New BMW F850GS. Africa Twin Killer?

More power, R1200GS electronics, sharper design than before. And it even features golden rims

BMW unveils its much-anticipated F850GS. With this completely new motorcycle, BMW challenges Honda’s popular Africa Twin, already a star in the segment. Just like before, BMW also offers a more beginner-friendly version of this 21 inch travel-enduro called F750GS. 

New engine – 95 hp/ 92 NM and a firing interval of 270/450 degrees

Although keeping the same inline-two architecture, the engine was completely redesigned. It’s not just the larger displacement – 853 cc. It’s that the new engine comes with a crankshaft with a 90 degree journal offset and a 270/450 degree firing interval. There are two counterbalance shafts that handle the unwanted vibrations. BMW also claims an improved fuel economy.

There’s also a self-amplifying, anti-hopping clutch that provides a reduction in the hand clutch operating force and a drop in engine drag torque. Meanwhile, the chain is position on the left-hand side, while the exhaust is on the left. There’s an optional quick-shifter available. 

BMW also claims the new engine features a better fuel economy and an “emotional” sound similar to a V2, due to the new crankshaft and firing interval architecture. 

BMW F850GS62

Electronics – Riding Modes 

The new F850GS features two riding modes as standard – Rain & Road. Compared to the previous models, there’s also an optional package that includes Pro Riding Modes – Dynamic, Enduro and Enduro Pro, in conjunctionn with Dynamic Traction Control and ABS Pro. Basically, it’s almost the same electronic packaged fitted on the R1200GS. And yes, there’s a Dynamic ESA too over there, that can act differently depending on the riding modes. 

New frame – fuel tank goes front

The bridge frame that was developed especially for the new F 750 GS and
F 850 GS integrates the 2-cylinder in-line engine as a supporting element and consists of deep-drawn, welded sheet steel components. Unlike the previous models with a tubular steel spaceframe, the new innovative frame has a monocoque construction, which results, in particular, in increased torsional rigidity. 

This new frame concept was also accompanied by a repositioning of the fuel tank. While the fuel tank in the previous models was located beneath the seat bench, the 15 liter fuel vessel of the new F 750 GS and F 850 GS now adopts the classic position between the seat and the steering head. 

BMW F850GS6

New suspension and Dynamic ESA

The new F850GS comes with a completely new wheel guidance and spring shock absorber elements. The new fork comes with a 204 mm spring travel. 

The Dynamic ESA we saw on the R1200GS is now available in the middle-segment too. The movement in travel and speed is recorded by a spring travel sensor in the centra spring strut which automatically sets the damping to suit the situation depending on the riding conditions. The damping of the spring strut is adjusted accordingly by means of electrically activated control valves. This damping adjustment occurs in the space of a few milliseconds. As a result, optimum damping comfort and a very stable ride response are ensured even in banking position. 

Dynamic ESA does not function as a standalone system but communicates with the other control systems, such as ABS / ABS Pro and ASC or DTC. Moreover, Dynamic ESA is linked with the riding modes ‘Rain’, ‘Road’, ‘Dynamic’, ‘Enduro, and ‘Enduro Pro’ (the latter only available with the F 850 GS). 

BMW F850GS105

The new F 850 GS now has tubeless tires for the first time, too with the size 90/90 21 at the front and 150/70 R17 at the rear. 

The standard seat height of the F 850 GS has been reduced by 20 mm to 860 mm. By lowering and incorporating a lower seat bench (optional equipment ex works), it is possible to achieve a minimal seat height of 815 mm with the F 850 GS. It wet weight is 230 kg, same as Honda's Africa Twin (manual transmission version).

The 6.5 inch full-colour TFT display is optional and you also get keyless ride.

BMW F850GS20

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