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  #16  
Old 31 Oct 2009
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the very best of luck with it.
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  #17  
Old 7 Nov 2009
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If anyone wants more info on the differences this site is good

F650 History, Differences and Purchasing FAQ
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  #18  
Old 27 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
Here we go again. Don't listen to Ted. He's a nice bloke but is incapable of changing his opinion when reasonable arguments are put forward. He's never had one, and never comments on the reasonable arguments.
I can see why you say that and you're right, i've never owned one personally (because I know better).... But, as an IMI registered Motorcycle Technician and motorcycle sales Exec, i've had more experiences with them than most of their owners !!

Plus being good mates with a large lists of owners (who have now swapped them out of pure frustration) who have had their trips turned into nightmares because of these bikes and also being the guy who has helped more than one standed Gs650 owner on the road in South America.

They are good bikes for pottering around on your local countryside but I wouldnt even take a free one out of my own country.

Ill just have to agree to dissagree with you my friend
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  #19  
Old 27 Dec 2009
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Nah, that's too easy, and against the spirit of this place. Why not help out some existing owners (including me) and try and sort out some of the problems by mentioning (all) the issues. I'm listing heaps of them on my blog with the solutions alongside them but I could always be missing one or two.
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  #20  
Old 27 Dec 2009
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Pretty much covered in that link above.. I'll only be repeating that. It's a good site is that....


Buying an F650 - What to watch out for

Mostly Classic, but some of these Symptoms have popped up in the GS
  • Failing Waterpump - Refer to Waterpump FAQ
  • Rusty Bar End Weights/Electronic Bits Cover - refer Rusty parts Section
  • Voltage Regulator/Wires/Battery Overheated & Shot - Refer VR FAQ
  • Plug Caps & Leads - Refer Plug Caps 'n Coils FAQ
  • Corroded Rims - Take a good LOOK at the bike before you buy it. If anything is corroded or nasty, get the seller to get the dealer to replace it under warranty or else pay less for the bike and accept the fact it will look like crap (unless you spend the dough to alter that fact)
  • Worn Carb Needles, Jets, O-Rings (4#) - Refer Carb Cleaning FAQ
  • Possibly Worn Rubber Seals on the Rocker Cover Bolts
    Popping out of 2nd Gear
    Worn Shifting Drum/Dogs, Difficulty Shifting 1st/2nd
    (note that the F650 is difficult even from NEW between 1st and 2nd)
  • Stripped Sump Plug - Refer Sump Plug FAQ.
  • Flaky/Depressed paint under Tank Allen Hex Bolts - indicating Tank been on and off a lot. Refer Gas Tank Removal/Replacement FAQ
  • Cheesy/Rusty Exhaust Stud Nuts - Refer Exhaust Gasket FAQ
  • Check Rubber Carburettor Inlet Manifolds plus Oil Pipes from frame for cracking. Refer Carb Cleaning FAQ
  • Rear Shock Absorber Shot - Refer Shocks - Aftermarket FAQ
  • Bent Suspension Linkage Bolts (GS) - Refer Shocks - Maintenance FAQ
  • Rounded Fork Cap Bolts - Someone mistakenly not undoing the Clamp Nuts. Refer Fork Oil FAQ.
  • Shot Steering Head Bearings - Refer Steering Head Bearing FAQ
  • Shot Wheel Bearings - Refer Wheel Bearing FAQ
  • Shot Clutch Actuator Arm Shaft</B> - Possibly '94/'95 Soft Shafts or too Stiff Springs - See Clutch FAQ
  • Fuel Hose Hardening and Fuel-line Clamp Loosening
  • Pull UP on the luggage rack at the back to make sure the welds of the (cheesy-ass) welds into which it bolts have not broken (yet). Frame FAQ
  • Un-repaired crash damage (scuffs) can indicate hidden problems elsewhere
  • Chains/Sprockets and other things Standard to ANY Bike are covered in Used Motorcycle Evaluation Guide
  • Opinions on Mechanical Troubles & Long Term Owners Feedback
  • Refer the High Mileage FAQ
  • (Single spark Fuel Injected Models) Surging and Stalling (Note: This can be fixed)
A lot of that is common on many bikes so not fair to atribute to just the F650 but this is meant to be an ADVENTURE BIKE.

From my experiences the major and pretty inexcusable issues are:

Water pump failures. I don't know a high miler without this happening more than once. Some get lucky I guess. Should be a recall in my opinion.

Regulator rectifier burn up and need replacing frequently. Especially in hot climates.

Headstock bearings dont last due to oil in the frame cooking out the grease.

General build quality of fairings, mudguards, fasteners... Not what you expect of an expensive "travel" bike. And these ARE expensive for what they are. They fall apart.

Plus, these things ROT... Dont expect any paint on your engine and cases after long if you live in a UK type climate.

Another thing I hate on these is how badly thought out they are regarding servicing. Nothing is accessable or easy to do. You have to strip half the bike for minor service work which shows it was designed as a street bike primarily.

The facts are quite clear and common place..

I get defensive over my own bikes too, even when I know they arnt as good as I think they are.

I don't hunt out 650 owners and try to make them feel bad. I only post advice to "newbie" hubbers looking for their first bike and who have been sucked into the BMW adventure marketing machine.

There are soooo many better bikes for the job which are usually much cheaper, far more reliable and much better made.

I don't hate BMW's, I don't hate BMW owners, I'm not jealous and im not going to lose sleep over it...

If I see one broken down at the side of the road, I'll definately pull over and help... I've got the tshirt.
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  #21  
Old 27 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by harleyrider View Post
Thanks to all who responded to this. We are now the new owners of a 2001 650 GS which we bought this morning from a dealer in Chichester.
Hope you like it and that it's not one out of the same stable as the one(s) discussed here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-failure-38514
Chris
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  #22  
Old 27 Dec 2009
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Wow, that's a fair list. And there was me thinking we were talking about the GS. Not much on that list related to that. I've listed heaps of things related to the GS on my blog, but my biggest gripes for living with it are with simple things like having to remove the indicators. Or how they and the panels never really fit nice. Or how the air filter is really hard to get to compared to others.

Other issues are when you see cost cutting coming into play. Like that stupid solid oil return hose which stops you from repairing that water pump seal on the side of the road. On the up side on the waterpump issue, there is a weep hole which will let you know when it's due to be replaced before you're oil is contaminated. To me it's better to have to find some water for the cooling than to find good oil. 640Adventures for example don't have that, and all water pumps fail. This one just a bit more than others it seems. Mine went at 18000km, but my wife's with the same milage is still going strong. With a flexible hose it can be fixed in 20min. Not sure on other bikes.

I still haven't understood the reason for the steering head bearings to fail and only have had one replacement at 19000km on one of our bikes. I'll probably never find out because I've swapped my front end with one from a YZ250. I can tell you that changing bearing on the F is HEAPS easier than the YZ. On the F you can do it anywhere, on the YZ you need hydraulic presses and the correct size bearing remover. I did the one on the F in an hour.

The cavity between the radiator and the frame is unforgivible IMHO but other than that and what I've documented on my blog there is really nothing unusual to go wrong on it. And personally I find it real easy to work on. You get a lot of parts coming of for a valve change, but you don't have to remove a 26l tank of fuel which is not easily done in a hotel courtyard when you have on lookers that don't really like you working on the bike at all. And really, you only have to remove the body work, airbox and oil tank for the valve check which on the F can be ignored. They hardly change on a trip.

If you're smart you should try and make maintenance easier and quicker regardless off the bike. So remove a sump plug and put a fumoto valve on. I did on every bike, and love not having to remove anything to change the oil (except the filter; stainless recommended).

Suspension should be modified on every trip as well, I reckon. The difference between design weight and used weight is just too big. If you don't, it's a risk. But in saying that, expensive Ohlins shocks have been known to self distruct. At the (cast) bottom mounting point off all places, so I guess there is just no guarentee with shocks. Just try and keep things light with some throw over soft luggage is best IMHO.
We had one Wilbers shock fail but that was due to vulcanic ash. So I'm ok with that.

BM has a bad habbit it seems to bring out a product untested or insufficiently tested and doing upgrades later in the model shelf life. So personally I'd be looking (if you go for an F) for a GS not older than 2005. From memory there hasn't been any reported surging etc issues on the later ones, and really, the later models should always be the best models. So it's a pretty safe bet.

I'm currently stuck with vibration issues that I can't seem to solve but which I suspect are due to damage engine mounting bolts. I had shipping damage with a rear mounting bolt badly bent but had to do the trip with it. So I might be looking for an alternative if I can't solve it, but nothing really lights my fance.

The 690 looks awesome, but needs modding for comfort and has some reliability issues (based on very minimal research), the Xc is always an option but also need some modding on comfort which I am reluctant to do. Do like the look of it though but they should have made a Dakar version of it. The Tenere hasn't got the suspension I'd like it to have and really is too heavy for Australian oppurtunities and to me it doesn't look like a step up. Don't like the DR for the same reasons as all the above really. Too much like my old Tenere. TE seems like a trail bike really. Don't know much about it.
Guess I'm dreaming about a 690 Adventure, but don't think it'll ever be built.
Really, a well setup Dakar has the balance just right for RTW bike. So I guess I'll be working hard to fix those vibes.
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  #23  
Old 27 Dec 2009
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Thanks Chris.
This is the kind of information I really didn't want to hear about, but now I have I feel I should be doing something about it. I'm just not sure what though.
My previous BMW experience is from the mid 80s when I bought a 7 year old R100RS. Over the next 2 years I did 200,000 miles on that bike with very few problems. BMW even gave me a new front wheel for it under a recall for suspected faulty castings. Looks like the faulty castings are still an issue 25 years later but not the willingness for a recall!
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  #24  
Old 28 Dec 2009
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Yeah, that is unacceptable. But again it's only the older models, so an informed consumer shouldn't have any worries about this.

Unfortunately for BM they don't understand the power of the internet because this is just another nail in the coffin of their reputation.

Things like this could have happened in the pre-internet age without any off us ever knowing. Not anymore.
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  #25  
Old 28 Dec 2009
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That list is relevant beause most of the issues are the same on the GS (and Dakar)...

The headstock bearings in my opionion are due to low quality factory items, being undergreased at installation and not properly checked and tightened at first service after bedding in..

Although.....

Most bikes don't get this either but the whole failure process is accelerated by the IDIOTIC design to house the bearings in a hot frame oil bath. The heat of the oil pretty much evaporates the grease out of the bearings.

I would personally put taper bearings in and use a VERY high quality lithium high temperature grease and keep checking them for tightness.

I've worked on and have personal experience of most of the common overlanders choice bikes and they are mostly so much easier to work on and better thought out than the F650GS/dakar. Big Enduro tanks are often easier to remove than stock items as they often do away with the radiator panels, vacumb pumps and hidden piping etc.

I have an Africa Twin and a DRZ400S at the moment. The AT is no easy machine to work on either but its beauty is that it never breaks down, it never needs working on, it's bullet proof...

The DRZ is more fragile but you can take it apart with a pair of spoons and a chocolate screwdriver. You can have the engine out in 30 mins !! It's got great suspension and a very reliable engine... not for everyone though.

The vibes on the F650GS come and go it seems.... Poor suspension set up, a poorely balanced engine and the whole build quality seem to let it down. Having never ridden one at length though, I can't really comment.

There's no perfect bike, they all have their faults, it just seems the F650 has more than its fair share with nothing really special to make up for it ????

I think the 600 Transalp, the DR650 and the Vstrom, XT660Z whoop the F650 series for a million reasons but they don't market as hard as BMW in this catagory.

That said, plenty of F650GS's make it around the world with no problems, but I think thats mostly their owners don't even realise when something isnt right. They tend too be be a little wet behind the ears when it comes to mechanics or even bikes in general.

A huge amount of newbie travellers buy them. The irony is, they bought the BMW because they thought it was the best quality and made for the job !

Great marketting again !

When I got into mechanics and overlanding (they went hand in hand), I thought the same too.. BMW is synonymous with quality is most peoples minds due to their cars and reputations of old.

Sadly, it isnt the case with the f650GS !!! It's black and white, the numbers are there, the case studies are numerous, its FACT .. They break down and fall apart A LOT and when they do, they are EXPENSIVE to fix and a PAIN to fix !

Sorry if I insult any F650GS owners, I would be pissed if someone was slagging off my pride and joy too.
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  #26  
Old 28 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyrider View Post
Thanks Chris.
This is the kind of information I really didn't want to hear about, but now I have I feel I should be doing something about it. I'm just not sure what though.
I'm sure you've done this already: Read all the stuff about the incident(s) on Advrider, Chaingang and here on the HUBB. Compare your bike's front end to the before/after modification pictures and check chassis numbers of the bikes that broke to yours to see if they are in the same batch. Regularly check the bike for cosmetic damage which might precede a real mishap. Statistically I won't happen to your wife.

I have other bits of advice too, but will not submit them as they would only be for very cheap laughs. My opinion of BMW build quality is a matter of public/HUBB record.

See you at the next Up North meet at Cropton in February? I recall you were both there last time we had a meet there.
cheers
Chris
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  #27  
Old 29 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
That list is relevant beause most of the issues are the same on the GS (and Dakar)....


I agree for the GS on the:
· waterpump (although heaps of bikes haev them fail eventually although possibly not that early),
· sump plug (needs a fumoto anyway),
· shock (which most bikes have issues with overloaded),
· battery (all overlanders need a maintenance free one though),
· wires behind the shock adjuster (which need sorting out with a better shock anyway),
· bent suspension linkage bolt (although mine weight 265 + fuel and rider and I rode it hard on Ruta40 but had no problem but it has happened to others), and surging (only the earlier models).
But not the

· Rusty Bar End Weights/Electronic Bits Cover,
· Voltage Regulator,
· Corroded Rims,
· Worn Carb Needles,
· Jets, O-Rings (4#),
· Flaky/Depressed paint under Tank Allen Hex Bolts,
· Cheesy/Rusty Exhaust Stud Nuts,
· Check Rubber Carburettor Inlet Manifolds plus Oil Pipes from frame for cracking,
· Rounded Fork Cap Bolts,
· Shot Wheel Bearings,
· Shot Clutch Actuator Arm Shaft</B> -
· Possibly '94/'95 Soft Shafts or too Stiff Springs,
· fuel Hose Hardening and Fuel-line Clamp Loosening,
· Pull UP on the luggage rack at the back to make sure the welds of the (cheesy-ass) welds into which it bolts have not broken (yet),
I'm not sure on the

· Plug Caps & Leads (have heard about this on F650.com, but haven't experienced it),
· Possibly Worn Rubber Seals on the Rocker Cover Bolts
· Popping out of 2nd Gear, Worn Shifting Drum/Dogs, Difficulty Shifting 1st/2nd
(note that the F650 is difficult even from NEW between 1st and 2nd)


Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
The headstock bearings in my opionion are due to low quality factory items, being undergreased at installation and not properly checked and tightened at first service after bedding in.. .


I added grease to them at every service interval, but they still went at the 18000km mark on one bike. My new DRZ400E also had hardly any grease on all the bearing. So it's definately a must do on new bikes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
Most bikes don't get this either but the whole failure process is accelerated by the IDIOTIC design to house the bearings in a hot frame oil bath. The heat of the oil pretty much evaporates the grease out of the bearings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post

I would personally put taper bearings in and use a VERY high quality lithium high temperature grease and keep checking them for tightness.


The GS doesn't have the oil in the frame. So the bearings (which are tapered already) aren't affected by heat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
I've worked on and have personal experience of most of the common overlanders choice bikes and they are mostly so much easier to work on and better thought out than the F650GS/dakar. Big Enduro tanks are often easier to remove than stock items as they often do away with the radiator panels, vacumb pumps and hidden piping etc.


That's weird than, because I can honoustly say that out of th 3AJ Tenere, TTR250, F650 Dakar and the DRZE I wouldn't pick the F as the hard to work on bike. I love having the tank under the seat. To me it makes it easier. But really, can't think about anything out of the ordinary that needs doing which has access problems. The TTR is by far the easiest. Something like changing coolant is easier on the F than the DR IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
The vibes on the F650GS come and go it seems.... Poor suspension set up, a poorely balanced engine and the whole build quality seem to let it down. Having never ridden one at length though, I can't really comment.


It has to be a damaged mounting point. The change is just to sudden and severe to be something like wear. It's also too young.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
There's no perfect bike, they all have their faults, it just seems the F650 has more than its fair share with nothing really special to make up for it ????
Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post

I think the 600 Transalp, the DR650 and the Vstrom, XT660Z whoop the F650 series for a million reasons but they don't market as hard as BMW in this catagory.

That said, plenty of F650GS's make it around the world with no problems, but I think thats mostly their owners don't even realise when something isnt right. They tend too be be a little wet behind the ears when it comes to mechanics or even bikes in general.

A huge amount of newbie travellers buy them. The irony is, they bought the BMW because they thought it was the best quality and made for the job !

Great marketting again !

When I got into mechanics and overlanding (they went hand in hand), I thought the same too.. BMW is synonymous with quality is most peoples minds due to their cars and reputations of old.

Sadly, it isnt the case with the f650GS !!! It's black and white, the numbers are there, the case studies are numerous, its FACT .. They break down and fall apart A LOT and when they do, they are EXPENSIVE to fix and a PAIN to fix !

Sorry if I insult any F650GS owners, I would be pissed if someone was slagging off my pride and joy too.


If I would have had any problems with something that BM or Rotax made I would agree. But it's simply not the case in my experience. Our trip went effortlessly with the exception of the shock (warranty) and the water pump for which I was prepared with the flexible hose and spares.

On our rebuilt (from the ground up) Tenere’s we did have problems though. But it’s not easy to compare old with new.

I think with the owners you hit the nail on the head. Most BM owners wouldn’t know how to do anything other than maybe change the oil. So you can’t really assume that the commonly reported faults would have been worked on either and might add to the number of reported issues. The amount of times I don’t read about issues that are well documented and are left unresolved before the trip is startling.

That said, I do love the simplicity of my DRZ but it’s just too small for my liking for a RTW trip. I would love to take it around Mongolia though.
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  #28  
Old 30 Dec 2009
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See you at the next Up North meet at Cropton in February? I recall you were both there last time we had a meet there.
cheers
Chris
Thanks Chris. I'd love to be at the meet but now we're living down south it's not really practical to make the northern meets.
The other reason is that if it takes place when planned we'll be riding in India (neither Harleys nor BMWs!).
Hope to see you at Ripley though.
Regards
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  #29  
Old 2 Feb 2010
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PaulD,

I am currently looking into the Vstrom 650 & the F650 GS... can you give me a few more comparisions on the pluses & minues as you see it?

Also, you mentioned you were on a twin... this means you were on a 2008 or later model, correct?
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  #30  
Old 2 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popex View Post

I am currently looking into the Vstrom 650 & the F650 GS... can you give me a few more comparisions on the pluses & minues as you see it?
Hi
have you looked in this sub-forum: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/ ?

There are many comparison of bikes threads here.

cheers
Chris
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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!




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