Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Used BMW F800 bikes - common problems to look out for

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by dryfter, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. I'm tossing up between a BMW F800ST or a Sprint ST for my next bike; I'd be buying used in either case.

    The F800, on paper, sounds like it'd suit me more for the daily commute, and has lower running costs. However I've come across complaints about problems with the bikes, but it sounds like most of these were fixed eventually. However I don't know when manufacturing changes occurred, nor how bad the problems really were. Can anyone here advise me? What do you think about used F800 bikes?

    Things I've heard:
    * Gearbox received drive train mods at some point
    * Piston slap on some engines
    * Flaking paint on engine
    * Main axle bearing failures
    * Engines cutting out

    Do you know how much of a problem those really were? Or at what point in time it's safe to assume a bike will be one that includes revisions and fixes?
    Were there any other issues worth looking out for?

    I rented a F800R with 8000km on the odometer, and rode it for a couple of days. Definitely appreciated that it was light and nimble, engine was torquey, fuel economy amazing.. but engine was kinda uneven and rough. (I used to own a SV650 some years ago, and that was WAY smoother for a twin)
    I test rode a F800S one time, and that engine was smooth but sounded awful due to aforementioned piston slap issue.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Watching this thread closely as these two bikes are on my shopping list for next year....
  3. My heart is leaning towards the Sprint ST, because it's a big, powerful tourer and I gather it just zooms around with that engine, and the suspension is better than the F800 too. On the other hand, my head keeps reminding me that most of my mileage is just around town, commuting, visiting friends, etc and for that the F800's economy and light weight would be much better.
    I often go for long rides through the twisties, and longer trips away at times too, but the F800 would be fine for those, even if not quite as exciting as the Triumph.
  4. What about seat height wise? Is that a deciding factor for you? Have you sat on either bike yet? You mentioned you have ridden the R and the S, but what about the ST?
  5. No, haven't ridden the F800ST nor the Triumph Sprint ST. (Although sat on both). Seat height was fine.. I'm not that big, but I manage the VFR800 fine, and those bikes didn't seem any different.

    The Sprint ST looks to be similar size and weight as my VFR, so I imagine it'll be similarly heavy in slow traffic or filtering; that aspect does make me lean towards the F800ST, but I'm worried that, for the price, it might not be so reliable, and the engine just wasn't that exciting.
  6. So you have a VFR800? That is also on my shopping list. Why are you looking at getting rid of th VFR?
  7. Yep, I listed it for sale in the classifieds section today.
    There's nothing wrong with it, but I'd kind of like a change.
    Issues I have with it:
    My throw-over soft panniers get melted by the exhaust mufflers unless you're very careful about placement.
    (Whereas used F800ST and Sprint STs tend to come with factory hard panniers)
    It uses more fuel than small cars, whether on highway or in traffic.
    I find the VTEC switch-over irritating. (I don't like my bike going CLUNK halfway around a corner as you accelerate out of it, or as you swing around a car in traffic, or any time I'm not expecting it, really!)
    For a tourer, the seat could really be a bit more comfortable; it's better than my previous SV650, but it's not as nice as the XJR1300 or F800 had.

    On the upsides:
    The VFR handles really solidly when you're flying through tight corners, and the acceleration is excellent, whether it's from traffic lights to 80, or from 80-160 when overtaking somewhere. (The F800R I rode just didn't have the same Oomph in either situation, which is odd, since it's 40kg lighter, with a similar capacity engine. I was more confident cornering on the VFR too, but that's probably just familiarity with the bike.)
  8. As of recently Im the proud owner of a modifed 2007 F800S. I cant comment on the F800ST however based on my experience the Trump will be a bit heavier and as a result not quite as good in traffic but it has substantially more oomph despite the weight penalty. They're both decent bikes but have different characters so it depends on your taste and needs. As a commuter and weekend toy the F800 will do me despite lacking power (and yes, I know its not a sportsbike; I just miss the Benelli midrange)

    With regard to the F800 issues above I can comment on a couple based on my reading;
    - Piston slap and bearing issues were acknowledged by BMW and addressed. I believe '08 onward plated bikes are ok.
    - The paint issue was also alegedly resolved for 07 onward though Ive heard complaints from owners with '07 and '08 bikes too. From what i understand the paint issue wasnt limited to just the engine.
    If you want more detail perhaps visit the F800 forum (http://f800riders.org)

    Having said all that Ill complicate the issue a little more with some rumors by saying the F800ST will be discontinued and replaced for 2013.

    And then, once you've read all that go buy the Z1000 Ninja :)

  9. I can't afford a brand-new F800, but if there's a new model coming out, maybe I can pick up some cheaper used ones.. :)
    Thanks for the info -- good to know which years the critical issues were supposedly resolved then.
  10. Having scanned a F800 forum a bit, it seems there was an update to the rear axle in 2008, but the truly fixed version was introduced in bikes built in March 2009 or later.

    There are a lot of complaints about that issue, but I don't know how many bikes *really* were affected.. seemed like about 50-60 cases that I saw online, but the majority were from 2006/07 bikes.. but still a few 2008 ones to make me nervous about buying one.
    Hmm :(
  11. Why not get another SV650?
  12. Because riding 800 km in a day on one nearly crippled me :/
  13. Then why not get a V-Strom 650?
  14. Older models didn't excite me; haven't seen many for sale that had the factory panniers and the high exhaust looks like it'll get in the way of throw-over ones. After owning an SV650S for so long, I felt like getting something different. I guess the v-strom 1000 might be worth a look though.
  15. Ah, curses! The V-Stroms (650 and 1000) both have 84cm high seats; I'm really a lot more comfortable with 80cm.. The 82cm on the F800 was on the cusp of being too tall, but at least you can lower the seat on those.
  16. Replying to my own post again.. first sign of madness?
    The updated 2012 v-strom actually sounds quite good, and there's a lower seat option available. Price sounds alright too. Power from the 650cc engine would be a big step down from the other bikes I'm considering though (all 800-1000cc)

    I'm not that keen on the wheel sizes though - 110/19" up front and a 150 on the back.
  17. And to finally reply to myself yet again -- thanks for suggesting I look at the v-strom.
    The more I checked out the refreshed-for-2012 model, the more I liked it -- and eventually bought one! Loving it so far (apart from the tyres that came with it, switched those out quickly)

    Range of tyres available is different to what I'm used to, but there are some decent mostly-road-oriented ones available. (Continental Trail Attack, Pilot Road 3, Tourance EXP)

    Compared to the VFR800 (now trying to sell) or the SV650 it's easy to ride it all day long and not feel worn out or sore at the end. Power is noticeably less than the VFR800, but yet, still plenty. Once I switched the tyres, handling is good and I felt confident tackling the Reefton spur at speed.
  18. Funny that, my old man just got a vstrom as well, same model as yours!

    Chances are he'll never take it off road, but it will suit him otherwise to a t! I took it for a little spin on the way to the GP, so comfy and easy to ride. Was keeping it under 5k rpm as per break in instructions, but it is deceptively fast getting up to speed! Great bikes, I'd buy one if I wasn't still young and want something a bit 'silly'
  19. Yeah, I'll never go truly off-road either, but I've had the v-strom on a dirt road, and it feels noticeably less squirrely than my VFR800 did. I guess a combination of different size wheels, and different tyre profiles.