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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 22 Nov 2000
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal
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'97 F650 reliability

I own a 97 BMW F650, currently on 24000 km (98% on tarmac).

I read a lot of stuff about how reliable it is, but I've had - and continue to have - constant problems that tell me to buy something else for a RTW. Engine oil leak, broken exhaust pipe, rear brake oil leak, strange engine noises and backfiring that the BMW dealer cannot diagnose correctly.
It's always been serviced by BMW and I treat it with great care.

I don't think this is the kind of bike I want to go RTW with. Would you?
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Old 23 Nov 2000
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Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Posts: 510
Hmmm. I rented an F650 in Aus for a month. It had about 10,000 KM when I bought it and I put about 9000 KM on it during that month. It was very reliable and I had no problems with it.

None of the problems you mention really sounds all that major to me: backfiring pipe, an oil leak, etc. Maybe what you really need is a better mechanic to do the servicing...

Bruce Clarke

Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
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Old 22 Jan 2001
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Location: Locust Grove, Virginia, USA
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I would second Bruce Clarke's comments about your mechanic. I've owned a '97 F650 for three years and 22000 miles now, and the only problem I've had is a broken brake light switch (a five minute replacement job). I've ridden mine from Florida to Labrador and the tip of Newfoundland without a hitch.

Steve Anderson
Locust Grove, Virginia USA
Steve Anderson
Locust Grove, Virginia USA
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Old 10 Mar 2001
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Location: NSW, Australia
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We've had up to 13 F650s in a rental fleet and their reliability under high mileage and rental use has been excellent.

Problems include two blown exhaust gaskets, and a couple of broken chains. Not bad for the mileage and use they get.

Many are ridden two up at higher speeds and the engines have been extremely trouble free.

Also, on my African trip in 1999, there were several couples on F650s that were literally ridden flat out for hundreds of miles. They gave no trouble at all.

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Old 6 Apr 2001
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Location: Chicago, IL, USA
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Read my posting regarding KLR vs F650.

My friend has had one for several years without many poblems. I believe it's been a very reliable bike. Maybe try another mechanic.
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Old 6 Apr 2001
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Location: Shropshire, UK.
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With all the quality procedures in the world, faulty products do sometimes escape the net and make it to the store. It almost sounds like you got the one they made last thing on a Friday.

I've not heard too much bad said about the F650, so the chances are either you've got the one that got away, or your mechanic stinks. So try another BMW dealership, and if that doesn't fix it, sell it and get another one.

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