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Old 07-17-2008, 08:45 AM   #1
duct tape OP
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F650GS or 800GS vs. 640/690 Adventure

I'd appreciate some general BMW vs KTM riding comparisons, realizing some of these models are new or not even out yet. I'm looking at getting on the waitlist for the 800 for 75%+ dirt adventure travel and have no experience with any of these bikes. I've owned and currently ride multiple KTM dirt bikes (300, 530, etc) for singletrack riding.

Just some general comments on characteristics of either brand, strengths and weaknesses, maintenance record and ease, riding ergos, etc.

I'm sure much of this is posted in earlier threads and believe me I've tried to look through the two giant linked threads here and performed some searches. TIA for any help.
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:54 PM   #2
Navaho
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I would guess that since you ride singletrack on a KTM your focus on dualsporting will be similar to mine. On the trail is where you will have the most fun, and that's where you'll spend most of your time. IMO, the smaller the bike, the more you would enjoy it. A 690 Adventure should certainly be a strong consideration..................... once it becomes reality.

The F650 GS twin is a street bike with long travel suspension, which is exactly what I want. The 800GS will take you a lot of places but you'll have to work at it, and pay for it, and wait for it. It's almost 400 lbs dry. I do a lot of offroading on my DR650, and although it's 60 lbs lighter than the BMW, it's still a pig.

BTW, I started riding dirtbikes in '92 and just sold my last race bike, a '04 KTM 300. I started dualsporting 2 years ago, and I'm loving it! But I want some variety like you do. So to replace my SV650, I ordered a new F650GS twin. When I need to get muddy, I'll hop on the DR650 and not worry so much about dropping it.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:33 AM   #3
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Navaho, thanks for the info. Sure would appreciate some other input.
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Old 07-18-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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I too have been a big KTM fan in the past, many 300's and a couple of 520's. Sold my last offroader last year, GasGas300, and now want a dual sport, mostly for dirt roads and two track. Been waiting to see the 800GS or to ride a 690 Enduro.
THEN,two weeks back at BMW demo day, I was surprised to see, and take a ride on the 650GS. What a blast! Lighter than the 800GS with wheels that will allow street rubber, probably one inch less suspension, more stability in the turns and I hit every pothole in site and the thing was comfy.

On the back roads, the thing left the 1200 gs, 800s and all the BMW 4bangers in the dust. Still showing 60-70 mpg while doing so. The motor had decent poke and was very smooth, despite low miles. Seemed as smooth as the 650 weestrom from the past and way less topheavy. The only thing toocomplain about is the price. I think I want one.

BUT, then again, 950 sm's and se's are starting to show up cheap.
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:01 PM   #5
Toadride
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Well, my money's on the 800. Literally. Too bad I probably won't see the thing till Christmas.
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:24 PM   #6
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I think the middleweight GS series is going to be a good seller. I may try to get one in the fall or winter.
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:54 PM   #7
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Unfortunately my choice just got tougher.

I rode a 990 Adventure today and haven't stopped thinking about it. In fact, I went through about 30 pages of the Orange Crush forum. As heavy as it is, once up and moving it felt very light and "almost" flickable (although not quite in the KTM 300 category).

I'm starting to realize I'll still need some street capability, since on any adventure ride out here there is a lot of highway to link.

Has anyone ridden the 800GS and how was it on the highway, and off road for that matter?
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duct tape
Unfortunately my choice just got tougher.

I rode a 990 Adventure today and haven't stopped thinking about it. In fact, I went through about 30 pages of the Orange Crush forum. As heavy as it is, once up and moving it felt very light and "almost" flickable (although not quite in the KTM 300 category).

I'm starting to realize I'll still need some street capability, since on any adventure ride out here there is a lot of highway to link.

Has anyone ridden the 800GS and how was it on the highway, and off road for that matter?
JA!

I start reading this forum trying to decide between a BMW Xchallenge or the Husk TE610...... until I rode the 990.... couldn't be more satisfied.
Now i look back and cant picture myself with any other bike.

I haven't ride the 800GS, looks like a very good option.
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:11 AM   #9
drehwurm
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Coming from the KTM-side the Adventure 990 was a natural option. Rented one for a weekend from my KTM dealer and liked it very, very much. But after having watched the "Long way round" and KTMs very poor showing there, I also got a test ride on the F800GS and ordered one right afterwards. What really made the deal for me was the offroad capabilities of the F800GS. With the Adventure I felt a lot of respect for the weight of the bike as soon as I left the pavement - with the F800GS I was drifting on the gravel roads in no time and even on a steep, slippery dirt track I had no problems except when I turned aroud and forgot to disable the ABS on the downhill Add less weight, considerably less service costs, better fuel mileage (less weight for same distance) and comparably power output and the decision was actually an easy one. BMW dealer was very nice also and I was able to get a bike right away. Love it! For me the F800GS is definately the better Adventure

A 690 Adventure would have been a serious contender though, but since KTM is taking its time and after reading about the EFI problems on several 690SMs (stalling) the 690 was out of the picture.

Michael
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:30 AM   #10
duct tape OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drehwurm
What really made the deal for me was the offroad capabilities of the F800GS. With the Adventure I felt a lot of respect for the weight of the bike as soon as I left the pavement

Michael
Thanks for your reply.

How is your 800 on the pavement? My ride on the 990 felt nice on paved roads but I did not get on the highway where I've read it is not as smooth as the 1200GS. I'm not looking for superbike speeds, just comfortable cruising up to 70 mph, plus fun on the paved twisties.

How would your 800 be for city commutes?
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:46 AM   #11
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990 all-the-way

I came to all this as a gravel virgin from an old Shadow, so pavement is still my priority. After my recent trip to Detroit Oregon from my home in Parkdale, the lonely paved forest roads at 70-100mph, combined with gravel/dirt to Olallie Lake, I can imagine no smaller bike would thrill me as much.

Test rode the 1200 GS last fall before buying the 990, but it did not call to me. The 990 has ergonomics like other bikes; BMW's blinkers, headlights etc. are in different places, the shifter had to be searched for with my foot, etc. But it was soooo smoooooth....... Tooooo smooooth.......

Then I rode the KTM at a buddy's suggestion. All the shifters, blinkers, etc were EXACTLY where my body expected them to be. It was NOT as smooth, it was just a little raw & noisy, and it DEMANDED and CALLED to me to take it home.

But the clincher was the KTM is DESIGNED to fall down once in a while, the GS's flat twin cylinders look very exposed indeed, way more $ than the 990's plastic fuel tanks if..........
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:52 AM   #12
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Respect

Ain't no doubt about my respect for the weight of the 990 off road, though, ESPECIALLY downhill. One major complaint I MUST fix. Turning off/on ABS is a chore, and this heavy bike will not stop in loose gravel with ABS on. (probly some lawyer M.F. made them do it , so there would be no question of ABS on or off)
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:23 AM   #13
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I am still on the fence about this, i need to spend more time on a 990 and haven't been exposed to the 800GS at all for another month or so.
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:48 AM   #14
drehwurm
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Wicked

Quote:
Originally Posted by duct tape
How is your 800 on the pavement? My ride on the 990 felt nice on paved roads but I did not get on the highway where I've read it is not as smooth as the 1200GS. I'm not looking for superbike speeds, just comfortable cruising up to 70 mph, plus fun on the paved twisties.

How would your 800 be for city commutes?
Since I have the bike I use it to go into Vienna whenever it is possible for me to leave the car at home. Nevertheless this will probably get me in jail soon as it just soo much fun and I'm driving way too fast. I think this bike is a great commuter, as it is more comfortable and smooth than thumper but gives up almost nothing in agility. Just a little too wide at the bars to follow the scooters between the cars.

I have never ridden a GS nor do I intend to do so - these are just a category of bike which I'm not interested in. Tried to lift a GSA1200 from the sidestand and almost failed On the other hand the Adventure 990 and F800GS have more in common than what is seperating them - both are great bikes for my taste and IMO are very different from the GS. Up to 120km/h (75mp/h) the windshield of the F800GS is just fine while at higher speeds the wind protection on the Adventure is better - both are probably no match comfort wise for the GS.

For twisty backroads with an occasional offroad trip to reach a scenic point these bikes are hard to beat - and there is no problem if the drive to the backroads is a few hundert miles long Or a weekend trip to Kazakhstan and Mongolia ......


Michael
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