Height-adjustable or optional low seats can drop seat height by an inch or so, but for many riders that isn’t enough, especially on dual-sport/enduro motorcycles with large-diameter front wheels and long suspension travel. Given the popularity of BMW’s GS line, the Germans have gone one step further. Except for the G 650 GS Sertão and R 1200 GS Adventure, both of which have more suspension travel than their standard-model counterparts, all other GS models—G 650 GS, F 700 GS, F 800 GS and R 1200 GS—are available with low suspension kits, as are the R 1200 R roadster and R 1200 RT sport tourer.
Consider the F 700 GS, which we tested last month. For 2013, BMW lowered the base price to $9,990 and made many useful improvements: more output from its 798cc engine, a shorter gear ratio for better acceleration, a second front disc brake for added stopping power, and updated instrumentation, switchgear and styling. In standard trim, the F 700 GS has a 32.3-inch seat height. It can be ordered with a no-cost optional low seat, dropping seat height to 31.1 inches. For an additional $250, it can also be ordered with a low suspension kit, dropping seat height another inch, to 30.1 inches.
The down side of lowered suspension is that it reduces suspension travel. The F 700 GS has 7.1/6.7 inches of travel front and rear; the lowering kit reduces rear wheel travel by 1.4 inches, to just 5.3. For street-only riders, that may be plenty, but bear in mind that cornering and ground clearance will also be reduced. For these reasons, order a low suspension kit only if absolutely necessary. Furthermore, since motorcycles with lowered suspension must be ordered as such from the factory, the kit is not a simple dealer add-on nor easily removed if you change your mind.
2013 BMW F 700 GS Specs
Base Price: $9,990
Price as Tested: $10,495 (Comfort Package: heated grips, onboard computer, centerstand, saddlebag mounts)
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
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. (no-cost optional low seat, 31.1 in.)
Wet Weight: 480 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gals., warning light on last 1.0 gal.
Average MPG: 45.8 (89 PON min.)
This review was part of a four-motorcycle feature called Quick, Lean & Low, which was published in the March 2013 issue of Rider magazine. The other bike reviews can be found by clicking on the motorcycle names below: