The F850 GS Adventure uses the same engine as the regular F850. The parallel twin still displaces 853cc, and the output figures at 95bhp and 92Nm remain impressive. On the road, it’s immediately evident that the GSA lays this torque thick and flat.
Open the throttle with gusto from around 3,000rpm, and the F850 gets going like a soldier following a drill command. The acceleration is instant, crisp, and seamless. 100kmph comes and goes in a jiffy. And, if you don’t rein-in your right wrist, don’t be surprised to see 150kmph in equally quick time.
The engine is an easy revving one too. It spins up with the effortlessness of a graceful Kathak dancer. And, it doesn’t let up till it bangs off the limiter at 9,000rpm. What’s more, there’s no letting up of power either until the engine hits the redline. And because the engine sounds so good when revved, it’s hard not to give it the beans, all the time.
But, if you choose to ride sensibly, the GSA sits at under 4,000rpm in 6th gear at 100kmph. Doing so also helps the motorcycle return over 20kmpl giving it a range of over 450km. Factor in the rock-like straight-line stability – no matter how hard the cross winds – and the GSA makes for a lovely long distance touring companion. It’s happy whilst cornering too. But, that 21-inch front wheel and the lazier steering geometry means, it does need more effort to turn it in, and it doesn’t feel the most connected when leaned over.
But, it’s off the road, that the GSA impresses most. Now, we aren’t fans of the bike’s stock tyres. These don’t work too well on the road, and even off-road, the grip isn’t as good as one would like, especially if you are an off-roading noob. But, it’s the near neutral balance, the large front wheel, the forgiving suspension, the crisp throttle response, and the accessible torque that make the F850 GS Adventure such a hoot off-road.
It’s easy to make U-turns with. It won’t go into a tank slapper or spit you off like chewed gum if you misjudge a crest. It will ride the ripples, the ruts, and take you into a dusty, slushy or gravelly sunset all year, every year. And when you switch to Enduro mode, it will allow you to play with its rear end too! A little slip here, and a little slide there. But, nothing too dramatic.
For that, one needs to switch to Enduro Pro. Unfortunately, it can only be done at the dealership. And since we didn’t remember this crucial bit, Enduro is all we got, off-road.