Two weeks ago, I sold my 2022 BMW G310GS. I was the first owner, and it was just about due for its first oil change when I rode it off to that great scrapyard in the sky (New Jersey) to pass it on to its next caretaker. Mechanically, functionally, it was perfect — I just wanted something more. More power, more cylinders, more ground clearance.
Two days later, I took the train north out of Manhattan for a few hours to meet the seller of this: A 2013 BMW F800GS. Of course, meeting up was only a formality for paperwork — I’d already bought the bike based on a single blurry FaceTime call. That plan worked out so well on my Miata, why not try it again?
In person, the bike largely lived up to that video call. The army-green vinyl wrap was a little worse for wear than expected, but that’s likely coming off anyway — the factory blue paint underneath is much more to my taste. The tires, too, were rougher than expected. Not only were they mismatched, with the front having a much more aggressive off-road tread than the rear, but they’re positively ancient in tire terms — 2017 for the front, and 2013 for the rear.
The bike had a warning light on the dash for a burnt-out lamp, but all seemed to be functioning properly. The seller mentioned an upgrade to LED bulbs, so I’m assuming the issue has to do with a difference in impedance between the factory lamps and the more modern upgrades. I’ll be ignoring that for now.
The F800GS is, in every way, an upgrade over my old G310. That buzzy single has been replaced with a whopping two cylinders, putting out a combined 85 horsepower. The front wheel on my new GS is a full 21 inches, making it better for rolling over rocks, logs, and curbs than the old bike, and it carries its fuel underneath the seat — a fancy way to lower the center of gravity.
Not that low, however, as I discovered when I immediately dropped the bike in the seller’s driveway. The “Have I just indirectly killed this person?” look in his eye as he helped me lift the bike back up for my two-hour ride home was not subtle. I, for my part, blame the cold weather and his oddly-sloped driveway for the drop.
On the ride back, however, things didn’t feel much better — in fact, my new GS rides much, much worse than it looks. The bike is honestly sketchy bordering on scary when turning, and it needs its fair share of work before I go taking any more long trips. Luckily for you all, that means one thing: A series of wrenching blogs, starting with a roundup of all the faults I managed to discover on my new-to-me bike. Keep an eye out for that list coming soon.