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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 23 Jul 2008
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Location: Costa Rica
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1997 BMW f650 buy or not Help!

I live in Costa Rica. Not alot of choice and expensive to buy

I currently ride a yamaha 225 and want a larger bike. We are planning a trip to Argentina and Chili but otherwise this bike will be my daily driver.

There is a 97 bmw f650 for sale with 50k km for $4000. This is a good price for the area but I know nothing about BMW.

I want to hear from bmw owners. What do you think? Is the miliage a disaster waiting to happen? A new gs 650 is $23,000 so we can forget about that and there is a lack of larger bikes available.

I know you guys hear these questions all the time but any advice would dbe great! I leave tomorrow to check the bike out.

Pura Vida
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Old 24 Jul 2008
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Bigger is better?

The 225 will spoil you for it's lack of money needed to keep it running. If you buy a well used BMW be sure and have a grande amount of extra money to repair it and keep it running. Too bad you don't have KLR 650 kawasaki's available....$4000.00 will buy an almost new one with traveling equipment on it in the states. Stop in if you ever make it up to the area of Yellowstone park.

Last edited by Bill Ryder; 24 Jul 2008 at 04:16. Reason: spelling
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Old 25 Jul 2008
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
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50000 km is still pretty low mileage on these. Mine has 90000 so far without any major problems and I took it travelling around SE Asia at similar K's to the one you're looking at. Have a look at The Chain Gang it's full of good information
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Old 27 Jul 2008
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mine has blown up at 29000 miles after London- Istanbul ride. never fixed.
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Old 28 Jul 2008
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Think twice

97 F650 is better than new one with many ways like less electronics and ease of maintain. 50 K km is not a huge one. Do not forget that, BMW is not a cheap bike to survive and parts are not SO easy to find everywhere especially like in Chile and Argentina, sure you will ride to remote areas.

Price looks good. Anyhow you must have a look how much you are going to spend to make the bike ridden in comfort ! If you are going to ride 10 K
kms you have to take some spares with you too.

Personally I would go for a 400-600 cc Jap bike. If you can't buy it there, you can in Argentina !
"where the traveller goes, nobody knows ! "
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Old 28 Jul 2008
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I had two in the space of 9 years. A -94 that was running fine with 30,000 miles on the clock and a -99 that was dead with less than 40,000 miles due to waterpump failure and a warped head.

Take a good look a this particular bike. If there is any water in the oil (chocolate brown) the water pump seal is about to fail. This is a half hour £50 job, unless the owner hasn't fixed it and has wrecked the engine. Take a multimeter and check the voltage to the battery with the engine running. Any odd numbers and the VR is on it's way out. Take a really good look at the condition.

The chaingang website is the place to look, but without upsetting anyone does suffer from the usual single marque club, rose tinted glasses. These bikes are Aprillia designed '90's bikes, not classic BMW's. BMW learned everything they know about cheap metal and thin paint by building these bikes. The carbed F650 is a modern BMW, not a last a lifetime/never stop R80 or R100.

If this bike is fine and you are happy with the idea of carrying and using a waterpump kit as required, dealing with two carbs and four valves, needing the electrics to work etc, then go for it. If you are not or the bike isn't good, hold on to your cash until something Japanese and/or aircooled comes along.

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Old 28 Jul 2008
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i've heard that yamaha xt series are famous in south america. why not an xt600 or xt660?
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Old 28 Jul 2008
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I got an XT600E to replace the F650 that died. As a back to back comparison:

Superior off road.
Used oil on motorways.
Better choice of tyres.
Mechanically simple
Awful Seat
Exhaust made of papier mache.
Waste of time if you have a passenger.

Superior on the road, but will go anywhere.
Decent seat.
Some parts well made, others not so good.
BMW support is either awful or brilliant.
Waterpump design is a mess!

I'd take the XT unless I had a passenger, but I think Entoque's location and budget isn't allowing much choice right now.

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