Known for its massive adventure tourers, BMW Motorrad seems to have set the standard for such touring rigs which everyone else attempts to emulate and this now includes the 2019 BMW Motorrad F 850 GS, priced at RM79,500 in Malaysia, on-the-road excluding insurance. While some might say a 50 cc bump in displacement and some new graphics is all it is, there is more to the F 850 GS than meets the eye.
For many riders, the middleweight adventure touring segment is where the fun is, a balance between affordability and performance. After all, not many of us actually go chasing off across the deserts of North Africa and the author has seen one too many litre-plus adventure bikes with pristine engine bash plates whose riders never go any further into the dirt than to park by the side of the road for a drink of water.
In any case, the F 850 GS, first shown to the world as the F 800 GS a little over 10 years ago now, has stamped its mark in adventure touring, and there are many who have followed behind it. While we would hesitate to say that it has set the gold standard for the segment, unlike its bigger sibling the R 1200/1250 GS, it has proven to be a capable performer.
This performance has come at a cost, some say, with the 800 cc parallel-twin mill being inadequate to the task. In this particular case, the author would like to prove such nay-sayers wrong as adventure-touring, especially when the going gets rough, comes down more to the rider than the size of the bike.
The bike is just a tool and any good tool enhances the wielder’s performance, while a poor workman blames it. When BMW Motorrad handed us the key to the F 850 GS, we entertained thoughts of haring off into the countryside, which did not happen for a multitude of reasons but we did find out exactly what has changed.