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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 1 Feb 2004
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Cairns, Qld, Australia
Posts: 8
F650GS -v- XL650V

The 2004 models of the BMW F650GS and Honda XL650V Transalp are very similar in specification. The main differences are-

19"/21" front wheel
780mm/843mm seat height and
175kg/191kg dry mass, respectively.

In Australia they are both priced at AUD12,990 + on road costs. Obviously, they are competing head-to-head.

Living and touring in Australia you do about 80% sealed roads and 20% fair to good dirt roads.

What are the pros and cons of each bike for this type of use?

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Old 1 Feb 2004
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Central Portugal
Posts: 321
I have owned both of these models.

The 650gs was fine to ride, lightweight, good handling, but lacked power for a 650 single. Seat height was low, but the foot pegs were slightly too high making the bike feel a bit cramped. Fuel economy was the best of any bike I've owned which is just as well as to increase fuel capacity is very expensive.

Some of the parts seemed cheaply made. Whilst removing the side panels, for example, to fit an alarm one of the lugs that hold the side panel broke off because the plastic was too brittle. I spoke with the dealer who admitted that there mechanic had managed to break a couple of them as well. To my suprise the dealer offered to replace the panel under warranty.

More seriously was a fault with the bikes fuel injection system. Without warning, usually on the over run, the engine would cut out and take several minutes to start. On a number of occassions this left me in a dangerous situation on fast roads or in the middle of junctions. In the four months I owned the bike it went back to the dealer around a dozen times and the fault could not be rectified. The dealer and BMW UK could not have been more helpful and I eventually got my money back.

A few months later I read an article in 'Motor Cycle Sport and Leisure' by a guy who was using the Dakar version and had the same fault, again the fault could not be rectified.

The 650 Transalp is and feels slightly heavier, but the build quality is much better. The V twin motor is very smooth and produces noticably more power than the gs. The gearbox is the slickest of any Honda I've owned. Handling is very good as the weight, as with the gs, is kept low. Comfort is excellent. My only critism is that there is alot of expensive plastic to be damaged should the bike get dropped. The risk of this can be eliminated by fitting 'Touratech' crashbar.

For the roads you say your going to use the bie on either bike would be fine. If you can it would be worth getting a road test.
\"Bon Chance\"
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Old 2 Feb 2004
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Location: Cairns, Qld, Australia
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Thank you for the advice.

I will be test riding both an F650GS and an XL650V later in Feburary.
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Old 2 Feb 2004
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 122
Some of the F650GS have problems with surging and stalling wich many believes is a problem that has evolved since BMW went from a dual spark plug design (F650) too a single(F650GS). The 2004 model F650GS however has again dual spark plugs, so hopefully this problem will now be history.

For those who has the older version of the F650GS there is a solution that seems to solve the problem. The solution is to shift too a different spark plug. Check out the www.F650.com (and faq.f650.com ) for more specific information.

BTW When I bought my bike a few years ago I was thinking of either getting me an F650 or and Transalp. I ended up with the F650 since the insurance was less than half price compared to the Transalp.

[This message has been edited by spakur (edited 02 February 2004).]
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