Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

AMERICA’S PREMIER MANUFACTURER OF MOTORCYCLE SUSPENSION

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 17 May 2006
Gold Member
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 22
BMW F650CS/GS - Any Experience?

Hi, I am looking to get a bike that I can do a bit of everything on. It needs to be sub £4K so all the 1100+ BMW's are no good. Mostly it will be my main way of getting around, work etc, but want something that I can do a long weekend through Europe on with my girlfriend, and next year a longer trip, probably W. Africa also with girlfriend.

Having spent ages checking out reviews, bikes and forums, I reckon I have a shortlist. Top of it is the Africa Twin, but these are hard to find 2nd hand, and as a result appear expensive for the miles etc.

I am now looking at the BMW F650, and am tempted by the CS and GS versions. Question is: are they any good two up? How comfortable are they for 400 mile a day trips? I have read in places the seat can be hella uncomfortable, and they also sound a bit too low. I am 6' and just over 70kg, so with my girlfriend and luggage I am also concerned the bike will struggle.

Would appreciate anyone with experience of this bike offering some opinions on the above. Cheers
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 17 May 2006
brclarke's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Posts: 509
Thumbs up

Back in '96 I rented an F650 for a month in Australia. I rode it close to 10 thousand KM in that time. I had no problems with it, and I would recommend it.

The only caveat is that when you're in remote areas, it's likely to be harder to get spares for than, say, a Honda or a Yamaha.
__________________
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 18 May 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Istanbul & Baku TR
Posts: 553
How far will you go?

If it is going to be a weekend trip only with less than 2-3.000 kms two up on F 650 is ok. You are heavy and a bit big to go too far with your girlfriend on F 650 for long distance trips in long times let's say more than 15-20 days.
I used to go weekend trips with my wife within a distance of 500-600 kms and it was okay for us though I am very slim.
If you are really intended to go long distance trips which will take more than 20 days, it is better to consider a twin GS to have more comfort on the road.
__________________
"where the traveller goes, nobody knows ! "
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 23 May 2006
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SouthWest, Georgia (USA)
Posts: 10
Which bike?

Duncan,

I am very familar with both the CS and the GS. With a passenger forget about these two bikes and consider a Suzuki VStrom 650. At 6' this bike would be more comfortable for you and especially for your wife. The VStrom is the best all around bike I have ever owned. I sold it because it was just too large for me at 5'5" 150lbs. I knew I would drop it one day big time. I have owned a BMW CS and have ridden a GS on several occasions. I now ride a 1997 BMW F650ST. The ST is a wonderful bike, but I am sure you would be much more satisfied with the VStrom. If I were in the hunt for a VStrom I would not hestitate to buy a used one. A very solid bike.
Good Luck.
Terry

PS: My opinion is not cut in stone, just one rider's opinion.

Last edited by trider; 23 May 2006 at 21:44.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 23 May 2006
Bill Holland's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Stoke, UK
Posts: 212
F650 Gs

At 6ft, you find the riding position of the 650GS a little cramped, I'm 6ft. and have the Dakar version, the seat is very comfortable and seat height is ok, both feet just about flat, but the actual riding position seems a little cramped for me, the pegs were too high, so I got a set of Touratech adjustable pegs, the lowers them anout 40mm, but as it also brings the pegs forward, the gear lever is now rather close to the peg. 2-up for a long weekend from Oxford? Mmmm...think you would find a larger capacity bike a better option. There are people 2-up riding round the world (check through this site), but I suspect they don't often do 4-500 mile days on motorways at 70 mph. Motorways can be a bit of a pain 2-up on an unfaired 650.
Bill
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 23 May 2006
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Golden, CO USA...on the road since Sept 2005
Posts: 343
Duncan

I would have to agree with everything said on this post. I'm over 25,000kms into a RTW ride and simply can't imagine having done this two-up. I'm 6' 1" and on a custom seat and don't think I've ridden 400 miles in a day yet (this is due to the fact I don't like to ride "tired" and am not in a hurry). The bike would be fine (two-up) for weekend trips, not for extended ones and certainly not with camping gear. Having said this, I'm sure someone has two-upped a Dakar around the world- or will soon! The Dakar is a fine bike, but if you're seriously considering a long two-up trip, I think I'd look elsewhere.
__________________
"And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..." L.B. Armstrong. www.davesgreatescape.net
http://www.facebook.com/inbox/readme...e&id=661274218
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 24 May 2006
Smellybiker's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Missing, presumed fed
Posts: 302
Well, I can tell you what breaks on them if you're interested. Have a look at http://www.smellybiker.com in the maintenance section.

Even though I've just had to drag the bike to Peru on a truck with a suspected burnt valve I still really like it. Have done more than 25000km with girlie on the back & she's not known for travelling light. The bike currently has 60000 MILES on the clock.

Its had problems but has a hard life, and although its currently broken I'd rather eat worms than ride a Honda.
__________________
GPS Maps & Motorcycle Shipping
http://www.smellybiker.com
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 24 May 2006
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Golden, CO USA...on the road since Sept 2005
Posts: 343
Good luck

Bob, I'm curious to know what the problem is with your bike (an ounce of prevention...). Hope you get the problem solved without any drama. Also, how many miles on the bike before you had the fork seal problem? My bike is at Javier's in BA now- so now is a good time for preventive maintenance! BTW, why the "hate" for Honda? I've only heard good things- including opinions from Dakar Motos and everyone else I've known who owned one. I met a man west of Bahia Blanca that owned a 1989 Honda Africa Twin, he bought it new, around the first year they imported them to Argentina, he loved it- and it had alot more than 60,000 MILES on the clock (not hard to do when you've owned the bike for 17 years!).
__________________
"And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..." L.B. Armstrong. www.davesgreatescape.net
http://www.facebook.com/inbox/readme...e&id=661274218

Last edited by hook; 25 May 2006 at 10:42.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 24 May 2006
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Golden, CO USA...on the road since Sept 2005
Posts: 343
2 up

Duncan, look for gbarnard, here on HU. He just did 27,000 miles on an F650 two-up and fully loaded. He can describe some mods he made to make things more comfortable. If Bob can't help you out, perhaps he can.
__________________
"And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..." L.B. Armstrong. www.davesgreatescape.net
http://www.facebook.com/inbox/readme...e&id=661274218
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 25 May 2006
Gold Member
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 22
Thanks

Wow, thanks for all the help - definitely food for thought. Trider - I like the V-Strom a lot, it is just the £4K price tag that is making me think twice. Maybe just need to save a bit longer.

Will look for gbarnard as Hook recommends, and see what else he can suggest for the BMW. In meantime any other comments/recommendations for other bikes that would fit the bill would be appreciated still.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 25 May 2006
Steve Pickford's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,027
Pop in to North Oxford BMW, just taken an F650CS Scarver in as a PX if you want a test ride. Can also arrange a test ride on F650GS & Dakar with a days notice.

Not trying to sell you a bike, merely offering a no-obligation test ride if it helps your decision, with insurance provided.

Steve
01865-319070
__________________
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 26 May 2006
Smellybiker's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Missing, presumed fed
Posts: 302
I'm convinced that its a burnt out valve from the symptoms, but wont know for sure until I either find a compressor to test it with or take the head off. Assuming that it is, then I'll put it down to a split in the intake manifold weakening the mixture for God only knows how many miles or bad valve clearances thanks to BMW in Antofagasta.

Check it for splits/holes, they dont last forever & mine quit around 45000 miles.

Fork seals blew around 35000 miles and again at about 55000 miles, but its had a hard life so cant blame it for that. Simple things to change so its no big deal.

As for the 'I'd rather eat worms than ride a Honda', I just dont like them really. Nice engine but too big & heavy for my taste....and it really winds Javier up ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hook
Bob, I'm curious to know what the problem is with your bike (an ounce of prevention...). Hope you get the problem solved without any drama. Also, how many miles on the bike before you had the fork seal problem? My bike is at Javier's in BA now- so now is a good time for preventive maintenance! BTW, why the "hate" for Honda?
__________________
GPS Maps & Motorcycle Shipping
http://www.smellybiker.com
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 26 May 2006
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Golden, CO USA...on the road since Sept 2005
Posts: 343
Bmw

Bob, thanks for the info. As the bike and myself continue to age, it's nice to have some idea as to what might happen next (I know- this ain't possible!). It's good to have an informed idea of what spare parts to carry as I'm heading to more remote areas now. Are you back in Peru yet? I'm not sure when you left Argentina, I think I missed you by a week or so at Javier's. I had no idea there was a BMW dealer in Antofagasta. I rolled in to Antofagasta as it was getting dark. The first 5 or 6 hotels I tried were all full, even the expensive ones like the Four Points on the water. Cruising through town I chanced upon a friendly hostal that had secure parking, it was near the bus station, but the hostal itself was okay. The hostal was heavily visited by French folks, I noticed this when I filled out the usual sign-in book. I was tired and hit the room for a and a nap. At around 9pm I headed out for some food. When I stepped out of the hostal I was swarmed by a group of transvestites shouting in Spanish and English (use your imagination). I bolted like George, Paul, John and Ringo in one of their typical films- my admirers not after my fame or good looks, just a few bucks. In any event, I found a cool place for cold drinks and good food. Duncan, I hope this helps you make an informed decision about which bike to buy- just get one and go- it's fun out here!
__________________
"And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..." L.B. Armstrong. www.davesgreatescape.net
http://www.facebook.com/inbox/readme...e&id=661274218

Last edited by hook; 26 May 2006 at 01:58.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 26 May 2006
Smellybiker's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Missing, presumed fed
Posts: 302
Dont get too excited about BMW in Antofagasta, its a dirt floor car workshop & has no spares, but at least BMW in Santiago will lend them the special tools needed to split crankcases.

We're back in Peru thanks to a logistics company who let us travel as stowaways with the bike, trying to summon the enthusiasm to pull the bike apart....naah....one more , its sunny outside.
__________________
GPS Maps & Motorcycle Shipping
http://www.smellybiker.com
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Anyone have experience with StarCom? flashy_cj Communications 4 31 May 2006 17:25
bad experience Chile BMW, good experience this mechanic mareestu Repair Shops, South America 12 3 Dec 2004 21:35
some tenere travel experience aukeboss Yamaha Tech 4 2 May 2002 23:07
Libya Experience andrasz Sahara Travel Forum 1 13 Dec 2001 16:40
Irridium satellite phone experience ??? Derek-Jan Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else 6 3 Dec 2001 23:21

 
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 23:02.