Join Date: May 2015
Location: in the Finger Lakes, NY, USA
I rode the GS for most of the trip but got some time on the 800GT on Sunday. The GS was very much 'a GS'... basically identical to the 16 I had last time with a few small but positive updates. The first was the TFT display... while I don't like the arcade game like visuals, the display was MUCH brighter and crisper than my Multi display - it was easy to read even in direct sunlight and was made of something more durable than the transparent butter they use on ours. The second was the quickshifter. In 2016 I think the quickshifter was new - and it was crap. It worked OK if you were hammering it but any other time it was stiff and jerky - basically useless. Even worse... it interfered with other shifting (like clutchless/rev matched shifting). The 18 quickshifter worked nearly all the time and was relatively unobtrusive (I could rev match shift smoothly, I could clutch shift smoothly, etc...) The only time it was unhappy was if you wanted to blip down but were at low rpms and throttle... which is a dumb time to try blipping down anyway. Only niggle is that the shift sensor for the quickshifter is very compliant and makes the shifter feel mushy - I didn't like that.
I also was struck by how heavy the GS feels compared to my Multi... it has decent acceleration (but lacks top end - maybe the 1250 helps there) but while the bike feels relatively light and maneuverable at low speeds (for its size), at higher speeds it's weight becomes more apparent (and it's not THAT much heavier than the multi). Turn in and transitions are LETHARGIC... but the bike sticks like glue and tracks nicely through corners. In contrast, the F800 felt nimble, planted, and asking for more aggressive cornering when I rode it. It was definitely faster through the twisties even if it lacked the thrust down the straight. Of the two bikes, the 800 felt more like my multi handling wise (maybe the BST's have more impact on handling on my bike than I was giving them)... the GS felt more like my brothers super tenere. But that's why I get the GS - it's a more 'stately' machine and I tend not to be tempted to get into trouble... I could get into trouble on the 800.
So my comments on the B500 and the Black Forest area of Germany - some of the best riding in the world - with a few caveats. One is the traffic... next time I'm doing it during the week... LOTS of traffic. On the plus side, nearly ALL Germans drive/ride like maniacs, and the one's that don't aren't insulted when you filter by them or pass them. Another is the weather this time of year... damp spots and occasionally leaves on the road - had to keep an eye out. Also... short days and cold morning/nights but that's not that big a deal... we had a good 7 hours of riding both days (ended up at 750kms).
There was a really nice mix of mountain riding (steep, switchbacks, tight twisties), rolling hill riding (long fast twisties on flawless tarmac), and even some tail of the dragon crazy tight and technical stuff on nearby alternate roads. The area felt to me like they took some of the best riding in the US and packed a lot of the diversity into an area of 250 miles by 80 miles.
The B500 should absolutely be on every riders 'to do' list.
15 Multistrada S Touring/Urban/Enduro, 04 Tiger 955i, 86 MaximX 750 (son), 13 Ural (wife)
"Go soothingly on the grease mud, for there lurks the skid demon"
Last edited by DaveK; Oct 22nd, 2018 at 10:50 am.