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Old 16 Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by Happy Hacker View Post
2 water pumps, 1 ignition coil, 1 clutch, 4 sets of wheel bearings, 2 sets of head bearings, 1 stock shock rebuild, 1 gearbox rebuild (bearing went), all the touratech stuff broke, 5 chain/sprocket sets, intake hose, 3 fork seals, 2 fuel injectors, 5 clutch cables, handlebars, 4 cam chain tensioners, lost count of broken mirrors, cant be bothered to count brake pads, 1 fuel pump.... other stuff I've forgotten.

90000 miles of bad roads, drowned in rivers, riding salt lakes, hit by cars, dropped countless times, overloaded, fed bad fuel and sat on by fat people.

After all its taken me through I cant complain and after a bit of TLC it'll be ready for the next ride. :-)
Considering the mileage/conditions/ load, that is good service Bob.

Last edited by mollydog; 22 Mar 2009 at 00:43.
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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Angry mmmm...good choice ?

Rode around Australia, New Zealand and Tassie on a F650 - 1994...a few minor problems.
Left Belgium with 50.000 km on it and did about 40.000 km. Only head bearings were changed & minor carburator problem. For the rest normal things chains and sprockets, new tyres, etc.
Only 1 big thing but due to bad quality cooling water ; cylinderhead had to be changed ; crack at the height of the excaust. So very happy with this one.

Now september leaving for trip around Australia and I just bought a BMW F650 GS - 2004, only 1800 km...after reading all your posts...doubt a lot if this was a good decision. First was looking again for same back, old version, but less km (old one has 120.000 km).

Since I am so happy with the BMW F650...thought going to the GS version was a good decision.
New Zealand, Australia & Tasmania - 2003 - 40.000 km on my own
Next: South America - sept 2008-march 2009
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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I mean off course South America is next trip and not Australia again!
New Zealand, Australia & Tasmania - 2003 - 40.000 km on my own
Next: South America - sept 2008-march 2009
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Old 27 Mar 2008
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Sorry for the late reply, been doing stuff.

Consumables that get consumed dont really count as problems, so not bothered about them - especially mirrors ;-)

Intake hose - the rubber pipe thingy that connects the throttle stub to the cylinder head. That split in Brasil & I'm guessing was caused by using crap fuel with alcohol in it as thats not very kind to rubber parts. Bad/dirty fuel is probably what killed the fuel injector so cant cry foul for that.

Camchain tensioners - it seems to eat these, not sure why. Maybe its just a badly made/designed part. Its a 10 minute job to change it, problem is getting the part.

Fuel pump - again, could've been dirty/bad fuel but I've heard from others who've had the same problem. Some say that if you run the tank dry the pump takes a beating & dies, athough I've only done that a couple of times.

The only thing I was really pissed at was the gearbox bearing - the damn thing fell apart and that just shouldnt happen, it was a right pain to sort that mess out.

Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
I was waiting for you to join in. Now we need some of the other long timers like Renedian to share some of there feedback.

The wheel bearings, head bearings, stock shock rebuild, chain/sprocket sets, fork seals, clutch cables, handlebars, broken mirrors and brake pads are wearible items.

Interesting how you kept the stock shock with all the added weight though. 2 water pumps and head bearing in 90k of abuse aren't too bad.

The clutch, gearbox rebuild (bearing went), fuel injectors, cam chain tensioners, fuel pump is less good though. What do you reckon caused some of these. Dodgy fuel for the fuel pump and injectors?

What do you mean by intake hose? The intake manifold? If so, that happens across bikes but still dodgy how prone to damage they are. Wonder if that is because of them drying out.
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Old 27 Mar 2008
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Yup, you're right, I forgot about some things, its all a blur....

The radiator got hit by a rock before I realised making a guard was a good idea, a bit of wire mesh & some tie-wraps would've saved me a lot of $$.

Swingarm & suspension bearings dont last forever, the rusty bits of metal that fell out when I thought it was time to grease them was a surprise.

Chain hub bearings, on my third set of them. Noticed a deep groove worn in the spacer between bearing & swingarm, allowing water/grit to sneak in and that was causing the problem. Shame that part is made from monkey-metal, needs to be stainless steel.

Batteries are a consumable - I've been on the road since 2003 & now on my fourth battery so no complaints. A 12 Amp Hour made a big difference.

No frame/subframe cracks or shock mount problems. The bolts that hold those things together leave a lot to be desired, grade 12 hardened bolts are easy enough to find. :-)

Lamda sensor died at around 60k, which isnt too bad. It had a new ignition coil at the same time, thought that'd failed but the problem was just Uyuni salt in the wiring so now I have a spare.

So yes, things break, but after all its taken me through I reckon its done a great job.

Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Considering the mileage/conditions/ load, that is good service Bob.

I doubt my DR650 could do as well. But seems to me from reading over your web sites that I've seen more failures and replacements that you listed there and more REPEAT failures that I don't see noted above. Perhaps I've mis-read?

Things like holed radiator, intake manifold, chain hub bearings Ring a bell?
And what about batteries? Still using the original? Lamda sensor? I Remember reading something about broken shock mounts? bad linkage/swingarm bearings? broke or cracked subframe?
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Old 27 Mar 2008
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It's easy to become spoiled, and it's slow mental seduction - gotta have the best there is for our needs. Screw reality and compromise....we're spayshel...

Filing contacts on the old bikes was just part of the deal, not something to rant about. And nobody really cared about their shocks. Did the bike run? If so, we're cool...and ride.

What conveniences are expected? This can mess up your mind.

Was cheese left off of your burger?

Personally, I think the newish F650 will go most anywhere, if you're willing to deal with its weaknesses. To believe the fantastic BMW marketing is true ignorance.

Your Momma can be programmed into your phone as #1 on speed dial, just in case you aren't as happy as you should be when the unexpected happens. Did you get wet? Has it been a bit dusty? Was there no hotel room that met your standards? Is yout tummy upset?

Have a pleasant trip.
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Old 28 Mar 2008
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When I put my first post on this I was a bit upset with my bike (And with BMW!). Well, very upset in fact! I am sorry by the way if some here got a bit annoyed by this!

Most problems I had on my bike were self inflicted (bad maintenance from previous owner), shoddy repairs at shoddy workshops (including BMW!) or caused by my own ignorance.

Few bits are not too good on this bike. Plastic bits will fall or desintegrate ( like the front and back mud guards...) better just remove them.
The master cylinder came stuck on both bikes. The VR and water pump are notoriously unreliable. The rear shock (in the standard GS) is not done for that sort of abuse, I replaced mine and that one has been superb so far. The acid battery will dry up (especially in hot weather) very quickly due to the fact the oil tank is next to it. Next time I will buy a gel battery and this should resolve it.
I have problems with the electrics, nothing major but annoying. But then we did thousands of kms of corrugated very bumpy roads, millions of giant potholes .... the bikes have taken an incredible amount of abuse, so I will need to get all the wiring checked when back in the UK. However the Dakar electrics are fine.

My husband´s Dakar has had very few problems so maybe I was unlucky with mine. The engine is VERY GOOD in my opinion.

The bike is tough (with exception of mentioned flimsy plastic bits) and will keep you going as long as you keep an eye on the weak points mentioned.

There is no perfect bike, the F650GS is not a bad bike and will do the job. It will get through most difficult terrain.

Ah yes and one last advice, never EVER EVER trust any one to work on your bike unsupervised (by you!) in south america, including main dealers of any brand (with the exception of Javier in Buenos Aires! He is very good!) because that will cause so many problems ....

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Old 1 Apr 2008
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I've been reading this thread about how bad the F650 is, so i thought i'd add my views, a bike is only as good as it is maintaned and on a long trip most bikes get a hard time especially if taken off road, service times are sometimes stretched, the more complex the bike the more it needs looking after, the F650 is a very good bike but it takes a lot more work to look after than say an XT600 or DR650 which are both air cooled and have very basic engines, the F650 is a water cooled bike (nothing wrong with this) and so you have water pump , pipes and radator that can all fail. Injection and engine managment systems on the BMW are a lot harder to work on and oftern need main dealer help. But this is not to say that any other bike is better or worse, i;ve traveled with one couple who had never had a problem with there F650 since the day they borght it new.
Ever one choses there bike for a different reason but at the end of the day the more complex the machine the more you need to keep a check on it as there is more to go wrong. I will say that i have never owned a F650 and this is just a general observation, i don't wan't to start a big debate on the merrits off the F650. Skip
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