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Old 05-19-2010, 06:27 AM   #1
GypsyWriter OP
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V-strom vs F650/800GS

I have a little dilemma. Recently I was approved for a bike loan and immediately started looking at my options. Because my bank isn't local to me there would be a bunch of hoops for a potential seller to leap through so I went looking at dealerships - priced KLRs, Vstroms, Versys, even Tigers and Deuvilles. Well yesterday I came across a 2008 well-farkled Vstrom 650 at the closer BMW motorcycle 'ship that definitely floats my boat (if my bank will approve as they said they only pay 80% of KBB), but I also love the 650/800GS models he has (2010s all of them).

My needs for a bike are simple: newer than 99, in great condition, lower miles, and a comfortable tourer. I also want the option, if I feel like it, to be able to go off-road (somewhat, nothing major) if and when I see something outside the slabs.

The GS's are more expensive but still within my payment range. I also may have found one nearby(ish) that's almost what they want for the 'Strom, minus farkles.

It was late yesterday (the BMW dealership was my last stop, they stayed open to wait for me which I thought was great) so couldn't test ride but hope to today. I'm looking for something smooth, that won't clunk from stopped to GO! like my old GL does (who, incidentally, decided to start rattling in the rear yesterday when I got home; jealous much?). I hope to try them today but I'd love any advice fellow ADVers may have.

ETA: Also, what about the F650CS? Is that okay for touring or is it more a street bike?
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:15 AM   #2
Gustavo
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I have an opinion regarding the V-Strom vs. FXXXGS question, but I think there is something else to consider before going too far down this road of which bike is better than which and for what type of riding.

I am always leery of taking loans out on a bike you intend to ride off road, even if only on occasion (OK, I am leery of taking loans on bikes in general, but I accept that it's a common, if financially misguided, practice ). Going off road (and sometimes steep driveways... ) typically means dropping the bike at some point. Can you afford to crash this bike and fix it (assume the insurance company will do everything possible to get out of paying for any off-road crash ) so you are not stuck making payments on a bike that's just sitting in your garage?

Having a nice new bike is cool. Having a bike that is OK but doesn't break the bank is a lot cooler in my mind. I'd set my target bike a bit cheaper so it can be bought without a loan and ride the wheels off it.


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Old 05-19-2010, 07:34 AM   #3
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comfortable tourer is the term I will jump on for this. the vstroms are much better for gobbling up highway miles then a gsXXX will be. Are you going to do a lot of off road or not. The gsXXX is designed more in a dirt bike format and can be better then a vstorm offroad. Not to saw a vstrom can't do it but the gsXXX are better at that. But concert hands down to the vstorm, end of story there.

Also lets face it the vstrom is a very very proven design that very bulletproof. they almost never brake, have no real factory issues idea. the gsXXX are newer and look on here, there are some known issues like the rear chock bolt and I think I read the side stand is weak. Still great bikes but if you are going to chew up miles in search of twisty roads the vstorm would be my choice.
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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I vote for a Wee Strom, but then again I've owned two of them. IMO stay away from the 650CS as it was only available for a few yrs. Look for a used F650GS single; IMO better offroad than the Wee Strom, while the Wee is better On pavement again IMO
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:22 AM   #5
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We own a 2006 V-Strom 650 and a 2009 BMW F800GS. Which one is better for you is a very personal decision and also highly depends on the real usage.

If you want to do more off pavement than on pavement, the F800GS might be the better choice. If you are more on pavement than off pavement, I'd definitely prefer either the F650GS or the V-Strom.

Some notes in the different areas (I'm comparing with the F800GS):

- Brakes: clear winner is the F800GS. Brakes have just better feeling, but there is no major performance difference

- Engine (Comfort): clear winner for me personally is the V-Strom, the engine is smoother, more balanced, vibrates less (overall, but the F800GS has some very small areas in the rpm band where is vibrates less - it's just so unbalanced over the whole range)

- Engine (Power): the F800GS has more power, more grunt, more excitement; I still prefer the V-Strom engine for touring

- Transmission: clearly better on the Beemer

- Handling: the V-Strom handles a bit lighter (probably the smaller front wheel), the F800GS feels more planted; a tie in my personal opinion, I like both for what they do

- Convenience: V-Strom has larger gas tank, therefore longer range, wider seat, much better wind protection (even with the Aeroflow screen I have the Wee with Madstad and Givi screen wins), less vibrations in large areas of the power band

- Quality: F800GS feels better in the plastic areas, seems to have some better components; also seems to have some niggling problems (canister hose, side stand bending, tank cracking, chain breaking, soft front wheels, ...) while the V-Strom seems to be very reliable and unproblematic, I haven't heard of any "Monday models"; nevertheless, getting warranty work from Suzuki seems to be a pain in the rear, while BMW is quite open - depends probably on the dealer in the case of BMW

- Luggage options: tie

- Windshield options: better for Suzuki (also cheaper, but still better), mainly because of the larger fairing which gives easier mounting options

- Plastic parts on the Suzuki are held by those shitty plastic fasteners, that are hard to get out and just a pain to work with

- Tires: on-road, the tubeless tire selection for the Wee is clearly better, off-road, the F800GS wins; tie when you look at F650GS

- Two up riding: both are fine

- Fun in the twisties: both are great

- Convenience on long stretches: I'd take the V-Strom

From what you write, I think the V-Strom is the better fit and leaves you with money to get nice luggage, crashbars, the right wind shield for you, and maybe even an aftermarket seat (but the V-Strom seat is not as bad as the F800GS seat).
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:29 AM   #6
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Thank you all for the great advice. I briefly considered the little Fundero as I mainly use my bike for commuting but it couldn't compete on price with everything the Vstrom had to offer. Givi bags and windshield (with a Madstrad bracket), Sargent seat, Remus exhaust etc, for the same price as the naked/stock BMW 650 - no contest. So I take delivery on my new(ish) 2008 Vstrom whenever the bank check arrives (today or tomorrow) and couldn't be happier. Your words helped me make the decision as I first and foremost wanted a street vehicle that can be taken off-road on occasion.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:45 AM   #7
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Congrats on the purchase BTW I didn't mean the Funduro but the newer (2001 & up) F650gs single.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp
Thank you all for the great advice. I briefly considered the little Fundero as I mainly use my bike for commuting but it couldn't compete on price with everything the Vstrom had to offer. Givi bags and windshield (with a Madstrad bracket), Sargent seat, Remus exhaust etc, for the same price as the naked/stock BMW 650 - no contest. So I take delivery on my new(ish) 2008 Vstrom whenever the bank check arrives (today or tomorrow) and couldn't be happier. Your words helped me make the decision as I first and foremost wanted a street vehicle that can be taken off-road on occasion.
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Night_Wolf
Congrats on the purchase BTW I didn't mean the Funduro but the newer (2001 & up) F650gs single.
I know and I do want a FGS eventually, but the one nearby that was around the same price as the Vstrom was a Funduro and there was no comparison. While at the dealership I sat on a few 2010 FGS's and fell in love, but they're twice the price for what I paid on the Vstrom and the extras I got would be, well, extra so I'm happy with my deal. :) Now to just start putting more miles on my new toy!
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cug
while the V-Strom seems to be very reliable and unproblematic, I haven't heard of any "Monday models";
well I'm the lucky one, I heard they only produced 1 DL on a monday in 2005 and I got him

but overall the DL is bulletproof
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:01 AM   #10
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I have a DL650 and I got a chance to ride a F800GS
I thought I'd love the bike.

To me it solved many of the problems I've had with BMW's since the late mid 90's.

It did, but it didn't

The suspension sucked, and to top it off it was really no make that REALLY noisy going over bumps, so loud you could here the noise over the sound of the engine.

The brakes (this was an ABS model) felt dead with very little feedback at the lever.

The transmission was the second best BMW trans I've ever used the best being an HP2sport.

But the clutch was a little wonky and the engagement was near the end of the lever travel.

All in all, it didn't woo me off the DL650. Especially for the price.

I can get two DL650 for the price of an F800.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:40 PM   #11
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I have a vstrom 650. I love it! I considered an F800GS but it seems more off road than I will ever do and it was alot more money. I do really like the 800GS and if the price were the same I would have gone that route. The seat is a bit too dirt bikish for me but I am sure the aftermarket can handle that. I gotta say the vstrom 650 is a blast to ride, inexpensive to boot and has a ton of aftermarket support. This comes from a guy that has had over 10 BMW's. Enjoy the new ride.
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cug
- Transmission: clearly better on the Beemer
Not meaning to be picky, but there´s absolutely nothing wrong with V-Strom´s transmission. There used to be several 4-cylinder & boxer Beemers, where there was a lot of room for improvement in that region, but the F650/800 twins are okay. Saying its ´clearly better´ on these is just wrong IMO.
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:26 PM   #13
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I've posted this before, but here goes again.

I've owned a Wee-strom, an '06GS, and currently an '08GSA. Of all of them, the '08GSA is definitely my favorite. (But I've never owned an 800GS.)

Having said that, I LOVED my weestrom while I had it. No, it's not a 1200GS or GSA, but on the other hand it's priced at about 30% of their cost, and can do probably 70% or more of what they can. It's perhaps the best dual-sport bargain on the planet.

Main drawbacks of the weestrom vs. the GS/GSA: (1) wind buffetting (which the GS also suffers from), now easily fixable with the Madstat bracket; (2) alternator output (only relevant if running LOTS of accessories); (3) seat (which is highly personal, but really sucked on the OEM weestrom). The suspension is also, well, weak.

I can assure you that if you buy the Weestrom you'll have many thousands of perfectly happy miles on it, and have spent much less money than if you had purchased a GS/GSA.

Whatever you do, however, NEVER take a GS/GSA for a test ride. If you do, you'll promptly find yourself trading in that perfectly good Weestrom. DAMHIK.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanocksett
I've posted this before, but here goes again.

I've owned a Wee-strom, an '06GS, and currently an '08GSA. Of all of them, the '08GSA is definitely my favorite. (But I've never owned an 800GS.)

Having said that, I LOVED my weestrom while I had it. No, it's not a 1200GS or GSA, but on the other hand it's priced at about 30% of their cost, and can do probably 70% or more of what they can. It's perhaps the best dual-sport bargain on the planet.

Main drawbacks of the weestrom vs. the GS/GSA: (1) wind buffetting (which the GS also suffers from), now easily fixable with the Madstat bracket; (2) alternator output (only relevant if running LOTS of accessories); (3) seat (which is highly personal, but really sucked on the OEM weestrom). The suspension is also, well, weak.

I can assure you that if you buy the Weestrom you'll have many thousands of perfectly happy miles on it, and have spent much less money than if you had purchased a GS/GSA.

Whatever you do, however, NEVER take a GS/GSA for a test ride. If you do, you'll promptly find yourself trading in that perfectly good Weestrom. DAMHIK.
Your going to have to show me how or where a 1200GS can go that a wee strom cant. Both bikes IMO are about on par for off road. If anything the wee has an advatage being chain driven and much lighter.

For the price, one could put on a better seat, heavily farkle the bike and improve the suspension on the wee, still save over 50 percent and have a more reliable machine. The better money on a BMW is the 800GS IMO. The price difference becomes alot less, does better than the wee or adv off road and still is nice on the road.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:25 PM   #15
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Whatever you do, however, NEVER take a GS/GSA for a test ride. If you do, you'll promptly find yourself trading in that perfectly good Weestrom. DAMHIK.
I can drive a GS any day and still won't like that sucker boxer engine. I might still take it in an RT because the rest of the touring package is so great, but my very personal opinion of this engine is that it should have died 20 years ago.
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