Although I loved my trusty 15 year old Honda CBF500, when I got my full license, it seemed like the natural time to step up and get a ‘big’ bike. My bike of choice was the BMW F700GS which I have now owned for 2 years and covered around 30,000 miles on. It has taken me up and down the Pyrenees and Alps, though some questionable gravel roads and around the UK in style.
Due to my height, we had to lower the bike’s suspension. This allows me to put both feet flat on the floor and sit comfortably on the bike, when stationary, without having to worry about its size or weight. Despite sitting 55mm lower than the standard model (820mm), the bike retains its adventure bike appeal, slotting in perfectly when I am riding with all the bigger GS’s.
Unlike my Honda, having the petrol tank at the back of the bike also allows me to maneuver the bike with ease on the ground, something which should not be underestimated when purchasing bikes, if you are short like me!
If GS’s have one thing in common, it is comfort and this small GS certainly offers that. Not only is the saddle comfortable, allowing me to ride for hours on end, but the height and width of the handlebars allow for a relaxed arm position. I have had handlebar risers put in, just to bring them forward ever so slightly and relax the arms that little bit more. I have also fitted a larger screen onto my bike, removing the short, square-cut non-adjustable screen that comes factory fitted. This offers me much greater weather protection, which for the miles I cover is essential.
Regarding performance, I certainly don’t need more horsepower, that is for sure! The 798cc, parallel twin, liquid-cooled engine has allowed me to keep up with all the bigger bikes I ride with, if required. You can stroll along happily with this bike, you can reach top speeds quickly or you can really push it to engage and drive you round the bends, which is equally fun – tried and tested around the Alps! This bike is responsive, quick and behaves impeccably – perfect for a newbie rider or someone who just wants to have fun and doesn’t need more humph. At high speeds and on the motorway the bike is also impressively stable. Having said that, the bike has no issue braking and comes to a quick stop when asked.
The bike is also efficient and I can usually cover around 200-230miles with the 16 litre fuel tank topped up.
My only complaint about this bike is the clutch lever. Although gear shifting is seamless, the clutch lever itself is hard and stiff. Perhaps my hands are weak, but sometimes it causes me a little pain.
Hands down this is the perfect bike for me. I love it and have no intention of swapping it for anything else! The bike fits me like a glove, is reasonably priced and guarantees a good time. I feel safe on it and more importantly enjoy the rides, letting me ride with great comfort, style and power. Having the low suspension has boosted my confidence levels and pushed me to try new terrains to ride on. It may not get an expert rider’s blood pumping, but it certainly does more than enough for me. A great first adventure bike for smaller and newbie riders!
Hey! I know this post is a little old but I felt compelled to leave my 2 cents.
I’m a 6″0′ man and this is my first bike. I’ve ridden previously, having dabbled here and there, and then officially “learned” on a g310r. I would consider myself am absolute beginner at the very most.
Yet I found myself barely 12 days ago,in the possession of a well-equipped new-to-me 2015 GS.
After less than 2 weeks of practicing ok this nike after work, I can’t believe where I am now. I started just going around my local neighborhood and now I’m spending my evenings touring the countryside admiring the lakes and farmlands of Wisconsin.
I have much to learn. I’ve stalled (but gladly regained my composure) at a couple tough intersections this past week. Still figuring out the throttle sensitivity and how to best take off without stalling out but also not accidentally reclining or losing control.
But gosh darn has this bike made things easy. As someone who is used to performance cars I thought I’d have an easy time with bikes. Nope. But I can’t imagine a bike that was as forgving as this one, without also being boring. The 310gs I learned on was great, but after a week of riding outside the class parking lot, it just would have bored me. The f700gs has enough giddyup (0-60 faster than 95% of cars) but the delivery is smooth and reliable, and even a new rider like myself doesn’t feel like it’s “scary” levels of oomph.
My bike already had the Sargent seat installed which is perfect and reasonably comfy for my 6 foot frame. Not sure if its just my lack of experience or the fact that even in my 30s I’ve already been told I have some back issues, but I do have some low back discomfort after a couple hours of riding. Then again… I’ve been “riding” for less than a month. The fact that I’ve been going a couple hours in and of itself is amazing and a testament to just how effortless this bike is!
My only complaints are minor. One is not related to this hike as it comes from the factory – just that the 50/50 tires I got this machine with are just not very confident-feeling at highway speeds. They’re fine, and I trust that they hold their grip more than adequately, but for someone new like me I’d prefer that they felt better too, for that confidence.
The other complaint is just the exhaust. Having driven many manual cars I depend on the exhaust note to tell me when to shift. The stock can on this is very buzzy and machine-like, and honestly I cant hear it above the sound of the engine itself at speed. Luckily, the dollar is very strong against the euro right now and there’s euro bike sites with aftermarket slip-on exhausts for this bike that are giving great deals right now. I easily installed a MIVV carbon fiber exhaust which cost a little over $300, and took just 20 minutes with basic motorcycle tools, and the sound isn’t significantly louder but much throatier and noticable.
Overall.. Ill admit I dont have much to compare to other than a couple super short test rides of a versys and vstrom, but I really can’t imagine a friendlier and easier-to-ride yet somehow more-than-capable bike.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive comment!
We are glad you are enjoying your journey into motorcycling and the bike. It seems you are making amazing progress and having great adventures!
Natalia has the same exhaust on her bike, just watch our for corrosion and keep on top of cleaning, the end of the can peels off if corrosion gets under it. Natalia’s still sounds great but it doesn’t look too well anymore 😦
Thanks and again and feel free to contact us and tag us in your adventures if you use Instagram or Facebook.