New F850GS Short Term – Initial Thoughts


Contributed by: Pete Stace-Smith (Ambassador- High Road Vancouver & Langley) 



After owning, riding and loving a 2010 F800GS for the past 9 years and 45,000 km, I wanted to update my ride to a newer version.  There had been many changes in the 8 generations of GS’s after mine and the new F850GS was yet another big leap ahead of my current bike.

My 2010 F800GS.  The moto that took me on many great adventures.



This “mid-sized” adventure bike market had expanded quite a bit over the past few years, so I looked closely at the other offerings from Honda, KTM, Yamaha, Triumph, etc, as well as the new F850GS.  I’ve got to say that after riding my F800GS for all these years and enjoying it so much, I was already leaning towards the BMW line unless one of these other brands really WAS better.  BMW had consistently set the benchmark for mid and big adventure touring motorcycles, and for a good reason.


After looking at all the other brands and moto’s at the motorcycle show and spending a lot of time on the Intenet watching reviews of these other bikes by qualified editors from motorcycle magazines etc I zero’d in and re-confirmed that the new F850GS really was the best choice for my next 10-year bike.  With the thought that “we live but once” and I wanted to continue my adventures on something newer and as it turns out safer, I ordered my new F850GS earlier this spring.


  My new 2019 F850GS – fully loaded and out enjoying my first big adventure on it.


At the time of ordering the bike, there were a few additional fully functional items that after years of having on my older bike I knew I just had to add.  These included changing the tires over to more aggressive gravel friendly tires, a skid plate, engine guards, metal insert type hand guards, rear racking for bags, and of course tour bags.  After looking at these for a few years and using them on my “small bike” I made the change over to the BMW Atacama “soft panniers” (instead of TourTech hard alloy cases).  So far these are awesome!  Other small additions are more personal – suited to my specific bike set up, and these changes or additions included oversized Fastway footpegs, a hard-wired and powered RAM mount for my Garmin Montana GPS, my SPOT mount, AltRider headlight protector and oversized rear brake tab.  As you can tell, all of these items are not “farkles” but truly functional additions to an already awesome moto.


So…  now that I’ve got my first 5000 Kms on this new bike, and 3,000 of this was on a week-long camping adventure trip – with full tour gear – I think I can safely share with you my initial thoughts of this awesome new motorcycle.


First the PLUSSES;



And, what I thought maybe some negatives, but really weren’t…



And the negatives??   Well, to be honest, there isn’t many.





For me, the many positives (mostly safety related that have trickled down from the F1250GS’s) far outweigh the negatives.  It is a very cable mid-sized Adventure Moto that seems like less mass and size than the R1250GS bikes – despite being close in weight.  My first 5000 km has been super fun – both on road and off – and I’m really looking forward to another couple of good sized multi day adventure rides coming up soon.


If you are considering getting into this market, updating – like I did – or upgrading from a lesser bike, I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND this new F850GS as a super cool bike to get on.


Get out to your nearest BMW dealer (Vancouver BMW or High Road Langley) and test ride one of these beauties soon.  Tell em Pete SS sent you in.

Happy riding, hope to see you out there.  Rubber side down my friends,

Pete SS