2013 BMW F 700 GS | First Ride Review

2013 BMW F 700 GS (Photos by Scott Hirko)
The 2013 BMW F 700 GS is a fun, fast, nimble machine that delivers a lot of bang for the buck, with new features and a lower MSRP compared to last year’s model. (Photos by Scott Hirko)

When BMW decided to update the F 650 GS for 2013, it was clearly in a generous mood. The folks in Bavaria gave the street-biased enduro model more horsepower and torque, a shorter gear ratio for quicker acceleration, a second front disc brake, new switchgear and instrumentation, and updated styling. Although displacement of its 798cc parallel twin is unchanged, BMW rechristened the bike as the F 700 GS to dispense with confusion over the model name (though F 750 GS would be closer to the truth). And it did all of this while lowering the base price by $165, to $9,990.

The F 700 GS gets updated styling, a new windscreen and new instrumentation.
The F 700 GS gets updated styling, a new windscreen and new instrumentation.

What you get for your 10 grand, besides $10 in change, is a nimble, comfortable, fuel-efficient motorcycle. One that is begging to be accessorized for long-haul touring, dual-sporting or to suit your particular ergonomics. Offered for the first time in this displacement class are Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) and Anti Spin Control (ASC), two popular options on larger BMW models. They’re available as part of the Safety Package, along with a tire-pressure monitor, for $795. Though our Red Apple Metallic—one of three new colors for 2013—test bike was not so equipped, it was fitted with the $505 Comfort Package, which adds heated grips, an onboard computer, a centerstand and saddlebag mounts (Vario saddlebags cost another $825.90, plus $55 for keyed locks). A low seat, which drops seat height from 32.3 inches to 31.1 inches, is a no-cost option, and the $250 low suspension kit will drop it another inch. Hand guards, crash bars, skid plates and much more are available from the factory accessory catalog. The only limit is your imagination, and your budget.

The 798cc parallel twin puts out 4 horsepower and 2 lb-ft of torque more than before.
The 798cc parallel twin puts out 4 horsepower and 2 lb-ft of torque more than before, plus shorter gearing. The F 700 GS gets great gas mileage.

When I spent a week flogging an F 650 GS in the Alps a couple years ago, I found the bike’s agility, light weight and comfort to be great assets during long days on challenging roads. Building on these strengths are more pep and more stopping power. BMW claims an increase of 4 horsepower and 2 lb-ft of torque over the previous model, good for 65.4 horsepower and 55.6 lb-ft at the rear wheel on Jett Tuning’s dyno. The higher output plus shorter gearing make the F 700 GS noticeably livelier than its predecessor. Though counterbalanced with a compensation rod, the F-series parallel twin can be rather buzzy, particularly above 5,000 rpm (redline is 8,500). The F 700 GS cruises smoothly at 3,500 rpm at 60 mph in top gear, and it has good throttle response and minimal driveline lash. The adjustable clutch lever has a light pull and the 6-speed tranny shifts with ease.

The F 700 GS gets more safety and stopping power with standard ABS and a second front disc brake.
The F 700 GS gets more safety and stopping power with standard ABS and a second front disc brake.

The second brake disc and caliper up front—the entire 3-disc setup up is by Brembo—has transformed the F 700 GS, allowing it to scrub off speed more easily with a light pull on the adjustable lever. The latest generation of BMW Motorrad two-channel ABS is standard, and a button on the left handlebar makes it easy to turn off. The non-adjustable 41mm fork and rebound and preload adjustable (the latter with a remote knob) rear shock, which offer 7 and 6.7 inches of travel front and rear, are undersprung for my 200-pound curb weight and the front chatters over bumps at high speed, but otherwise the suspension provides a comfortable, compliant ride.

The F 700 GS is a people-pleasing motorcycle, one that’s loads of fun to ride and doesn’t jam any thorns in your side. The wide handlebar, fleet steering geometry, low center of gravity (the 4.2-gallon fuel tank is under the seat) and narrow Bridgestone Battle Wing tires (110/80-19 front, 140/80-17 rear) give the bike athletic handling, and the firm, supportive seat and upright riding position are just right. Ample cornering clearance, good fuel economy (45.8 mpg average), a modest curb weight (480 pounds wet), a standard 12V socket and a strong chassis put more checks in the pro column. More motorcycle for less money equals miles of smiles.

The Comfort Package includes heated grips, an onboard computer, a centerstand and saddlebag mounts.
The Comfort Package includes heated grips, an onboard computer, a centerstand and saddlebag mounts.

2013 BMW F 700 GS Specs
Base Price: $9,990
Price as Tested: $10,495 (Comfort Package: heated grips, onboard computer, centerstand, saddlebag mounts)
Website: bmwmotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 798cc
Bore x Stroke: 82.0 x 75.6mm
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 61.5 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/3.7 in.
Seat Height: 32.3 in.
Wet Weight: 480 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gals., warning light on last 1.0 gal.
MPG: 91 PON min. (high/avg/low) 48.3/45.8/43.0


  1. I liked the comparison with the Versys, the V-Strom and the Honda 700. It would be interesting to see what goes on when the BMW is added. I rode the BMW 700 on an open House at Morton’s BMW in Fredericksburg Virginia. I liked it, I liked it a lot.

  2. I’m a Harley guy, but I rode an F 650GS all over New Zealand with Edelweiss about a year and a half ago and found it to be a really great all around bike, especially for blue road touring. The new features on the 700 are welcome, and, as I get older, a bike this light and versatile begins to look pretty attractive for extending my motorcycle days. I think Nationla Cycle has a nice windscreen that will make it a little more comfortable on long touring days.

  3. Jack of all trades but master of none.

    In all seriousness, BMW needs to cater to the Shorter demographic if they want to create a more broader base of riders. That is why Harley is #1 worldwide.

    • Exactly. I never imagined I would ever buy a GS BMW. I sat on the F700GS with lowered suspension and low seat and at 5’4 I can pretty much flat foot it. Only downside is reduced ground clearance, which is much more like a road bike.

    • They are similar bikes, but different. Two main points: the 4.7gallon gas tank on the BMW is under the seat, which has two main advantages – lower center of gravity and the bike feels and steers lighter. The bike is also lighter and would be an obvious choice for a step up bike for someone that is coming off there first bike. Pretty sure they would be very happy with the bike. I rode the F650 and was chasing down a LA County Sheriff on his larger BMW, cat and mouse, and got the bike up to about 110mph splitting traffic (there still felt like there was something left). At speeds over 85 (?) mph the bike has a noticeable vibration, and once i got the bike over 100mph it was not a confidence inspiring ride. The front end feels too light and you need to hammer on the throttle a bit to get triple digits.

      The tiger has a gas tank up top and front, the triple engine is quite massive so there is more weight to keep the bike grounded. I routinely drive my Tiger 85-95mph on Los Angeles Freeways and hit 100mph at times. The F700 although better is still a two cylinder engine compared to a torquey triple. So they are similar but different. You just can’t compare anything to a triple, unless it is a 600 series sport bike and at lower rpm the torque of the 800 motor and heavy flywheel trumps the high end revving power of any of the japanese twins and even smaller displacement triples.

      The Tiger 800 engine pulls all the way through the RPMs. When you are doing 75 in 6th gear just give the Tiger a handful of throttle and it pulls, no downshifting. no need… I rode the F650 twin hard with handful of full throttles and got 39mph over a 15 minute stint and didn’t have to give massive throttle inputs to the tiger, it just doesn’t need it. Just turn the throttle and it goes.

      Since the bike is some 40-60lbs lighter than a Tiger 800XC and doesn’t have the gas tank up front the F650 and F700 feels less planted. Saying all that the F650 still is more user nooby friendly then the big tall heavy Tiger 800. I got on the bike and felt comfortable riding the bike. So although Triumph was targeting the F650 when it designed the Tiger800 i would say the bike is more like a step down bike of an R1200gs? I haven’t ridden the 1200GS but the weight and girth felt similar, with the nod to the T800 XC for it’s easier handling. The 1200GS is a VERY good bike. The Tiger has some shortcomings a welded subframe, budget suspension, and first gear is too high and 6th gear is too low. Riding off road you want a lower 1st gear for climbing and descending. The Tiger is no KTM 990 Adventure. That’s for sure, but you don’t buy a Tiger for 50-50% dirt, you buy it for sport adventure touring with the ability to ride off pavement.

  4. I hope it doesn’t have a Kinco engine as a scooter CS600 or the olds F650 GS with a Rotax engines too.
    For the little engine and a light motorcycle it burns a lot of fuel.
    Need to see it and feel better

  5. best looking bike in its class and has the bmw name if thats worth anything to you. Apples to apples its about the same price as the rest of them,I test rode most of them.I bought a 2013 for my wife,she is a beginner rider,with 0 experience other than a safety class. She took to it like a duck to water. I like it too, I have owned 25 motorcycles , I have a 800GS ,which is more for dirt and is much taller. The 700 is a very good all around bike,master of none, you can”t have both.700 is nimble,fairly light, peppy with a top speed of a110mph,ok on fuel mileage,looks great in red.Downs-best with comfort seat,have to use BMW Dealer check-up for warranty-$275,need to add handlebar risers,LED turn signals,bigger wind screen.


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