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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 4 Sep 2004
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BMW650GS Reliability

After two trips to New Zealand on hired 650GS's where the first Funduro three years back died on me after three days and I continued on on an R850R, Gem of a bike.
In November of 2003 my mate and I hired two GS650's covered 5600Kms in 14 days and the bikes were ridden at 120 +Kph cruising in the more open sections of the South Island.They used no oil, never missed a beat. The only thing I noticed was the chains needed more adjustment than the X ring on my 95 GPZ1100. Absolutely delightful bikes. Not being a corner freak I was amazed to find my boot touching down quite often. The front end is just glued to the road. Of course the roads there are grippy with a capital C and chew tyres up quite quickly. However the Metzeler Tourance served well but left a bit to be desired in the mud of Skippers Canyon Road.
When the Z finally retires I think I will buy one of these bikes without hesitation. And the other big factor is the amazing economy. While we ran quickly with two Givi panniers each we never got off the mark quickly and riding smoothly had no trouble achieving 20 and more Kms per litre.
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Old 7 Sep 2004
Nigel Marx's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: South Island, New Zealand
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Good choice I think. I have had mine for nearly four years and have put 60,000km on it so far, taking the total to 131,000km. It has had a new camchain at about 70,000km and nothing else has been done to it. It has done a lot of miles two-up with big people and lots of luggage and it just handles everything I have thrown at it. At this stage, I don't see it ever leaving the family.


Nigel in NZ
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Old 8 Sep 2004
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Location: san francisco
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We took our two 650 Dakars through Africa and most of South-America, plus some training in Morocco: more than 50,000 km each. The only weak point we found was the suspensions. One broke down at the end of Africa. Shortly after, the other started to leak but only when parked on the center stand. Both were replaced in South-Africa under guarantee. Last month in Bolivia, we exploded the oil reservoir of the rear shock on on eof the bikes, and it was fixed today in Lima for only $50 (instead of $800 to change the suspension as any dealer in Europe or the US would have asked us to do).

Besides that, hardly anything. The direction wheel-barrels of one bike where changed in South-Africa by safety. A wire had to be reconnected in the fuel pump. I think that´s it.

About the suspension, the problem could come from the fact that we took som every bad roads and our bikes are heavily loaded: Touratech tanks (around 15kg + 22 liters of fuel), panniers (15kg + 15 of luggage) and bags (10 kg easy).

Overall, especially when we compare with the problems that every single other rider we saw in Africa encountered, we think that our bikes behaved amazingly. However... we later met 2 guys with 650 Dakars who were not so happy. One had broke his suspension too (again plenty of off-road), the other had a leaky fork and changed his battery 3 or 4 times.

Pierre Saslawsky
Pierre Saslawsky
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Old 9 Sep 2004
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I have a Couple of freinds that would trust there f650's to alaska! and a few that hate them because of the bmw service in the usa. seems the 2001 and 2003 f650's had some surging and stalling isuies and the dealer would not or could not Fix. me I think the klr650 and dr series of japan bikes are the way to go. cheap basic maintance bulletproof engines.:headshake:

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