Jump to content
Stinky

Got to spend some time on a BMW 850

Recommended Posts

I did a 1,700km ride over the long weekend here in Malaysia. It was a lot of rural and mountain twisties for roads. The rural roads in Malaysia come in 2 forms: Terrific and Terrible. There really isn't an in between. The well maintained roads are a dream to ride on. The not maintained roads are just plain dangerous...huge oil pan destroying pot holes, lanes that suddenly go from fast and smooth to broken and gravel in an instant, and new to me, black asphalt with ruts deep enough to scrape your foot pegs on.

We had 9 riders on this trip. The bike break down: 1)BMW 1200  1) Honda 500CB   2) Kawasaki 650 Versyis  1) KTM 690 Duke 1) Suzuki 650  1) Harley  1) Yamaha Tracer 900GT (mine) and 1) BMW 850.

In short all the riders there loved my Tracer. They were all surprised by the power and acceleration. Almost all the riders were complaining about the potholes and rough surfaces...except the BMW and KTM riders. The guy on the BMW 850 is a SERIOUS street rider. He races on and off track. I saw him eyeballing the Tracer the whole trip so on the last day I asked him if he wanted to trade for 50km or so on the twisty mountain section.

So we swapped bikes and off we went. Here is my assessment of the BMW 850 and the Tracer: You can't even compare the two as they seemed to me totally different bikes. Advantages for the BMW 850: 1) Suspension: The suspension on the BMW was a dream!!!! It absolutely ate up the nasty parts of the road. 2) Drive/Transmission: The shaft drive and shifting on the BMW was just awesome. Much tighter and more precise feeling than the Tracer. 3) Display screen: The BMW is HUGE and it also has the ability to pair a phone by bluetooth.

Tracer advantages: 1) The engine; Tracer wins by a mile here. Even though the motors are the same displacement, the Tracer delivered more in all parts of the RPM range. The BMW was very responsive but only in the middle of the RPM range. From 4,000-8,000 the BMW was a beast. But I found myself bogging down in 5th and 6th gear when I went hard throttle. You have to downshift to get the acceleration. 2) Handing at high speeds: No surprise here. The BMW handles more like a dirt bike than a sport bike. 3) Comfort: It is subjective but I found the seat position much easier on the old bum than the BMW.

The BMW is a great bike. But my feeling is that it is more of an on road/off road adventure bike. Benoit ( the guy who rode my Tracer) loved it. His assessment was almost the same as mine. In my best French accent: "This bike can go very fast. The engine is so strong."

I cane away feeling that the two bikes are so different that one could not even compare on which one was "Better". The BMW is a better adventure bike. The Tracer is a better sport/touring bike.

I'll post up on the details of the ride in another forum.

 

  • Thumbsup 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice write up, thanks.

 

I'm curious; which BMW 850 has a shaft drive? Is this a Malaysia-only model?

 

(Sorry, don't mean to veer too far off of Tracer-land, but can't resist.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, ZigMerid said:

Nice write up, thanks.

 

I'm curious; which BMW 850 has a shaft drive? Is this a Malaysia-only model?

 

(Sorry, don't mean to veer too far off of Tracer-land, but can't resist.)

I think he just made a mistake. They are all chain drive. Even the older 800.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless it was the R1200GS or R1250GS.  They have a shaft drive.

Handling at speed will probably vary depending on the tires.  It would be interesting to see a comparison of the two with the same rubber.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, daboo said:

Unless it was the R1200GS or R1250GS.  They have a shaft drive.

Which would be consistent with the OP's comment about being "HUGE", but inconsistent with it lacking power in the 4-8k rev range. Well, maybe.

 

Come back "Stinky" and put us out of our misery!

  • Thumbsup 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would depend on what he's comparing it to.  Comparing it to the FJ-09 or Tracer, it would come up short in those rpms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, rodb47 said:

I think he just made a mistake. They are all chain drive. Even the older 800.

Strange, I also mentally wondered about this.   As a confirmed BMWer for many years, I don't know of a shaft-drive 850, UNLESS it was an older R850 R Roadster.   I owned many versions of this BMW Roadster model, an 1100, an 1150, and several 1200s.   Great bikes all, but getting a bit bulky and heavy (and costly!) for this biker.


Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, wordsmith said:

Strange, I also mentally wondered about this.   As a confirmed BMWer for many years, I don't know of a shaft-drive 850, UNLESS it was an older R850 R Roadster.   I owned many versions of this BMW Roadster model, an 1100, an 1150, and several 1200s.   Great bikes all, but getting a bit bulky and heavy (and costly!) for this biker.

I took a demo ride on the 850 Adventure. Absolutely loved it. The price was almost $19,000 US. No thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A shaftie?


Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry guys!!! I must have had 1200 shaft drive on the brain. Yes, the 850 is chain driven. Which makes the transmission that much more amazing.

Thanks for the correction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

daboo...that is an excellent point. The BMW had more aggressive "adventure" tires. I didn't get a look at the size but the front and rear tires were much more skinny than the stock tires on my Tracer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zig...you might have read my post wrong. The BMW is a monster in the 4,000-8,000 RPM range. It doesn't seem to have the same "pull" in the lower and upper RPM range as the Tracer. But in the middle it is crazy strong!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Stinky said:

Sorry guys!!! I must have had 1200 shaft drive on the brain. Yes, the 850 is chain driven. Which makes the transmission that much more amazing.

Thanks for the correction.

Goddit - but boy you had me puzzled!


Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, wordsmith said:

Goddit - but boy you had me puzzled!

wordsmith....That is my super power. I make easy things difficult😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Stinky said:

Zig...you might have read my post wrong. The BMW is a monster in the 4,000-8,000 RPM range. It doesn't seem to have the same "pull" in the lower and upper RPM range as the Tracer. But in the middle it is crazy strong!!!

Gotcha. No big. I was mainly thinking you might have had a unicorn BMW that I'd never heard off, but you clarified that.

I'm still in the Tracer camp with no chance of a BMW in my future, though I've had them in the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×