Although I loved my trusty 15 year old Honda CBF500, when I got my full license, it seemed like the natural time to step up and get a ‘big’ bike. My bike of choice was the BMW F700GS which I have now owned for 2 years and covered around 30,000 miles on. It has taken me up and down the Pyrenees and Alps, though some questionable gravel roads and around the UK in style.
Due to my height, we had to lower the bike’s suspension. This allows me to put both feet flat on the floor and sit comfortably on the bike, when stationary, without having to worry about its size or weight. Despite sitting 55mm lower than the standard model (820mm), the bike retains its adventure bike appeal, slotting in perfectly when I am riding with all the bigger GS’s.
Unlike my Honda, having the petrol tank at the back of the bike also allows me to maneuver the bike with ease on the ground, something which should not be underestimated when purchasing bikes, if you are short like me!
If GS’s have one thing in common, it is comfort and this small GS certainly offers that. Not only is the saddle comfortable, allowing me to ride for hours on end, but the height and width of the handlebars allow for a relaxed arm position. I have had handlebar risers put in, just to bring them forward ever so slightly and relax the arms that little bit more. I have also fitted a larger screen onto my bike, removing the short, square-cut non-adjustable screen that comes factory fitted. This offers me much greater weather protection, which for the miles I cover is essential.
Regarding performance, I certainly don’t need more horsepower, that is for sure! The 798cc, parallel twin, liquid-cooled engine has allowed me to keep up with all the bigger bikes I ride with, if required. You can stroll along happily with this bike, you can reach top speeds quickly or you can really push it to engage and drive you round the bends, which is equally fun – tried and tested around the Alps! This bike is responsive, quick and behaves impeccably – perfect for a newbie rider or someone who just wants to have fun and doesn’t need more humph. At high speeds and on the motorway the bike is also impressively stable. Having said that, the bike has no issue braking and comes to a quick stop when asked.
The bike is also efficient and I can usually cover around 200-230miles with the 16 litre fuel tank topped up.
My only complaint about this bike is the clutch lever. Although gear shifting is seamless, the clutch lever itself is hard and stiff. Perhaps my hands are weak, but sometimes it causes me a little pain.
Hands down this is the perfect bike for me. I love it and have no intention of swapping it for anything else! The bike fits me like a glove, is reasonably priced and guarantees a good time. I feel safe on it and more importantly enjoy the rides, letting me ride with great comfort, style and power. Having the low suspension has boosted my confidence levels and pushed me to try new terrains to ride on. It may not get an expert rider’s blood pumping, but it certainly does more than enough for me. A great first adventure bike for smaller and newbie riders!