Monday, July 16, 2007

2008 Hayabusa

Suzuki Strikes Back with All New Hayabusa for 2008!
2007-06-27 19:15
Kawasaki better look over their shoulders, because Suzuki's back with an all new 'Busa for 2008. Nope, it wasn't Photoshop, and yes – the Internet leaked it again!

Retaining much of its signature look and shape, Suzuki hopes their new '08 model will to put an end to Kawasaki's powerful ZX-14s positioning in this Hyper Bike category. Will it be enough? 2008 is shaping up to be a big year for the motorcycle industry, so stay tuned!

Suzuki brought out the new 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa and there is more displacement, 1340cc versus the old 1299cc. Like the new B-King, the rider can choose between engine settings, but the Hayabusa rider has a choice of three instead of the B-King’s two, there’s probably something labeled “light speed” on the Hayabusa.

A Hayabusa with more power is certainly no surprise and if you are riding a ZX-14 you may want to check your mirrors, objects may be a lot closer than they appear, … and about to pass. We’ll see.

Full features and specifications from Suzuki press release follow:

Redesigned instrument cluster now features four analog meters for speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and water temperature with a new S-DMS mode indicator, gear position indicator and adjustable engine rpm indicator.

New Engine
New 1340cc, DOHC liquid-cooled engine with 16-valves, Twin Swirl Combustion Chambers provides 11% higher performance and smoother operation

New Suzuki SDTV fuel injection system with dual injectors per cylinder and ram air intake with large volume airbox
New S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) allows the rider to choose from three different engine settings depending on riding conditions or rider preferences

New lightweight titanium intake and exhaust valves with narrow 14 degree valve angle for high combustion chamber efficiency

New lightweight aluminum alloy pistons feature a revised shape and a higher compression ratio of 12.5:1 for maximum performance in all conditions.

SCEM (Suzuki Composite Electro-chemical Material) plated cylinders minimize cylinder size and improve heat dissipation and new hydraulic cam chain tensioner for reduced mechanical noise

New ventilation holes at the cylinder skirt for reduced pumping losses and increased performance
High efficiency curved radiator now features dual electric fans controlled by the ECM for increased cooling capacity. Oil cooler now has 10 rows cores for increased heat dissipation.

New large volume 4-2-1-2 exhaust system with a large capacity catalyzer, dual triangular canisters and closed loop system that meets Euro 3 and Tier 2 regulations

New Shot-peened chrome-moly steel connecting rods for maximum durability
Ion plating treatment utilizing PVD (physical vapor deposit) method is applied to piston rings providing a smoother surface treatment for increased durability, reduced friction loss and reduced oil consumption
Slick shifting 6 speed transmission working in conjunction with an innovative back torque limiting clutch for smooth and controlled downshifts

New Chassis
All new aggressive aerodynamic fairing design with low drag coefficient retains it’s signature Hayabusa look and features an updated, muscular look to work with the new more powerful engine and updated chassis
New fully adjustable inverted front fork featuring DLC coated inner tubes for minimal friction resistance and outstanding suspension performance over a variety of riding conditions.

Fully adjustable rear shock absorber with a 43mm piston and 14mm rod diameter
Lightweight and rigid twin-spar aluminum frame minimizes weight while maintaining high torsional strength
New bridged aluminum alloy swingarm features a new cross-sectional shape for increased rigidity and to cope with improved rear tire grip and increased engine output

New radial-mount front brake calipers for maximum braking performance and allows for smaller 310mm front brake rotors
resulting in reduced unsprung weight and improved handling

Lightweight single piston rear brake caliper working in conjunction with a new larger 260mm rear brake disc
Newly designed wheels mounted with high performance Bridgestone BT-015 tires for unmatched handling and control

Passenger seat and rear subframe are lowered for improved passenger comfort
Fuel tank height is lowered to allow riders helmet to tuck in and windscreen height is increased for improved wind protection and optimum aerodynamic efficiency with the rider in place.

Newly designed vertically stacked twin headlights provide increased light intensity, improved light distribution and match the elegant flow of the new Hayabusa styling.

LED taillight utilizes a double lens structure with a clear inner lens and a red outer lens for maximum visibility and a high quality finish

Specifications HAYABUSA
Model Number GSX1300RK8
Type Sportbike
Warranty 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty.
Suggested Retail $11999
Engine 1340cc, 4-stroke, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve, TSCC
Bore & Stroke 81.0 x 65.0mm
Compression Ratio 12.5:1
Fuel System Fuel Injection
Lubrication Wet sump
Ignition Digital/Transistorized
Starter Electric
Transmission 6-speed, constant mesh
Final Drive #530 chain
Overall Length 2195mm (86.6 in.)
Overall Width 740mm (29.1 in.)
Overall Height 1170mm (46.1 in.)
Seat Height 805mm (31.7 in.)
Ground Clearance 120mm (4.7 in.)
Wheelbase 1485mm (58.5 in.)
Dry Weight 220 kg (485 lbs)
Suspension Front Inverted telescopic, coil spring, fully adjustable spring preload, adjustable rebound damping and adjustable compression damping
Suspension Rear Link-type, gas/oil damped, fully adjustable spring preload, adjustable compression & rebound damping
Brakes Rear Single hydraulic disc
Tires Front 120/70-ZR-17
Tires Rear 190/50-ZR-17
Fuel Tank Capacity 21 liter (5.5 gal.) 20.0 liter (5.3 gal.) CA. model
Color Orange/Black, Black/Gray, Blue/Black

200bhp, 1350cc inline-four from the B-King!
It’s no secret that the Suzuki B-King is inching closing to becoming a production reality – we expect a formal announcement from Suzuki within the next two months, and the bike should be in showrooms by the end of this year.

But the bigger news is the fact that the 2008 Hayabusa will actually use the B-King’s engine. Earlier speculation that the next-generation Hayabusa might use an 1100cc, inline six-cylinder engine (taken from the Stratosphere concept…) has been proved wrong. The 2008 Hayabusa will use the B-King’s 1350cc inline-four, which is likely to pack more than 200 horsepower!

Other news on the new Hayabusa is that it’ll have a totally redesigned chassis, fresh styling (say goodbye to the current machine’s bulbous lines…), and radial brakes with optional ABS. Also, like with the 2007 GSX-R1000, the 2008 Hayabusa is likely to get rider-selectable fuel-injection mapping, which will reduce power in tricky road/weather conditions.

BMW HP2 Enduro

2006 BMW HP2 - Bike Test
By JC Hilderbrand

The question of what you would do if you won the lottery is something that everyone has probably contemplated at one point or another. The answers to that question are as individual as the people who ask it, but when it comes to motorcycle freaks, there's no doubt as to the answer. Buy bikes - lots of bikes. Big bikes, mini bikes, street bikes, dirt bikes, expensive bikes, cheap bikes, new bikes, old bikes, yada-yada-yada. You get the idea, and you know exactly what I'm talking about because the fact that you've taken the time to find this website and read this article obviously pegs you as a two-wheeled freak.

Well, I was mulling over the lottery issue a couple days ago (I seem to do that at least once a week) and, to my surprise, the answer was immediate and it involved something I hadn't consciously admitted to having a hard-on for. I'm the kind of guy who can appreciate expensive, high-quality European engineering: but if given the choice, I would opt for a burly, extra-cab, suspension-lifted, super-swamper, Power-Stroke Ford over a sleek, leather-lined Mercedes. I will never purchase anything from Dolce & Gabbana or shod myself in alligator-skin loafers. I can hardly spell Gucci and can't pronounce Louis Vuitton the same way twice. Don't get me wrong, because I think fine Euro products are sweet, but basically my interests have always lied elsewhere. Not anymore.

During our dual-sport adventure I struck up a hot-blooded relationship with a sultry seducer. Two short days was all it took to consume my fantasies and I've found myself lusting after the tall, long-legged German in the weeks since.

"The mind-blowing 105 bhp H2 Enduro, BMW Motorrad's first pure dirt bike, is here," the Germans boast in typical PR style.

Yes it is, but BMW's introduction has two statements that are a bit misleading. First is the factory's claim of 105 ponies, which is actually a still respectable 92 hp at the rear wheel. Interestingly, it made only 87 hp when we first measured it during dyno testing at Hansen's Motorcycles with the stock Metzeler Karoo dual-purpose knobbies, 5 less than when equipped with a more street-biased Trail Wing we tried afterward.

Secondly, while the HP2 is undoubtedly the most dirt-oriented machine to ever come from BMW, let's establish right away that this is not a pure dirt bike. It's too big, too heavy, and for cripe's sake, it's street legal. Call me picky, but that automatically disqualifies any two-wheeled machine from being coined a "pure" dirt bike.

Now before you BMW die-hards go clicking your way to the closest Beemer support forum and start flaming us, let's get into the reasons why the HP2 is so great, just the way it is.

Once taking delivery of the new Indigo Blue/Alaska Gray Beemer (the only color scheme available), we had to decide what kind of testing regimen to put it through in order to sort out just what this machine is capable of. Touted as an off-road bike, the first instinct was to take it out to our awesome network of local trails and flog it to our hearts content, but we ultimately decided against that for several reasons. The first sign of trouble was while backing the 420-pound (tank empty) beast out of the van. It's heavy.

Once we caught our breath, like any good motorcyclist would do, we immediately hopped on and bounced up and down to test the suspension, but performing the new-bike ritual proved harder than expected. Upon swinging a leg over the supposed 36.2 inch seat height we were unsuccessful in finding solid ground on the opposite side. Finally, after tiring of hopping from one foot to the other, we put the bike back on its kickstand and further inspected it visually. The next concern is that the bike is nearly devoid of crash protection. That might be acceptable on a normal bike, but for one that costs $20 thousand, it made us more nervous than usual.

So, with images of pruning back flora on our favorite single track with the protruding cylinders, we opted to skip out on the super tight stuff and focus on the twisty mountain roads, both paved and un-paved, where the HP2 is more likely to be ridden. The wide, low-profile knobbies of the Karoos would be far superior on pavement than moto tires, but they also looked like they could fare well in the dirt. In both cases, we were correct. Riding a street-legal off-roader has rarely been this much fun.

"With the big knobby tire on the back I was able to get it to step out on the tight turns, but I didn't dare go full-moto on this thing," says Editorial Director and person responsible for its safe return, Ken Hutchison. "If it was mine, I would love to ride it like a supermoto, but since it was a test bike I had to hold my mullet instincts in check."

With an 1170 cubic centimeter engine at our disposal, we couldn't resist the idea of cranking the Beemer open on a long strip of highway. We had the feeling that this bike would be awesome as a dual-sport which - I'll spare you the suspense - it is. We spent two full days on the freeway, highways, improved gravel, unimproved gravel and 4x4 Jeep roads with an occasional venture into unmarked trails of southern Oregon and northern California that proved its dual-sport status.

Being the directionally challenged and socially needy guys that we are, we enlisted the help of Jeff Moffet from Oregon Motorcycle Adventures (OMA) along with local legend Dave Riant with his trusty 2005 R1200GS, an established world traveler and BMW aficionado, to serve as our guides. MotoUSA's Ken Hutchison and I would take turns switching between the HP2 and a legalized ATK 450 on loan from Oregon's Best Motorsports while our accompanying photographer, Tyler Maddox, borrowed a DR-Z400E from Moffet's rental company.

The collection of bikes gave us a terrific picture of where the HP2 would stack up in the dual-sport world. The ATK was basically a motocrosser with a street kit, the two OMA Suzukis have become a staple of dual-sporting enthusiasts with a slight dirt bias, and the GS has more of a street application on the high-dollar end of things. It was the perfect lineup to shake down the radical HP2 with.

The R1200GS has been BMW's flagship adventure-touring bike and has been the only real option for Beemer riders looking to go off-road (unless you count the single-cylinder F650GS and GS Dakar). The R1200GS Adventure ups the off-road ante with a longer-travel suspension and larger fuel tank. As it is, the GS is a competent off-road bike but it can quickly get out of hand in gnarly dirt stuff. However, when designing the High Performance Enduro, BMW engineers decided to take the strong points of the GS and incorporate them into the much lighter HP2. For a rough breakdown, basically what they took was the engine, driveshaft and variations of the brakes, wheels, tires and front end bodywork. Colossal differences in the two machines are found primarily in the frame design and suspension components.

In the week prior to our nearly 400-mile journey, we got acquainted with the BMW through a regular routine of daily commuting and office-escaping lunch break expeditions. It only took one or two rides before we started remembering all kinds of different errands that had to be taken care of; some of which were fictional and others quite real.

"When I first threw a leg over the HP2 I was thinking it was going to be a real handful since I could barely reach my tippy-toe with one foot," says the 5'8" Ken after his initiation period. "After riding the bike for a week, I really didn't care that I couldn't touch the ground easily because it's so damn much fun riding this bike."

While Ken has ridden a plethora of BMWs, I have a special bond with the HP2 because, aside from being my first, the German and I were introduced at a unique time of my life. After waiting seemingly forever until I could summon the courage to bend over and take it from the DMV, I finally took my endorsement test on the motorcycle I feel most comfortable with - a big dirt bike, the HP2. I passed, which likely makes me the only person in the U.S. that can claim they got their motorcycle license on one of only 250 hand-assembled HP2s imported this year. Hell, taking a drivers test on any bike worth $20 large has to be an anomaly.

While I was at the DMV a scruffy fellow manning a petition booth commented, "Nice bike, too bad it's not a Harley."

Smiling, I avoided the impending memoir of a life-long Hell's Angels wannabe with a quick, "Yeah, I get that a lot." But deep inside I wanted to slap my leather glove across that mangy beard and stomp his balls with my Kommando boots, all the while explaining that my behavior was a precise demonstration of what the HP2 will do to any Hog the exact moment it encounters that first patch of gravel, or a twisty road.

Utilizing virtually the same engine as the R1200GS, the HP2 gets its 92 ponies and 74 lb-ft of torque from the pair of horizontally opposing cylinders of BMW's popular Boxer engine. Each cylinder has a bore and stroke of 101mm x 73mm and an 11:1 compression ratio. Dual 36mm intake valves and 31mm exhaust valves control the flow of fuel and emissions for the air/oil cooled Flat-Twin. The motor has been modified slightly from the GS to assist in weight reduction so crucial to the off-road world. Where the GS is intended to spend the majority of its time on the pavement, the HP2 is not, and so the GS's balancer shaft has been removed with little concern for a rider's numb butt.

"It was quite a surprise that the motor churns out as much power as it does," Ken admits. "The engine operates without the counter-balancer so it does vibrate a bit more than the GS does, but it also has more bottom-end snort. When combined with the lighter chassis, it actually makes the HP2 feel much more powerful. You can wheelie the bike easily and lofting the front wheel over obstacles is actually possible. You are not often going to be able to pull that off on a GS."

The only other differences are the addition of a splash guard on the air intake which is located above the right-side cylinder, and a remapping of the ECU (Engine Control Unit) for added horsepower. The exhaust system is a mixture of old and new with a smaller, 4.4-pound lighter muffler that is connected to a GS manifold.

The HP2 takes anywhere between 300 and 750 miles to break in and ours was delivered with exactly 700 miles on the odometer, so early qualms with power output, notchy shifting and the like were of no concern. All of the gearing ratios are the same between the two bikes, with the off-road HP2 getting reinforced bearings in the 6-speed transmission for additional durability. Shifting the shaft-driven Beemer is clunky compared to traditional chain-driven off-roaders, but Ken verified that it was nothing out of the ordinary for BMWs.

In a twisted sense, the HP2 is like a Honda CRF50 on steroids. Not Barry Bonds' does-he/does-he-not roids, we're talking about a blatant ball-shrinking, vein-popping Jose Canseco juice-fest. They rule opposite ends of the size spectrum, have disproportionate radiator shrouds, identical exhaust notes, stubby front fenders, tamed-down knobbies and motors hang off the front of the chassis rather than being cradled.

A tubular-steel trellis frame utilizes the motor as a stressed-member as it dangles beneath a steering head that offers a very mellow 29.5 degrees of rake and lengthy 5 inches of trail. The design is based on the chassis used on the factory R900R Dakar Rally bikes used from 1999-2001. In the dirt bike world, the HP2 is very long with its 63.4 inch wheelbase. The elongated body and relaxed rake angle make for a very stable platform at speed. For dirt bike applications, this immediately points to desert racing.

Off-road racing stud-muffin Jimmy Lewis has been an intricate part of developing the Beemer and recently guided the HP2 to a seventh-place finish in the Pro Motorcycle class at the SCORE Baja 500. The dominant desert machine over the past decade has been Honda's XR650R, which has 27.8 degrees of rake and 4.3 inches of trail for comparison, and the Honda's wheelbase is more than five inches shorter. Even the GS has a more compact stance of 59.8 inches.

Riding the HP2 is comfortable with a seat plusher than some off-road bikes, but more firm than street tourers like the GS. The peg height makes sitting very easy on the knees and the wide handlebars are comfortably placed as well, though a bit distant for off-roading. You do sit down into the bike more than on most dirt machines, and the large by design and small in capacity, 2.9 gallon fuel tank stretches your groin if you try to get really forward. That isn't much of a problem, however, since the cylinders inhibit movement to the front of the bike. Aggressive riding positions are basically limited to standing since an attempt to throw your leg out in a corner results in bruised shins. Riders are forced to move their leg directly outwards thanks to the Boxer configuration, which creates a very different balance point than normal riding technique.

"The jugs hanging off each side of the Boxer motor are always the first thing off-road riders brought up when they took a peek at the HP2," says Ken. "Despite that it was caked in dirt and grime, had just been ridden through Hell and back, people still whined about the cylinder heads. Get over it. If you crash a bike, bad things happen so be prepared. The HP2 was pretty durable in our test, although no major incidents took place. The optional BMW cylinder-head guards (and emergency kit for leaky valve covers) are highly recommended.

"The riding position is excellent for my taste," Kenny continues. "The bars are wide and the riding position doesn't put too much weight on my wrists. The seat was a little bit stiff over the long haul, but it is, first and foremost, an off-road machine, so you shouldn't spend a lot of time sitting in the saddle anyway."

Unlike many dirt bikes, the HP2 gives riders the luxury of keeping track of their speed with a simple analog speedometer. A clean, minimalist digital display to the right of the speedo offers gear indication, engine temp, trip information, fuel range and warning signals. The hydraulic clutch is smooth and, with such a torquey motor, we never really had to abuse it off-road. Brake levers were very effective as well, with the steel-braided front brake line and rubber rear hose contributing to good rider feedback.

Both the front brake lever and rear brake pedal are adjustable. The hand lever uses a set screw to tailor the distance between the lever and hand grip. A folding spacer on the rear pedal is intended to offer variation for standing and seated riding. We tried it both ways, but found that leaving the spacer in place for the standing position worked best for all applications. A dual-piston, single-action caliper pinch a single 305mm front rotor and a 264mm rear.

"The brakes actually work really well on the HP2," notes Ken. "The front binder is plenty powerful on the street and offers up a decent amount of feel which makes it decent in the dirt as well. The rear brakes lock up pretty easy on the dirt but seemed to be good enough on the street where there was at least some resistance offered up from the asphalt." Much of the rear end's impulse to lock up on the dirt was attributed to the mild Karoo tire.

Suspension-wise, BMW has fitted a 45mm inverted fork with 10.6 inches of travel instead of the Telelever system used on the rest of BMW's Boxer bikes. For adjustments, it has a clicker at the bottom of the fork legs for traditional compression damping and one at the top for travel-dependent compression damping. There is no spring preload or rebound damping adjustments. While the Telelever has anti-dive properties, the HP2's conventional long-travel fork suffers from heavy diving when the throttle is chopped or under braking. Despite this, performance on highway and during moderate off-road use is very good and extremely comfortable. Stiffening the fork to the point that it could handle larger impacts and resist diving only made the front end intolerably harsh at lower speeds and over smaller obstacles like the imbedded rocks common to gravel roads.

The pitching front end and intermediate knobby on the tubeless 90/90-21 front meat gives a squirmy feel on the pavement when riding hard. The 140/80-17 rear tire was also a bit vague on the highways, but both tires did a decent job of making the transition from street to dirt, though we'd opt for a more aggressive knobby if riding primarily off-road.

BMW joined forces with Continental Automotive Systems to create the HP2's innovative air shock. At just over five pounds, the shock looks enormous, but the concept is simple. Instead of having the usual independent adjustments for preload and compression and rebound damping, the trick shock instead has adjustment for its air volume that varies the ride height while also having an effect on both compression and rebound damping. According to BMW, "adjusting the air pressure to the rider's weight is enough to ensure the optimum balance of compression and rebound damping." A dial on the shock can be switched from "Sport" to "Competition," which varies the internal valving for better action when the bike is being hammered off-road.

We love the idea of an air-only shock, but the adjustment and application of the technology wasn't all we were hoping for. The problem we ran into wasn't so much that the shock couldn't be pumped up to meet the rigors of off-road, but that to do so raised the seat height to oxygen-starving elevations. BMW uses another simple concept to adjust the ride height. Keeping an eye on the bubble level mounted on the right side of the frame where your knee would normally rest, a rider can adjust rear sag without taking any measurements. Simply add air to the shock to raise the rear end and bleed air to lower it. Centering the bubble for my 190 pounds required such a towering seat height that my 5'11" frame had no chance of comfortably touching the ground, never mind Ken. BMW does offer an optional seat that lowers the height by 0.8 inches, which we would have loved to try out.

"The suspension is pretty soft for an off-road machine but it sure makes for a nice ride when you're logging miles on the chopped-up mountain roads we chose for our dual-purpose journey," says Kenny. "If you plan on jumping this hog, you'll want to spend more time and effort sorting out the rear shock. The fork is soft too, but seems more willing to handle hits than the rear. Keep in mind we're talking about relatively small jumps here, nothing moto-sized. That would be plain crazy."

Wailing down a dusty power-line road or carving canyon highways hardly necessitate dropping a foot, but sooner or later you have to stop. Though I never thought I'd say this, I was ready to trade two wheels for four after 10 minutes of hitting every stop light on the way out of town. The additional air pressure turned small imperfections in the pavement from no-brainers to ass-painers. Off-road riding also suffered at lower speeds, though it did perform much better on sharp impacts due to the increased air volume available for compression. All told, I was much more willing to deal with soft suspension for the sake of comfort and plushness, to which Ken fully agrees. Both ends work well enough if kept within the boundaries of dual-sporting, but the suspension is a limiting factor of what the HP2 is capable of.

"Besides the overly tall seat height, the biggest gripe I had with the performance of the bike was that the suspension was a bit too plush for hard off-road riding," he says. "The good news is that with some more time and help from our BMW dealer, it sounds like we could have got it closer."

So what exactly is the HP2? In its current form, the bike will never pose a serious threat in the adventure-touring class because of its small fuel capacity, no luggage options and a shortage of comfort compared to other bikes in the class. Although we did not get to play with it, the BMW Motorrad Navigator II GPS unit is one aftermarket feature that is available for the HP2.

"My complaint on the street centered on the rider accommodations," moans Ken. "If the seat was a bit softer and there were a few BMW accessories in place like optional heated grips and hand guards, maybe a slightly taller windscreen as well, then this bike could well be one of the best multi-purpose rides on the adventure-touring market today."

The HP2 obviously isn't a motocross bike because of its weight, soft suspension, long wheelbase, shaft drive, horn and blinkers - not to mention the price tag. Tossing in the fact that its motor is about three times wider than any comparable bike puts a kibosh on the enduro angle. It's not a cruiser, not a sportbike, and not a standard either. It is, in fact, an unwonted yet undeniably phenomenal dual-sport. Our average fuel economy throughout our testing was a penny pinching 42.4 mpg. The lowest that we recorded was 37.1 mpg during a long stretch of hard off-road riding.

Our two-day test showcased the best of what this bike can do. It's fast and smooth on the paved sections and has the ground clearance to give those bulky jugs some breathing room on the trail. That same 12.6 inches of clearance allows the bike to be ridden aggressively off-road where the unique suspension components handle most everything you encounter with confidence so long as the pace is reasonable.

"In back-to-back rides with our tour guide's 2005 GS, the thing that both bikes had in common was soft suspension and a tall seat height that made dabbing a bit of a stretch for my stubby legs," says Ken. "It was easier to reach the ground on the GS but the extra weight negated any advantage when it came time to muscle the bike through some rough obstacles. I still had a lot more confidence in the HP2. The lighter weight and less bodywork to damage make it an easy choice when it is time to venture on the road less traveled."

The joy of riding this bike sneaks up on you, and it wasn't until a few days after our trip that Ken and I realized how badly we were itching to ride it again. It's no wonder BMW has a loyal following of adventuresome riders. The GS is a street rider's way of probing those hard to reach places, but the HP2 is the answer for off-roaders who want to leave their buddies in the dust when the going gets rough. BMW has opened the door for any serious dirt rider who can afford a $19,990 retail price to transform themselves into a modern day explorer. Now, if you'll excuse me, PowerBall is up to 25 million and my fetish for High Performance German beauties is growing stronger by the minute.



Engine: Liquid cooled, four stroke, parallel twin cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Capacity: 798
Bore x Stroke: 82 x 75.8 mm
Compression Ratio : 12.0:1
Induction: Electronic intake injection
Ignition/Starting: knock control and oxygen sensors/electric
Clutch: Cable-operated multiplate-plate wet clutch
Max Power: 62.5 KW 85 hp @ 8000 rpm
Max Torque: 80 Nm @ 5800 rpm
Transmission / Drive: 6 Speed / belt
Frame: Bridge-type aluminium frame
Front Suspension: 43mm Telescopic forks, 140mm wheel travel.
Rear Suspension: Die-cast aluminium single sided swinging arm with rear wheal axle and eccentric adjustment, central spring stud , spring pre-loaded hydraulically adjustable to continuously variable levels by means of handwheel, rebound damping adjustable, 140mm wheel travel.
Front Brakes: 2x 320mm discs 4 piston calipers
Rear Brakes: Single 265mm disc 2 piston caliper
Front Tyre: 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tyre: 180/55 ZR17
Seat Height: 790 mm
Dry-Weight: 187 kg
Fuel Capacity: 16 Litres
Consumption average: 20.1 km/lit
Standing ¼ Mile : 12.0 sec
Top Speed: 229.0 km/h

2007 BMW F800S / ST - First Ride
By Ken Hutchison

Imagine that you are riding an all-new BMW sportbike along the sickest road found on the Big Island of Hawaii. The dark highway passing rapidly beneath your wheels is in stark contrast to the blur of lush, green tropical flora flanking it on both sides. A seemingly endless double yellow line disappears into the horizon with the warm smell of Plumeria's rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance are the shimmering lights from the mirage of heat rising off the flowing curves, steep dips and relentless rises of this well-maintained slab of blacktop. This is definitely not California.

The steed for this epic journey is the 2007 BMW F800S, a motorcycle designed specifically to fill the middleweight entry-level void in the ever expanding BMW line-up. Drizzled with high-tech hardware including a single-sided swingarm, twin-spar aluminum frame, 798cc fuel-injected DOHC parallel Twin, steering stabilizer, 43mm front fork, adjustable Showa rear shock, sporty bodywork, multi-function information system and one of the most comfortable seats ever created. It's difficult to comprehend that this is one of the most affordable Beemers on the market today.

The new F-series includes the sporting S model, as well as the sport-touring specific ST version. Both are destined to pilfer middleweight bike sales from the less charismatic parts-bin specials offered up by rival OEMs these days. BMW calls these 'conquest' sales and is determined to increase its presence in the entry-level market with the introduction of these as well as the trio of single-cylinder 650cc X-series bikes we have already reported on. After spending two days pounding out hundreds of miles under the merciless environmental conditions imposed by the Kona climate, it is easy to confirm these two bikes have the potential to be a hit with the Tiffany-twisted desires of BMW riders.

Both machines utilize an identical base platform consisting of a twin-spar aluminum bridge frame with the 798cc parallel twin-cylinder engine serving as a partially load-bearing component. Front suspension duties are handled by a 43mm telescopic fork, not often seen on a modern BMW, and a more commonly utilized single-sided aluminum swingarm absorbing the bumpy roads through a single rear shock. Chassis geometry is identical on both versions starting with a sporty 57.7-inch wheelbase, 26.2 degrees of rake and 3.7 inches of trail. Seat height is 32.3 inches on both bikes and an optional 31.1-inch seat is also available as a no cost option at the time of purchase or it can be picked-up from the dealer for $295.

The four-valve fuel-injected liquid-cooled motor features a pair of 32mm intake and 27.5mm exhaust valves actuated by a chain-driven DOHC set-up with combustion chambers and port designs based on the experiences learned from the K1200S/K1200R motor. Performance numbers provided by BMW claim 85 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 63 lb/ft of torque at 5800 rpm for both bikes. With this motor and chassis at the heart of these Twins, it should come as no surprise that both provided a very similar riding experience in terms of feel and performance. The big difference is of course the riding position and level of protection from the elements provided by the extra cowling on the ST. The sportier feeling of the S comes without the saddlebag mounts, high bars, and big-ass fairing.

Our sport ride was focused on the riding experience as we journeyed over the mountains between the sanctuary of our hotel and the opposite side of the island with its tourist traps and coffee shops vying for our attention. Between the two lied miles of torn-up, un-maintained tarmac snaking through lava fields, road construction, military depots and ultimately the coastline - where the roads are not as great as those in the mountains and the scenery is beyond reproach. The acres of lava looked like the surface of an alien planet, with its jagged edges providing all the necessary reasons to stay on the road despite motoring along at a nice clip. Like steely knives aching to lay-waste to the beast this once molten terrain is not motorcycle-friendly. In contrast to the most horrible run-off imaginable was the flora-lined highway towards the end of the ride, which reminded us that we were actually still in paradise. It was here in the twisties that the S tipped its hand, revealing the true nature of the beast. This bike just makes riding enjoyable.

For the crowd who prefers the sporting approach to riding, the BMW F800S caters to their needs by offering a racy appearance perpetrated by its minimalist bodywork, cast alloy 10-spoke wheels and a riding position geared more toward sport riding. The bars and windscreen are lower than the ST, the bodywork allows for an unobstructed view of the engineering highlights and the black wheels look significantly cooler than those busy silver hoops on the ST - if my two cents are worth anything.

The S is quite plush under almost every commonsense riding condition, so there's no mistaking it is meant to be a streetbike, not a hardcore repli-racer. The term plush really does set the tone for the description of either of these machines. Its softly sprung suspension and even softer seat will extend the riding time significantly by reducing fatigue from the constant pounding highways are capable of delivering. Along the twisty, chopped up and deteriorating surface of Saddle Road, however, it didn't feel very soft. After hitting a few gaping chuckholes in a row at triple-digit speed I was happy BMW offers a steering stabilizer as standard equipment. Mosey along at sane speeds and you'll appreciate the squashy suspenders and sculpted seat.

Sometimes soft is not always a good thing, particularly in the motor department. For those sport riders who judge a bike by performance numbers alone, this may not be the machine for you. The parallel Twin is pretty bland and it doesn't emit a very exciting growl but it does have a bit of character. The engine pulses ensure the F800 machines are not entirely devoid of personality - it's definitely a Twin. The only time annoying vibration is apparent is when it's tapped out at the upper end of the rev range - but what do you expect, an electric motor? It's not quite that smooth. The fuel injection system is very good, it's not abrupt at all, and the six-speed transmission works well too. There is not much of a distinguishable power band, instead it pulls in a linear fashion from bottom to top with a slight surge at the upper end of the tach. For new riders this will provide peace of mind and experienced riders will still be able to have fun because, when it comes right down to it, the bike runs very well.

Like the ST, the S handles good too. With a claimed wet weight of 450 lbs (401 claimed dry) the bike isn't exactly a featherweight but it has a fairly low cg that pays off with a very neutral and responsive feel to rider input. It's no R6, but it's in the ballpark of the middleweight competitor SV650 sans-fuel, so it's not a porker either. For one reason or another, the F800 gives off a confident feeling of stability at speed and is equally impressive on curvy roads or highways.

The styling definitely looks the part of a sportbike and the low bars and unprotected riding position support the sporting perspective quite well. However, the cushy seat and mellow motor do their best to keep the rider's ego reigned in and it's up to you whether this is a pro or a con. But in the end, the F800S is capable of running wild if you choose to ride it that way.

F 800 ST

Although both the S and the ST are essentially the same bike, the few differences ensure they will not experience any identity confusion after some significant miles aboard them.

The relaxed sport-touring riding position of the ST is more conducive to logging high mileage trips and spending long days in the saddle. Combined with the extremely comfortable layout discussed previously in the S section, it should be easy to see how this bike has the potential to make the touring experience enjoyable. The bars are a bit higher (exact stats were not divulged by BMW but its over an inch higher), which furthur adds to the relaxed riding position. The taller, more protective windscreen and considerably increased protection from the elements afforded by the bodywork ensures the ST gets some recognition for its more well-rounded nature.

On our sport-touring ride the location of choice was the spectacular Volcanoes National Park, home of the most active volcano on the planet, Mount Kilauea. Just getting to our destination was an exercise in determination, as the weather gods threw everything they had at us in an attempt to thwart our invasion of the sacred territory. Threatening morning skies eventually unleashed a precipitous wall of fog and significant amount of precipitation upon us as we approached the entrance to the park. Once inside the relative safety of the park boundaries, the fog was replaced by the vapor clouds of sulfuric gasses and ridiculously high winds that seemed determined to keep us down.

Not ones to be deterred, our resolute band of journalists soldiered on, tempting the fate of the gods as well as the park rangers. Repeated passes in front of the camera, innumerable U-turns and the occasional speed infringement were enacted in an attempt to document our struggle, so that the educated readers of the world might be able to determine for themselves whether or not the ST is worthy of their consideration.

While riding through the rain the extra protection from the inclement weather was truly a blessing. The tall windscreen made it possible to tuck in ever so slightly in order to avoid the oncoming raindrops while the pre-formed cut-outs in the side cowling did an excellent job of keeping the riders legs secluded from the storm. Combine these two features with the optional heated grips and it was easy to scoff at Mother Nature's feeble attempts to turn us back.

In the dry the 800 is just fast enough to give the sporting half of the ST equation a favorable review. Not too fast to make a new rider uncomfortable, yet fast enough to dispatch slow moving autos and unsuspecting riders if the urge overcomes you. In the wet, the power delivery is docile enough to keep you out of trouble. This is a positive trait in slippery conditions, but as we noted in the S section, it's not going to draw any K1200S owners away from their intercontinental cruise missiles. The good news is, touring isn't all about blurry scenery anyway. It's about getting from point to point in comfort and style. That's what the F800ST does well.

As if the relative comfort and positive feedback regarding the performance provided by the ST were not enough to convince you of its touring prowess then consider this: When ridden at a sane pace the bikes are claimed to achieve an astounding 50-plus mpg according to BMW. Both bikes offer a 4.1 gallon fuel tank and our observed range was in the neighborhood of 200 miles at a spirited pace which confirms the bike is capable of going the distance. A pure touring machine will have a longer range, but this is nothing to scoff at as it is on par with its sporting competitors. Passenger accommodations on this and the S both received favorable review from the one poor soul who volunteered to spend some time on pillion. Add into the mix a set of expandable hard luggage for $795 installed and this bike starts to get more touring-worthy with every turn.

Is the ST the new touring machine for the ages? Considering the quality of the large displacement sport-tourers out there, I'd have to say not quite. Is it a viable alternative? Definitely. Like its sibling, the ST it is easy going, handles well, has valuable creature comforts including the seat, long range, decent protection from the elements and a number of available options. All these features make it a real sleeper in the middleweight sport-touring class.


Both the F800 machines feel lighter than they are. They're easy to maneuver through the canyons, the 7-11 parking lot, garages or driveways. The motor has just enough power to keep it ahead of the family fun movers and keep your riding partners close. This is a well-crafted piece of equipment and has a host of factory options, including an $890 ABS system, $235 Heated Grips, $260 Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM), $250 On Board Computer, $235 Anti-Theft Alarm, $120 Center Stand or White Turn Indicators for an additional $50. These value-added components and the right to sport that BMW key-fob should entice buyers to spend the extra money even though this bike the may not be the lightest, fastest or most powerful option on the market.

At $9,950 for the F800S and $10,950 for the F800ST, they are the second-most affordable gateway to the BMW riding experience. The X-series bikes are less expensive but none of them can offer the type of open-road performance, long-term comfort and sporty good looks required by the pure street rider. In contrast to the X-bikes the F800s have the majority of the street rider's needs covered.

Where do these two new machines belong in the grand scheme of things? Right where BMW believes they do. In the world of BMW the increasing number of riders globally in the market for a new or replacement bike has proven too hard to ignore. Its demographic is aging and the need for new blood has facilitated the creation of a number of new bikes intended to draw consumers away from the competition by capitalizing on the allure of owning a BMW and the prestige that goes along with it. While pricing is on the upper end of the spectrum, the ability to customize bikes before taking possession from the dealer, an enormous support network that is the BMW Owners Group and the perception of an enhanced quality of manufacture have carried the company to high levels of success at retaining its clientele throughout its storied history. Like the doorman says, 'you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.'