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  #1  
Old 13 Jul 2008
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F650GS Weak Spots

I am a recent owner of a 2007 F650GS and I am planning a 10,000 mile trip through South America on March 2009. I wanted some feedback on what to pay attention on my F650 since I am in a trial period, having added 1,500 miles in 4 weeks in order to really put this bike to the test and feel comfortable. Any tips, recommendations, warnings on this bike? Thanks !!!
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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Remove the possum scraper if you haven't done already; look at replacing the battery with a gel version and a suspension upgrade for starters.
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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Good Advice BlackBeast

Thanks Blackbeast!! I haven´t done anything but buy K&N air filter and Irridium spark plugs.
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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If using original luggage mounts etc check them thoroughly.

A pannier rail lost a bolt on a very long, loose 'washboard' track in Russia. I only discovered it when removing the pannier late that night as it had only dropped a little bit and was supported by the exhaust - which had melted the back of the pannier.

Back home I discovered a complete split and another crack on the short black tube inside the rear locker, that holds the top box mounts together.

If a Dakar, think about fitting a proper front mudguard (as on the GS) otherwise you are continually riding into the spray, road dirt, etc thrown up and forward by the front wheel.
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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Have a look at my blog (internet Explorer only at the moment) because I'm prepping the same bike fo the same trip only a few months earlier. I haven't updated it yet with the suspension upgrade (race tech emulators and wilbers shock) and luggage (home made). But other than that and a flexible oil return hose it's all done.
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Old 14 Jul 2008
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Try reading smellybikers blog on his 650 ..

Smellybiker's Wanderlust Worldmap • Index page
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Old 14 Jul 2008
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Smellybiker´s...

Thanks Frank, many interesting subjects on this site..!!
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Old 15 Jul 2008
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You'll find quite a few mods and tools/spares suggestions at my website (below). Click on 'The Bike' and 'The Planning'.

Charles
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Old 16 Jul 2008
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Thanks Charles

Great Website Charles!! Besides all the great information, it is truelly motivating for my trip on March 2009. I haven´t read it all, but I will be sure to go through all the information you have in order to catch all the details.
What was your experience with your bike??

Thanks again!
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Old 16 Jul 2008
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I'd do the water pump seals. It's a half hour job that will save a wrecked engine later. Get two kits so you have one for the road, doing the first one before you set off will mean it won't be a massive prolem when you start seeing the oil go chocolate brown.

Mine went in Morocco and the resulting warped head from riding out into Spain effectively scrapped the the bike.

Andy
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Old 16 Jul 2008
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Hmm...good to know! This week I need to go to the agency and will talk about this seals with the mechanic....

Thanks Andy!!
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Old 17 Jul 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TICO650 View Post
Great Website Charles!! Besides all the great information, it is truelly motivating for my trip on March 2009. I haven´t read it all, but I will be sure to go through all the information you have in order to catch all the details.
What was your experience with your bike??

Thanks again!
I found the Dakar to be excellent. Not GREAT at anything but good at everything. It proved to be very reliable, with the only things going wrong being my fault (bumping into a cow and the subframe bolts shearing due to another shunt). MPG was superb at 77mpg on average (see the stats section of my site). I changed the oil regularly but didn't touch the valves in 36k miles. Wheel and steering head bearings were all totally knackered. Whilst I changed them before I left, I'd take spares in future and have changed them in Singapore at Sunny Cycles. Chain and sprockets went after 15k miles. May have been better with a scottoiler. The only mod that I didn't do that I wished that I had was to install a spot light. For those 5 days that you get caught out, it's worth it as the regular one is rubbish.
In terms of performance, the seat was comfy, I cruised most places at up to 60mph which was all that the roads could handle. In Europe and Oz, sitting on 75mph, it felt as if it was running at too high revs, but bike handles it fine. I could have cruised at 90mph, but no need to thrash the old girl.
For my next trip, I would take the same bike. Maybe ponder over the hard panniers as they are heavy (although I'd still prob take them). The only alternative that I'd look at would be a 650 VStrom. Part of my initial criteria was to follow the 'smart money'. Of all bikes used by overlanders, the 650 BMW seems to be the most popular. This must be for a reason!
I had the dakar, but I know a couple of people with Dakars and regular 650GS's. On average, the Dakars have had much fewer problems than the regular bike. Don't know why this might be as the only differences are the screen, suspension and wheels. Perhaps they're on a different factory line?

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Old 17 Jul 2008
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Assuming you did the wheel bearings on the side of the road, is that difficult to do? Considering the Chain Gang DVD shows using a heat gun and freezer to increase the gap between the hub and the bearing. I'm dreading changing bearings having never changed one.
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  #14  
Old 18 Jul 2008
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I didn't do the bearings until I returned. All were knackered, but the rear wheel one was so knackerd that it had begun to eat away at the wheel hub (expensive). I don't think that it's doable by the side of the road, but you should be able to find a decent workshop somewhere along the road. Personally, I wouldn't have a go at it myself on the basis that I'd never be more than 3000 miles from someone competent and would calculate it so that this coincided with, say 15-20,000 miles.
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  #15  
Old 18 Jul 2008
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Wheel bearings is something I will look out for no doubt!
Great to hea about the Dakar being a reliable bike, specially after so many miles. Since I recently bought my F650 I still have doubts on the reliability but ofcourse haven't put the mileage yet to really see how this bike responds.
By the way, congratulations Charles on your very detailed Website. I am impressed with all the stats, really a wonderful and helpful job. I will be contating you later on for some tips.
Thanks all.
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