’m not sure I’ve ridden enough in the rain to make a fair comparison.

    • One other comment. Have you sat on an air seat cushion? If not, you may want to try it before buying one. I have a friend with one on his Harley. He loves it. I sat on it, and hated it. To me, it seemed like you lose touch with the seat. I think that I use my butt and hips to control the bike as much as the handlebars. You lose that ability with an air cushion. I have an Alaska Sheepskin butt pad for my BMW RT. I used it for awhile, went back to just the stock seat. I think that I move around too much on my seat when riding to be comfortable with anything that loses feel of the bike. If you try something, let me know. Maybe I’m not giving this solution enough time.

      • Matter of fact I just bought one, so I’ll keep you posted on how I find it. I was warned by the salesman however, not to over inflate it. He claims that if you do, any benefits would be negated…

        • Maybe that was my problem with the one on my friend’s Harley. It had to be 1-1/2 inches thick. It felt like you were sitting on an air mattress on a motorcycle seat. A very uncomfortable feeling for me. But, he loves it. It may be a matter of taste, or a matter of riding style. I’m not sure.

          • Took some time however, I can finally report on the Airhawke seat cushion: After a bit of experimentation I’ve found it to be extremely comfortable and well worth the $160. I was warned not to over inflate it and that advice proved spot on. The best result was when it was barely inflated, just enough to separate me from the saddle. Due to the low inflation, you don’t feel like you’re on an air mattress and as a result no undue slipping around on the saddle. So all I need now is some time and good weather to enjoy the ride……

  8. Bought a pre-owned ’07 F800ST in March of ’08. I was getting back into riding after about 35 years off. My age – middle 60’s. This bike is optioned out with the trip computer, ABS, heated grips, center stand. Nice. I am 6′ tall, 175 lbs. and the bike fits me perfectly. First – power: This bike is beyond merely adequate for all intents and purposes except maybe racing. It will do 0 to 60 in about 3.5 seconds. It can rip by traffic at highway speeds with a flick of the wrist. With the broad torque curve you do not have to continually downshift to accelerate through turns . . . above about 5K rpm the bike is simply fast. Handling – I found the front suspension too mushy with considerable dive during hard braking. Not confidence inspiring for me. Bought a set of HyperPro progressive rate springs. The kit included a quart of 15 wt hydraulic oil. Changed out the springs and the factory 10 wt shock oil, and it’s a different bike. Most of the nose dive under hard braking is gone, and it’s far more stable holding a line through the corners. For some reason way better in cross winds, too. This is definitely the single best thing you could do for this bike. If you are not a good home mechanic, simply buy the kit and have your dealer install it. I strongly recommend it. Seat comfort – not the best. Seat is not broad and flat enough for my bony butt. Tried an Alaska Leathers sheepskin . . . a fair improvement but not quite the answer. Now have an Air Hawk inflatable pad . .. this costs some security on the seat as my butt floats around a bit, but it’s another step up from the OEM seat. Still not perfect, and it’s tempting to try the Sargent seat offering, but that’s pricey . . . so will wait on that. ABS – has worked flawlessly for me . . . can get some rear brake ABS flutter during a hard stop but never a rear wheel lockup, thank you. One nice thing about that ABS flutter in the pedal is that it has helped train me to get the pedal pressure just right to avoid the flutter and the impending lock up during a hard stop. The brakes are great with good feel and light lever pull, light enough for easy two finger operation. Clutch pull is light also with very smooth engagement. Windscreen – could be better. The turbulence hits your square in the chest and is annoying at 60 mph+. I tried a couple of options but settled on the SkidMarx Double Bubble available from Rob at F800 Depot. The air still hits your chest but the flow is smoother at high speeds so far less annoying. This screen looks very nice too. After 10,000 miles this bike has proven to be highly reliable with the only two problems a dead battery (new batt fixed that) and an oil leak at the cam cover gasket (fixed under warranty). Also had the recalls for the fuel hose and the ignition key sensor ring. Dealer support has been outstanding. At the 12,000 mile service they checked the valve clearance and it was right on the factory spec. The dealer technician told me that if it stays the same to 18,000 miles it will probably never need adjustment over the life of the bike. In sum I am very pleased with the F800ST. My use includes the usual around town stuff plus weekend rides of up to 250 miles per trip so far. Planning a longer trip for this fall so will see how that works out.

    • Ron, did you see Jeff’s comment about the Airhawk seat cushion. He just barely inflates it and finds it comfortable without feeling like your butt is floating around. You might experiment with the amount of air. One other thing you might experiment with. I have an Alaskan Sheep Skin butt pad on my BMW RT. I found it quite comfortable, and you don’t get the floating feeling. It is relatively inexpensive. Here is some information:

      http://oldboystoys.com/2010/09/09/blog/alaska-sheepskin-buttpad/

      On the flip side, after almost a year of riding my RT with the Alaskan sheep skin butt pad, I took it off because it got wet. After riding the bike without the butt pad, I discovered that I no longer find the seat uncomfortable. I guess the butt pad helped me get used to the seat. I just did a 10,000 mile ride across the country and back with the stock seat and found it quite comfortable. Like me, you may find your butt gets used to the seat after a while, and you no longer need the Air Hawk.

  9. Anybody know of a good passenger backrest available for our beasts?

    • I put a Givi V46 top box on the back of mine and paid the extra to include a back rest. Unfortunately, it sits a little too high for the small of my wife’s back, it’s ok but not that comfortable. To compensate I moved the top box further back. Depending on the pillions height, the top box back rest could be an option.

  10. dear all.
    there’s a lot, we are talk about f800st, not even ones telling how bad this bike. . i own zx10 2010, 2006 yamaha r1, and really enjoy with my latest ducati 1100 hypermortard. .but why im keep looking an issue, proberly something bad about this bike…. coz i just comeback from 1500 miles road tour with f800st 2009, not mine. . it really enjoy…rilex..and fun bike to ride on.. and plan to get it next month.. will cost me,, malaysia ringgit 70k. . and its worth it.. just tell me. . where can i find bad thing about this bike..

    regard.
    kz
    malaysia..
    and im only 62kg weight. 5.7′ height..

    • hi KZ from Msia,

      I’m from Singapore & i’m only 5ft & 42kgs (female) and I’m going to the dealership in the next couple of days to test ride the F800 – have already infmd the sales to have the bike lowered to its max which I think is around 28-29″. I currently ride a 2004 sportster 883XL & it’s a hefty 250-60kgs which i’ve ridden around for too long (7yrs) – so am planning the switch to something 50-60kgs lighter and faster! – have heard about the raves from ppl who have ridden the F800 !

      • I’ve ridden a sportster. In addition to lighter and faster, you will also notice much better suspension and handling. One thing to keep in mind is that most people riding sport bikes can’t put both feet flat on the ground. At 5ft tall, I’m guessing you could still put both feet flat on the ground on the sportster. On the F800, you may need to get used to just getting the balls of your feet on the ground. New riders sometimes find this a little scary and think the bike might fall over. Since you have been riding for 7 years, you probably won’t find it too intimidating that your feet aren’t flat on the ground. Sometimes the biggest challenge is getting your leg over the seat to get on the bike.

        Enjoy the test ride. Let us know how it goes.
        Regards,
        Bryan

        • Tina Knickman says:

          Hey hi Bryan,

          Tks for the prompt response to my posting :)…at 5ft nothing, I still don’t flat foot my sporty, its better than just the balls of my feet only…just my heels are slightly lifted off. I just tried sitting on a F800ST which has had the lowering kit option done (shorter suspension & shocks), which i think brings the seat height to about 29″ and I can centre the bike no problem coz its so much lighter compared to my sportster 883XL, but if i put both feet down, ONLY the tips of my toes are touching the ground….so i have to perform the “butt sliding” option lol, i.e. slide butt to the right side to use the balls of my right foot on the ground so that I can kick up the side stand on the left, slide butt back to the left side, repeat with left foot (balls of left feet on the ground), clutch in, engage 1st gear – then go….but i only cud move the bike a few feet due to it being parked in a small yard & besides, since it wasn’t my bike, i didn’t hv the guts to bring it out SURE AS HELL WOULDN’T WANT TO DROP IT!!! I am still quite determined to buy it. But I want to listen to what you have to say about this….. I welcome all comments.. i am right now scared to death at the day that I will need to go down to the show room to collect my brand new F800 and not being used to everything about the bike & dropping it OMG!!! Thank you for your response Bryan :)) btw getting my leg over the bike is no biggie…i’m incredibly nimble lol!!

          • Tina Knickman says:

            …oops i meant just slide butt to the right, with right balls of feet on the floor and kick up the stand on the left side with my left foot, clutch in, engage gear and then go….. but u get the drift…I DO NOT have the option to put both balls of feet on the ground at any single time. *sigh* wish i am taller…

          • Fortunately, you are only short on one end. It would really suck if your feet didn’t reach the ground 🙂

            I don’t know what to suggest. The F800ST is a fun bike, but I don’t know whether not being able to get your feet on the ground will take the fun out of it after a while. I suppose it depends on the type of riding you do, and how often you need to put your feet down. I have a dirt bike with a 38″ seat. It’s okay off road where I rarely put my feet down. Riding it in the city would probably be a pain in the butt.

            Have you considered buying a used F800ST? Then you may not feel so bad about dropping it. It may also help you figure out if it’s the right bike for you without spending as much money. I don’t know how easy it would be to find a lowered one.

            The other option would be to stop worrying about dropping it. I dropped my F800ST about 2 months after getting it. I was backing it out of a friend’s driveway and slipped on some wet leaves. I’ve managed to drop every motorcycle I’ve ever owned. Always something stupid like wet leaves or getting my pant leg caught on the foot peg. After you drop it the first time, you stop worrying about it. You can always put some frame sliders on the bike to protect it from a fall.

            Bryan

  11. Hi brotherkz,

    In my opinion, the only bad thing about the f800st is that it can be uncomfortable (seat and original riding position). But if you have ridden one for 1500 miles and found it comfortable, then my friend there are no problems.

    Regards

    Geoff

    • I agree with Geoff, the only negative issue I found with the F800ST is comfort. Particularly when you first get the F800ST, and are not used to the forward-leaning riding position. But, it’s all relative. It depends on what bike you compare it to. The forward-leaning riding position can be tiring on the arms after a while, but not as uncomfortable as a pure sport bike like an R1. Try doing 1500 miles on your R1. After a few weeks of riding the F800ST, I actually started to like having some weight on my arms. It has a nice balance between weight on my feet, hands and butt. It was much easier on my back, especially if I hit any bumps. Although I explore some alternative seats, I eventually got used to the stock seat. I also got used to the forward riding position. For me, the only remaining negative is wind at over 65 mph. Even a larger windshield didn’t dramatically help. Maybe if I did a lot of highway riding I’d get used to that as well. Brotherkz, maybe being 5.7′ tall is an advantage, since you are more tucked away from the wind. Regardless, any bike you can do a 1500 mile road tour and say you enjoyed it is great in my view.

      Bryan

  12. I have a 2008 F800st just came back from a trip in canada just about 900 miles, the bike just hit 15,000 miles and is working great…. love it … I change the windshield with a 19.5 in by ztechnik and got a corbin seat and is much more confortable,,, love the power and good balance of the Bike….

  13. I just took my first test drive on a 2007 F800ST. Loved how it handled, love it’s safety features, but the sides right where the inside of my upper legs grip the bike were hot as the devil. Maybe I’m positioning myself on it incorrectly, having ridden a Yamaha Silverado 1100 for the last two years (totally different species of bike!) or maybe it’s my height (5′ 6″). Has anyone else noticed this as a problem?

    Carolyn

    • I notice the same thing on very hot days. Especially if I just wearing jeans. The engine gives off quite a bit of heat. I find wearing protective motorcycle pants also protects from the heat.

  14. Just been bought the f800st….Im short, 5 foot nothing, so luckily hubby bought a factory lowerd one! Fab! My feet touch the ground. My problem is, well not a problem as I LOVE this bike is my neck….being short the reach means that I am fairly streched, and my head neck is in a weird postion to see! Wrists, hands are fine, just the neck. No problem with wind, in fact can’t believe how protected I feel. My last bike was a Virago 535, so a HUGE change for me…love love this bike, just need to sort neck pain, any ideas?

    • If you just started riding the F800, you might want to give it a few weeks. My neck and arms bothered me for about the first 3 weeks. I wasn’t used to leaning forward, and the weight on my arms and my head rotated upwards. On standard bikes or cruisers, your head is upright and you are simply rotating your head sideways to shoulder check. This doesn’t put much strain on your neck. On sport bikes, and to some degree on the F800, you are rotating and lifting your head to shoulder check. This puts more of a strain on your neck muscles. It took several weeks, but the muscles in the back and side of my neck eventually adapted to the riding position. I was fine after that. Maybe someone else can comment if the did anything specific for this. Bryan.

  15. I’ve had my used 2008 F800st for just over a year. Got it with 31,000 miles on it and have now gone over 41,000. One owner and still under waranty at the time of purchase! Absolutely love it. Put over 1,000 miles on it last weekend. I was waiting to comment until the 1st longer trip. It satisfies all my needs: daily commuter, weekend get about, and long trip. I added handle bar risers, Sargent seat (eliminates the crotch creep), peg lowering kit, throttle lock (for longer cruising), and a Parabellum windscreen. The wind just hits the top of my helmet (I’m 6’0 tall). The wind screen even reduces the wind off of the hands & arms. It is also adjustable depending on how much wind you want. I have riden several types and models over the years and haven’t found anything yet that makes me want to trade. I get no lower than 50mpg no matter how hard I ride it. Averaging 55.5mpg since the purchase. Just plain fun!

    • Sounds like you’ve got the F800ST dialed in. It is particularly nice to hear about a windshield that provides better wind protection. I checked out the Parabellum web site to see the windshield. Wow, it is really tall. I was told by one of the after-market windshield providers that a tall windshield would cause a lot of wind buffeting due to the front end design of the F800ST. Obviously Parabellum have found a design that blocks the wind without creating buffeting. Which height windshield do you have? Thanks for sharing information on your modifications. It’s very helpful. Bryan

      • 25″. It is a very easy install. It has 2 adjustable bolts that allow you to set the height angle as you need. I found the stock screen to force the wind just under my helmet and would start to lift at higher peeds. I haven’t found any buffeting. I looked at VStream as well. I think the Parabellum gives you more flexibilty to adjust for summer riding (more air) and winter (less air). I’m very satisfied.

  16. As my rear foot peg rubbers were starting to come away, I rang up the local BMW dealer to get a price for replacements……After falling off my chair I did some searching and found the following

    http://www.motorworks.co.uk/vlive/Shop/Parts.php?T=5&NU=15&M=70&Ct=MA&SbCt=BA_15_70_MA_30

    Ordered the following:

    4 x Footrest rubber front and rear ( F800S / F800ST ) | FRA71079
    4 x Bracket ( F800S / F800ST ) | FRA71229
    8 x M5x12 torx screw for foot peg plate ( F800S / F800ST ) | FRA04849

    Delivered for AUD $120

  17. How does the 800 st do for 2 up riding? I’ve got a klr 650 and my wife rides with me probably 80% of the time these days. We really need a bigger bike for 2 up riding.

    • Don,

      I may not be the best person to answer this question, but here are my thoughts. I got the BMW top case with the back pad to make the F800ST more comfortable for a passenger. My teenage daughters didn’t complain, but I think that kids would enjoy a motorcycle ride even if strapped to the fender. I don’t think that my wife would enjoy riding on my motorcycle regardless of comfort level. I’ve never ridden a KLR 650, or been a passenger on one, so I don’t know how it compares to the F800ST. Power wise, the F800ST has over twice the horsepower of a KLR650, so you will see a major improvement in performance with a passenger. In my opinion, the passenger seat of the F800ST is more comfortable than a sport bike, but that isn’t saying much. Compared to my BMW R1200RT, however, the RT has a much better passenger seat. But, the F800ST is more fun and sporty to ride. I did look into getting a Corbin seat (http://www.corbin.com/bmw/bmwf800st7cds.shtml) to improve the riding comfort for both me and a passenger. It looks quite nice, and I’ve heard good things from friends with Corbin seats. But, I got used to the stock seat, and don’t carry a passenger very much, so I never followed through with the purchase. Hopefully someone else can give a wife’s or girlfriend’s perspective.

      Regards, Bryan

      • Thanks. I have a Corbin seat for my klr and it did improve the comfort. Little pricey but worth it. It’s leather and I have always liked a leather seat better than vinyl.

        I’m sold on the 800st if it provides a good passenger ride. I’ll go to the dealer as soon as I get my tax return and take one for test drive with my wife.

  18. what about the stalling of the bike at any speed.have read a lot of complains about it and with no solution .it can be quite dangerous.i have read some other problems common for many owners which most got fixed in warranty some not ,but what stops me from buyiing this bike is the stalling.
    THGANK YOU AND WISH SAFE DRIVES!

    • Madmax,

      I’ve never had any problems with my bike stalling. I also don’t know anyone who had the problem to find out how it was fixed. In 2009 my bike was recalled to fix a breather hose under the seat that could be pinched, and needed to be rerouted. The problem apparently affected F800ST’s from 2008 to 2010. I don’t know if this was the problem you are referring to. I searched the web and found some posts about the problem. It is difficult to tell from the posts if the problem still exists on new bikes. I’ll do some research to see if I can find any specific information about the problem, and the fix.

      Bryan

      • thx!
        actually the people who mentioned this problem did not find solution.in some cases bmw said it was the fuel pump and after the change owners saw only improvement but not totaly resolve of the problem.in other cases they were told this and that but no permanent solution.
        Manos

        • I’ve posted here before. I developed the stalling issue at idle after 46,000 miles. BMW believes this is a unique problem to American bikes. The belief is that the ethenol blends cause a black residue build up at higher mileage. The fuel pump and injectors become fouled and the onboard computer senses that enough fuel is flowing, but in reality it shuts down. I put in various additives trying to complete a long trip without stalling. The only real remedy was staying on the throttle while braking to a stop. Not the safest, but effective. My local dealer kept the bike and ran various tests recommended by BMW for two weeks. They replaced both the pump and injection system. They had 2 different techs ride it to try to make it stall (as they had experienced as I had) until they we confident they had solved the problem. Costly, but effective. My plan is to add an additive every fillup to combat the build up they found and avoid a similar problem at 90,000. Once you’ve got it to the point you know it, it is probably too late. Ran it hard today and no problem. My confidence will be solid after a week of riding. I literally had it stall multiple times every ride. So this may be the fix!!!

          • I’m not sure this problem is unique to BMW. I’ve had the problem with my Kawasaki Ninja 250 and KTM 450EXC when I don’t ride them enough. The ethanol forms a resin on the carburetor jets. In researching the ethanol carburetor problem, I was told the same thing will happen to fuel injection systems, just not as fast as in carburetors. So, a few times a year I put additives in my BMW and Triumph fuel injected bikes. I’ve used both Sea Foam and StarTron, and they seem to work.

            Bryan

          • I just got an 07 and have the same stalling issue everytime I fuel up the bike. Which additive do you use to help with this? Its been very frustrating, other than the stalling I love this bike. The last tank I put in non ethanol fuel and it still stalled out several times on the ride home. I am going to try and put another tank of non-ethanol in next time and see if two in a row helps.

          • If the problem is a clogged up fuel injector, just using non-ethanol gas at this point probably won’t do much. Ethanol turns to a varnish-link coating if it sits too long. I’ve mostly used Sea Foam, but have also used StarTron to clean the fuel injectors and as a fuel stabilizer. In California, I have the benefit of riding year round, so I haven’t had much problem with fuel sitting too long and clogging up the injection system. However, I don’t know for sure if that’s the cause of your stalling problem. But, it doesn’t hurt to try something like Sea Foam. I’ve used it with bikes in the past with some success.

            Bryan

  19. I’ve just returned from an 1100 km round trip on mine. First long trip since I bought it a month ago. I found the seat a bit uncomfortable – but I was heavily loaded with camping gear and couldn’t move around much. I did go 385 km between refuelling stops so I figure I couldn’t have been too uncomfortable. It really is an impressive bike.

  20. Bought my 2007 F800st on eBay with 12,500 miles already on it. I now have just short of 30,000 miles showing on the odometer. Under hard acceleration, three times in the first few months the bike shut itself completely down (while rolling). It was still under warranty so three trips to the local BMW Morrad dealer resulted in three cheerful evaluations of the problem while all amounted to NOTHING. I even told them that the last time it happened I saw the message “EWS” flash on the screen which indicates the problem was with the antenna ring surrounding the key containing the special chip. Because the ring had already been replaced under warranty by the first owner, they did NOTHING. Curiously, I’ve driven it another 12,000 miles or so since and the problem has never recurred. Perhaps when I changed the battery, air filter, or spark plugs on my own I inadvertently fixed some bad electrical connection. Otherwise, the bike has been a joy to ride. I don’t find wind buffeting an annoying issue at all at any speed- riding any motorcycle involves sitting in the breeze. It has more than adequate power for my needs, plenty of space with the BMW top case and side panniers, and I also have a cargo net for putting even bigger items on the passenger seat. Young men admire it and old guys like me (51) find it pleasing to look at. My local mechanic told me none of the F800 series idle that great and mine sometimes has to be restarted after idling for a few seconds while I’m putting my helmet on. 52-54 MPG and I have it at 75 mph on the interstate more than at stoplights around town. Overall, I’m very happy with it. Wish it took regular gas, not Premium, but can’t complain when it costs only 15 bucks to fill the tank even at $4.25 a gallon.

    • Puzzling to hear people too about the stalling problem. I never had any problems. I spoke with a guy two weeks ago that does motorcycle tours with F800s. He said they’ve never had any problems with their F800s used on tours. I thought with all the miles they put on F800s, they may have a sense for the problem. Very strange problem that affects some bikes and no one seems to really know why.

      Bryan

  21. I bought an 07 with 14,000 miles last October, put another 2500 on it this spring. 55-60 MPG. Never had a stalling problem. I cured the wind buffeting with a Madstad Engineering adjustable windscreen. Makes all the difference in the world for all day riding, or even around town.

    This is a bike meant for people under 6 feet but for those of us with a verticle challenge, this is a great bike. Lots of features, easy to handle. Highly recommend it.

  22. james hammond says:

    Have a 2011 f 800 st great small bike for the back road but light for the hiway. Have a 1200rt for that. I have put bar risers on and helps a lot, gps and a Akrapovic slip on. Sounds great. Have had it stall, shut down twice in the 9k I have drivin so far. Just put the new Michelin Pilot Road 3’s on what a difference!!! Now I have the ABS light on, directional stay on and no speedo. Have to have it checked out. Love the bike though.

  23. Mark Berger says:

    What are the differences between the 2009 and 2012 years of the BMW F800ST? Anything major missing from the 2009 model?

    • Mark, my F800ST was a 2009. I haven’t looked at the new 2012 models very closely, but they seem to have only changed the paint colors since 2009. I just looked at the specs for a 2012. I don’t see anything that looks different from my 2009. Maybe someone else will jump in with some other comments. If you are planning to buy a used 2009, I don’t think you will be missing much, if anything, compared to a 2012. Also, I don’t think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the 2009 that they would have fixed in later models.

      Bryan

  24. Hey, just looked at the f800st- 10′ with 850 mls. Very impressed. Just loved it. I am concerned about the the passenger being comfortable. Do they get wind blown also. Any thoughts??
    Your site has been very helpful. Thank you all.
    Would definitely change the windshield.

    • I’ve only had a passenger on the bike on city streets. Wind is isn’t a issue at low speeds. I’m not sure why a passenger would have problems with wind, even on the highway, since you are probably blocking most of the wind. However, I don’t have any first hand experience as a passenger at highway speeds. The one thing I might suggest is getting a top case with a back rest for the passenger. I got the stock BMW case that can be keyed to your ignition key. Most passengers feel more comfortable when they can lean back against a back rest. It also eliminates any concern about falling off the back.

      Bryan

      • older & grayer says:

        New question: heard anything about a 2013 F800ST? With BMW offering a touring package for the F800R and no info on new ST, maybe it is being discontinued?

        older & grayer

        • No, I’ve been very busy lately. I haven’t had a chance to look at the 2013s yet. Bryan

        • Just saw yesterday that the ST will be replaced by the GT. Shifting to more of a tour than sport bike. New seat and seat height, fairing, wind shield, and ABS standard. Worth looking at.

  25. has anyone had the rear brake of an F800st lock-up while turning a corner?

    • No, I’ve never had that problem. Maybe some of our readers have heard of the problem. Do you have any more details about the problem. What happened and how did you resolve the problem?

  26. siskin

    i’ve had lots of bikes over the yrs & feel that i am a careful rider, but i locked-up on a turn & high-sided last yr having never dropped a moving bike before & having been very aware/cautious in avoidance of high-sides over the yrs….

    it clearly was operator error, but i am perplexed as to why since i’ve ridden all my bikes the same way for many yrs—-i’m now being very judicious with the rear brake & keeping up vigilance when on the f800st….

    anyone else locked the rear brake while in a turn?

    • I’m assuming you are talking about street riding, not track riding. When I learned to ride (MSF course), I was taught never to use your brakes in a turn — to set your speed going into the corner, then accelerate out of the corner. If I’m doing any trail braking in the turn, I’m slowly releasing the brakes, not applying them. I generally don’t do much trail braking, at least not much past the beginning of the turn. If I’m applying the brakes in a turn (i.e., adding more brake), it is because I’ve misjudged my speed going into the turn, somethings on the road, or it’s a decreasing radius turn. In that case, I usually try to reduce my lean angle, brake hard, then resume the turn. Not easy to do when you are going fast, and is usually a panic-like situation. I’ve locked up the rear wheel many times over the years when emergency braking, but but never in a turn. The only time I’ve had the rear wheel started sliding out in a corner was on some loose dirt. Fortunately, with my off road riding experience that’s a relatively common situation and I didn’t over react. I just rode out the slide.

      It sounds like you regularly use your brakes in a turn. Any particular reason, or was that just how your were taught to ride? I remember seeing an interview with a MotoGP racer. I think it was Nicky Hayden when he first started racing. He said that he had a bad habit of using his rear brake in turns. They fixed this problem by removing the rear brake from his bike. I’ve never learned trail braking as done by professional racers. I don’t do that type of riding. I’ve talked to sport bike riders, and apparently that it’s very common not use the rear brake at all. That’s because when you are braking hard with the front, all of the weight is shifted forward making it easy to lock up the rear brake.

      Since I’m generally not riding that aggressively, I feel comfortable using both brakes into the corner, and coming off the brakes early into the corner. I don’t know if that helps. It is just the way I ride.

      Bryan

  27. Yea, that’s what i meant by operator error—–i was a little hot coming into the turn so i gave it rear brake—–maybe i’ve just been lucky in the past when other bikes locked/skidded a bit while in a turn, but not this time…

    another question @ the bike—–it’s a 2010 F800st has a button on the left grip inboard to the INFO button with ABS on it, yet it appears that it neither turns the ABS on or off—–does anyone else have this & is it a non-functional button?

  28. Hello
    I have my F800S 2007 for last two years. I just love this bike. I had some problems like bike stalling on a highway (software update sims to fix that problem) or rear axle sizing (quite expensive as bike was out of warranty) but other than that its just one perfect bike for me. Recently just upgraded to progresive front springs and changed head beadring its like new bike. Its stick to the ground so well, my chicken strips on rear tyre are gone 🙂 I have added full fairing by Pyramid Plastics and people turning their heads all the time.With top box off and a seat covl bike looks super sporty. Xenon lights improve visibility. I’m tall 6’3″ i have upgraded taller windscreen and can cruise with speeds 65 mph, over that wind gets too strong on my shoulders and my head. I recomend Michelin Pilot Road 3 for tyres, they are exellent great grip and mileage. I just love love this bike.

  29. Jessica Hatfield says:

    Hi Bryan,
    I hope you don’t mind me posting…I’m not old (at least I don’t feel old), I’m not a man, but I do love my two wheeled toys. 😉 I recently purchased a 2012 BMW F800ST, used. I’ve been riding since 2008, and after my first bike (Suzuki Boulevard C50, which was too big and scary for a first bike) and my second bike (Suzuki Boulevard S40, which was fantastic to learn on), I’ve learned that I am not a cruiser kind of girl, and that my first instinct about wanting a BMW (and no other) was spot on. I’m 5’6″ and while I don’t quite stand flat footed (which I thought would really be an issue for me to feel safe), the ride makes up for any hesitation I had. I purchased my bike in March 2013 and I’m happy to say I’ve put about 1k miles on it. As some men name their cars, I’ve named my bike…Gunther. With two small children, ages 3 and 7 (who are beginning to ride with my husband and I), a full time government employee and a graduate student, I try to take every opportunity to spend some quality time with Gunther.

    While I just read your reviews today, I feel even more confident with my choice to go with a BMW.

    Thanks for all the information you have (and continue to) provided.

    Safe journeys,
    Jessica

  30. had one of these for 3 yrs- sorry gave up on it in the end
    most things I could handle(more on them later) but the Bike handling was – er- “strange”
    I went from a speed triple onto this bike & I could never fully get to grips with the way it fell into corners.
    I like my corners- the speed triple was one of the best handling bikes I have ever own- but this BMW- you can go into a corner- right gear, right speed, and you are OK but you can;t just power out, you have to countersteer & almost force this bike around the deeper corners- I almost came a cropper on carter bar corners in scotland when I took my “eye off the ball” for a second- the barriers loomed up very quickly !
    my chicken strips were laughable on this bike when I (just) traded it in- I am not a corner knee scraper, but on the triple is was almost nothing
    Such a shame
    may I point out I am 5ft 4inch, and not very strong- the bike is quite heavy top end, if it starts going over you may as well let it.
    Other stuff
    Economy was brilliant
    seat was super comfortable- you will be very comfy on very long runs if you are short- my Husband- 5ft11inches found it too cramped
    my Hubby also complained of it being “revvy” – you have to go up & down the gears a bit- its true- not too bad
    its got lots of motorway pucnh

    but the handlebars do vibrate a lot- you get a numb palm of the hand- and it takes a bit of getting used to if you have never ridden a motor like this. – I had handlebar weight ends- still does it

    the switch gear- just Why Oh Why BMW?? nothings anywhere easy to get to – the indicators are on each respective side & you have to move your thumb up on the throttle side to cancel them ! they don’t cancel quickly enough for me- dangerous. And you just would not be able to reach the horn in a desperate situation- its too far out of reach for your thumb on the left.
    If you want to do a lot of motorway miles & you are short, its a great bike

    I have traded this bike in for a Triump Speed Triple 1050 (lowered with a screen)

  31. Hi, I bought a 07 f800st with 3000 mls on the clock, smashing to ride and enough power for me being 62 years old, I do seem to have some what seems like loose rattling noise when idling, is this normal ? otherwise love it.

    • Since you weren’t specific about where the rattling is coming from, I’m going to guess it is from the engine, or else you wouldn’t be worried about it. You may be hearing the cam chain rattling. Some rattling may be normal. If it is rattling a lot, that may be due to the cam chain having stretched, or the cam chain tensioner spring being stretched and no longer working properly. That is relatively common on many older bikes, although yours doesn’t have all that many miles on it. I’m not a mechanic, so you may want to have a mechanic familiar with the F800 take a look at it (or listen to it) to determine if it is normal cam chain rattling, or due to a stretched cam chain or tensioner spring. Hope that helps.

      Bryan

  32. Michael Ney says:

    The engine can sound a bit diesely at idle and there is a bit of clutch-clatter (pull on the clutch lever and it goes) but that is just its character. After several years on a Deauville 650 (carbs) the F800ST is streets ahead. My only criticism is the screen; I am 1.83 tall (6’1″) and the wind over the screen is tiring so I fitted a Laminar Lip to the screen and it helps but on the morning burn up the A3 at a steady 75, it is a bit wearing. Once in the 50 and 40 zones, there is much less wind and one can even open the visor but over 55 that’s impossible. I had the tall screen on the Deau and had got used to living in a calm zone! Perhaps it is just acclimatisation. Mine is an 07 which I bought with 8000 miles on the clock (1500 miles a year) I have done 4000 in 6 months and loved the lot. In really pissing rain, my boots let by, my gloves filled with water and my jacket seeped but nothing like my over trousers; sitting in an icy puddle is not an elevating experience! Hand guards, gaiters for my boots, re_proofing juduciously applied and I’m warm and dry. I’ d stayed in the office looking at the rain, wishing it would ease off but it didn’t so I had to bite the bullet and set off home. Yuck! It went on to rain all night so the decision was forced upon me and couldn’t have been avoided. Hooray for the tumble-drier. Would a higher screen have helped? Probably not but it would make life a little more comfortable.

  33. Hi
    Im looking at getting a 2009 F800 ST. I’ve sold on a CBF1000 and a Pan ST1100, now looking for a change. The CBF1000 gave me real problems with vibration through the RH grip. After 10 miles my hand was numb. This is why I sold it. I like the look of the BMW ST but have not driven one yet. Anyone had any problems with vibration through the bars, I dont want to go down this road again
    cheers
    steve

    • Steve,

      Yes, one common complaint from people is some vibration in the handlebars around 4k to 5k rpm. I never found it bothersome, but it was noticeable. I understand that others didn’t like it. I don’t know how it compares to your previous bikes, but you may want to try a test ride before buying it if you are concerned about vibration.

      Bryan

  34. Hello fellow riders,

    Here’s my take on the BMW F800ST. I own a 2012 model. Overall, it’s a very good bike. BUT, it depends on what you’re looking for. I agree with one of the earlier posts that mentions how her 5′ 11″ husband claims that it’s a bit cramped. I’m the same height & I find that on highway rides greater than 35-50 miles in distance, my lower back stiffens up. Additionally, I get a cramp in my upper right thigh muscle. Forcing me to extend my right leg whilst riding at apx speeds of 75-80MPH. OR I have to stand on the pegs for a bit.

    It is a beautiful bike, has plenty of usable power for both street & highway riding. The Rotax parallel twin is a workhorse of an engine (for those who didn’t know – it is NOT a BMW engine), and handles rather nimbly for a sport tourer. Especially if you run it on great tires. (I’m currently running it on Michelin Pilot Road 3s which are absolutely outstanding)

    Yes, there is some subtle steering vibration that can & will make your fingers/hands go numb on occasion REGARDLESS of how soft your grip is on the controls.

    Now for the not so positive side… I’ve had a lot of silly & annoying things go wrong with the bike after 6 months of ownership (I bough it new). Fairing bolts fell off the bike, belt drive housing & protective cover bolts also fell off. Several engine & luggage bolts began rusting, the right clip on control assembly malfunctioned (after 1 year) which runs the heated grips, turn signal & engine shut off. And last month, my ABS pump failed. As the dealer’s service mgr put it; Good news is the bike is under warranty, bad news is, if it wasn’t, the repair would have cost you $2,000.00. Mind you, I only have 6K miles on it. This is completely unacceptable – especially for a BMW.

    Apparently BMW corporate is aware of the ABS Pump failures (on this & other models) but has done nothing to remedy it via a recall or free extended warranty).

    So overall, its a good bike and a lot of fun to ride BUT I am disheartened by the brand and its reliability. Please note that this model had a massive safety recall for older models (2006-2010) related to the belt drive system, chiefly, the belt coming off the rear wheel drive assembly. Caveat Emptor!!!

    Just test rode the 2014 Triumph Daytona 675 (sport bike). Now that’s one heck of a bike, despite it being all sport & no touring. 🙂

    Hope this review helped.

    Safe riding everyone!

    Norm

  35. NO Bike is perfect. I bought a 2009 F800ST on Nov., 2013 with about 2800 miles. I loved my previous 2008 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom, but was tempted by the price of this low mileage BMW. My Vulcan gave me a nice upright riding position, but eventually my 60+ back did get bothered after 150+ miles on the Vulcan. A quick rest stop, and I was good for another 150. The F800 position is more forward with, yes, more pressure on the wrists with my 5′,10″ frame, but the back issue has disappeared on the ST. I do not notice a vibration difference at high speeds between the two bikes, though the thumping v-twin and parallel twin both exhibit irregular jerking if you fail to shift low enough at slow speeds. If you want vibration, get on almost any Harley at any speed. Those v-twins are intimidating brutes, but even their engine dampers won’t dismiss the characteristic Harley thump, which so many Harley riders love.

    Any other discomfort seems to disappear because of the great riding fun that this F800ST gives.

    I loved the Vulcan but went for the BMW because of its lighter weight, lower center of gravity, high gas mileage, and raving reviews from most owners. But I found much more in its riding excitement, which somehow distracts me from any of the issues brought up in this interesting discussion. I went from a lot of chrome to no chrome, but somehow get as many turning heads and compliments.

    The bike has been mechanically excellent, and BMW is honoring the real axle issue with a recall, which cleared my bike last March. I am a VERY conservative rider, but find myself doing more aggressive lane changes and short sprints than on other bikes because this bike displays such impressive response that I hope will not give me too much confidence–because that’s when we all get in trouble. Anyway, I look for any excuse to ride it.

Speak Your Mind

*