The BMW F 750 GS is a 'road-oriented' adventure touring motorcycle. That means, it's primarily designed to stay on tarmac, with the occasional venture into gravel roads. But adventure motorcycling doesn't always have to be off-road, unlike popular belief, and a multi-day adventure on two-wheels could be enjoyed staying on tarmac as well. That is the kind of riding the new BMW F 750 GS is targeted at. It's one of the two new middleweight adventure bikes from BMW Motorrad, with its more off-road oriented sibling, the BMW F 850 GS. But don't go by the name, the BMW F 750 GS is not powered by a 750 cc engine; in fact, both the F 850 GS and the F 750 GS have the same 853 cc parallel-twin engine. The difference is in the wheels, suspension and the state of tune on the engine.
The BMW F 750 GS has a smaller 19-inch front alloy wheel, lower seat height, less suspension travel, and it makes marginally less power than the 850 GS; apparently to make it less intimidating to newer or less experienced riders looking to get their first adventure bike. Now, a lot of adventure bike fanboys (or fangirls for that matter), may dismiss the F 750 GS as a street bike, with no real off-road cred. And you will often hear that the 850 GS is the 'real deal', not the 750 GS. But then, actual off-road riding requires a very special set of riding skills, and experience.
And as you would probably notice on the streets, most adventure bikes are used for the weekend coffee rides and meet-ups, and the occasional, weekend long distance tour than any real, hard-core off-road riding. And it's primarily road presence and bragging rights of owning a big ADV bike which draws buyers into this segment. And before you think again that the F 750 GS isn't as hardcore, you'd be surprised how much capable it is, on the road, and even off it.
Engine and Performance
The 853 cc, parallel-twin engine of the BMW F 750 GS puts out just under 77 bhp at 7500 rpm, with peak torque of 83 Nm kicking in at 6500 rpm. Now, this may not seem much on paper, if you compare the output with its nearest rivals. The Triumph Tiger 800 XRx puts out 94 bhp and 79 Nm, while the Ducati Multistrada 950 puts out 113 bhp and 96 Nm. But then, if you've been riding motorcycles for some time now, you will be wise enough to realise that figures on paper are only part of the story about the bike, not the whole story.
The moment you thumb the starter, the parallel-twin motor of the F 750 GS rumbles into life with a quite likeable 270-degree firing order. And despite the numbers, the 750 GS is no slouch. Acceleration is brisk, and the dual counter-balancers in the parallel-twin engine ensure that the vibes are kept in check; it's a smooth and refined mill, and chasing 100-plus triple digit speeds on the highway feels effortless, and getting there is brisk. But there's no backslapping torque rush, no adrenaline pumping excitement as such, if you've experienced bigger, and 100 bhp-plus machines.
This is no litre-class superbike, but the performance will not make you yearn for more really, unless you're the kind always seeking excitement on the wrong side of the law, and without any regard to road safety - yours, as well as other road users. That said, on our test ride, the BMW F 750 GS easily reached speeds of 190 kmph, and you have enough power to reach 160 kmph from the ton quite briskly. And that is more than enough you'd need really on any long distance highway run. What could have been welcome is a slightly taller windshield; the standard flyscreen does deflect some amount of wind away from the rider, but after a couple of hours on the highway, you do long for some more wind protection, and that will tire you out sooner, over a day's ride on the highway.
Ride and Handling
What the BMW F 750 GS excels in is its road manners. With a fully-fuelled road ready weight of 224 kg, it's not a lightweight motorcycle by any standard, but the weight is well-balanced. But where its accessibility lies is in its seat height; with 815 mm on the standard seat height, it's one of the lowest adventure bikes available in the market right now, and that is very good news for the average Indian rider; with my 5 feet, 9-inch and a shade higher frame, I could plant both feet flat on the ground, while straddling the bike, and that is very helpful while you're trudging through traffic or have to make a quick stop on a narrow mountain road.
Ride quality is plush and comfortable, and despite riding in the rain, on wet roads, the F 750 GS feels planted and taut, with superb road manners. If you're upgrading from a smaller street bike to your first adventure bike, the F 750 GS will impress you with its road grip; it's a delight on tarmac and whatever your level of experience, you will appreciate how friendly it feels, around a set of corners, or while filtering through traffic. And when the tarmac disappears, you will forget all the talk about the 'street oriented' leanings of the 750.
Sure, this is no bike to go bolting over big rocks and fallen logs, but the usual broken tarmac, gravel and sandy trails will be shrugged off without as much as a whimper. It's a GS at heart after all, and it can quite capably take on the occasional back road, or forest trail you throw at it. And for those looking for some more adventurous terrain, just a swap to more off-road oriented rubber than the stock street-oriented Michelin rubber can make a world of difference. Even swapping to slightly more dual-sport rubber with a thicker tread pattern will certainly make the 750 GS more than capable enough for the average adventure seeking enthusiast. But yes, the limited suspension travel (151 mm front, and 177 mm rear) and cast alloy wheels (19-inch front, 17-inch rear) will limit your off-road adventures, provided you have the skills and experience to attempt more hard-core off-road manoeuvres.
Design and Features
There's no denying the fact that the F 750 is a typical GS; the bodywork, front beak and overall styling is near identical to the F 850 GS. There's that front beak which seems to be typical of adventure bike design, integrated with the half-fairing, tall and wide handlebar, although the handlebar feels a tad low, when you are standing up on the pegs while tackling terrain away from tarmac.
The standard F 750 GS comes with two riding modes - Road and Rain, but then you have the option to personalise your bike with several packages, with more options on riding modes, LED lighting, a full-colour TFT instrument panel with smartphone connectivity, quickshifter and cruise control. The hand-grip mounted multi-controller isn't the most intuitive though and takes some getting used to, but the TFT screen offers good visibility and throws up a range of information from service reminder, trip meters, and an on-board computer with dynamic fuel consumption, range, average speed and so on. On our test ride, the F 750 GS returned average fuel consumption of around 20-21 kmpl, with spirited highway riding and some off-road duty thrown in as well. With its 15-litre fuel tank, that translates to around 300 km range on a tankful. Frankly, that's more than enough range, before you will need the urge to take a break.
The standard bike costs ₹ 11.95 lakh (ex-showroom), and our test bike with the Pro package costs ₹ 13.4 lakh (ex-showroom), which includes two additional riding modes - Dynamic and Enduro, as well as LED lighting, TFT instrument panel, quickshifter and electronic rear suspension. What is missed is a standard engine bash plate and hand-guards, if you will be looking to explore more than tarmac. BMW Motorrad offers a range of accessories and add-ons, of course at additional cost, but for the more adventurous, we recommend more robust sump and handlebar protection, than the plastic OEM units offered, and a taller windscreen for highway duty.
The BMW F 750 GS may be touted as the 'road-oriented' middleweight ADV, but before you dismiss it with any preconceived notions about its capability, do take a test ride. It's got a smooth, tractable engine, very friendly road manners, and enough adventure capability to meet your requirements and more. Most of all, it's one of the most accessible middleweight adventure bikes with its friendly dynamics and road manners.
Unless you have above average riding skills and experience, and you will be looking to venture off-tarmac more often than not, the F 750 GS could be just the bike you need for your two-wheeled adventure. As a primarily tarmac tourer, it offers very likeable performance and superb road manners. And that's more reason than one, why it deserves a test ride at least, if your dream two-wheeled adventure sounds incomplete without a middleweight adventure tourer.
(Photography: Rakesh Singh)