Help me Choose! Xt660 or BMW 650
Hi to all!
Uhm, my xt 350 got stolen a while a go! YEs we have crime here in Madagascar!
Thing is Im hoping,praying waiting to get a replacement.
In Madagascar there is a Yamaha and BMW agent (Same place I think).
Im a missionary here and will need to visit quite a few places in the next few years. These will be quick in out visits without much gear, except my malaria tabs and stuff for "da stomach"
The roads in Madagascar are improving. Lots of tarred (paved?) roads. But often they are not good. Often a 100kms can take hours and hours (I did 180km in 12 and then 24 hours , ok it was in a truck, but you get the idea).
Fuel stations are few and far apart. Often without unleaded. Fuel quality can also be uhm, dubious!
So, God willing, I will leave Tana (the capital) charge east, north, south or west, first 200-600km on tarred road and then the great adventure. The roads can be reallllllly bad!
There are some XT660Rs and BMW 650's available. That implies some spares will be available.
But, if I can afford it, I will probably import from South Africa.
So please give me your ideas. (Remember I'm sweat, innocent and easily influenced ;)
Thus with this in mind.
Read all the threads about these bikes , test ride them both and then make your own mind up .You have a 50% chance of making the right decision .
Toss a coin
I pretty much agree with Dodger, because the factors that you discuss are equally relevant to both bikes and those bikes are very similar.
So, it comes down to whichever one you prefer.
One thought though: the BMW 650GS is going out of production right now and is to be replaced by a detuned 800cc parallel twin rotax motor, if you believe the rumours that are going around and around (there is a thread about such rumours in "which bike" if you are interested) - but you don't say if you want a new one anyway.
Playing the Devils Advocate here (Opps! Bad choice of phrase?), but for the rides and roads you are talking about, why would you need a bike that big? Do you have any 250-350cc bikes to choose from?
Nigel in NZ
My situation is very similar to yours. I am also looking for a new bike (currently on a Honda 900 Hornet which I have decided is not the right bike) and am also considering the XT660 or the F650GS. I have ridden both and like them both. The only negative on the XT660 is the small tank (can be upgraded but at a substantial cost). The XT660 also requires a lot of extras which are standard on the F650GS (the centre stand and screen are two examples). The XT660 has the advantage of being (at least in NZ) much cheaper than the F650GS. I also wonder how I will feel after riding 500km a day for a month on the XT660 - the F650GS seems to be a smoother ride. I intend to ride mainly on tarred roads but want the ability to go off-road if necessary. The XT660 is also about 25kg lighter than the F650GS. Both bikes are easy to ride but have different rides - the weight on the XT660 is higher up whereas the F650Gs has the weight lower down. Let me know what you think once you have ridden both - I would be interested in your (and others) opinions. I have not seen a comment by a XT660 owner who has ridden 500km a day for a month and would like to know what they think.
A Smaller BIke
There is a Honda Falcon NX4 available, 400cc
I dont know much about it. Rode to the end of the street and back. Looks pretty plasticy (!?!) Also the price is close to the XT and GS (in SA at least)
There is a 2nd hand XT (2000km, on road) available for about seven beers more than the new NX4
Also it seems not to have off-road capabilities!
Any one out there who knows this bike?
PS Nigel You watched the rugby?
if your importing
You can try here for options for importing from South Africa. It gust a listing of dealers dont know if there all there or not but hope it helps. Motorcycle Stores in South Africa . FREE listing of Stores! Submit Your Details!
It may open up more choices in bikes.
Id go for a Kawasaki KLR650 or a Suzuki DRZ400 or DR650. Low tech and can take a beating. If your importing.
The problem with the Kawasaki and Suzukis are that they do not have agents here. IE no spares, knowledge etc regarding them. Yes you do see a few on the road, but apart from the chinese things like yamalo etc, I'd say Yamaha, Honda and BMW the most popular
Thanks for your thoughts
I bought the XT660R to tour Scandinavia this year and have ridden my girlies F650GS and also been on the BMW off road course on the F650GS so here are a few observations.
1. They're both great bikes...you're in a win win situation if these are your choices.
2. The BMW is smoother on the throttle. The XT can be a bit surgey at low speeds but you do adapt your riding style to accomodate.
3. Despite the seat shapes I actually find the XT more comfortable for 300km days but the BMW is a bit lower if you're shorter in the leg.
4. The BMW comes better equipped with bashplate, heated grips, centre stand etc but you pay top dollar for the bike and and XT + all those bits is probably still cheaper. You just have to fit them yourself.
5. I find the XT much, much easier to work on and maintain and the parts are cheap. The BMW quality seems slightly better but both bike take lots of punishment without mechanical problems.
6. Not sure of the tank size on the BMW but it does slightly more MPG than the XT...only slightly. The XT tank is frustratingly small but don't pay for an expensive larger tank...just strap on a cheap petrol can if fuel stops are rare :o) I think both bikes manage well on poor petrol...the BMW is twin spark which probably helps.
Well, theres a few thoughts to get you started. As I say, both of these bikes are great for road/off road mix so you really can't go wrong. A test ride will tell you which one you're going to prefer...
Im Confused, but its a good feeling! :confused1:
It seems from reading your contributions, that either of these bikes should do the trick with regards to their "technical" abilities.
So how do they measure up with regards to:
cost of extras (bigger tank, protection etc)
Thanks guys and girls!
I still don't understand if you are thinking of buying new or secondhand. I basically agree with Greencat's comments, with these additions:-
It has been said, elsewhere, that the surging problem of the XT660 has been sorted out on the 07 version. Also, there is another thread that mentions that the fuelling can be adjusted by use of the electronic buttons on the "dashboard". I suggest you do a search of the XT660 threads if this is of interest to you.
The standard BMW bashplate is more for show than for utility - it is a very thin aluminium thing that would not take much abuse IMO.
The BMW is very fuel efficient; there has been another thread about this recently, and it can easily do 70 MPG or more - one guy half way around the world has averaged 79 MPG to date and he has loads of data to justify these figures. Its fuel tank is 17 litres which easily does 200 miles before re-fuelling (for my wifes bike) no matter how hard it is ridden, and there is fuel in the tank even then. I think the modern twin-spark design is responsible, in part, for these excellent figures.
The BMW is the smoothest single cyl that I have ridden, and I have been on a few, owned or borrowed.
I am hoping to buy new. Preferebly in Madagascar for the sake of guarantee etc.
I realised that i made a mistake in the first post. I said that I will be travelling very light. But, it probably wont quite be the case.
Going to wherever the first time I will probably ned a local guide., So that means some 2up riding. And I will always have to carry some "thing", apart from a few litres of fuel. Many places do not have fuel!
(Question: Can both the BMW and Yamaha run on leaded? Thats all that will be available in some places!)
Also it seems, as if, when all is said and done, the XT's are just a bit more reliable than the BMW's. And I assume spares are cheaper as well?
I am planning to go and do some window shopping today. Tell you guys about it later.
MountainMan! (I do not have permission to post a primate message yet!)
I have realised since my first post that I will probably be carrying some-a lot of luggage. And perhaps a second rider as a guide because of lack of signage! And, the Island is 1600km long and 600wide. Soem trips are well over a 1000km, one way. These probably do not classify as a super long tour?
I had a XT350, with emphasis on HAD. And it served me pretty well, but I never felt confident with going far with it. Also when I had a passengfer and some luggage the bike struggled a bit!
There are some Honda NX4 Falcons (new) available BUT I have the following reservations. The bike seems a bit plastickey and more for the road than anything else. Furthermore I expect that a spare problem will develop with these bikes in the next few years. These bikes have a (very?) limited off-set area, and therefore there are fewer of them and less (but more expensive) spares?
I think I read somewhere on the the HUBB that the XT has somekind of Lamba sensor that prevents it from using leaded fuel? This is a problem because some places this is all that will be available.
I agree with you that reliability is number one!
I am planning to go and do window shopping today. I will post my findings later
Thank you very much for taking the time to write and share your insights.
Ah, a new bike
Good luck with the window-shopping.
I would expect the warranty on a new bike to be Pan-Africa, but maybe Madagascar does not count as part of that continent?:rolleyes2:
For a new bike:
You may want to check with your Yam dealer about when these will be available:-
Take local advice - those riding locally will know their long term solutions to the fuel quality issue.
From memory, people on these forums have trialled the XT660 engine with the lambda probe disconnected, on the basis that they will ride the bike in that state through Africa on leaded fuel. But, potentially, this is still relatively short term compared with your usage of a new bike while living there. Therefore, ask the dealers as well as local riders.
Look around at what bikes are being ridden in Madagascar; talk to the owners and see what works for them.
It has often been said in here, that a 650cc is a big bike in developing countries, but as the roads get macadamed this may not be the case; longer distances covered at greater speeds + your carrying weight/bulk requirement seems to have increased considerably!!
Suggest you find out what the dealers are charging for servicing, spare parts etc and what their attitudes are to warranty claims. Will they let you have an extended warranty (past the normal duration for Madagascar), assuming that you don't want to do your own spannering or you are just too busy. This can be very useful if you expect to run up high mileages.
ps 2 more posts and you can send PMs!!
The lambda sensor is only fitted to the 07 model of the XT I believe.
For loads of info on the XT check out the .: XT660.com - The #1 XT660 Resource :. ...you'll find loads of your questions already answered there and plenty of XT riders happy to respond to your questions.
For the BMW, I think there is a 650 specific forum but let me point you to the lovely boys and girls on UKGSer at UKGSer* ::::* For BMW GS Enthusiasts ...they have a F650 specific bit in the forum and, again, are a real helpful bunch.
Following your comments about riding with a pillion you may want to think about their comfort on the back...not sure what two up on an XT would be like for long periods of time. Both bikes are really robust and will take the knocks...the XT feels a bit lighter if you're going to be dropping it in soft sand :o) but check out the specs to confirm. I feel the build quality of the BMW is better but the XT wins on the ease of maintenance and cheap parts.
I've had to recover both the XT and BMW after both bikes made like submarines in the flooding we had here in the UK a few months back. The XT was far, far easier to stip and work on in every respect.
Now get test riding if you can!
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