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My four year old F800S uneventfully passed 50k miles yesterday. Yup, halfway to the magical 100k mark where I figure I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of a motocycle. And other than the awesome riding experience, it’s been a pretty boring 50k miles. Repairs? Fork seals under warranty, a loose sidestand bolt, and a bit of aerosol contact cleaner made the left grip as toasty as the right. Still on the original drive belt, valve clearances haven’t budged, etc.. And knock on wood, the oft to fail alternator and rear wheel bearings have been trouble free. So the F800S is tied with the R65LS as the most reliable motocycle I’ve owned.

Now you’d think that BMW would know a winner when they got one… Do some upgrades, and recall and repair the troublesome¬† bearings and alternator. Then, being that the tooling is paid off, drop the entry level model’s price down below $10k and make it competitive.

But Noooo… We’ve yet to see a 2013 model, and rumor has it that it’s been dropped from the BMW lineup. Given BMW’s abandonment, the used prices of these bikes are dropping like the provervial rocks… I’d be lucky to get $3k for this 50k mile bike. The suspect alternator runs $900 in parts alone, and I recently read of a $1700 bill to replace the failure prone rear axle and bearings. Yup, on one ill fated trip you could “total out” an F800S/ST! Worse yet, with only 6 years low volume production to support the aftermarket, even BMW dealers don’t stock much in the way of parts for them. You could limp into the massive BMWMOA national rally with a broken F800S/ST and be marooned there for days waiting for parts to be airfreighted in.

Meanwhile at this years rally the Airheads repaired not one but two airhead rear drives in short order and their riders happily rode home. That’s ’cause back in the Airhead era BMW Motorad was run by motorcyclists rather than aspiring yuppies on loan from the much bigger car operation. Thus the old masters of Munich designed a tour de force motorcycle then spent a couple decades perfecting it. With that long model run, there’s a whole cottage industry grown up to supply Airhead parts through armegedon and probably beyond.

I suspect we won’t see so many F800S/STs a decade from now as the parts bins are emptied. Probly first to disappear will be the troublesome rear axles, followed by the drive belts… Both of which are exclusive to this model. So maybe my F800S will make it to 100k miles, at which point it’ll be be worth more dead in pieces than alive… Then I’ll have to drag out the R65LS and ride it for another quarter century or so!

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