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Buffhunter

Buffhunter

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Hello all,

I’m looking to pick up a new tourer/ weekend sports bike and have narrowed the choice down for a VFR800 or BMW f800GT (like so many before). These bikes have been compared a number of times on this forum and the general consensus seems to be that there is a lot of overlap, with one of the big factors in favour of the VFR being its extra power and performance. That interests me because I don’t want to find myself on a bike that feels underpowered to me.

I might mention here that I live in a very remote area of Australia, so I’m pretty much going to have to commit to one bike or the other, then fly to wherever to pick it up. Not much opportunity for multiple test rides, unfortunately.

Thing is, when I take a close look at the figures, it actually seems the Beemer has the VFR  well covered for performance, due to its significant weight advantage. Here’s a dyno chart comparison of the VFR and F800st, which is very similar to the GT:

Hello all,

I’m looking to pick up a new tourer/ weekend sports bike and have narrowed the choice down for a VFR800 or BMW f800GT (like so many before). These bikes have been compared a number of times on this forum and the general consensus seems to be that there is a lot of overlap, with one of the big factors in favour of the VFR being its extra power and performance. That interests me because I don’t want to find myself on a bike that feels underpowered to me.

I might mention here that I live in a very remote area of Australia, so I’m pretty much going to have to commit to one bike or the other, then fly to wherever to pick it up. Not much opportunity for multiple test rides, unfortunately.

Thing is, when I take a close look at the figures, it actually seems the Beemer has the VFR  well covered for performance, due to its significant weight advantage. Here’s a dyno chart comparison of the VFR and F800st, which is very similar to the GT:

 

Despite bigger peak horsepower numbers, the VFR is outpaced by the F800 up to 9000 rpm.

 

  

First thing I take from this is that anywhere below 9000rpm the BMW easily tops the Honda for power and torque, while pushing about eighty pounds less weight. To my mind that has to equate to a significant performance advantage. Above nine grand the VFR starts making more power, but it still has a lot of ground to make up before it matches the BMWs power to weight ratio. In fact. I did some back of the envelope calculations and it seems that with a 180lb rider on board (me) the Honda only ever catches up with the BMW at absolute peak power, a narrow between 10500 to 11500 rpm. Everywhere else the BMW is making more power and torque, and carrying a lot less weight, with all the advantages of braking, cornering and agility that implies.

I suspect the extra power of the VFR could give it an advantage at very high speeds, where wind resistance takes over from weight as the major limiting factor on performance, and I guess that would account for the VFRs slight better top speed and standing quarter times, but I don’t spend a lot of time on the salt flats or the drag strip. I can still see plenty of good reasons for buying the VFR, not least the gorgeous build quality I keep hearing about, and as the bike gets loaded up in touring mode, the balance would start to shift back to the VFR, so it might well be better on two up trips.  But it does look like the BMW has got the sports part of the sports/tourer equation better covered. That said, for the previously mentioned reasons I have yet to ride either bike so I would be very interested in anyone who experience with both, or who can point out some fundamental flaw in my reasoning. 

 

  

 

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Sorry to point it out, but it's childish/bean counting comparison. Even though you are probably right about those observations. In real world, sport touring wold-who cares which bike is 0.01 second faster,-you will not feel much of the difference.

That beemer is no way a better bike, I bet it it has that annoying buzz that most bmw800s are known for. I bet the weight difference once you going would not seem that significant. The BMW carries less gas too, by the way.  Honda reliability/V4 engine, looks, over bmw. 

Having said that, you're obviously going to get skewed recommendation here so it's best to ride both to see/feel for yourself. 

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Hi and welcome,

 

Have you test driven either of these bikes yet?  I think that far more importantly than a tenth here or there on the quarter mile or 0-60 , you will find that the F800 engine is not even remotely smooth, by virtue of the 1950's era 360 degree parallel twin firing order they tried to "fix" with that 3rd connecting rod balancer.  But why, pray tell, would someone want a 360 degree twin?  The answer - so it has the same uninspiring, tractor-esque din of the boxer twins which can at least claim to be smooth.  I mean think about it, they went through all the engineering to "balance" an inherently unbalanced engine just so it could sound bad, WTF?

 

I actually looked at purchasing a BMW several times, one F800 and an RnineT.  While they were both mostly competent, I found it impossible to connect with either one.  They were pretty much appliances for road travel.  And I don't get excited every time I see the laundry machine.

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If you live in remote area of Australia the fuel range will be an important factor. I get well over 400km from a tank when riding reasonably, VFR has a 22 litre tank and I believe the F800 gt has a 15 litre tank. Would certainly look in to touring range on the BMW. That said they are both great bikes, it all comes down to personal choice, whichever looks, sounds, and feels better to you is the one you should buy. But for my money go with the VFR.

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I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a non VFR vote on this forum but that being said, I have never had a power issue with either of my VFRs (01 & 09) and range has always been very decent avg. 40MPG/200 miles per tank (09). These numbers are usually for my commuting with an extra 50-60 lbs on top of my 170 lb geared up weight. Handling has been very good as well, I do not notice any weight issue but I’m sure if I hopped off the VFR onto a lighter bike, I would feel the difference. Like most things, you only know what you know, so not being able to test ride, might be a beneficial to you as you will not have any comparison notes. Unless you’re one to always wonder what you’re missing, I think either bike might work for you but for me, the VFR has been great, so much so that I now own 2!

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8 hours ago, MadScientist said:

Have you test driven either of these bikes yet?

 

This is the point.

 

Ride the bikes. Buy the one you find comfortable.   NEITHER competes based on power. Or weight. Or anything like that. They're mid-displacement all 'rounders. If you want an assload of horsepower get a sportbike (any modern sportbike makes PLENTY of power) or for power and comfort a concourse or even a 7th gen VFR and you'll get gobs of it. You want light? Get any of the 600s out there and you'll get better horsepower with way less weight.

 

But these aren't about that. They're about a good riding bike you can do whatever you want to. The weight tends to disappear when you're moving if a bike is well balanced. People regularly asked "Isn't that down on power?" or "Isn't that heavy?"  on my 3rd gen when I was a kid, and, frankly, I never felt it except when I was pushing it into the garage. It worked for me -- once or twice a year on the track, 12K a year commuting and riding in the mountains. There were better track bikes, better touring bikes, but I was on something I could do both with and that was extremely comfortable to me, personally, whether on the freeway or dragging pegs.

 

So see what is comfortable to you and don't worry about power or weight.

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Hi again all, and thanks for your thoughts. Absolutely agree that a few tenths of a second here or there are pretty meaningless, but alas, figures (and solicited opinions) are all I have to go on.

To clarify my situation, when I say I live remote, I mean really remote - as in an Aboriginal community nine hours drive over bush tracks to the nearest regional town, (hence the Buffhunter moniker) then a likely cross continental flight to wherever the bike of my choice is. I will definitely not be Riding my baby out here - it will be waiting for me in civilisation  for twice a year holidays. This being the case, if I find a late model bike at a good price somewhere where I am unable to test ride the alternative, I'd like to be able to make an educated assumption about the nature of the two bikes. Nothing beats a test ride, I know, but they both look very competent, albeit different machines. 

So I'm thinking the F800 might tend a little towards the TRX850 once owned and loved: relatively light and flickable, a torquey motor that punches out of tight corners, plenty of engine so long as you don't want to tear around the country at 120 mph plus. But inevitably a bit rougher around the edges that the Honda, as to be expected with a twin. VFR, maybe like a much more refined version of my mates Super Blackbird; smooth everywhere, liquid power delivery, great build quality, anything it gives away to the BMW on a windy road it gets back when things open up.

I''m sure there is a lot of overlap with these bikes, and probably either one would be good for me. Limited as they are, the figures are useful because they give me confidence that the oft repeated idea that the BMW is a bland slug next to the VFR can be taken with a large grain of salt.

One other thing, if you would - lots of talk from Beemer owners about two up suitability but not quite so much from the Honda side. My Ball And Chain is 5'7" in the pre-metrics, weight classified. Is he likely to strangle me in the hotel room after 400 miles on the VFR? Any difference in models re pillion accomodation. Don't expect either bike to be a roomy as my old V-strom, but it is a consideration.

Thanks again, fellas. Anyone want to shoot a buffalo, drop by.

 

 

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Where does the VFR give anything away to the BMW on handling?   I don't understand that. I haven't ridden both, but neither have you. I think you're talking numbers again and, trust me, numbers do not equal handling in the twisties.

 

A little suspension hygiene on my 5th gen and the thing handles amazingly well. 6th or 8th gen can be sleepers, too. They'll suffer a bit on the track compared to dedicated sportbikes, but on the street twisties they're suprisingly capable. I can't imagine the BMW had any real advantage. I may be wrong, maybe it is a lot more aggressive than I realize, but it doesn't have a reputation for anything more than just being a solid, honest bike.

 

In the long run, it doesn't matter. You can't go wrong. They're both fine bikes for what you want, so just find the best deal and buy one. The beemer is a perfectly capable machine and it really isn't worth sweating details like this. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if you're trolling us, just for lolz.

 

As for pillion, I've never ridden one on a 5th or 6th gen, so I can't speak to that. Some folks here with actual social skills might need to chime in.

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I have ridden both these bikes in the past year.  Sorry if this comes across as harsh, but all your thoughts, feelings, and stats are irrelevant until you have been on both bikes.  Is it worth considering both, yes, but spitballing on BMW or Honda message boards is actually more likely to give unwanted bias.  They are both good bikes, one will speak to you when you ride it, the other will not.  If you like them both after test ride, then bonus for you: pick the best deal that comes along.

 

I would say overall handling between the VFR and F800S is a wash.  I've upgraded my suspension significantly and the stock BMW isn't even in the same ballgame.  I suspect the same would hold true of the BMW given the same level of mods against a VFR.  While we aren't talking cruiser/tourer geometry, both these bikes have suspension and steering geometry that isn't what I would call flickable.

 

For a pillion, the stock seat on a 5th gen is absolute rubbish.  The sargent I have is worlds better and I imagine other aftermarket seats are comparable.

 

If I was looking for a bike in this group now, I wouldn't be considering either the F800 or the VFR.  I would be looking at the Yamaha MT09/FJ09 Tracer, whatever that model is called in your area.  Loads of engine character, more flickable than either (lighter weight and steeper rake), and an 18L tank.  I rode an FZ-09 (naked version, same frame) last September and if I wasn't in love with an Aprilia Tuono, I'd own it already.
 

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55 minutes ago, MadScientist said:

if I wasn't in love with an Aprilia Tuono

I refuse to look at these anymore. Not even pictures on the internets.  I don't have the money or space for another bike or something more expensive, so I'm trying to avoid temptation. They're SO fun, though! Maybe when I've ridden this VFR into the ground I'll start looking again, because damn the Aprilia V4s are amazeballs.

 

FJ09 is a good bike, too. And you can get them at a decent price. They aren't particularly pretty, but then neither is that BMW to my eye. Though that's all subjective.  I'd totally look at one of those before an F800S if I wanted a sport tourer. I bet they're a lot easier to maintain than a beemer. Or at least less pricey on the parts.

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You just can't beat a Honda for reliable. It's a bike that can sit for months and then be started and run like it was when you left it. I've not owned a BMW since my old K75 but I can say I keep coming back to Honda's. Do your research here and you will see that there are a few known week spots that can be easily addressed and then you're good to go. Well, there's my two cents worth. Good luck!

Oh, you could try and PM Olive if she's still here. She put many miles on an F800 and has two sixth gen VFR's.

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On 3/8/2019 at 12:25 PM, Buffhunter said:

 

Hello all,

I’m looking to pick up a new tourer/ weekend sports bike and have narrowed the choice down for a VFR800 or BMW f800GT (like so many before). These bikes have been compared a number of times on this forum and the general consensus seems to be that there is a lot of overlap, with one of the big factors in favour of the VFR being its extra power and performance. That interests me because I don’t want to find myself on a bike that feels underpowered to me.

I might mention here that I live in a very remote area of Australia, so I’m pretty much going to have to commit to one bike or the other, then fly to wherever to pick it up. Not much opportunity for multiple test rides, unfortunately.

Thing is, when I take a close look at the figures, it actually seems the Beemer has the VFR  well covered for performance, due to its significant weight advantage. Here’s a dyno chart comparison of the VFR and F800st, which is very similar to the GT:

Hello all,

I’m looking to pick up a new tourer/ weekend sports bike and have narrowed the choice down for a VFR800 or BMW f800GT (like so many before). These bikes have been compared a number of times on this forum and the general consensus seems to be that there is a lot of overlap, with one of the big factors in favour of the VFR being its extra power and performance. That interests me because I don’t want to find myself on a bike that feels underpowered to me.

I might mention here that I live in a very remote area of Australia, so I’m pretty much going to have to commit to one bike or the other, then fly to wherever to pick it up. Not much opportunity for multiple test rides, unfortunately.

Thing is, when I take a close look at the figures, it actually seems the Beemer has the VFR  well covered for performance, due to its significant weight advantage. Here’s a dyno chart comparison of the VFR and F800st, which is very similar to the GT:

 

Despite bigger peak horsepower numbers, the VFR is outpaced by the F800 up to 9000 rpm.

 

  

First thing I take from this is that anywhere below 9000rpm the BMW easily tops the Honda for power and torque, while pushing about eighty pounds less weight. To my mind that has to equate to a significant performance advantage. Above nine grand the VFR starts making more power, but it still has a lot of ground to make up before it matches the BMWs power to weight ratio. In fact. I did some back of the envelope calculations and it seems that with a 180lb rider on board (me) the Honda only ever catches up with the BMW at absolute peak power, a narrow between 10500 to 11500 rpm. Everywhere else the BMW is making more power and torque, and carrying a lot less weight, with all the advantages of braking, cornering and agility that implies.

I suspect the extra power of the VFR could give it an advantage at very high speeds, where wind resistance takes over from weight as the major limiting factor on performance, and I guess that would account for the VFRs slight better top speed and standing quarter times, but I don’t spend a lot of time on the salt flats or the drag strip. I can still see plenty of good reasons for buying the VFR, not least the gorgeous build quality I keep hearing about, and as the bike gets loaded up in touring mode, the balance would start to shift back to the VFR, so it might well be better on two up trips.  But it does look like the BMW has got the sports part of the sports/tourer equation better covered. That said, for the previously mentioned reasons I have yet to ride either bike so I would be very interested in anyone who experience with both, or who can point out some fundamental flaw in my reasoning. 

 

  

 

 

A late reply but here it goes. 

Yes and no. 

To put both bikes in perspective you need to realize that the VFR being a V4 sounds lazy compared to an in-line 4, but it’s a 4 nevertheless. 4’s rev a lot more than parallel twins. 

So ridden with gusto or 2 up you would never be under 6500rpm. 

So to get a more accurate comparison you need to shift the VFR power curve to the left so they both end together. 

Now compare the VFR from 6500 to 10500, with the F880 4500 to 8500 and you get a different picture. 

Ive never ridden the F800 but I believe it’s very bland. 

 

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On 3/8/2019 at 10:59 PM, Buffhunter said:

So I'm thinking the F800 might tend a little towards the TRX850 once owned and loved: relatively light and flickable, a torquey motor that punches out of tight corners, plenty of engine so long as you don't want to tear around the country at 120 mph plus. 

 

I had a TDM850 (same engine as the TRX850) for a period while rebuilding my VFR and there really is no comparison to the VFR750. The TDM was dull and slow, the engine torque curve was boring, in comparison the VFR manages to have a whole load of low down torque *and* a top end *hit*. The VFR was faster *everywhere* 

 

If we're talking twins, I've also ridden a TRX850 and I preferred the SV650 again due to the drab engine. This is where we get back onto the VFR, my wife said of the first time on the back of the VFR, "it felt just like the SV... Except at the point I was expecting you to change up it took off". 

 

Now the VFR800 doesn't quite have the same torque as the 750 low down but it's not far off, I don't think you'd notice the difference unless you tried them back to back.

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4 hours ago, Fastdruid said:

I had a TDM850 (same engine as the TRX850) for a period while rebuilding my VFR and there really is no comparison to the VFR750. The TDM was dull and slow, the engine torque curve was boring, in comparison the VFR manages to have a whole load of low down torque *and* a top end *hit*. The VFR was faster *everywhere* 

 

If we're talking twins, I've also ridden a TRX850 and I preferred the SV650 again due to the drab engine. This is where we get back onto the VFR, my wife said of the first time on the back of the VFR, "it felt just like the SV... Except at the point I was expecting you to change up it took off". 

 

Now the VFR800 doesn't quite have the same torque as the 750 low down but it's not far off, I don't think you'd notice the difference unless you tried them back to back.

Funny innit? Lots of folks praise the TRX for its 'character' as opposed to the TDM (tedium). Yamaha changed the firing order on the TRX to 270 degrees to give it a bit of soul, I believe. I loved mine, but certainly not the most practical of machines. 

I think the VFR is the better looking than the BMW, which definitely counts. This is why I decided a against the Fazer 900 GT, which might well be a better bike than either_ just can't get past that 'King of the Insectoids' styling that's all the rage now.

Leaning towards the VFR. Maybe one of the earlier V_tecs, as they can be picked up at a really good price and I don't think the supposedly abrupt change in power delivery would bother me much. Just have to reassure myself re pillion comfort for the other half ( a she, not a he as per previous comment. Some things spell-check cannot do).

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2 hours ago, Buffhunter said:

Funny innit? Lots of folks praise the TRX for its 'character' as opposed to the TDM (tedium). Yamaha changed the firing order on the TRX to 270 degrees to give it a bit of soul, I believe. I loved mine, but certainly not the most practical of machines. 

I think the VFR is the better looking than the BMW, which definitely counts. This is why I decided a against the Fazer 900 GT, which might well be a better bike than either_ just can't get past that 'King of the Insectoids' styling that's all the rage now.

Leaning towards the VFR. Maybe one of the earlier V_tecs, as they can be picked up at a really good price and I don't think the supposedly abrupt change in power delivery would bother me much. Just have to reassure myself re pillion comfort for the other half ( a she, not a he as per previous comment. Some things spell-check cannot do).

 

The later (post 96) TDM850 was the same engine as the TRX850, although mine was the earlier one. The TRX was better than the TDM but not by much. 

 

I was stupendously disappointed with the early VTEC when I test rode one. I hated the way it felt when the VTEC would kick in and out mid bend...but it depends on your riding style.  Some people don't mind it. 

 

 

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I went to Le Mans on the back of a mates TDM, the earlier one and was well comfortable on it, always liked the look of the earlier model but the later one sounded better I wonder if anyone ever put the earlier bodywork onto a later model frame, would be the best of both worlds for me I reckon

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7 hours ago, scottbott said:

I went to Le Mans on the back of a mates TDM, the earlier one and was well comfortable on it, always liked the look of the earlier model but the later one sounded better I wonder if anyone ever put the earlier bodywork onto a later model frame, would be the best of both worlds for me I reckon

 

It was a comfy bike, although with somewhat of a disconnect between steering and turning. It could be hustled pretty well as well, just wasn't particularly *fun*. Mine was fairly sorted with a 17in front and very decent brakes as well. I would say it was comfier than my VFR at slow speed due to the weight on your wrists at slow speed with the VFR but the VFR was better as it got faster and the wind took the weight off the wrists.

 

My wife said it was like riding a clowns bike, like a sofa with handlebars, although that is possibly a bit harsh as she rides a RVF400R, *everything* feels soft and wobbly after one of those! The VFR feels like a big red bus after riding it.  🤣

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