Originally Posted by Wozzer
Thanks for the tips, very helpful - is it generally agreed that bmw motorcycles are not as reliable as the japanese manufacturers, or is it just the high cost of service?
I don't want to buy any bike that I haven't been able to test ride for at least 30 mins, I don't think any BMW dealership is going to be giving me a test ride on the brand new F650/800GS twins anytime soon, so a used Wee seems to be the way to go. I know the F800GS isn't out till fall, but is the F650GS twin even available in the US yet?
I appreciate the BMW's styling and the brand image, but it's not high on my priority list for this purchase.
You won't find much agreement on the quality of BMWs around here (and obviously no one knows how reliable the new 650/800s will be yet), but it's generally agreed on that the Wee is an excellent bike in terms of reliability. Either bike can be much cheaper if you do your own work (oil changes, removing wheels before getting tire put on, checking your own valves, etc.) and I'd strongly encourage you to learn how to do this stuff. The more you know your bike, the better.
In terms of test rides, pretty much every BMW dealer I've been to will let you test ride bikes (of course, you'll have to wait until they get a 650/800GS in stock to ride one...650s are expected in June/July last I heard).
I'm going through a similar process that you are. I've ridden a Wee (ironically, at a BMW dealer who had a used one since Suzuki rarely allows test rides). As others have said, it seems to be a good bike. Since I'm pretty happy with my current bike, I'm holding out for the new BMW and others (e.g., Triumph's Tiger Cub might be coming out this Fall too) before making my decision. You can't go wrong with a Wee IMO.