For this mid-cycle facelift, BMW is fitting its entry and mid-range ADV bikes with more standard and optional equipment, all aimed at increasing both safety and convenience. The biggest news is probably the change in name from F650 to BMW F700GS, indicating that power from the 798cc parallel-twin (yeah, this gets confusing) grows 4bhp to 75bhp while torque grows 1lb/ft to 57. More significantly, that model gains dual front discs with standard ABS. Traction control will be optional on both models, while the 2013 BMW F800GS gains an electronically adjustable shock. Oh, and new colors too.
Both baby GSs use the same basic platform — engine and frame — skewing the 650-cum-700 towards newer riders and commuters with lower-spec components, cheaper insurance premiums and a lower seat height. That leaves the F800GS to focus more on long-distance and off-road capability with larger spoked wheels, taller suspension and more power.
Aside from that power increase on the 700, the big news is upgrades in optional equipment for both bikes. Traction control (dubbed Automatic Stability Control here), is available on both bikes, although it’s not clear if it’s the smooth, helpful, latest generation kind that facilitates faster riding, or the older-style setup that just clunkily cuts power to slow you down. On the 800, you can also spec Electronic Suspension Adjustment. But, unlike larger, more expensive BMWs, here ESA only adjusts rear rebound damping between three preset modes. You still have to adjust preload by hand and there’s no adjustments in the front forks. This lack of suspension adjustability has been a common complaint leveled at the 800GS, so it’s disappointing to see the company has gone for a gee-whiz adjuster in place of actual substance, at least on those components.
There’s a bunch of other little tweaks and changes that don’t really add up to much, but might be relevant to existing owners or obsessed GS types, you can read about them in full in the embedded, long-form press release above. Pipe and slippers recommended for complete comprehension.