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BMW Updates F800GS, Adds F700GS for 2013


F700GS Gets twin discs up front

You may still be confused about the BMW F650GS. Is it the tried-and-true Single from the ’90s? No, that’s been renamed the G650GS. So it’s a 650cc Twin? No, it actually displaces 798cc, but it’s de-tuned to 71 horsepower from the F800GS’ 85 for more user-friendliness. A Boxer Twin, right? No, silly—Austria’s Rotax engineered BMW’s new lineup of parallel-Twin powerplants with chain or belt drive. To paraphrase Woody Allen, it all becomes clear when we realize George Elliot was a woman.

Those who can figure out what the F650GS is are rewarded by a smooth, torquey ride with plenty of power, good handling and a light, easy character that make the bike a pleasure to ride—plus it’s value-priced at $10,155 (the F800GS’ MSRP is $12,355).

BMW must have gotten tired explaining all this, so for 2013, the F650GS will be called the F700GS. But it’s not just a name change—there’s also a host of improvements on the F700GS and its more dirt-oriented F800GS sibling. The changes are aimed at making the 700 efficient, safe and appealing to less-experienced riders.

Following BMW’s “Safety 360” principle—a safety initiative that includes equipping all models with anti-lock brakes, offering crash-worthy rider apparel and rider-tailored safety training—the F700GS now has ABS standard, as well as a second front brake disc. Wheels and tires are unchanged, with a 19-inch hoop in front (the 800 uses a more trail-worthy 21-incher). New electronics packages—BMW’s traction-control (ASC) and electronically-adjustable suspension (ESA) are available as options. Additionally, lowered suspension and seats will be offered to vertically challenged riders as well.

In the engine bay, the F800GS gets no changes, but the 700 will get a little boost. Output is now up to a claimed 75 hp, while offering a claimed 60 mpg (at a steady 55 mph). That provides, in BMW tradition, “more than sufficient power,” especially when it’s coupled with shorter gear ratios and a curb weight that’s six pounds less than the F800GS’ 472 pounds. Fuel capacity on both models is unchanged at 4.2 gallons.

Finally, there are cosmetic changes. In addition to new colors, the bikes get restyled bodywork, new instrument faces, and a new windscreen for the 700. It looks like both new models are coming to the USA, and should give Triumph’s $10,999 Tiger and the off-road oriented $11,999 Tiger XC a run for their money.



  1. eric says:

    take a look at BMW cars – they do the same thing. The 335i is really a 3.0, which is actually called that on the X5 3.0. Then there’s the 328i, which is really a 2.5. Haha. Still this bike will probably be my next bike, naming mis-conventions aside. I’ve ridden the Triumph and its just too tall for me. The F650/F700 is the right height, feel, features, capability. And I just don’t want another japanese bike like the V-Strom, which is also too tall for me anyway.

  2. John Tuttle says:

    Yeah, the headlights look like that crazy cat, but come on. BMW has been using this headlight for so long now that I’m not even sure what decade it was when it first appeared.

  3. HalfBaked says:

    You could buy an XR and KLX 650 for what this thing costs and they’re not made in China.

  4. Colin says:

    Nice improvements, especially the second front disc. Still wish they would give both versions the full-power engine and just call them the F800GS and the F800GS Adventure.

  5. Ron Gordon says:

    I forgot what Bill The Cat lookliked until I went back for another look. Spot on.

  6. skybullet says:

    They had a chance to fix the radiator exhaust that is directed just above the knee. It gets pretty uncomfortable on a hot day. My new KTM SMT addresses that by venting the hot air just below the knee.
    As an aside, non-BMW riders think the opposed twin “R” bikes must be very hot on your feet. Actually they are the most comfortable bike you can ride on really hot days. Maybe BMW will fix that on the new liquid cooled boxer twins.

  7. Neil says:

    Honda NC700X as Endoman said. Why pay so much just for the BMW name, import taxes and whatever else? That front fender/tank/radiator business looks horrid. Who are these designers? They need to listen to some Northern European Metal bands! Hideous car exhaust on the side too. What the fettucini alfredo is that? It’s ok but for the money? No. Test ride a Honda Shadow 750RS folks. Definition of the simple motorcycle. Less money. Add the Cobra kit. Now you’re talking. Tell all the idiots buying Sportsters to head across town to Honda. – And come to think of it, it DOES look like Bill The Cat! 🙂

    • TimC says:

      This “Bill The Cat” stuff is hilarious. Though I think this genre of bike look more like Crow T. Robot.

  8. Jake says:

    The “purpose” (of disinformation): is to detract attention away from “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. ;o)

  9. kjazz says:

    Why dont that just call them the 2013 Ralph and 2013 Ted…?

    These numbers that dont mean what they do in practically every other motorcycle in the world would seem to be nothing but a confusing point. Does it hurt? Does it help? Beats me.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      After reading this report twice, I agree completely with your comment. The industry standard is that a number in a bike’s model name roughly represents it’s cc displacement. Why not come up with a name that does that, then place a modifier after the GS designation? BMW seems to think… oh, never mind, let’s just say differently. Perhaps once they get you to understanding model names you’ll be more compliant when looking at accessory price tags. “Sure, that widget costs $700, but in BMW-ese, that translates to $500.” Ha!! I’m pretty turned off by this new form of weirdness.

      BTW, the code words I have to type to post here are in the same category. I’m looking now a a proper mane noun that clearly begins with a capital letter, then continues in upper case type but of a smaller size. What does that make the letters? I’m going to guess lower case. Then there is the lower case n? that looks like a lower case r?

  10. ABQ says:

    I suppose that we should be thankful that they didn’t shrink the gas tank by adding an extra muffler like they did for the G-650-GS.

  11. ziggy says:

    Year 2012 and the finest minds of Germany and China cannot figure out how to build a bike that doesn’t look like “Bill the Cat”


  12. ABQ says:

    They lowered the seat height! But, they lowered the power too.
    As if short people can’t handle it.

  13. BoxerFanatic says:

    They cancelled any and all R*S series bikes shy of the unobtanium HP2 Sport, and the K1200R Sport, and don’t import the K1300R either…

    but now a THIRD GS model, in addition to plenty of lux tourers with more storage space than a Miata, and a clone of japanese I4 race rocket…

    Where the hell is the real-world sporty shaft-driven boxer with a half fairing?

    • Russell says:

      You mean the R1200ST. I own one, a 2005 with 104,000 miles and still going strong.
      I Love it.

  14. rp says:

    Two further comments. What’s up with the terrible reported maileage of the Tiger’s engine. I am talking carbon pollution here, not just money per gallon. Is this the best you can do for our future planet: atrocious mileage? The mileage report is just what I’ve read.

    Second, I agree with Dennis. I ain’t buying a chinese motor or bike or car. Ain’t happening. I’m not xenophobic. Make the motor in Germany, costs be damned, if you are intent on buying a European bike.


  15. rp says:

    The 700 GS- I will buy in this genre of bike due to ergonomics and engine size.
    How much would the ASC traction control help safety in the rain on asphalt roads?

    And again, a shootout is in order. If I am going to ride almost always a paved roads, albeit terrible broken pavement sometimes, and a very occasional dirt or gravel road to explore a very little bit, is this the best choice?

    The latest v-strom 650 abs seems to do everything that matters really well. It is loads of money cheaper than the BMW 700 gs or the Tiger. More hp than the v-strom seems superfluous. What more do you gain from this BMW 700GS. So that’s one question.

    The other: The v-strom 650’s motor is so highly rated for fun by all motojournalists that I have to ask: Is it better than the BMW and any competition in this genre? I am talking about an engine for on the road riding. Is the v-strom motor as good or better for overall use and fun on the road? Is it the gem that outshines the relevant competition?

    I wonder if the v-strom really has outdone the relevant price-worthy competition. Just asking. A shootout could answer these questions.

    In summary, how does the competition, like the BMW 700GS and the regular Tiger 800 and even the Honda NC700X make the case to be bought before the v-strom 650abs. Consider the average rider getting back into riding who confines him or herself to this genre of bike only.



    • Jake says:

      “…The v-strom 650…Is it better than the BMW…”

      Just don’t try to ride that Suzuki to a BMW Rally and hob nob with the upper class…! ;o)

  16. Reinhart says:

    No. I rather have the triumph Tiger XC. At least they’re not lying about the displacement.

  17. Dennis says:

    Got a couple of riding buddies who own a F650GS(mildly tuned 800 streetable version) and the F800GS(the “Off Road” model) and they both love them.
    But as good as they are, why would I shell out 10+ K for a German bike with a Chinese motor?
    Nope, not happening.

    • George says:

      The motors are designed in partnership with Rotax and built in Austria. Bikes assembled in Berlin. You’re confusing this motor with the 650cc thumper in the G650GS.

      • Scotty says:

        Hard row to hoe George, disabiusing people of thier xenophobic beliefss they hold so dearly.

        • Dennis says:

          I’m a lot of things, but xenophobic is definitely not one of them.
          And I was wrong about the Chinese motors, just had the wrong info.
          But if you’re going to shell out the kind of cash BMW want’s for their “German engineered” products, the least they could do is put their money where their mouth is and make ’em at home.

          • T. Rollie says:

            German owned Austria for a while in WWII, and what the heck, let’s just assume they still own Austria. The engine is now German made.

  18. endoman38 says:

    Save yourself some confusion, and at least 3 kilo-dollars, and get the Honda NC700X.

  19. Michael_Haz says:

    I wonder if BMW will cross-market with Ford? F-650, F-750, it all fits together.

    Nest, the BMW F-150 scooter.

  20. Montana says:

    Let’s see, an Austrian designed motor, built in Taiwan, on a chain drive bike, priced like the legendary motorcycles of Germany.
    To paraphrase Woody Allen, it all becomes clear when we realize that Jeremiah was a bullfrog.

    • goose says:

      Kind of like Hondas, Kawasakis and Triumphs full of chinese parts and built in Thailand. Or Eric Buell’s deal with Indian company Hero that I guess that will lead to Indian built EBRs or American designed Heros at some point. Or the Japanese suspension on both my Harleys and the German designed engine in the V-Rods.

      Welcome to the modern world. I got my first taste back in the nineties when I pulled the fairing off my new BMW R1100RS and found the instruments were not German (what I hoped) or Japanese (what I feared), they were made in the UK. I guess the job went the the company that met the specs at the lowest price. Just like what BMW, Triumph, Honda, Kawasaki (and everybody else) is doing today.


  21. team222 says:

    I was really interested in the GS700 until I finally realized it was not an advanced and all new 70hp single.

    Do we all agree that massive year end bonus and promotions are due for those that determine the designation names for BMW motorcycles?

    Then there is KTM…….years developing the super single that finally yields the amazing all new Duke 690…..then decides not to bring it to America. Big bonus and promotion there also.

  22. clasqm says:

    Does BMW’s model naming department use a random number generator? The (800cc) F650 (which is not the same as the OLD (650cc) F650) now becomes the (800cc) F700, just so people won’t confuse it with the (800cc) F800, which actually uses the same engine.

    At this rate, in two years time they will be calling it the F750. Stop the insanity!

    • superbikemike says:

      agreed… the stupidity used naming models is totally out of hand, and not from just this manufacturer…. ;(

  23. todd says:

    so it’s a 700?

  24. goose says:

    It is really a shame bad experiences in the nineties mean I’ll never own another BMW. Even if I wanted to (I don’t) my wife would have heart failure. Like Triumph and Ducati BMW seems to be on a roll while the Japanese are sitting back and watching their market shares erode. Now that they fired the talent free zone that is David Robb (I always wondered if he was Pierre Terblanche’s long lost cousin) their bikes are even starting to look better. Oh well, my loss.

    Anyway, a friend tried all the F variants a few years ago, the F650GS was, for him, a clear favorite. Being italian he still bought a Ducati but he was temped by the F650GS. In typical German fashion I’d guess the BMW elves are chipping away at the problems with the F bikes while keeping what was (so I hear) very good.


    • John H. says:

      I guess you’re talking about US or North American market share? Or maybe even Europe? Even combined, they’re a drop in the bucket. The Japanese are not “sitting back,” but are instead focused on India and SE Asia, where the vast majority of motorcycles are being sold. The F700GS seems like a nice bike… but why would you pay the $2K premium over a ’12 V-Strom 650. That’s too steep a price for an emblem on the tank. Especially a propeller.

      • goose says:


        I was referring to US sales. I couldn’t care less who is dominating the 50CC scooter market on China. The Europeans are still minor in the US but they have been posting great gains since the recession began. Triumph is really doing well. If they keep it up they will be more than a minor part of the US scene.

        If you only look at number of units sold you are right. OTOH, you need to sell a boatload of 50CC scooters to make as much money as Honda makes on one Goldwing or CBR1000RR.

        Don’t forget that emblem on the tank comes with more power throughout the rev range (about 11 HP, almost 20%, more on top), much better suspension with more travel, a 21″ front wheel, better brakes and a slightly more powerful alternator, among other things. Is that worth $2K? That is up to you. For my money, I’d buy the Tiger 800 over either the Beemer or Wee-Strom.

        The new DL650 is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. While the new bike is better looking it is still pretty much the same, 8 year old, engine and chassis. Suzuki promised more power and better fuel mileage but it hasn’t been seen in any test I’ve read. I was hoping to see a larger motor, maybe less weight, better suspension, etc.

        I’m not putting the DL650 down; it is a great bike and a tremendous bargain. But if I was looking for a great deal on an Adventure Bike I’d look for a used “old style” Wee-Strom for half the price of the pretty but otherwise not really improved new version. If Suzuki had made the new version clearly better than the old bike the used bike option wouldn’t seem as appealing. That pretty much sums up what I’m saying.


  25. skybullet says:

    BMW is calling a 798cc bike a 700 that they used to call a 650, that should clear everything up. I have the 800 and its a pretty good bike even with all the confusion, but I bought a KTM SMT anyway. I know you understand what you think I said, but what you believe is not what I meant.

  26. mickey says:

    BMW has got to be the worst at naming vehicles..the 600 and 650 scooters which share an engine, an F 650 and and F 700 which share an engine, and some of their street touring bikes even used the same moniker but had totally different engines. How confusing. Almost as bad as Harley’s alphabet soup of model designations no one can figure out.

    Anyhow, the bikes look good regardless of displacement…or goofy moniker.