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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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  #1  
Old 15 Jan 2005
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Latest GS Dakar, comments?

I'm in the market for a new bike and have narrowed my choice down to the '05 KTM 640 or the latest model BMW F650 GS Dakar.
I spent today test riding the Dakar. On a whole I was impressed with the bike's general performance: Smooth acceleration all the way through to top end, low vibration, easy town-riding, good road-holding, easy rebound adjustment and great balance off-road (even in mud with road-tyres on). There were a few things that bothered me and perhaps others can comment?
1. The new windshield is crap, it directed the wind straight into my helmet, which detracted from the ride comfort.
2. The ABS brakes, which are awesome onroad, have a strange on-off system. Every time you switch the motor off, ABS automatically switches back on when you restart! This is not very useful offroad as you have to keep remembering to switch it back off.
3. The front mudgaurd is inadequate, I was covered in mud from helmet to toe, whereas my friends on their ktm's were still clean.
(in fact, the GS was a whole lot dirtier than the 2 ktm's at the end of our ride.)
4. There doesn't appear to be much space to fit decent knobblies. Looking at it, I would say that Michelin desert's will definitely not fit on this bike, what about Pirelli MT21's?
5. 17" rear wheel?
6. The bike is very cosmetic, I would guess that it's easier damaged than the ktm and more expensive to repair.
7. The positon of the CDI, is at the bottom front between the engine and the flimsy looking bashplate. Easily damaged? plus any half-decent river crossings and it's going to get soaked.

It's probably a great bike for 90% of the time, but it's the other 10% which worries me. If I had the money I think I'd buy the 650GS as a roadbike and the KTM as my plaything. But your comments would be appreciated.
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Old 15 Jan 2005
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Forget the front fender on dirt on all GSes - just remove it or it cracks. There're some cheap aftermarket fender extensions available, TT makes them at least for boxer GSes.

I think 650cc class still isn't very much serious offroad machine... I'd certanly use spare spare bike maximum approx 100 kilos 4T crosser - Yamaha WR250F or similar for mud werstling and high jumps at the weekends crossing track.

ABS - you die the engine that often on offrad then? Well, it's matter of pushing only one additional button besides starting the engine and the ABS is off.

But for travellig - spending most of the time virtually on road then comfort may be a more priority, including ABS itself. KTM loses some points here i think, with the feeling for your "back" (the damned stock seat) and the brakes. Altough KTM usually does that bit of offroad a bit better indeed if you look on your 10% side, i guess(?).

Reliability - at least i haven't heard any KTM that has been very mileage resistant, have you(?) Mostly various extensive engine rebuilds is what i've heard reported for some long distance LC4 species. The new big LC8 twin is even more raw they say. Not sure what's the native KTM-riders riding style on touring tough...

The originally Rotax's developed and now BMW's property 650 engine seems to be more proven on high mileages. Check the word travelleres logs and reports for that.

Just my vision.

Good luck, Margus
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Old 30 Jan 2005
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I have found no problem with my '02 Dakar.
I expect to get muddy when riding in slop.
I have not had any problems with mud jamming the front fender. It takes a 60/40 tire perfectly. (Metz. Sahara) I dont think you could go any knob becouse the bike isnt torquey enough to be a "hill climber". The Rotax engine earned my respect early in my trips (58 mpg at 50mph on dirt washboard roads). BMW and Touratech provide beefy guard accessories.
I have not cracked or broken items yet I have dumped it in some very rocky maneuvering. It is light enough to pick up, easy enough to work on.
My only worry is blowing the single cylinder in the middle of nowhere...I guess I walk home...
Carol
solo Arctic Circle/Prudhoe Bay '02, '03
solo Baja '04,hopefully '05
solo Cascades Mountains every chance I get.
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  #4  
Old 30 Jan 2005
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Thanks for your response guys,
in the end I went for the KTM 640 and am very pleased with it.
It is going to make a good replacement for my faithful Tenere'

Geoff
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  #5  
Old 12 Mar 2005
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Hi, My coment on the 640.. A great bike!
I have a 02mod that have 28600km on the clock. No problems beside a blown sealing on the fork.But thats my foult. Remember to bleed the air from your Wp fork. IMPORTANT!
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