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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 5 Jan 2011
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BMW G650 X-county vs XT660 vs anything else

I'm taking a ride from London to Bangkok. Once in Bangkok I need a decent commuter to mooch around on for 6 months and before I go myself and partner are spending a month going around Europe so I need one bike that does it all. I'm trying to decide which is the best bike for me, I've got a list so here is my thoughts.
I have had a lot of bikes over the years so have plenty of experience with different kind of machines. I currently have a BMW G650 X-country, I bought that for the trip last year, I've had it a while now and really like it. It's been reliable and never misses a beat. It's a little bit smaller than i would like and could do with it being a little bit more powerful but it does the job. I've been working out the costs of getting it ready and frankly, it's prohibitive. For the money to do it right I can literally buy a trip-ready machine. I've been offered a Yamaha XT660 which I like but the price on that particular one is too high, they can be had pretty cheap. I like the X-country but to correct the know shortcomings is a lot of money I really can't warrant, (£1100 for touratech steel rear subframe and panniers, £300 for a decent rear shock, DID chain and sprockets, etc, etc). The XT is not as cheap to run, is heavier, dated design, basically a commuter with an upright seating position but it will keep on running and is easier by a long way to work on if something goes wrong. Also the parts are a fair bit cheaper, I can sort the luggage out for half the £1100 that it's going to cost on the BMW.
I know the F650gs has had its issues but then what bike doesn't. With a free choice I might well have gone for a Dakar. My X-country is the 07, built in Italy not china so is taller in the saddle and arguably more reliable. I am on various forums and apart from one notable rear shock failure and a few snapped subframes they seem pretty hassle free which has been my experience.
The BMW has a certain quality to it and is a nice bike to ride. I worry that if I go through all this with an XT it will still just be a bike to me as I'm really not a fan of them.
Does anyone have any experience or suggestions.
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Old 5 Jan 2011
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I'd opt for the XTZ660 despite it being heavier. The X-Country range have a small fuel capacity (10 or 12 litres?) whilst the Yam has 20+ litres (23?). Increasing the BMW's fuel capacity to match the Yam will cost good money.

Also think about service intervals & dealer availability? I know that the BMW needs an interim service at 6,000m and a full service with valve check at 12,000m - not sure about the XTZ? Both are 4-valve heads with shims for adjustment.
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Old 5 Jan 2011
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Walter Colebatch of Sibirsky Extreme is a big fan of the X-Challenge check out his ADV thread about the RTW X-Challenge Adventurization.

www.AdventureVagabond.com Mongolia & Siberia 2012: Adventure Moto Madness
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Old 5 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by Steve Pickford View Post
Increasing the BMW's fuel capacity to match the Yam will cost good money.
Depends how you do it.... finding a handful of empty 2litre drinks bottles = 0c; a roll of duct tape = $4; extending your range out past 500 miles = priceless!
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Old 5 Jan 2011
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I know Walters bike but he dropped around £10000 plus into it so it just isn't relevant in a real world choice between 2 bikes any more. If I had infinite resources I would build something like that too.
The X-country has a 9.5 litre tank, that's true but I already have a 5 litre booster tank and am planning to carry spare fuel as well. The XT660 only carries 16 in total, not 20 (that might be the Tenere you're thinking of). The X-country delivers close to the same range with 9.5 to the Yam with 16 comparing my range to riding with my brother who has an XT.
The BMW has brilliant range, especially while touring due to some very clever electronics. Also the engine management is far superior and I might be facing dealing with poor quality fuel, the Yam will not suffer that gladly, I hear.
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Old 5 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by Jtw000 View Post
the Yam will not suffer that gladly, I hear.
Seams to me that you've already made up your mind.
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Old 5 Jan 2011
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Not at all. I'm considering a lot of options, the XT is expedient. The BMW I have but I'm deeply unhappy about the amount I have to spend to make it viable. The XT I can get how I like it for very little (just time with a hammer and alloy sheet).
In an ideal world I would have a bigger, quicker bike.
What I want is an R1200gs but I had one and they don't work. Great to ride but totally unreliable.
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