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Old 10 Feb 2021
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BMW F650GS TWIN: thoughts

I need a bike for a trip across Russia, Murmansk-Vladivostok, my Guzzi is stranded on Plague Island U.K. by COVID, so I need to buy something.

Yesterday I happened upon a 2008 year BMW F650GS for sale in Moscow for about £3.5k. It’s a bike I know nothing about, but:
1.It’s a more suitable bike for the trip than my Guzzi since it has some off road ability.
2. Previous owner has done some sensible touring things: added panniers, huggers, extra lights. Apart from a skid plate it’s ready to roll.
3. Much lower mileage (30k kilometres) than my Guzzi’s 90k miles, and looks like it’s been cared for rather better

So...has anyone here used one of these for long distance? There must be someone!

Alternative would be a new 100 year anniversary Guzzi V85tt touring, but it’s 4 times the price. And the first time I drop the Guzzi I’ll be in tears, whereas with the BMW I won’t GAF.

All opinions welcome.
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Old 10 Feb 2021
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There was a huge number of problems with this bike when it was introduced (see UKGSer problem thread ), especially chains, radiator hoses and wheel bearings, but twelve years on these should all have been resolved.

I had two of these bikes, the first ended up being returned to BMW (!!), the second is now owned by my son-in-law. I used them extensively for several off-tarmac trips in Morocco, having ridden from the UK to get there. I preferred the '650' variant because it had tubeless tyres (I used TKC80s) whereas the F800GS was tubed. The seat is awfully hard but an airhawk or cushion will help.
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 19 Feb 2021 at 13:40.
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Old 10 Feb 2021
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My wife had the 800gs, which is virtually the same only with a 21” front wheel and more tuned engine - if that makes sense.
Personally I agree with Tim and think the 650 is a better all round bike.
The one thing that will go on an 08 model is the Stator - it’s a known design fault. It could go at any time after 30K miles, my wife’s went at 50K miles - if it had failed 24hrs earlier we’d have been in the middle of Death Valley in August
It’s a very expensive fix. Don’t bother with a rewind, it’s a design fault, we rewound first time and got 2K miles out of it - It’s a full part swap from BMW.

At only 30K km you’ve still got some mileage to go and it may have been swapped already. The longest, I know, is 70K miles and the shortest 30K.

If it was me I’d just factor this into my finances, it wouldn’t necessarily put me off - they’re a good, under rated bike.
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Old 10 Feb 2021
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I bought a second-hand 650 twin (2008 model) with 10 kkm on the clock and have done 20 kkm since then. Having done 200 kkm on my old 2-v Beemer including many off-road pistes the little twin was a big surprise. A positive one If course I had to test the off-road capabilities and did the ACT in Portugal. Well, the suspension had a tough time and the first thing after returning home was to change a few things.

- progressive fork springs
- a proper bash plate that covers the oil filter as well
- a better seat

The rear shock is sufficient, but once it has to be replaced I'll fit a better part - Wilbers or WP etc.

All in all a neat little bike with enough power, low fuel consumption, fairly liht-weight, so IMO a good choice.
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
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Old 10 Feb 2021
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There's a review here: https://adventure-motorcycling.com/2...ong-term-test/

I once rented an F650GS in Morocco and it was delightful, with great performance and comfort even 2 up.
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Old 11 Feb 2021
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I know these VERY well. I've even had a few.

The rotax engine is FANTASTIC. Very reliable and very efficient. Breakdowns are almost unheard of. They chug along and will easily run up to 100,000 miles with nothing but routine maintenance.

Unfortunately they built a BMW around it, but fear not. They didn't make it as bad as the rest

To be honest. It's a wonderfully reliable BMW. Even by BMW's standards. The only problems you will likely have on an F650 Twin is funny ignition switch or the ring antenna.

The motors can start getting noisy at around 60,000 miles and its usually a stretched cam-chain. But they don't fail. They just get noisier. You have to remove and completely rebuild the engine to change the cam-chain.
Did some trips.
Rode some bikes.
Fix them for a living.
Can't say anymore.

Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 23 Feb 2021 at 08:44.
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Old 12 Feb 2021
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
I know these VERY well. I've even had a few.


Unfortunately they build a BMW around it, but fear not. They didn't make it as bad as the rest


Good one
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
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Old 18 Feb 2021
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Thanks very much for all the replies, this is really helpful information. I’d never considered anything BMW before, but I may have to change my mind!

Still got my Guzzi addiction to overcome though.
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