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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 7 May 2008
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WeeStrom / Transalp700 / 650GS(twin)?

As a highly satisfied DL owner, I´d like to hear if anyone has experiences about the new Transalp or twin-650GS, and possibly compared to the DL650? I will go test both of them in a couple of weeks, really itching to do so, as they both seem like interesting new models. Not really thinking of changing right now, just curious about the new offerings in this class.

Are there some areas, where either of them will clearly beat the DL? I think the BMW might have a bit more torque, cos its an 800.

The DL´s got good wind protection, excellent headlights, punchy engine, good fuel economy/long range, handles very well (for this kind of bike anyway) and carries a lot of luggage no problem. And its very reliable, and not expensive to buy, so I think these factors have made it a package that has been the best in its class for some years.. at least up until now. Can you find a DL-beater in XL700, or F650GS?

Riding on the street, touring 2-up with heavy luggage, or possibly some light offroading (but not much) is what I normally do with my DL, so those are the areas I will value most on these new bikes as well. I dont think any one of them will be a good offroad-bike, theyre too heavy for that.
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  #2  
Old 7 May 2008
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For what it’s worth I just read a test which compared 800GS, 650GS, Transalp, V-strom and Versys.

Basicly it rates the bikes like this:
800GS: 476
650GS: 464
Versys: 440
V-strom: 439
Transalp: 416

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  #3  
Old 7 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliBaba View Post
Good info Ali!

The graph I've been waiting to see "650" vs 800GS. It proves the "650" version of GS does have a slightly better torque distribution properties on low revs as a result of the valve-timing tweak - see the slight peak at 5K and especially very low-rpm range below 3K where "650" excels a bit better. But on the contrary, dynos tend to be unprecise on low rev measurements, too...

No wonder why BMW has done better this test - as per CC more torque, more rev power (horsepower), and most of all - they're @ much lower revs compared to the rest of the bunch. Just what you'd expect from real-life engine for comfortable touring and everyday commuting use, not some fancy sporty high-revver to kick gears up/down every split second all day long.
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  #4  
Old 7 May 2008
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ok, those graphs do look pretty impressive for BMW, though its expected, when you have 150cc´s extra. The Transalp does not look good there, though its torque figures dont seem bad. And of course power in itself is not all, especially on an allround-bike!

What did they say about the BMW engines from a riders perspective, any vibrations? And gearbox action, is it still as inconsistent as on the F800-models?

Do you know, if they actually did any touring with these, or they just took a few photos with guys leaning over in a roundabout, wearing their fancy tracksuits?? (Because thats where they normally fail in these tests - they go test them like they´d test superbikes, and forget the ´real-world´ factors, which these twins are all about!)
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  #5  
Old 7 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
Do you know, if they actually did any touring with these, or they just took a few photos with guys leaning over in a roundabout, wearing their fancy tracksuits?? (Because thats where they normally fail in these tests - they go test them like they´d test superbikes, and forget the ´real-world´ factors, which these twins are all about!)

They did some touring with a fair bit of offroad/gravel. The 650/800 GS also had a deeper test in the next number and the results was pretty much the same.
But as you say it is a test, they have not used the bikes for thousands of kilometers through hard terrain and opinions might differ. Durability is not tested…

Personally I have not tried any of these bikes!

Some more points: (Link for scandic people: http://www.actiontouring.com/pic/mk2.jpg )

Engine (Power, torque, acceleration, vibrations etc)
BMW800 125
BMW650 114
Kawasaki 110
Suzuki 103
Honda 88

Transmission (Clutch, ratio, use)
BMW650/800 53
Suzuki 50
Kawasaki 46
Honda 44

Chassis (Steering, stability, how it handles, suspension)
BMW650 83
BMW800 82
Kawasaki 81
Suzuki 80
Honda 76

Safety (brakes, stability when braking, ground clearance, weight)
BMW800 82
BMW650 82
Kawasaki 80
Honda 79
Suzuki 72


Comfort (riding position, windshield, instruments etc)
BMW800 66
Suzuki 65
Honda 63
BMW650 61


Touring (fuel consumption, range, comfort for passenger, luggage)
BMW650 71
Suzuki 69
Honda 66
BMW800 65
Kawasaki 63

Total:
BMW800 476
BMW650 464
Kawasaki 440
Suzuki 439
Honda 416



Spareparts (list of various parts)
Honda 16.589
BMW650 16.956
BMW800 17.696
Kawasaki 17.859
Suzuki 22.182

Best light: Suzuki
Most street oriented: Kawasaki
Most offroad oriented BMW800
Worst brakes: Suzuki
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  #6  
Old 11 May 2008
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Just got a quick ride on the new F650GS... but only for about 20 minutes, so need to get a longer ride to really see how it works. But I am positively impressed with the engine and handling (on the road), this bike will surely be a close match to the Vstrom.

The fairing is smaller and isnt as protective as the Suzuki´s, but its got nice wide torque (even if its sounds more than a bit weird!!), so you dont need to worry about having the right gear all the time, and the bike steers very well in curves. Gearbox seemed to work ok, not clunky, though not as slick as the Suzuki. Even the one disc front brake seems to do the job quite alright. It didnt feel very stable at +100kmh speeds, in fact the front felt surprisingly light, almost like an enduro bike. But it was a bit windy, so cant really tell.
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  #7  
Old 11 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
Just got a quick ride on the new F650GS... but only for about 20 minutes, so need to get a longer ride to really see how it works. But I am positively impressed with the engine and handling (on the road), this bike will surely be a close match to the Vstrom.

The fairing is smaller and isnt as protective as the Suzuki´s, but its got nice wide torque (even if its sounds more than a bit weird!!), so you dont need to worry about having the right gear all the time, and the bike steers very well in curves. Gearbox seemed to work ok, not clunky, though not as slick as the Suzuki. Even the one disc front brake seems to do the job quite alright. It didnt feel very stable at +100kmh speeds, in fact the front felt surprisingly light, almost like an enduro bike. But it was a bit windy, so cant really tell.
It will be interesting to see how that bike sells in the medium term: it could be the dark horse of the new models from BMW at its' current price, in the UK at least.
The thing is that since the price was set for this year in the UK the £ has continued to follow the US$ against the Euro - therefore the price is likely, very likely, in fact certain, to be higher for 2009.
Maybe best for any Brits who are considering a new bike to get one this year (although I am not following the £-Yen value so avidly, so that may not be such a move in the wrong direction).
As for the USA, the $ price there will have to be much higher in order for BMW to be interested in selling them on that continent, especially while and if demand elsewhere exceeds supply.
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  #8  
Old 5 Jun 2008
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Hi, am a newbie here, that Vstrom in the test, would that be the 1000 or the 650?
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  #9  
Old 5 Jun 2008
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Motorrad tests with Wee Strom?

Has anyone seen the test by Motorrad (I think?) that compared a bunch of bikes in the Alps on a long term tour? The Vstrom 650 won. Beat 12GS and everybody else. Couple months back now or longer?. I believe this test also had a Triumph Tiger and maybe 5 other bikes.

Was the F800GS included in that test?

Sounds to me like BMW have an excellent bike. Make that bikes .... as the F650 (800cc) is getting great reviews as well and its a couple thousand less $.

But BMW should pray Suzuki leave the Wee Strom alone for a while and not introduce some sort of new
"Adventure" version of a Wee Strom!

Hey, maybe they could get Kymco to build it like the BMW!

I really don't see either the Versys or Transalp coming close to the Wee Strom in touring, comfort or rough road riding when fully loaded. Both BMW's are good bikes ..... BMW have hit a homerun with them both.

But the weak dollar is killing them in the USA .... and
perhaps the UK now as well? So much so that they are holding back the F800 for a while. Not much profit margin with the current price. Look for it to go WAY up soon.
(obvious).

BMW claim the Spandau plant is running at max capacity now but I have a different idea. My guess is they are scrambling to get the Chinese plant online building the new F800's. They are currently doing the G bikes, the new 450 racer and a rumored all new 650 single of some sort.

Patrick

Last edited by mollydog; 5 Jun 2008 at 17:41.
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  #10  
Old 5 Jun 2008
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Are you sure your not referring to Motorrad´s "Alpenkoenig"-test, which was actually published a few years back? That one the Weestrom won, and there were over 20 other bikes, expensive ones, too. I dont know if there has been a similar test more recently, though.

Rode The XL700V last weekend. Its a nice bike, though first it felt slow and heavy, but the bike kept growing on me.

On gravel roads it felt better than the DL, and the brakes have a better feel even though its front discs look ridiculously small. The way it handled on gravel was very surprising, considering its weight and all. This bike "hides" its weight the moment you release the clutch.

The engines very "old-school", does not pick up the revs like the DL, but its got nice torque in low- and midrange. Injection works fine. Suspension is soft, and theres only compression adjustment (on the back), no preload adjustment is a minus in my view.

Comfort is good, I actually rode a full tank non-stop, the saddle is probably the best of the bunch. Tank range is just about adequate, but the DL uses a bit less fuel, and has 5 litres more in the tank, so it will go at least a 100kms further than the XL700 between fills.

That "trains´ headlight" is weird-looking, cant decide if it looks good or bad, but lights cannot compare with DL, the Suzuki´s got excellent ones. Fairing is okay, no buffeting, but not as good wind protection as the DL (actually on par or thereabouts with the new 650GS). The windscreen should be adjustable for different riders, but its not.

Didnt get to try it very heavily loaded, but I think the DL would win there, as the XL´s frame looks nowhere near as sturdy, combined with fewer possibilities to set up the suspension.

Tube tyres and spoked wheels may not be the optimum for such a road-oriented machine as the XL700 is.

The DL still seems to be the best 2-up touring machine in this class (F650GS included), but that said, the XL700 does pretty much everything well, too, so the differences arent huge.

I dont get it, why Honda forgot about the Africa Twin...? If they made a machine with kind-of similar specs as the F800GS, but maybe a bit more comfort for touring, they would sell truckloads of them. I believe Suzuki might be the first to come up with something like that, maybe for 2009.

"Hi, am a newbie here, that Vstrom in the test, would that be the 1000 or the 650?"

That would be the 650.

Last edited by pecha72; 5 Jun 2008 at 08:06. Reason: add text
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  #11  
Old 5 Jun 2008
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I should take any published tests with a pinch of salt , you really have to ride the bikes yourself to find out which is best for you.

I have read a few road tests of bikes and then ridden them myself and found that my impression of the bike was completely different .

My advice would be to avoid reading any tests and just go and test ride the bikes as much as you can before you decide .
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  #12  
Old 6 Jun 2008
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Pecha,
Thanks for the reply.

I actually ride one of the new 650GS twins but because I havent ridden any of the other bikes I can't provide some sort of comparative feedback.
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  #13  
Old 7 Jun 2008
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Still dont know why BMW dose not remake the R80gs with a big tank. Graphs all nice and good but its person who bottoms on the seat that makes the final division on whether or not a bike is right for them.
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  #14  
Old 7 Jun 2008
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackie View Post
Pecha,
Thanks for the reply.

I actually ride one of the new 650GS twins but because I havent ridden any of the other bikes I can't provide some sort of comparative feedback.

Just tell it the way it is for you with the new GS and someone else can fill in the detail for the other bikes.
Not many will own all 3 of these bikes!
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  #15  
Old 8 Jun 2008
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Picked up the new baby on Friday and left my tired 1200GSA behind for its 45,000 mile service.
Don't know whether to call this 'The Hooligan' or 'Tonka Toy', both are apt.


Fitting Scottoiler


good on loose gravel


purposeful with TKC80s


first gear could do with being MUCH lower for hill descents


Arty farty shot


It's even more fun than I remember, running in at 5000 revs = 82 mph in top.
Exhaust note is crisp and rorty. Feels faster in corners than my 1200GSA.

Fuel consumption is incredible. I'm still on the initial tank and have done 182 miles so
far with an indicated 92 miles range still to go. Dare I trust the fuel computer?

Tim

PS: link to my initial reviews of F650GS (post #1 on thread) and F800GS (post #22 on thread):
F650/800GS road test reports
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 10 Jun 2008 at 10:56.
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