Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > BMW Tech

BMW Tech BMW Tech Forum - For Questions specific and of interest to BMW riders only. Questions comparing which bike is best etc go in the "Which Bike" forum.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

7 Litre Camel Tank Lets You Explore More, Click to Find out More!

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10 Sep 2012
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Tenerife - Canary Islands
Posts: 282
650 vs 1200

Hi all,

I am looking for the BMW 650 riders amongst us, and more importantly those who did a 2-up journey on one. I met some who did it, and they were more interested in doing it on a 1200 than a 650, is this true...?

Why? Because I have the luxury problem that I can choose between a 1200GSAdv and a modified 650 for my next travel to the 'stans for 3 months. I know the pro's and con's of the GSA but not nothing about the 650 as I never owned one before. No, I am not interested in another bike, as I own the GSA and will own the 650 in a week or so.

I'm more into the small little roads, off-road and stuff than the "big highways". Yes I do go offroad with the GSA fully loaded. But I've never been riding 2 up and the wife doesn't want to drive anymore...

So, if you have any experience about this, please tell me (and the world) about it, or at least a link to a blog or... where I can read about it.

- Experiences with the 650 with 2-up (or solo)
- Experiences with the GSA 2-up

Follow us on Facebook and on our website.
Reply With Quote
Old 11 Sep 2012
BlackDogZulu's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: West Wales, UK
Posts: 759
First point - is the 650 you are talking about the older 650 Rotax single or the later (2008-on, I think) 800 cc twin, also called the F650GS? I imagine that would make a big difference to the 2-up capability.

Second point - (I have only had my 650 single for a few weeks, so take what I say with the appropriate caution) - I bought the bike with the express intention of doing the kind of riding you describe. Smaller roads, some mild off-road, not much highway-bashing. My early impressions are that it will be the ideal machine for the purpose. It's roomy (I'm 6 ft and have added the higher Dakar seat), with a decent passenger perch, fast enough to keep up with 70 mph traffic, and light enough to be chucked about and picked up without a hernia if it all goes wrong. A passenger slows it down, sure, but not terminally so. A friend (6 ft 5 in) reported seeing an indicated 100 mph with his wife on the back on a recent trip to Germany.

I'm done with big bikes for touring. The 1000-mile days they are capable of are not what I want to do, and I'm leaning more towards 'small is good'. I'm very happy with the little 650 single, and as we seem to have similar intentions, I would imagine you would be too. But if you are shortly going to own both, I can only suggest you give them both a fair trial with the wife on board and go from there. That's no help, I know. But plenty have taken the 650 single RTW and I'm very happy with mine.
2006 XT660R daily ride, 1994 XT600E about to be reborn, Blog: http://goingfastgettingnowhere.blogspot.com/
Reply With Quote
Old 11 Sep 2012
Wheelie's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 455
I've got the F650GS Dakar, single spark version. I've not owned it for long, and have not gone two up except for one short trip where my wife hitched a ride to work.

In my opinion, the bike is very capable for two up overlanding if you take care to not overload it. But, and there is a but, with the original seat, my guess is that pillion comfort on long rides could possibly be an issue - as with most bikes.

I would suggest that you take your wife on a 10 hour ride on each bike and let the pillion decide - and then fork over the money for any farkles that you need to make the bike comfortable and practical for both. Because, if the trip isn't enjoyable for the pillion, with the rider wanting to press forward, all sorts of trouble can arise - not only destroying your trip, but also preventing future trips from happening.

My guess is that it will be the 12000...
Reply With Quote
Old 11 Sep 2012
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 68
I also agree. The past 2 years I have taken my godson around Europe on 3 week trips, on my 2004 F650 Gs twin spark. He's now 14 and 6 foot same as me.
We can cruise at a steady 80 on auto routes if we have to. We have ridden easy, dry trails 2 up. But most of what we do is minor roads and up and down the mountains.
Lightweight camping. Vario panniers, Wolfman tank bag, gasmask bags as tank pannier bags and a tote bag on the rear carrier.
Comfort. My pillion now findes that the grab rails each side are uncomfotable, bt a gel insert (same as I have at the front) will lift him high enough to clear them. His feet are now size 10, and his boots do compete for space with mine. but when he was still in size 9 it was Ok.
Its a great bike, with great fuel consumption, and as long as the water pump seals have been done there's not a lot to worry about.
For the 2 up riding with luggage, I have found that a Harrison 6 pot caliper on the front disc was money well spent, over the single piston Brembo item.
Reply With Quote
Old 12 Sep 2012
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Tenerife - Canary Islands
Posts: 282
Hi guys,

thx for the answers!
Also after looking up some old (2007...) threads I think it will probably be the GSA for two up and the 650 for me alone!

The main concern is the space and comfort for both of us. on the GSA I'm already squeezed in between the tankbag and the wife, so I guys with the 650 it will be worse... or so I've been reading.

But on the other hand, we'll just have to try it and see what the lady in the back says and feels. I know the GSA is heavy when loaded and with the two of us on it, just did not try it with the 650... something for next week or so.
Follow us on Facebook and on our website.
Reply With Quote
Old 12 Sep 2012
BlackDogZulu's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: West Wales, UK
Posts: 759
It'll be fun finding out
2006 XT660R daily ride, 1994 XT600E about to be reborn, Blog: http://goingfastgettingnowhere.blogspot.com/
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Transalp 650 or 700 Buddy Honda Tech 7 6 Aug 2012 20:51
yamaha 1200 s tenere-bmw 1200 gs o ktm 990 adventure ivanjova Which Bike? 1 16 Jun 2012 23:46
2008 Kawasaki KLR 650 - Adventure Ready (San Diego, California) Brienne TRAVEL Bikes for Sale / Wanted 0 20 Apr 2012 18:40
Honda NX 650 at Nairobi, Kenya 10/12 waszu TRAVEL Bikes for Sale / Wanted 1 4 Jan 2012 07:25


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 13:20.