BMW F 750 GS: First Ride Review

Abhishek Wairagade

BMW Motorrad launched the mid-weight F 750 GS and F 850 GS at the 2018 Auto Expo. Going in ascending order of their price-positioning we’ve got out off-road boots astride the F 750 GS. The BMW F 750 GS is a beginner-friendly, detuned 853cc ADV suited for the road. It doesn’t seem to be radically different, at least on paper, from the F 850 that seems to be more off-road biased. So the question is, does the F 750 GS amalgamate the best of both worlds?

All about the BMW F 750 GS

If you go by face value, the F 750 GS is almost as big as the G 310 GS. Yes, you might be shocked to hear this, but in fact, the G 310 GS is taller than the F 750 GS by 5mm! The F 750 GS is longer and wider though, obviously to accommodate that big-bore engine. The Pro variant that we are testing came in a beautiful yellow shade, reminiscent of the original Funduro. Especially from the front, where the 750 gets that futuristic looking, almost Lamborghini-like headlamp. The minimalistic theme is a part of the GS package. Here, functionality gets precedence over form. Same applies to the F 750 GS with its bare-bones features.

Big spinning BMW propeller badges adorn the 15-litre tank. The fit and finish definitely does justice to the badge. Everything feels built to last, especially the solid switchgear. The quality of switches is exemplary and then there’s the all-new 6.5-inch speedo cluster which will also be seen on the hotly-anticipated S 1000 RR. To my eye this is one of the best units to have ever been fitted on a motorcycle and the transitions are even smoother than an iPhone’s. However, the new ‘multi-controller’ located on the handlebar takes some time to get acquainted with. I’d rather have the traditional switchcube over it, any given day, simply for the ease of operation. The windscreen is almost non-existent although BMW offers a lot of accessories to choose from but at a price, obviously.

“The seat height is a mere 815mm; lower than the KTM 390 Duke and G 310 GS by 20mm!”

Once you saddle up, you’ll realise the intention behind the making of the F 750 GS. The seat height is a mere 815mm; lower than the KTM 390 Duke and G 310 GS by 20mm! Just like with the 310, you don’t sit in the bike but on it. The wide handlebar and short seat along with the not so wide in-seam allows for a comfortable riding position, even for a rider of my height (6 feet). Obviously, being an ADV, you’ll need to ride it while standing, and the 750 definitely requires taller bars, especially for tall riders. But then again, if you’re planning to take it frequently to trails, why not opt for the 850?

The story continues with the motor. The 853cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine makes 76bhp and 83Nm, which is fairly lower than the F 850 GS. But then, the F 750 GS is extremely friendly in the way it puts power on the road. The smoothness of the motor is what you’d notice for the first few kilometres. The refinement is brilliant and you’ll barely encounter any vibes. It’s not very torquey like the Triumph Tiger’s triple, or peaky like the Ducati Multistrada 950’s L-twin, and the powerband is limited too.

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The power starts building up from 4,500rpm and goes up to 8,500rpm. It’s not supersonic and as aforementioned, very beginner-friendly. It’ll never catch you by surprise and that’s what BMW actually wants from the F 750 GS. It is also very heavy at 224kg for a 76bhp motor. The lack of low down torque does hamper your progress when taken off the beaten path and you also need a few downshifts to get past that long trailer. Bear in mind, it isn’t really slow, just about enough to keep you smiling but not grinning. The ’box is simply flawless and never did I encounter a missed shift even though I rode it for more than 600km.

“It’s not very torquey like the Triumph Tiger’s triple, or peaky like the Ducati Multistrada 950’s L-twin, and the powerband is limited too.”

The 750 is the only motorcycle in its class to come with electronically-adjustable rear suspension. At the front are regular telescopic forks, with less than the G 310 GS’ travel, 151mm at the front and 177mm at the rear. The front-end is slightly cushy but we expect that from a road-biased ADV. The 19-inch alloy at the front is shod with a 110mm-section Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A41R while the rear gets a 17-inch 150mm tyre. The Bridgestones are 10 per cent off-road biased and we could clearly sense this. They aren’t really bad on gravel or sand, but definitely work better on road. And on road is where the 750 actually shines.

The ride quality is superb and you can keep the momentum up even on bad roads, never having to slow down. The handling is brilliant too and the feedback offered from the front-end as well as the chassis plays an important part in nearly getting your knee down in corners. The long wheelbase allows for superb mid-corner stability and the steering damper also keeps the front end in check. The 750 may not be made for off-road, but it more than makes up with its road dynamics.

How does the BMW F 750 GS fares against the competition?

The mid-weight ADV market is pretty feature-packed. The Multistrada 950 is the cheapest of the lot at Rs 12.84 lakh, the Africa Twin costs Rs 13.23 lakh while the Tiger XRx and F 750 GS are priced at an identical Rs 13.40 lakh. The Beemer is a great package if you are looking for a full-fledged ADV that comes with those legendary GS credentials, yet is super friendly. It isn’t a superbike-killing prospect like the Multistrada 950 and it may not be a pro at off-roading like the Tiger. But it can do it all. In fact it’ll be able to do most things the 1200 can, without intimidating you. Isn’t that what we had expected it to do?

Fast Bikes India