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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 26 May 2002
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R1150GS vs F650GS

Hi all,

I'm looking into buying a motorcycle for a trans Africa trip. My choice has fallen on the F650GS or R1150GS. I need to (but cant) decide between these two lovely machines. Although safety and comfort is paramount during the African journey, I'm hoping that my eventual choice will serve me for many years as a touring bike in and around Europe and later Southern Africa. I'll also be using the bike for daily commuting in the future. Finally, I don’t want the bike to be shy for a little off road’ing (and with this I mean occasionally tacking a dirt track instead of a tarred road; no serious motor-x'ing is intended)

From what I've been reading it seems as if money was no problem the 1150GS would be favored, given the sheer power and comfort is offers. The only downside seems to be the weight and consequent handling in sandy conditions.

On the other hand, there are numerous testimonials of people using the F650GS down to Cape-Town, two-up'ing with comfort and almost never complaining about any lack of power.

So what are those magic pointers which I'm missing to make up my mind? Per example, taken the following criteria, which would come out tops:
- Using leaded and unleaded fuel
- Availability of accessories, such as long distance fuel tanks
- Comfort for touring 2000 km + tours, single with small load
- Comfort fro touring 1000 km + tours, two up with medium load

If the answer to all these indicates the R1150GS to be favored *slightly*, does it justify the additional cost? If I bought the F650GS and did all the above, where would I go wrong?

Thanks for the insights!

Rudi
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  #2  
Old 27 May 2002
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Rudi,
You didn't mention if you've actually ridden either of these bikes. That might help you make up your mind.

I usually ride an XR400 in the desert but recently I went with two friends to test ride these two BMWs. We enjoyed them so much we went back and borrowed them a second time..

The verdict:
I and another tall male loved the 1150 and found the 650 a bit weedy. I also got a pain in my thigh quite quickly on th 650 as it was cramped for me (6' 2'').

Our shorter female friend loved the 650 and found the 1150 too heavy and a bit tall.

One noticeable point was how the 1150 powered away from the 650 on the open road. Both bikes seem to suffer from poor stock windscreens.

I did go a little off-road with the 1150. It's no problem at all on tracks but I wouldn't go anywhere near XR territory without a change of tyres and only then if I really had no option! It's very heavy for off-roading.

Personally, I would have loved to try the taller 650 Dakar but a demo bike was not available. That bike would be more realistic for real duning.

In any case, BMW are most likely to sell 3 bikes in the very near future.

Stephan O
Oh, and definitely get ABS if you buy one.
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  #3  
Old 4 Jun 2002
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Just bought my R1150GS. If all goes to plan (Middle East visas etc.) I'll be riding it from the UAE to UK in July.
Stephan O

[This message has been edited by Stephano (edited 04 June 2002).]
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  #4  
Old 5 Jun 2002
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I'm curious what you ended up deciding as you explained my situation exactly. I would also be very interested in hearing why you decided on the bike you finally ended up choosing. I'm also very interested in the R1150GS Adventure that's just been released. However, I wonder if I can't just buy a good used GS and make the upgrades myself for a lot less than what a new GS would cost.

Regards,


Quote:
Originally posted by Newbi Rudi:
Hi all,

I'm looking into buying a motorcycle for a trans Africa trip. My choice has fallen on the F650GS or R1150GS. I need to (but cant) decide between these two lovely machines. Although safety and comfort is paramount during the African journey, I'm hoping that my eventual choice will serve me for many years as a touring bike in and around Europe and later Southern Africa. I'll also be using the bike for daily commuting in the future. Finally, I don’t want the bike to be shy for a little off road’ing (and with this I mean occasionally tacking a dirt track instead of a tarred road; no serious motor-x'ing is intended)

From what I've been reading it seems as if money was no problem the 1150GS would be favored, given the sheer power and comfort is offers. The only downside seems to be the weight and consequent handling in sandy conditions.

On the other hand, there are numerous testimonials of people using the F650GS down to Cape-Town, two-up'ing with comfort and almost never complaining about any lack of power.

So what are those magic pointers which I'm missing to make up my mind? Per example, taken the following criteria, which would come out tops:
- Using leaded and unleaded fuel
- Availability of accessories, such as long distance fuel tanks
- Comfort for touring 2000 km + tours, single with small load
- Comfort fro touring 1000 km + tours, two up with medium load

If the answer to all these indicates the R1150GS to be favored *slightly*, does it justify the additional cost? If I bought the F650GS and did all the above, where would I go wrong?

Thanks for the insights!

Rudi
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  #5  
Old 5 Jun 2002
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Although I have not made my purchase, my decision now leans 90% to the R1150GS.

The best bits of advice was given to me somewhere in this forum. Basically: the longer you plan to keep the bike, the less the purchase price matters. So the extra $$$'s is a bullet which you bite. The other advice was you need a bike that inspires you and keeps you on the road. For me this is key. Living in the Europe, I want the confidence that I can take her down to Italy (say) and back with two up and luggage and not have any doubts about power, comfort and performance. I have a feeling that with the 1150 I'll be more inclined to attempt these kinds of trips more regularly.

Also, nobody has stipulated explicitly that over landing is problematic. The weight seems to be the main concern, but for me this is negated by fact that I'll only spend 5% of my time in sand and mud (I expect, as elsewhere it is said that Africa contains abundant tarmac). Coming from - and having traveled - in Southern Africa I can certainly confirm this. Also, the Sahara poses to be a once- or twice off crossing for me.

So overall the 1150 has more in it for me. The obvious drawback is the higher price, but as mentioned, this is the price for inspiration.
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  #6  
Old 5 Jun 2002
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Thanks for your well thought out reply. I think your points are well taken as I agree with your assessment and am leaning the same way myself.

I guess my greatest hesitation comes from observing that the majority of the rental/adventure tour facilitators tend to lean towards the 650. However, I am beginning to think this has more to do with price, general flexibility of the machine and maintenance considerations as apposed to the what is truly a more enjoyable ride.

Personally, I'm very interested in the 1150 Adventure that's recently been launched as I think it serves the duel purposes of adventure travel. And on a more vain note, I think it looks great as well.

Thanks again for your comments.


Regards,

ND
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  #7  
Old 12 Jul 2002
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Although the BMs have a great reputation, you should remember they are fuel injected and linked to a computer chip - not as simple as the old Beemers, and not the kind of bike to take too far from BMW service shops.

Quote:
Originally posted by travellingnomad:
Thanks for your well thought out reply. I think your points are well taken as I agree with your assessment and am leaning the same way myself.

I guess my greatest hesitation comes from observing that the majority of the rental/adventure tour facilitators tend to lean towards the 650. However, I am beginning to think this has more to do with price, general flexibility of the machine and maintenance considerations as apposed to the what is truly a more enjoyable ride.

Personally, I'm very interested in the 1150 Adventure that's recently been launched as I think it serves the duel purposes of adventure travel. And on a more vain note, I think it looks great as well.

Thanks again for your comments.


Regards,

ND
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  #8  
Old 13 Jul 2002
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Kiwi formerly working in Germany, now sitting on touratech seat of an F650....
Posts: 71
For what it's worth, here's my two cents worth.

Riding both bikes is indeed the biggest factor I reckon, as they have completely different riding characteristics. My F650 Dakar gives a more agile ride, is more adept at handling rougher terrain, and I believe more of a riders bike than the cruising nature of the big 1150.

Weight is indeed a factor too,and even though the 650 Dakar is only some 35 kg's lighter than the 1150, it seems much much lighter.

Don't forget to compare fuel consumption as well, as the 650 delivers 3.3 litres per 100 Km's or better depending on your wrist. I use the Touratech tank kit, which although expensive {1,400 Euro}, gives me the incredible range of 900 Km's, even more if I stuck to 90 Kph.

As for power, the 1150 has more grunt, but I find the 650 Dakar more than capable. I've been two up at 4,000 metres on 80 Octane petrol, and I could still overtake cars going uphill.

As for reliability, I've done nothing apart from sprockets, chains, oil and air filters. The bike doesn't use 1 single drop of oil.

The only negative I have on the bike is the poorly constructed headlight / front fairing assembly. Over big bumps the headlight will pop out of it's mounts {I secured mine with plastic ties}, and the way the whole structure is screwed together is just a joke.

Still, I've done 20'000 km's so far on my Panamerican trip, on some despicably shitty roads, and the 650 has always come through shining.

So there it is, the 650 Dakar is my reccomendation.

Yours, biased as hell

Jeremy

[This message has been edited by Jeremy Andrews (edited 13 July 2002).]
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  #9  
Old 9 Nov 2002
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650Dakar seems the best choice for me aswell...

I've just crashed my bike in an accident completely (not my fault) and now I am getting either 650D or the new KTM LC8 adventure... (probably the KTM, yet if something "dissapoints" me, 650D is mine!)
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