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View Results: Which bike should I get?
Versys 22 14.67%
TDM 900 10 6.67%
F650GS (parallel twin, not single) 17 11.33%
F800GS 50 33.33%
Wee-Strom 42 28.00%
Something else 9 6.00%
Voters: 150. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-08-2008, 01:58 AM   #1
Guy Jinbaiquerre OP
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Question Help! Versys vs. TMD 900 vs. Wee-Strom vs. F650GS vs. F800GS

Hope I can get some recommendations on this one. I'm in the market for a new mid-size bike. I will use it for the following things, in decreasing order of frequency:

(1) 12-mile round trip city commute to work each day, 2-up. Here I"m looking for something light and nimble, good at lane-splitting, with good handling on wet pavement, strong brakes, and that can take a topcase for carrying work papers, briefcases, and a helmet.

(2) Solo or 2-up touring mostly on-road, including expressways, but with some tame dirt trails. Bike will have panniers and topcase, etc. loaded with camping gear for 1 or 2 people Probably about 30-40 days a year of this kind of riding. Here, the bike should be comfortable for 2 people doing long hauls on pavement, with good handling in twisties, good brakes, yet still capable on dirt.

(3) Dirt riding, solo, on more challenging (but not "EXTREEEEME!!!!") dirt trails. The key factor here is off-road ability. I'm new at riding dirt, so will probably only do it a little bit at first, but if I get hooked on it, I'll probably want to do more.

More info: I'm 5'8", 29.5-inch inseam, 105kg. My pillion, er, wife is about 50kg.

I'm looking at a few bikes, including the Versys, Wee-Strom, TDM 900, the new BMW F650GS parallel twin, as well as the F800GS version. I'm also open to other ideas if you think I overlooked a good choice. (I've test-ridden a R1200GS, but I think it's a little too big for me, especially as a daily commuter. The KTM's, like the 990 Adventure, are also generally a little too big and/or too high in the seat for me.)

So, what would you recommend if (1) money were no object, and (2) if you were looking for the best "bang for the buck"?

Guy Jinbaiquerre screwed with this post 10-08-2008 at 02:06 AM
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:32 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
(1) 12-mile round trip city commute to work each day, 2-up. Here I"m looking for something light and nimble, good at lane-splitting, with good handling on wet pavement, strong brakes, and that can take a topcase for carrying work papers, briefcases, and a helmet.
1. Versys 2. F650GS 3. F800GS 4. Wee (but only because everyone will be laughing at you for riding such a fugly bike )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
(2) Solo or 2-up touring mostly on-road, including expressways, but with some tame dirt trails. Bike will have panniers and topcase, etc. loaded with camping gear for 1 or 2 people Probably about 30-40 days a year of this kind of riding. Here, the bike should be comfortable for 2 people doing long hauls on pavement, with good handling in twisties, good brakes, yet still capable on dirt.
1. F650GS 2. Wee 3. Versys 4. F800GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
(3) Dirt riding, solo, on more challenging (but not "EXTREEEEME!!!!") dirt trails. The key factor here is off-road ability. I'm new at riding dirt, so will probably only do it a little bit at first, but if I get hooked on it, I'll probably want to do more.
1. F800GS 2. F650GS 3. Wee DNF. Versys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
More info: I'm 5'8", 29.5-inch inseam, 105kg. My pillion, er, wife is about 50kg.
1. F650GS 2. Wee 3. Versys 4. F800GS

Overall: F650GS

Just my $0.02 worth. The "Wee" crowd will be along shortly.
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:49 AM   #3
Guy Jinbaiquerre OP
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I am guessing you didn't rank the TDM at all because you are not familiar with it? Or do you really think it is the worst bike in every category?

Also, I find it interesting you put the F800 last in the "touring" category. Is that because "adventure" bikes (long suspension/ride height, big front wheel, knobby tires) are not so good on pavement? Sorry to sound like such a noob...

Guy Jinbaiquerre screwed with this post 10-08-2008 at 04:55 AM
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Old 10-08-2008, 05:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
I am guessing you didn't rank the TDM at all because you are not familiar with it? Or do you really think it is the worst bike in every category? ...
Not familiar. Interestingly a recent UK mag (RiDE) compared a used TDM and a new F800GS (and a used KTM990). They liked the TDM but only if you ride it "smoothly" complaining about the "budget suspension" and "slap in the drive chain" if you get too sporty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
...Also, I find it interesting you put the F800 last in the "touring" category. Is that because "adventure" bikes (long suspension/ride height, big front wheel, knobby tires) are not so good on pavement? ...
It's brilliant (I have one) but 2-up touring on an F800GS? I'm not sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
... Sorry to sound like such a noob...
No worries!

Edit: This thread might help: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=328843 and fill in your damned profile!

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Old 10-08-2008, 08:15 AM   #5
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildman
It's brilliant (I have one) but 2-up touring on an F800GS? I'm not sure.
Hmm... why do you rank the F650 as the best bike for touring, but the F800 as the worst? It seems to me that the differences between the two bikes have to do with stuff that wouldn't really affect suitability as a tourer, and certainly not by such a large amount... or am I missing something?
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:28 AM   #6
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True, there's a lot of subjectivity as well as objectivity in there. You've got to make your own mind up; it ain't gospel! The F650GS is better (IMHO) than the Versys for 2-up touring as there's more space and I couldn't bring myself to put the Wee first. 21" spoked front wheels, a hard, narrow and high seat, 'perky' power delivery... the F800GS has to come last out of the four, doesn't it?

If it helps, a German magazine this year rated them for touring ability:
Strom: 90%
F650GS: 80%
F800GS: 80%
Versys: 60%
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:42 AM   #7
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Which bike

Hey bud....fill out your profile. Lets us know a wee bit about ya.

Ooops just saw that Wildman is already on your case


Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
Hope I can get some recommendations on this one. I'm in the market for a new mid-size bike. I will use it for the following things, in decreasing order of frequency:

(1) 12-mile round trip city commute to work each day, 2-up. Here I"m looking for something light and nimble, good at lane-splitting, with good handling on wet pavement, strong brakes, and that can take a topcase for carrying work papers, briefcases, and a helmet.

(2) Solo or 2-up touring mostly on-road, including expressways, but with some tame dirt trails. Bike will have panniers and topcase, etc. loaded with camping gear for 1 or 2 people Probably about 30-40 days a year of this kind of riding. Here, the bike should be comfortable for 2 people doing long hauls on pavement, with good handling in twisties, good brakes, yet still capable on dirt.

(3) Dirt riding, solo, on more challenging (but not "EXTREEEEME!!!!") dirt trails. The key factor here is off-road ability. I'm new at riding dirt, so will probably only do it a little bit at first, but if I get hooked on it, I'll probably want to do more.

More info: I'm 5'8", 29.5-inch inseam, 105kg. My pillion, er, wife is about 50kg.

I'm looking at a few bikes, including the Versys, Wee-Strom, TDM 900, the new BMW F650GS parallel twin, as well as the F800GS version. I'm also open to other ideas if you think I overlooked a good choice. (I've test-ridden a R1200GS, but I think it's a little too big for me, especially as a daily commuter. The KTM's, like the 990 Adventure, are also generally a little too big and/or too high in the seat for me.)

So, what would you recommend if (1) money were no object, and (2) if you were looking for the best "bang for the buck"?
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:19 AM   #8
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I've ridden all of these bikes except the F800GS, but I've a reasonable idea about that since it shares a lot of components and seat with the F650GS (twin).

If I ignore your requirement for offroading (3), I'd say that the choice would be between the TDM and Vstrom, both would make good tourers/commuters - either solo or two up. The BMWs' seats are pretty hard, tiring I'd have thought over long distances and neither are brilliant for pillions. The Versys, good that it is, might not be that great for pillions - it felt quite a short bike to me, not a lot of room for rider and pillion to move around. Bewteen the TDM and Vstrom, the TDM has the best brakes but the Vstorm would probably be better offroad (I haven't ridden any of these bikes offroad).

The F800GS certainly has the best credentials for going offroad, but the idea of using such an expensive new bike to learn to ride offroad fills me with horror. Even if you're a brilliantly gifted natural, you WILL drop it! But if you don't mind a few scuffs on your new bike (get some crash bars), then this may be the best compromise or possibly the F650GS (with more offroad tyres fitted). So these would be my "money no object" choice, if you weren't too bothered about maximum pillion comfort.

But if I was wanting to fulfil 1,2 and 3, I'd buy a good secondhand Vstrom or TDM and spend the money I saved from not buying a new F800GS, on a used "proper" dirtbike or trailbike (a 125 would be a good choice if you just want to play around offroad and learn some basic offroad skills more cheaply and less painfully than using one the bigger bikes mentioned!) Or go on an offroad riding course and then buy the BMW ;o)

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Old 10-08-2008, 07:44 AM   #9
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It's nice to see original topics that have never been discussed before.

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Old 10-08-2008, 07:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tedder
It's nice to see original topics that have never been discussed before.


He's a n00b. He's just askin'. Jeez, some people!
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildman


He's a n00b. He's just askin'. Jeez, some people!
He's just askin', which is fine, but he could be just searchin'.

http://www.google.com/search?q=versy...om&btnG=google

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...om&btnG=Search

and so on.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:08 AM   #12
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Okay, okay, I filled out my profile a bit. Yeesh!
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
Okay, okay, I filled out my profile a bit. Yeesh!
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:21 AM   #14
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Some additional elements...

Hello everybody, may I add my comment ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by beep
I've ridden all of these bikes except the F800GS, but I've a reasonable idea about that since it shares a lot of components and seat with the F650GS (twin).

If I ignore your requirement for offroading (3), I'd say that the choice would be between the TDM and Vstrom, both would make good tourers/commuters - either solo or two up. The BMWs' seats are pretty hard, tiring I'd have thought over long distances and neither are brilliant for pillions. The Versys, good that it is, might not be that great for pillions - it felt quite a short bike to me, not a lot of room for rider and pillion to move around. Bewteen the TDM and Vstrom, the TDM has the best brakes but the Vstorm would probably be better offroad (I haven't ridden any of these bikes offroad).

The F800GS certainly has the best credentials for going offroad, but the idea of using such an expensive new bike to learn to ride offroad fills me with horror. Even if you're a brilliantly gifted natural, you WILL drop it! But if you don't mind a few scuffs on your new bike (get some crash bars), then this may be the best compromise or possibly the F650GS (with more offroad tyres fitted). So these would be my "money no object" choice, if you weren't too bothered about maximum pillion comfort.

But if I was wanting to fulfil 1,2 and 3, I'd buy a good secondhand Vstrom or TDM and spend the money I saved from not buying a new F800GS, on a used "proper" dirtbike or trailbike (a 125 would be a good choice if you just want to play around offroad and learn some basic offroad skills more cheaply and less painfully than using one the bigger bikes mentioned!) Or go on an offroad riding course and then buy the BMW ;o)
I quoted this because I think if you want to improve your off-road skill, you must use a bike you can prevent from dropping (a light one) or let go if you can't (a cheap one).
You won't learn very quickly if you can't allow yourself some mistakes.

As a Wee owner, I'd just like to say it's my best bike ever.
But I also am a fan of the 800 GS, and a friend who tested the 650 GS loved it.
So, it's all about your feeling, but I think you should try and estimate the price of the additional equipments required. I mean the Wee will need more accessories to be able to go off-road, and I don't think it will reach the 800 GS level.
By the way, the Wee is probably the best bike to add or change stuff. For instance, Corbin offers a choice of two saddles, and Suzuki itself a choice of three, plus the standard one. Not to mention Sargent, etc... The same for sump guards, crash bars, luggage, anything. Have you had a look at the Odyssey II from Jesse Luggage ?
The F800/650 will need time to rival the Wee on the gadget marketplace.

regards,

Michel

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Old 10-08-2008, 11:38 AM   #15
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I think a major factor that has not been mentioned by any of the posters is your inseam and the relatively high seat heights of some of these bikes. Are you comfortable riding with a pillion if you can not flat foot the bike at stops? I am the same height and inseam as you, and I had a Wee. I could not come close to flat footing the Wee at stops, and as such, I was uncomfortable taking a pillion on my Wee, and I've been riding 35 years.

If this is not an issue, the Wee makes an excellent two up ride with a very comfortable pillion seat and accomodations. It is the best fit for your needs and the best bang for the buck of everything you are looking at.

As far as off road ability, none of these bikes are the right tool for true off road riding. The Wee does fine on gravel and dirt roads, not so good on trails. If you really want off road ability, you need to look at nothing larger than a single cylinder dual sport bike, like a DR650. Of course, then you sacrifice two up riding. Everything is a compromise to a certain degree.
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