I’m seeing a trend starting and I’m part of it. I recently downsized my BMW R1200GS Adventure for a BMW F800GS.
I did this because I found the R1200GSA to be a wonderful bike, but it was a little too big for some of the woods roads that I often find myself riding. I wanted something a little more nimble.
The mid-sized today are a lot more powerful than they used to be. The F800GS that I now have has all the horsepower that my 2004 BMW R1150GSA had (~85 HP). And it’s 100 pounds lighter. As it seems to be the case with many motor vehicles, size and engine displacement creep upward. Just look at the Ford Mustang in 1964 compared to 1973. Why do they presume bigger is better? Is that the only option? I don’t think so.
Reverting back to a reasonable size makes sense; especially with better technologies available today. I think we’re starting to see a movement away from the latest, largest things. People are starting to be aware of our own excesses and make more moderate choices. This mid-sized F800GS gets me down the road just as well as the R1200GSA did. It gets better fuel economy. I can handle it better when riding woods roads. It is every bit as comfortable to ride. The only negative issue against the 1200 is the fuel capacity (8.9 versus 4.2 US gallons). But that is something I can live with.
Perhaps all of this is driven by the economic conditions. People may not want to spend quite as much money on the biggest bike out there. We could be in more reasonable times and excesses are fewer and more rare. Maybe it’s due to competition in the motorcycle marketplace. Manufacturers are trying to find niches that were previously unfulfilled. Are they going for a younger or more cautious rider? I don’t know. All I know is that the F800GS is the better choice for the majority of my riding. I’ll be riding it into the deep, dark woods of Canada this Summer. I’ll be glad to be without the extra 100 pounds that I had with the 1200 last time.