Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
-   BMW Tech (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/bmw-tech/)
-   -   Long distance touring on the F650GS twin (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/bmw-tech/long-distance-touring-f650gs-twin-43289)

Tim Cullis 6 Jun 2009 08:02

Long distance touring on the F650GS twin
I've been touring Germany and Poland for the last couple of weeks on my F650GS twin. I stopped over at the German HU meeting which was fun and Germany was as lovely as ever, though expensive with the low pound. Poland was less expensive however ultimately disappointing with boring scenery, truck-filled poorly-maintained roads and junk food. The weather wasn't too good either, and I was in Torun (south of Gdansk) on Sunday night when I saw the late night weather forecast for the next few days. This was so poor I decided to cut and run for Germany.

I did some routes in Mapsource and downloaded them to the Zumo. Monday morning I was up and away at 06:23 (05:23 UK time). I spent an hour visiting the series of Prussian fortresses in Torun, then headed for the motorway. What I hadn't realised was that the motorways in that area were toll roads and the Zumo had 'avoid toll roads' set. Consequently I was on single carriageway roads and didn't get to the East German border at Frankfurt am Oder until 13:03. 239 miles in 6 hours 40 mins isn't exactly flying though my fuel consumption was still around 70 mpg.

But by then I was thinking of heading much further west, and now I was on the German Autobahn system I made making better progress cruising at between 75 and 80 mph. I rapidly transited East Germany and after another 221 miles I was near Hannover by 17:17. I realised there was a chance of making all the way home so got a list of ferry times sent to my mobile (I already had a return ticket from Calais).

To ensure I kept alert I started drinking a can of Red Bull at each fuel stop. 190 miles further on and I was entering Netherlands at 20:43, then at 21:30 and another 47 miles I was into Belgium. By now I was aiming for the 00:30 ferry and raised my cruising speed to 85-90 mph, though fuel economy took a hit and was now below 50 mpg. The French border was another 130 miles further on and I entered France at 23:19. Just another 36 miles to Calais where I arrived at 23:46. Total milage to this point was 862 miles.

The 00:30 ferry turned into the 00:55, the 60 minute crossing took 90 minutes and to cap everything P&O couldn't get the bow ramp down on the quay and spent an hour faffing about. I eventually got away from Dover at 02:30 UK time and made it back home at 03:54 (04:54 CET).

A total of 909 miles plus a tortuous ferry crossing in 23 hours 31 minutes.

I couldn't have done this with the standard screen and seat; the high Eagle screen kept much of the wind blast off me even at 90 mph and the AirHawk seat helped my not-so-iron butt.

I'd like to say my Ultimate Ear monitors provided me with non-stop music from the iPod but they failed (for the fourth time) half way through Germany.


PaulD 8 Jun 2009 04:20

How did you find the bike, what was the handling and comfort factor like,
do you think it would be alright 2up ?


motoreiter 8 Jun 2009 05:46


Originally Posted by Tim Cullis (Post 244841)
I'd like to say my Ultimate Ear monitors provided me with non-stop music from the iPod but they failed (for the fourth time) half way through Germany.

That ride would be no fun without tunes. Check out the Etymotic ER-6is, they are great.

Tim Cullis 8 Jun 2009 08:53

I've now done 21000 miles since last June on the F650GS twin whilst my R1200GSA has languished in the garage with less than 1500 miles in the same period. The F650GS is definitely my ride of choice and great fun, though it has been horrifically unreliable and I had to call BMW Assist in Germany on the outbound journey, which was the fourth time it had been on a recovery vehicle.

I chose to do this trip on the F650GS as I initially intended most of the routes to be off the motorway and the F650GS is so much more frugal on fuel consumption. I had a friend with me for the outbound section who was riding an R1150GSA and typical fuel stops saw him paying €30 for fuel, whilst I paid €18.

For long distance 2-up motorway trips the R1200GSA is much better, however as I've effectively proved, the F650GS can also handle long 'liaisons' even if not in so much comfort.


DarrenM 9 Jun 2009 23:34

Could you have identified and fixed the problems if you had a diagnostics tool or was recovery the only option ?

Tim Cullis 10 Jun 2009 09:44

The source of my recovery problems have been

(1) The radiator top hose came off whilst on a motorway. I didn't have safe working space to try to sort it and in any case didn't have any water with me to refill. It came off three other times but I was able to fix it myself.

(2) Ran out of fuel on the side of the motorway with 21 miles still showing on the range. Still a problem.

(3) Problems with engine cutting out when gear engaged.

(4) In Germany. Similar problem to above.

I have also had a rear wheel bearing fail and numerous other problems with the bike (rocker cover oil leak, faulty chain, premature front disc wear, tank panel splits, tyre pressure monitor problems, etc.) and have sent a seven-page letter to BMW with all the details.

Bertrand 10 Jun 2009 09:58

Mmmmm reading this... I am so glad I kept my 2002 Dakar!
Bad luck Tim and with such an expensive new bike too- hope it didn't spoil your trip too much

PaulD 15 Jun 2009 08:44

F650 GS Twin ???????????

With all the problems you have encountered, would you still recommend them, I am thinking of buying one for my wife. In hindsight would you of chose something else or do you feel the initial problems will not eventuate in to long term.?c?


KTMmartin 15 Jun 2009 11:20


Originally Posted by Tim Cullis (Post 245514)
(2) Ran out of fuel on the side of the motorway with 21 miles still showing on the range.


If it makes you feel part of a club my bike has a 'low fuel' light that only comes on after the motorbike has run out of fuel. :censored:

Tim Cullis 15 Jun 2009 20:41


Originally Posted by PaulD (Post 246240)
With all the problems you have encountered, would you still recommend them

I think I have a complete lemon (aka Friday afternoon bike).

I'm currently in discussion with BMW and the supplying dealer about replacing the bike. If they do the decent thing and live up to my reasonable expectations then yes, I would recommend the bike. It's competitively priced, great fun to ride and the fuel economy is spectacular. The very fact I'm discussing replacing the bike with one of the same specification underlines the fact I feel my experiences so far have been abnormal.

If BMW don't act in a reasonable manner with me, then I guess they wouldn't with anyone else who is unfortunate enough to have serious problems.


steved1969 16 Jun 2009 08:07

The girlfriend has one of these, and there have been 3 or 4 recalls for various things fixing, I know that at least one of the things was the radiator top hose so BMW know there is an issue with that at least.

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:31.