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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 8 Feb 2009
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Not that I would buy one. Is anyone doing RTW on a F800GS???

Was wondering if anyone is using the F800GS to go RTW?? If so how is it taking this type of trip? I am curious to see how this bike would stand up to the riggors of such a trip.
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Old 8 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by FUTURE View Post
Was wondering if anyone is using the F800GS to go RTW?? If so how is it taking this type of trip? I am curious to see how this bike would stand up to the riggors of such a trip.
I think a few people have done some pretty extended trips on these - about 40,000 km I believe, with very few problems - the bikes held up well; have a look at UKGSer.com and Adventure Rider sites for more details.

Once the initial teething problems have been sorted they seem like very good bikes.

S
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Old 16 Feb 2009
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Thanks for that. I see one going through Russia at the moment around Volgagrad on the ADV forums.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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I've seen a couple reports of F800GS's

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 22:44.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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If you buy the 800 you can sell it when you return. It’s nice to have some money when you come back from an extended trip.

A magazine had searched for the cheapest bike you can own, funny enough the result was the 1200GS. Low maintenance-cost, cheap parts, cheap insurance and good reseller-value made it win.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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I met a Czech guy near Nouadhibou who has put 42000k on his 4 month old 800, two up with his Mrs.

He had some fairly serious problems with his starter though, it was bump start only at the time I met him. Other than that, he said it had been flawless.

Birdy
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Distance?

Was that 4,200_Km? or 42,000km
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Sorry, I'm a lazy arse. It was 42,000 km. Can't remember the guy's name, but he was impressed with the bike, after spending several years on a TransAlp.

Birdy
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Birdy where are you at now. ? jake.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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His handle on the F650/800GS section of UKGSer is Jarax.

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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Check out the Wilddog Biker forum of South Africa. There's a guy called BlueBull2007, who is riding around South America lately on a 800GS. One of his trip reports is here:
Peruvian Andes (Updated again)

There are some more of his travelogues in that section. His missis is riding the 2-cyl F650.
Awesome pics as well
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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.... what would it sell for?
I was born at night .... but not last night!

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 22:45.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
While BMW hold resale value well, a typical RTW bike takes quite a beating after a year (or so) of travel. IMO, the depreciation on a F800GS (or any bike) would be substantial. Starting with a $14,000usd bike, riding a year .... what would it sell for?

I'd guess you'd be lucky to get $8000 for it? $9000? Already you can see low mileage used F800GS's selling for $10,000 and they've not been taken anywhere, no scratches, no drops. A RTW bike will suffer a lot of damage over time and off road riding. Price will drop accordingly.
I'd buy a used one to start and save a bundle on depreciation.

And last I checked, there is no law against selling a used Vstrom after a trip. These bikes tend to drop to a certain level and then stay there and drop no lower. Of course all this depends of condition. I've never seen a Vstrom selling for less than $3500 and that bike was a "Salvage Title" (means crashed and re-built). DL650's, even beat up ones, level off at about
$4000 usd for like an '04 with over 50K miles.

But do the math and see how it comes out.

As far as which bike is cheapest to own .... I would dispute that magazine's findings based on empirical evidence to the contrary.

Things must be quite different in Europe. I could chose ten bikes that would cost less to operate than a BMW R12GS. If the owner observes all of BMW's recommended service intervals (to honor warranty) then my guess is the BMW would quickly rise to one of the most expensive, behind MV and Ducati.

If a talented owner can do CANbus diagnosis, ABS diagnosis/repairs and has the ability to rebuild a gear box, then maybe that brings down the cost?
Fact is, about 75% of BMW owners take their bikes to the dealer for everything ..... even tire changes.

Insurance: About 50% higher in the US: R12GS vs. DL650

Servicing costs: A BMW Under full warranty is going to cost less during the warranty period. After the warranty is finished ... then what happens? Roughly 30% have some sort of major problem .... usually final drive related.

But most guys I know on new-ish 12GS's spend about $500 to 600 usd on a typical full service at a BMW dealer .... this is with nothing broken ..... just a basic service, done once or twice a year. I guess in Europe this service is free?

On a Vstrom there is no service cost other than Oil & Filter. It all can be done at home by even a beginner mechanic at home in the garage with basic tools and a Service manual.

In this case re-sale differential can never close the gap based on initial cost of both bikes. Yes, it's nice to have some money when you get home ... but to me it's even better to have an extra $7500 to travel with in the first place. YMMV!

If I had the extra money I would love to take an F800GS on a long trip. I would trust it over any other BMW in remote places.
But please, don't try to tell me it will be a cheap bike to own
I was born at night .... but not last night!

Patrick
I gotta agree with Patrick on this one; BMW's have a pretty bad rap on reliability - even the new F800GS has had a lot of problems needing computer fault finding diagnosis. I looked at buying one pretty carefully but for the cash I could have two KLR650's or 1.5 Wee Stroms and both could be self serviced i.e. I would not be held to ransom by BMW's incessant ECU updates. Seems to me, after extensively researching the topic, that unless one is going to spend a lot of time on dirt roads/fire trails etc, the Wee Strom is pretty hard to beat, all things considered (even down to little things like tubeless tyres - easier to repair), tank size, running costs. I suspect the review in question might have been sponsored by BMW? Or am I just too cynical....

Sean
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by Docsherlock View Post
I gotta agree with Patrick on this one; BMW's have a pretty bad rap on reliability - even the new F800GS has had a lot of problems needing computer fault finding diagnosis. I looked at buying one pretty carefully but for the cash I could have two KLR650's or 1.5 Wee Stroms and both could be self serviced i.e. I would not be held to ransom by BMW's incessant ECU updates. Seems to me, after extensively researching the topic, that unless one is going to spend a lot of time on dirt roads/fire trails etc, the Wee Strom is pretty hard to beat, all things considered (even down to little things like tubeless tyres - easier to repair), tank size, running costs. I suspect the review in question might have been sponsored by BMW? Or am I just too cynical....

Sean
A post-RTW bike is generally going to be worth the square root of **** all to anyone who knows anything about buying used bikes - I certainly wouldn't touch one with a barge pole.
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Old 17 Feb 2009
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Here's my unsolicited two bits.

The 800GS will become the defacto bike of choice for RTW and long distance riding.

There's a lot of reasons behind this but every year new people get interested in the idea of a big trip and for many, a primary form of exposure is Ewan and Charlie on TV and also the BMW marketing juggernaut, historical and current. As a result, ask the average guy at a bike show what bike to buy for "adventure" touring and most will answer BMW.

Many have been buying the 1200GS because it's natural to think that more is better and usually you don't find out that most of the riding doesn't require that size/power etc. Most of these people will wisely turn to the 800 as it is still in their comfort zone of brand recognition. As the ride reports grow, it will be what most people think of first, and for good reason.

The bike is good at almost everything, but not great at any one thing. Most international touring requires just this, a bike that can handle diverse road conditions and terrain. The image that we have of the trip and the reality are usually two different things, flexibility is key as no matter where you think you will go and what you think the riding conditions will be like, they will usually be different.

I rode one for about 35,000 km from TDF to Prudoe last year. The best thing I liked about it was that it handled very well on the tarmac and the gravel roads, and off road. For parts of the trip like in Patagonia or B.C. where the road can occasionally transition from good to bad to worse and back again, in a fairly short distance, this is where it shines. It'a actually a bit dangerous as it's easy to outride the conditions as it's not giving you the strong feedback signals that it can't handle the terrain that a different bike might when transitioning. A few times I found myself cranking along too fast for the variable conditions and had to slow down before you round the inevitable corner and the soft, deep gravel pitches you into the bush.

There are inevitable tradeoffs, in stock form it's not as comfortable for endless highway stretches as the more 'street' orientated bikes also in the loosely defined category of dual sports. I would put the DL1000 in this category, which I rode a similar distance through Europe and Africa. Very fine bike, excellent value and probably meets the needs of most riders. Not as good off road obviously, the 19" front means that you spend a bit of time occasionally rebending your skid plate, but it goes pretty much everywhere. (Note: Prices overseas though are higher than in the US for the DL).

In comparison to other bikes in the 'dirt' orientated side of the dual sport category, the 800 may not provide the high-high end performance levels of say a KTM, but close enough for all but the most discerning rider. So far it seems less finicky to maintain than the KTM, which for us lazy people is something to be aware of.

And comparing it to the thumpers is not totally fair because it costs more so should naturally be better in a few different ways, but the one discerning difference for me is that having two cylinders makes your days more enjoyable and much easier to ride longer days if you so desire. I rode a KLR in Russia/Mongolia and loved the value and utility of it, great bike for many things, but the vibrations can bother some more than others, more so if you like to ride longer days. Many however, don't notice it at all.

At the end of the day though, all bikes are perfectly fine and the choice you make doesn't really matter that much for a few seldom mentioned reasons:

a. The image in your mind of the hard core adventure that your trip will be is usually not the same as it is in reality. Many reasons for this, but you are getting a lot of adventure traveling in foreign places and many miles are filled with varying bits of adventure, like trying not to get run over by the crazed mini bus drivers or getting food poisoning. Your need to go off and push you and your bike to it's limits on way-out there trails fades pretty quick.

b. Your bike is loaded with a bunch of stuff that any sane person would take on a trip when you are far away from anything familiar. The weight of your luggage and panniers is pretty significant and any performance advantages of specific bike models are severly curtailed and they all end up handling pretty similar, or at least in a close perfomance band.

c. You have opposable thumbs, some semblance of intelligence, and are adaptable. If your bike is uncomfortable on the highways, you will adapt and ride shorter days. If it doesn't handle well in the gravel, you will adapt and ride slower. You'll be surprised that whatever bike you have, almost everyone rides the same route and ends up at the same place in a similar amount of time.

There are so many great makes and models out there now that the bikes you see on the road will be incredibly varied now and into the future. The days of only seeing only BMWs out there are gone, but in the future the most commonly occuring bike on the far away road, is going to be this one, and for good reason.

If someone asked me what bike to recommend for long distance touring on variable condition roads, for riding in developing countries, or if they didn’t actually have a clear idea where they were going and wanted the flexibility to do almost anything, I would recommend this bike. As people rack up more overseas miles and their needs and interests evolve, people can migrate to cruisers or classics or dirt bikes or side cars. Or stick with the same bike.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by MountainMan; 17 Feb 2009 at 22:09.
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