2009 BMW F800ST review

Boog

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2009 BMW F800ST Review: 16 Feb 2020



Motorcycles of Dulles (MOD) loaned me this bike while mine is in for repairs. I am always grateful for the chance to ride a bike that I would not normally ride, especially when my regular daily ride is in the shop.

Looking at the 2009 BMW F800ST, I see this one is well decked out with three good sized boxes around it. The dark blue color is nice too.

2009 F800ST painful Loaner.jpg


Motorcycles are designed for many different functions. The “ST” is meant for Sport Touring and it appears like they nailed it in looks.

I put the dealer paperwork in the left box and couldn’t figure out how to get inside once the shell was opened. The parts guy helped me out, just need to pull it harder and it opened. Inside was a dry bag but honestly the design looks to be water proof to begin with.

Starting the bike, I find it has blinker switches on each bar and has a separate cancelling switch. For me, that is two too many switches but they work well.

The previous owner added fog lights down low on the front forks. The switch is placed far forward on the cowling and not easily reached from the rider’s seat. That can be moved though.

Other hard to reach items are the mirrors. I am 5’9” and struggled some to adjust the mirrors while seated. To properly set them, I had to dismount the bike. With that said, I think they will stay put once adjusted to the rider.

The heated grips are most welcome on this 34°F afternoon. I know it is that cold because the display is flashing the temperature right in front of me. The flashing is nice to catch your attention in case of an ice hazard. I just wished there was a way to make it stop flashing as it is distracting while riding. Oh wait, there is a menu button, press it and yes, no more temperature flashing. I love solving my own problems.

I start the bike and roll out slowly while I get a feel for the machine. Power comes on right away and gets me moving well. The balance is great. I do not really like the forward lean angle though but remind myself of the “S” in “ST” on the side of the bike. I would not call the rider’s position aggressive, but it is definitely forward. The hump in front of my belly seems out of place as the gas tank is behind and under the rider. Maybe I can brace myself off of the hump while riding.

I approach the stop sign and find the brakes to be strong and provide a good feel. The bike is much lighter than the one I normally ride so I need to make sure not to over-brake. Although if I do over-brake, BMW’s ABS is well known for proper function.

Once up to speed, I discover the six gears are easy to shift between. The clutch pull is easy and the gears are smooth. Changing lanes is easier than using the blinkers. That will take me a few more minutes to use the indicators without looking. I did down shift a few times to get ahead of traffic in a different lane, but the little 800 engine is quite capable.

Ten minutes into the ride and I find that I am starting to feel significant discomfort in my neck, wrists and lower back. That sporty positioning is not good for my body. I concentrate on my back posture and try to minimize the weight on my wrists. Keep in mind; I had a back injury back in my Sailor days that did not heal correctly. An upright posture is important and which I usually maintain well on a standard style bike, even during 12 hours of saddle time. My neck is annoyed because I have to hold my head up more than normal due to the forward lean. I also think the cold temperature is exasperating the situation.

I tighten my core and try to put the discomfort out of mind and am given the opportunity to try the sportiness on some curvy roads. The sport part is quite evident. It has a great lean angle and feels very planted in the curves. Acceleration is good and while not as forceful as a Yamaha R1, the power to weight ratio is great for city use. The suspension has 11K miles on it (so almost new despite being 11 years old) and still gives the rider a good amount of road feedback and confidence.

The wind screen does a decent job of blocking wind. It is not wide but does keep the blast off of my face and chest. The screen moves around more than I am accustomed too, but it is securely attached, just lots of vibration movement.

The seat itself is comfortable, just have to lean further forward than my back likes.

Twenty five minutes into the ride and I find I am experiencing a lot of lower back pain and I cannot find a happy position while riding. The bars are too low and forward for my ergonomics. I know someone younger or at least in better shape will not have this issue. I just have not ridden a bike that causes me this much discomfort in a long time. I actually think about returning it at this point.

The heated grips are going their job well! And other than my own aches, I find the bike is well made and responds in a fun way to what I tell it to do.

An hour later, I arrive at the store before getting home. Dismounting is easy and welcome. Inside, I pick up a case of 24 sodas, a large bag of chips and two bottles of carpet cleaner. The case of soda fits nicely in the top trunk which has a 30# limit. The two bottles of cleaner are able to fit well in one side box and the big bag of chips fills up the other. The locking mechanism on each of the boxes seems very secure. It took me a minute to figure out the top trunk too just like the side case back at MOD. But even I can do it and the key lock is a nice added bit of security for contents inside.

After walking around the bike to check for anything amiss, I caught myself dreading getting back on the bike. Walking around inside the store helped the backache but the persistent twinge was making its presence well known. I rode home and unloaded the bike. I went inside and felt exhausted. I used my core muscles more than I have since I rode dirt bikes years ago. My wrists were in an unnatural position holding my weight up and the helmet has caused my neck to be tight and hurting even when relaxing. The pain I feel in my back is actually excruciating.

As I write this now the day after the ride home, my back is still quite distressed. My wrists are fine but my neck is stiff. Yes I need to get into better shape, but this is not a bike I will add to my stable anytime. However, I cannot ding the F800ST on its intended function and think it is a great bike for someone else. My beef with the bike is my own and would be the same for any forward leaning bike. If you have a lower back issue, pay attention; if not, enjoy a well built machine.

***********************

UPDATE 2.25.2020:

The loaner would not start yesterday at 33°F/1°C; luckily, God provided a cage for me to drive when the roads are icy and it did start. It just took me an extra 15 minutes to get to work, but I digress…

It started when I got home from work as the temperature had risen about 20 degrees. I put it on trickle charge overnight. This morning the temperature is at 46°F/7°C and the charger’s green light is on. I disconnect it and the BMW barely turned over but did start; I guess its battery is weak and needs replacing. I did not trouble shoot any further and simply rode it to work in a very pleasant rain.

Once on the wet road, I realize this bike loves to be pushed. It feels wonderfully suited for wet riding. It is shod with Michelin Pilot Road 4s, which are superb on the wet road.

2.25.2020c.jpg


Once more the heated grips work as advertised and I had to turn their intensity down a notch as they got too hot.

The windscreen kept the majority of the water off my chest but I did catch some on the new helmet’s visor. No worries, just ride faster and less rain hits you right?

2.25.2020d.jpg


Overall, I like this bike’s wet manners. My back did start to fatigue about 20 minutes into the ride. But as the temperature is warmer, it was not the factor it was on my ride home with the machine.


2.25.2020a.jpg
 
Last edited:

Tripps

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Great review as always. I've looked at their GS model, but the 34" seat height, if I recall it correctly, put me off. The forward position doesn't bother me yet, like it does some, I did 285 miles the other day on my Blackbird, I decided against bar risers, but it definitely needs a Corbin seat
 
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