2013 BMW F700GS, BMW F800GS and an Almost-KTM 690 Adventure R

BMW’s 2013 updates to F800GS and upgrade of the F650GS to F700GS for 2013 are big adventure news this week.  For those of a more hardcore adventure edge though, the good news is that Rally Raid Products UK (http://www.rally-raidproducts.co.uk) have announced their KTM 690 Adventure EVO2 Kit.

The F700GS is an evolution of the outgoing F650GS which sees a power increase of 4bhp to 75bhp and torque increase of 1lb/ft to 57 through a retune of the 798cc parallel-twin engine shared with the bikes higher-output, same chassised sibling the F800GS.  The F700GS also adds dual front discs for improved stopping power and a soothing sense of safety thanks to standard ABS, in keeping with the F700GS’s new rider friendly ethos.  Both bikes also acknowledge the “shortest of the tall people”, with low seat options and even a new lowering kit for the F800GS – addressing a much missed demographic in the world of climb any mountain bikes, who are like straddling a mountain.  Would that more manufacturers follow this lead of offering the short of leg mens and ladies adventure and dual-sport market bike options.

Beyond the F700GS’s minor power boost, the big news comes down to options.  Traction control is available as an option for both F700GS and F800GS, while the latter gains an electronically adjustable shock (ESA).  Take note, it’s just the rear shock, not the complete front and back system as found on the R1200GS/Adventure.  The system also only adjusts rebound, with a the button press allowing selection between “Comfort”, “Normal” or “Sport” modes. For pre-load you’re still cranking the remote adjuster.  For all the juicy details, here’s a link to the BMW Press Kit for the updated bikes.

All this ESA talk only highlights the biggest issue with the F800GS, and there’s no word on the whether the actual quality of the BMW’s suspension has been upgraded.  Ride and F800GS, F650GS or G650GS Sertao back to back with a KTM 990 Adventure or KTM 690 Enduro and you realize just how needlessly hard the BMW bikes make you work for your off-road experience.  KTM hans’t offered up a 690 Adventure version of their BS and ABS free KTM 690 Enduro R, which is where Rally Raid Products newly announced KTM 690 Adventure EVO2 Kit comes in.

The KTM 690 Adventure EVO2 Kit take the already phenomenally capable 690 Enduro or Enduro R and addresses the bike’s three biggest issues for the adventure set; range, lighting and weather protection.  The tank system for the kit is a complete re-think of the already excellent system we reviewed earlier.  The new design incorporates new rally-style, moulded polyethylene front fuel tanks. The kit removes the existing 690 side panels, re-using their mount point for additional tank rigidity and resistance to impact.  Replacing the side panels, extends the tanks rewards allowing a much slimmer tank profile, while offering a 11-liter combined capacity.  Ergonomically this change should make it easier stand and move around the bike while offroad, and allows a slimmer fairing design.  To keep the 690 cool at offroad speeds, air-flow is increase air flow through the radiator via side cut-outs.  Meanwhile, for when the day goes longer than expected, lighting is handled by KTM 450RR style stacked twin headlight.

The KTM 690 Adventure EVO2 Kit should be available by mid-September, which could place it nicely for a comparison; the DIY hard-core stripped down take on the single track adventure bike versus the plusher, more complex and sensibly evolved BMW F800GS.

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