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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 17 Jul 2011
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the new g650gs for RTW?

Hey well ive been looking and it is a really cheap gs and was wondering would it handle a round the world from uk to africa to south america and russia and ozzie ect. does anyone have any expirience doing adventure travel on this bike and whats it like off road?

let us know
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  #2  
Old 17 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by emptythetank View Post
Hey well ive been looking and it is a really cheap gs and was wondering would it handle a round the world from uk to africa to south america and russia and ozzie ect. does anyone have any expirience doing adventure travel on this bike and whats it like off road?

let us know
It is basically the same bike as the 2000 - 2006 F650GS ... with a smaller fuel tank.

Like all BMWs, it has crap suspension and crap wheels. But the rotax designed engine is solid and reliable, and the BMW fuel injection on it makes it extremely fuel efficient.

In their old guise, the 2000-2006 F650GS has been one of the more popular bikes to go around the world on. Many of them have circumnavigated the globe - Usually encountering wheel or suspension problems along the way.

There is no reason that engine and frame would not go around the world, as they have been doing it for a decade. Your weak links are going to be the wheels, the suspension and the small 14 litre fuel tank.

So how much do you want to spend to make it work?
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  #3  
Old 17 Jul 2011
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My daughter just rode her 650gs across Australia .....which is absolutely nothing like going RTW but we had a great trip and no problems! (BMW roadside assist always available here which is a little different than the sort of places Colebatch goes to .... so take his advice not mine ok!)
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  #4  
Old 17 Jul 2011
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Hi,

I would get a much older bike like Honda Transalp, Yamaha Tenere or Suzuki DRZ 400 to go RTW. They are not onely cheaper but also more easy to repair even with no roadside assistance

Travel save, Tobi
Transafrika - Riding on a motorbike through africa part 1
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  #5  
Old 17 Jul 2011
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650

The 650 is a great bike but loaded off road it will be a difficult bike , anyway most bike will be handeling bad when loaded and off road . The parts are not cheap but if the bike is well maintain you can expect to do a lot of miles in confort. I myself will be more interested by a DR650 or XR650L as they are cheap easy to repair and bullet proof , accessories are half the price of BMW. The DR400 is a great contender but if you are a bit heavy the bike will be busing at high speed.

Hope this help.
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  #6  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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The new G650gs is a good choice. I think some people harp on about the suspension issues far too much when most of us will be absolutely fine. Remember this isn't just a BMW with a proven excellent Rotax engine, this is a 650 bike cheaper than any Jap equivalent. Also this is not a hardcore enduro machine by any means so the people moaning about suspension are preaching to the wrong choir. My only comment would be to get on friendly terms with your dealer. BMW are bringing out a new Dakar version, they're just not publicizing it yet. If it holds true to the old version it will have suspension upgrades and only be a little more money.
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  #7  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by Jtw000 View Post
The new G650gs is a good choice. I think some people harp on about the suspension issues far too much when most of us will be absolutely fine. Remember this isn't just a BMW with a proven excellent Rotax engine, this is a 650 bike cheaper than any Jap equivalent. Also this is not a hardcore enduro machine by any means so the people moaning about suspension are preaching to the wrong choir. My only comment would be to get on friendly terms with your dealer. BMW are bringing out a new Dakar version, they're just not publicizing it yet. If it holds true to the old version it will have suspension upgrades and only be a little more money.
Good point the new Dakar coming out. And actually you already address the mentioned suspension issue...

I think everyone agreed on it being a good/reliable bike. However, pointing out weaker points seems to me useful and HUBB the right place to share that info. In any case, each one may know his own limits/interests to decide how much his trip will require those upgrades.
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  #8  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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... the people moaning about suspension are preaching to the wrong choir.
I dont think its a matter of moaning ... if the guy asked for opinions about the bike, surely a decent, balanced set of comments on it should say what is good with it and what is bad with it. If the OP or other readers dont care about suspension then he / they / you are free to make whatever call he / they like on that information. But to blindly blow smoke up a bikes tailpipe simply because of its brand is not very useful or constructive to people trying to make decisions. Its not very objective.

Especially as part of the original question specifically referred to the ability of the bike "off road", to not comment objectively on its suspension would be to ignore the question, since the biggest part "what a bike is like off road" is its suspension.

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Originally Posted by Jtw000 View Post
BMW are bringing out a new Dakar version, they're just not publicizing it yet. If it holds true to the old version it will have suspension upgrades and only be a little more money.
I hadnt heard that information. When is that bike out? Whats the source of that info? (please dont say "a dealer")

On the old Dakar version the suspension was longer, but wasnt any better. It wasnt upgraded, just longer.

Perhaps you think I harp on about suspension too much, but I dont know how often you are reading the actual regional travel forums. ... Maybe I harp on about it because its the single most common failure that adventure moto travellers seem to need outside mechanical help with - and almost always due to having inappropriate gear.
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Last edited by colebatch; 13 Aug 2011 at 10:28.
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  #9  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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How many of those were Ohlins. Don't know why people still buy that shit. Cast ali brackets is the usual suspect.

I for one never appreciated good suspension, until I added some to my Dakar. Completely transforms the bike. It's not all about travel, but the way it travels. And even on road it just rides so much better. Off road it doesn't worry about ruts or low spots, where the standard damper rod forks go straight for them like a dog on heat.

Heard about the new Dakar but not a lot, which makes me think it's just rumours like the KTM 690 Adventure. Biggest thing about a Dakar if it does come out is spoked wheels. Not keen on the cast wheels they came out with on the G.
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  #10  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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How many of those were Ohlins.
Well where I said performance racing shocks not built for adventure travel ... you can substitute Ohlins ...

brackets snapped off, shock bodies (very thin walled alloy) bent and snapped, etc.

They make an excellent product ... but the product they make is for racing. They make everything to be as light as possible ... which in this case is the opposite of as durable as possible.
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Last edited by colebatch; 12 Aug 2011 at 23:51.
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  #11  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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Didn't you use Ohlins yourself, Cole? You've got to think about budget here. The sort of mods you're talking about are beyond most people's means. I upgraded mine for £500, already well aware of the shortcomings of the showa gear but a lot of people use them with no trouble, I did mine to avoid possibilities of problems down the line. That was as much as I had to spend on the suspension and I would guess more in line with the budget of the average traveler. Your experience, Cole is not always relevant to most of us as you've spent a small fortune on that bike, I can't comment further because when I've talked to you about it on the ADV forum you ignored my questions.
Your bike is fun to look at but it's not directly interesting to me as I don't have that sort of budget to spend. I went Wilbers instead of Ohlins in the first place because I took time to read about multiple Ohlins failures. In my opinion they are pretty but nothing more. My shock is black, boring and 100% functional.
Now if someone wants to go RTW starting with a blank slate bike then let's be fair, the G650gs single is a great start and I can't think of a better one for the money. I mean what are the choices? KTM? They only make competition bikes and in some instances sell them as other things. They're unreliable, expensive to run and have short service intervals. I can't imagine anyone who knows what they're doing would think they were a good basis as a traveler. KLR? Very weak machine but reliable. Build quality is quite poor and finish is very thin. It's also heavy as well as under-powered. What about Yamaha? The Tenere looks the part and nearly is a good bike but it's an old fashioned engine and management system and build quality is beyond poor. Even dealers tell you it can't handle the rain. Some touring companies use them but swap them out at 20000 miles. That's running in for a rotax. Ok, for extreme use it might not suit some people but let's be fair... anyone asking such basic questions is not going to need a new set of suspensions and probably need a bit of friendly encouragement instead of horror stories. A friend of mine crossed India in very extreme muddy conditions on an Enfield with knackered tyres. When I was in Thailand old women on C90s were off-roading in ways that would put us all to shame on bikes held together with rope. I think us Westerners are a bit too spoilt. People around the world use what there is and do what they have to. We don't need the best of everything, we need to get out and DO IT. Would I like to swap out my forks? Yeah, of course. Do I need someone commenting that my forks "will just about do if I'm not fussy?" No, I can do without that. My bike is as good as it can be for the money I have to spend. It's a million times better than the bikes out all over the world that daily do the kind of things I'm still here planning and dreaming of. Am I happy with it? No, I would change a lot of things and I will up to my budget. As I've said before I believe suspension to be the best value for money as an upgrade. On the X-range I would do exhaust (weight and economy) and lighting next but attention to fuel supply and subframe (luggage capacity) and electrical power.

As for the Dakar, yes, it was a dealer. My brother is a bike dealer with BMW and we get behind the scenes a lot. The "Dakar" is already in the price list but details are not released yet. I thought the original Dakar had a different rear shock, maybe i'm wrong there. The front forks are definitely different, the front wheel is a different size and the mountings are different. Maybe the internals are similar but it's still a great basis for an RTW bike with fewer upgrades over stock. I repeat my previous comments, the GS single is not a hardcore machine. It's a bike that can handle a fire-road at best so let's get some perspective on it. I've ridden one and it's great, really great for the money. I wouldn't buy one. For my money I would go for an older Dakar with low mileage and start there but for a total newb then the new bike with a warranty is probably a better bet. Maybe even stick to the GS over Dakar. The 19" wheel is far better on the road where most of us spend more time. The 21" is better off-road but you pay your money and you take your choice. As for the smaller 14 litre tank, I'm not sure why they did this but apparently the range is more or less the same as BMW are quoting better economy.
Also... before it all kicks off, I'm not a fan of BMW. I've had 3 in a row and they're generally crap. My first R1200gs had electronics issues like all of them, the F800gs had build quality issues, like all of them and this one (G650x country) has massive design compromise issues to address. Also it's not a BMW. It's a rotax engine and everything else is Aprillia. Normally this would be the kiss of death but happily it works ok.

We all do this differently, I just get a bit fed up with people going on about the shortcomings of bikes when they're perfectly fine. I get a bit fed up with the toys-for-the-boys crowd who knock everything that hasn't had a ton of cash thrown at it. In my opinon the GS is fine for 99.9% of us. Upgrade the springs and shock and it would do it all. Even Cole was followed by a GS single on one of his trips (Dakar?) and he said, it kept up fine but the rider noticed the extra weight. Just do it, guys because I promise you one thing. Somewhere out there on your trip you're going to come across someone you'd never expect doing something you'd never dream possible on a bike you'd never think would make it. Encouragement guys. I like to keep things positive instead of finding fault with everything.

Just my 2 cents.
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  #12  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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Didn't you use Ohlins yourself, Cole?
No. I dont

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Originally Posted by Jtw000 View Post
My first R1200gs ....
Let me get this right ... So you have had more than one 1200GS (10k + each) , and yet you think I am over the top for taking a 2700 pound bike and making about 4k worth of changes to it so that it will do exactly what I want it to do?

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Even Cole was followed by a GS single on one of his trips (Dakar?) and he said, it kept up fine but the rider noticed the extra weight.
Actually it broke a shock. Cheap OEM BMW one oddly enough.

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I like to keep things positive instead of finding fault with everything.
You want to do objective comments on a bike but only want to keep it positive? Useful comments then. Makes it pointless asking any question then about "what do you think about this bike?" You have basically told the OP that he is stupid for asking the question, because the answer, no matter what bike, is "its fine ... just do it".

You feel free to claim to keep your answers positive. I prefer to keep my answers honest, thanks.

Speaking of you keeping it positive and not finding fault with everything, (cause I can see how much you hate it if I dare say anything negative about a bike you like) ... I Dont suppose you recognise this ...

"The Pegaso is a really terrible bike. Aprilia built it to a cost and it shows. Rust catches hold fast, bits are flimsy and snap off readily and it breaks down a lot. ... Worst mistake I ever made (women aside). I don't know where to start with it. it's just awful. The fuel pump is two electric toy car motors in a plastic bag. The dash is a control circuit from a microwave oven. The wiring is like the leftovers of a stolen stereo. I wish I was joking. My motor packed up and I had to face the cost of a replacement."

That wouldnt be you, showing how much credibility there is in your "keeping it positive", "no fault finding" mantra .... now, would it??? Or is it only BMWs that the "keeping it positive" applies to?
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Last edited by colebatch; 14 Aug 2011 at 11:49.
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  #13  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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Errr, no. I had one R1200gs which I bought for £4k and only bought because I knew I wouldn't lose money on it, which i didn't. It had 50000 miles and was fine at first. In fact it was the perfect touring bike capable of anything on the road. It was comfy and had power... then the fuel economy gremlin kicked in and fuelling was all over the place... then the brakes (solenoid) packed in, then the power died and I fitted an Odyssey. Long story short, I lost faith and got rid of it. (lost nothing).
Objective means that. Your opinion is only your opinion and in your case seems entirely biased by your own experience, you appear blinkered to anything outside of your own sphere of consciousness. I read a great many opinions, most I ignored as irrelevant for whatever reason but I sought them out nonetheless. My bike has been built to my own requirements. I paid £3k for mine and spent £3k more. That includes luggage, sat nav, exhaust, shocks and other crap. I chose to keep it simple and cheap. My choice.
Objective means the opposite of subjective. That means you have to speak beyond your own experience and the fact is that very few G650gs (singles) fail globally. As bikes grow older they wear, shocks are a wearing component and prone to failure. Truth is, BMW fit crappy parts sometimes (not all the time, the Challenge has a good shock that is just a typically German conceptual design failure but could just as easily have worked well).
I would never tell the OP, or anyone else that their question is stupid but only encourage them to try within their boundaries. Certainly I wouldn't comment that the forks are just barely acceptable if you're not fussy which is the way you speak of other peoples machines. So you spent £2700 plus £4k kitting it out? You ignored me when i asked on ADV when I was trying to work out my budget but hey, I did it and I'm doing it. I met a dealer who had to come out and go over my bike because it was so different. I like that. People come up and ask questions (police sometimes but hey, life is short).

I say work within your boundaries. Everybody's opinion is just that... an opinion. I think the G650gs is a great little bike capable of RTW action if you go in with your eyes open. It's a brilliant machine for the price, not a hardcore enduro capable of massive abuse but a good bike that will survive some hardship, probably more than most riders can endure. I say most people have an opinion unfettered by logic, based on emotional alpha-brain unthinking bias.
Opinions differ. I think some of my solutions are far better and I disagree with solutions of others but my opinion is just that... an opinion. For instance, i put my spare fuel at the front of the bash plate and can logically explain why that is better than an X-tank. Some people disagree. That's what it's all about. If people agree then there is no discussion and it's a quiet, boring little world.
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  #14  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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So you spent £2700 plus £4k kitting it out?
No ... thats NOT what I said.

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You ignored me when i asked on ADV when I was trying to work out my budget .
It must have slipped thru.

Look, I give up. You win. The G650GS is a fabulous bike all round.

And I advise everyone else reading this to agree! Save your sanity now!
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Old 12 Aug 2011
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Humor me here Jack ....

An afterthought ...

Having conceded that you are absolutely right, and that I am in no position to put down the suspension of either the X-Country or the G650GS, I am concerned for the sake of the original posters question, after all he has asked it, I assume, wanting advice from people with experience of long distance moto travel before he buys a bike to go rtw on.

If I recall, his question concerned adventure travel, and mentioned Africa, South America, Russia and Australia specifically. I have been fortunate enough to have ridden in all of those place, while adventure touring. And in those locations I have ridden on stock suspension, modified suspension, air shocks, spring shocks, old bikes, new bikes, carburettored bikes, fuel injected bikes, light bikes, heavy bikes. So that was my frame of reference for my out of order comments. Thats the basis for my silly opinion that yes the bike can make it rtw but it has a few weak points to be aware of.

I am wondering, for the sake of the original poster, if you could expand on your frame of reference so he knows on what basis you are absolutely right in knowing that my points regarding the wheels, suspension and fuel tank size are not relevant to him (probably not valid at all really)? Dont get me wrong, I am not questioning that you are right. It would just be useful to know more detail about the types of experience with the type of bikes and suspension you have had in your travels across Africa, South America, Australia and Russia, to confirm to the original poster that he is not hearing hot air, backed up only by a starbucks card in lieu of any real first hand experience.

Its just that I cant seem to find any reference to you riding anywhere outside of Western Europe.

I take it I am just not looking hard enough?
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