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Old 01-20-2015, 01:15 AM   #1
ajphilipp4 OP
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Joined: Jan 2015
Location: NorCal
Oddometer: 12
Considering BMW Xchallenge....thoughts?

Considering an Xchallenge...curious whether it is the right decision.

Pro's ( as far as i can tell):
  • Light
  • Nice BHP
  • Water cooled
  • Fuel injected
  • Rotax is a nice motor, generally reliable
  • Good fuel economy


What I am unsure of:
  • Availability of parts.
  • Rotax - do they even make these 650's anywhere? BRP / Can-AM

Costs:
I'm seeing a few on the market between $USD 4K-5.5K. That puts the bike near half the cost of a KTM 500 EXC (new) or 690 (slightly used)

Other options:
Xr650L
CCM 450 (if that ever happens in the U.S.)
XT660 (if that even happens in the U.S.)
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:19 AM   #2
WyldKard
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I was looking into the X-Challenge and X-Country, but ultimately went with a 690. Easier to find parts, more people with knowledge of the bike. I hope to adventure-ize it, and the number of fairing options is a lot greater than for the G650X bikes. Too bad, 'cause I still feel like I'm cheating on the blue rondel.
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:26 AM   #3
ajphilipp4 OP
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thanks for the feedback WyldKard. Since you are looking to adventure-ize the KTM, I found one for sale you might appreciate. It is a 2012, but I hear getting the 2014 is better since new engine components..not sure though.

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Old 01-20-2015, 04:32 AM   #4
alvincullumyork
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The XRL has an almost worthless subframe, the power is pretty underwhelming in stock form, it's heavy, and the suspension is pretty garbage. But With some work and money it can be a real monster (see my profile picture).

If you want a street legal dirt bike the 500 EXC is unbelievably good. That thing is so easy to ride it's cheating. It has fairly short maintenance intervals and costs as much as a black market kidney but damn it's awesome.

What about a TE 610/630? I've heard they are really nice.
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:20 AM   #5
Bli55
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ajphilipp4, may I ask what will be your main purpose for, be it an X-Challenge or not?

I shall only comment on the bike I've ridden, but my commenting may spill into a whole new thread...
So....you first!
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:22 AM   #6
ajphilipp4 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alvincullumyork View Post
The XRL has an almost worthless subframe, the power is pretty underwhelming in stock form, it's heavy, and the suspension is pretty garbage. But With some work and money it can be a real monster (see my profile picture).

If you want a street legal dirt bike the 500 EXC is unbelievably good. That thing is so easy to ride it's cheating. It has fairly short maintenance intervals and costs as much as a black market kidney but damn it's awesome.

What about a TE 610/630? I've heard they are really nice.

LOL, yeah the KTM is expensive, but you can feel its value once you sit on it. (I threw a leg over one at the dealer) Like sitting on a 60HP dirtbike. Definitely a bit tall, barely got my toes to the ground.
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:28 AM   #7
ajphilipp4 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bli55 View Post
ajphilipp4, may I ask what will be your main purpose for, be it an X-Challenge or not?

I shall only comment on the bike I've ridden, but my commenting may spill into a whole new thread...
So....you first!
Good question. My goals are to get offroad and explore, here are the details:

1) I must drive about 1 hour to 1.5 hours on the highway to get to the trails
2) Not for technical dirt, just exploring trails and seeing were they get me
3) But in case i get adventourous a bike that can handle it

I also like the FI and liquid cooling. Would be nice to have the ability to produce enough power to run a GPS and or power a phone when you need it.

Thanks
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:49 AM   #8
Kawidad
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Location: Central Coast, Cal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajphilipp4 View Post
Considering an Xchallenge...curious whether it is the right decision.

Pro's ( as far as i can tell):
  • Light
  • Nice BHP
  • Water cooled
  • Fuel injected
  • Rotax is a nice motor, generally reliable
  • Good fuel economy


What I am unsure of:
  • Availability of parts.
  • Rotax - do they even make these 650's anywhere? BRP / Can-AM

Costs:
I'm seeing a few on the market between $USD 4K-5.5K. That puts the bike near half the cost of a KTM 500 EXC (new) or 690 (slightly used)

Other options:
Xr650L
CCM 450 (if that ever happens in the U.S.)
XT660 (if that even happens in the U.S.)
You asked about part availability and the answer to that is yes, they are available. It is the same engine produced today by BMW and the same produced by BMW for about the last 20 years or so with some minor modifications. (IIRC, the engine was designed by Rotax and produced by BMW, and now, Lorcin(?) under license.)

As far as small bits and aftermarket parts goes, that's a little more problematic. BMW is excellent for maintaining parts for orphan bikes, however, you may have to wait a while because it's being shipped from Germany. Aftermarket bits are much tougher because the bike was killed by BMW so early and was never allowed to fully develop. IMO, a huge mistake by BMW.

My riding partner has one and loves it, and I've ridden it quite a bit. They are a good solid bike with some quirks. If you get one for your intended mission, they are good for that, however, their range is limited by a small gas tank. The range on a stock tank is only about 100 miles, which isn't all that good for exploring. However, there are choices to improve that (Rotopax).
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:00 AM   #9
ajphilipp4 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kawidad View Post
You asked about part availability and the answer to that is yes, they are available. It is the same engine produced today by BMW and the same produced by BMW for about the last 20 years or so with some minor modifications. (IIRC, the engine was designed by Rotax and produced by BMW, and now, Lorcin(?) under license.)

As far as small bits and aftermarket parts goes, that's a little more problematic. BMW is excellent for maintaining parts for orphan bikes, however, you may have to wait a while because it's being shipped from Germany. Aftermarket bits are much tougher because the bike was killed by BMW so early and was never allowed to fully develop. IMO, a huge mistake by BMW.

My riding partner has one and loves it, and I've ridden it quite a bit. They are a good solid bike with some quirks. If you get one for your intended mission, they are good for that, however, their range is limited by a small gas tank. The range on a stock tank is only about 100 miles, which isn't all that good for exploring. However, there are choices to improve that (Rotopax).


Ah, thank you. that helps. I thought they discontinued the single for the twin but you are right.

the BMW F 700 GS is the twin cyclinder... but the BMW G 650 GS uses this single which I'll assume is based on the old Rotax.

"Water-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication:
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:24 AM   #10
SCQTT
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I bought one new. I bought it to replace a 650 Dakar, but it was horrible replacement.

I still have it. I ride it to work a little. I would be willing to part with it, but I will want big $$$ for it.

4,000 miles. 100% stock with the exception of a new battery. Still has original tires on it. (it is time for new tires)

Never off road, not even on a gravel road, zero issues, pretty much as new.

Ohio
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:37 AM   #11
ajphilipp4 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCQTT View Post
I bought one new. I bought it to replace a 650 Dakar, but it was horrible replacement.

I still have it. I ride it to work a little. I would be willing to part with it, but I will want big $$$ for it.

4,000 miles. 100% stock with the exception of a new battery. Still has original tires on it. (it is time for new tires)

Never off road, not even on a gravel road, zero issues, pretty much as new.

Ohio
Horrible? Was it the air suspension and rock hard seat? Do tell.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:58 AM   #12
SCQTT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajphilipp4 View Post
Horrible? Was it the air suspension and rock hard seat? Do tell.
I just do not like it. The front suspension is just as bad as the rear. It is way too heavy & the ergos do not work for me. It has a 150 mile range maybe....and I am not willing to do all the bullshit add on stuff to get me over the 200 per tank range.

On the street it needs some wind protection and a 6th gear.

Yes the seat is like a 2x4.....with the 2" edge turned up.

BMW made a huge mistake with the X Challenge, X Moto and X Country....they sold like ass. It is funny that have basically returned to the 650 Dakar,,,,The Sertao, a design that is 14 years old now.

The X series could have been so much more.....and they can be if you are willing to throw 5+ $K at them, but they could have been the defacto solo RTW bike right out of the box.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:32 AM   #13
Happycamper
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ajphilipp4,

I had an X-Challenge from 2009 until last month and may end up regretting selling it. For your intended use it is a great bike.

There is some validity to SCQTT's feedback, but most of those items are either redily addressed or not as bad as he makes them out to be. I put a small flyscreen on mine and that did wonders for wind protection at the speeds this bike was intended to run at most of the time (non-highway). While a 6th gear would have been nice, the bike smooths out at higher RPM (freeway speeds) and honestly, it is a single and some level of vibs is to be expected. The air suspension can be a little wonky. I learned that if the rear shock is not pumped up enough the rear end of the bike rises significantly under heavy breaking - when set correctly that tendency went away. There are options for the front and rear suspensions for the bike and if you read a thread on any of the other bike you may be considering I am sure you will hear some complaints about the stock suspension. The stock seat does suck. I purchased the BMW low seat (much better - fyi, I posted it for sale on fleabay) and later upgraded to an XPC Racing seat rebuild. With that seat all day rides were comfortable.

The fuel range of ~120 miles to the low fuel warning light was a PITA at times, but at 60 MPG even a couple of liters of fuel carried in Primus fuel bottles was always enough to get me to a gas station. I am out east, for you being out west it would be a bigger issue - you would need to somehow carry a rotopax.

So the bike has its flaws (what bike doesn't), but I really enjoyed my time with mine.

If you decide its for you, I would jump at SCQTT's bike if I were you.

My $.02.
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:10 AM   #14
Butters
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I've owned my X since new. Had several other bikes come and go, but the X stays and probably always will. It works well for me, you'll have to decide what works for you.

Getting stock parts is absolutely no problem. No issue - period.

Aftermarket is thin compared to a DR or KLR, but there are certainly lots of aftermarket parts available. That list will certainly diminish as time passes, but if you are handy you can adapt other parts to work - like the numerous X-Challenge riders that have installed the $175 KTN aux tank to get a 200 mile range.

As for windprotection, I'm not sure how much you expect out of a thumper since very few provide much protection. A small flyscreen is all it takes to get the windblast off you for extended highway runs. In the winter, I run a bigger ProScreen (still available) to keep the sub freezing temps at bay. Depending where you ride, this might not be an issue in NorCal.

I'm not sure what to make about the complaint of the lack of a 6th gear. Sure, I'd take an extra gear, but the X does fine with its wide ratio 5 speed due to its ample power.

The air shock is lame. The wheels are soft, but fine for most people (mine are still fine). Fuel range is typical for a 650 thumper and there are numerous options to extend to the range over 200 miles, depending how handy you are or how much you want to spend. A used X-Challenge may have much or all of this already addressed.

With all that said, there are options out there:

Husky E TE610/630
KTM 640/690
Husky Strada/Terra - still available new for <$6000
and pretty much every other variety of 650 thumper.

I wouldn't trade my X for any of the above. But I also bet I wouldn't complain if I rode any of the above either. They all have their warts and they all have their merits. Get the one that floats your boat and adapt it if needed.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:34 PM   #15
ridepjride
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Bought mine with 2,300 miles a couple years ago, now with 22,000 and no problems. Ohlins rear, Hyperpro fork springs, Hyde Pro windscreen, Hot Rod Welding Xtank (1.9gal) for extra range, custom seat, heated grips. Have done several 500 mile days, main purpose is weekend fire roads that require ~60 miles pavement each way. I had a 690 Enduro KTM but after the balance shaft bearing came apart at 17,000 miles it soured my taste for orange. Rare failure, I know, but once bitten...
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