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Old 06-10-2010, 10:25 AM   #1
dajg OP
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Angola heading north...
Oddometer: 65
f650gs twin - africa

also posted on HUBB

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...n-africa-50768

ok so... short version - don't do it. long version - read on.

the fan fills up with dirt & mud, sand, grit etc. keep it clean to stop the engine, general, and oil warning lights coming on. no big deal.

the fuel pump failed at 51k. possibly due to running low, or out of fuel. if you want to preserve it - keep a 1/4 tank. not practical for africa where the range is already too short. carry a spare - i am using a pump from a hyundai accent. 60 bucks in khartoum.

when you flip the bike, you break the mirrors and the front brake fluid container. get it up before you take in air bubbles. the windshield was ok but put pressure on the headlight and shattered the glass. this was the second light i broke - having the metal or plastic headlight guard won't stop this.

when the bike goes down hard on the left side, you can shear the bottom of the two bolts that hold on the foot peg & side stand assembly. the side stand switch shatters - connect the red & white wires and the bike will run, but the side stand will have the bike leaning way over....

the hepco and becker alloy bash plate is rubbish. yes - rubbish. dunno about the bmw alloy plate (the after market one) or the touratech one. in any case, put a teeshirt between the bash plate and the sump guard. this is why:

on rocks, the clearance is too low. you get rocks between the bash plate and the sump guard. the steel bracket (stock) bends. of the four rubber mounts, the back two sheared off and the two countersunk bolts in the centre (of the 4 bolts) pulled through the alloy plate. i punched two holes through the sump - the size you could get 3-4 fingers through.

the tee shirt should stop you getting rocks in between then when the plate fails you won't puncture the sump. in the bush.... 250km from oil... lets just say the bike wouldn't have liked it much. carrrying 2-3L oil wasn't practical when i already had 40L of fuel for the 1000km trip between gas stations.

at one point after some gravel / dirt / corrugations the computer got upset. the horn blows intermittently, and the rear light (brake and tail light) failed giving a lamp warning.

after i flipped the bike the 3 plastic mounts on the display computer were destroyed - it had swivelled nearly 180 degrees. the two mounts holding the sides of the windscreen pulled out. cable ties fixed one side, the fairing on the other side was wrecked.

when you hit a rock with less than 2.5 bar in the front tyre...

1. a 2mm stone lodged between the rim and the tyre and broke the bead. no big deal... slime pump compressor and a screwdriver to dig out the stone...

2. bigger rock and the rim dents irreparably then you need a tube.

bottom out the rear shock and the top bolt of the two holding the shock will bend. i replaced the top bolt with a non-hardened steel bolt which nearly sheared in half after 400km. lucky i kept the stock bolt.

when i went down on one side, the handlebars were so strong when they hit the little steel 'stop' on the steering column broke so the bars go too far - this snapped off the right side indicator button against the fairing. also hit the windshield when turning the other way but i'd already ripped the windsheild mount from the fairing so no big deal...

to sum up.... the bike doesn't have enough clearance. the cast alloy rims are rubbish. the rest is component failure (pump at after 50k) or result of damage off tarmac.

i would NOT use this bike in africa again. and i am only halfway down the east coast which is much easier than the west....

happy travels
d
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:48 AM   #2
replicant
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Gah, tell me about it... Why even build a bike if it can't survive multiple flips?!

Seriously though, despite BMW's marketing angle, I think we all know these bikes are not built to withstand truly hardcore offroad conditions.

Good luck on your travels. Look forward to the RR.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:57 AM   #3
upweekis
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OK, which bike SHOULD you have ridden?
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:16 AM   #4
dajg OP
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umm... my ride buddy has a ktm640 adventure - great bike.

for me, i reckon a dr650, drz400 or klr650.

something crashworthy... something with ground clearance.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:49 AM   #5
JoelWisman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dajg
umm... my ride buddy has a ktm640 adventure - great bike.

for me, i reckon a dr650, drz400 or klr650.

something crashworthy... something with ground clearance.
Ground clearance can be a big help!

And carburated bikes, as in your list above, do have less to break though they are becoming rare.

Preparation is essential before a trip through the third world, every bike has weak points that can be addressed pre trip.

Either way though, I have friends that own every bike you have listed above. Everyone of them breaks when you flip them.

If it would make you feel better about how your bike has done I can post pictures of a 640 with a holed fuel tank from a drop, post pictures of 640 and klr rims destroyed, pictures of klr after a flip, sans windshield and bars bent down and all controls broken, DR650 with goose neck broken.

I can't think of any pictures of the DRZ400 broken, but I have seen it.

Can DRZ400's really make long trips?
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:19 PM   #6
The Griz
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Ground clearance:

2007< KLR650 = 9.4"
2008> KLR650 = 8"
2009 DR650 = 10.4"
2009> F650GS Twin = ~ 8"
2009> F800GS = around ~ 10.5"
2010 990 Adv = 10.28"


BMW doesn't list ground clearance in the specs for their bikes, so the measurements listed above for the BMW's were reported by measurements from actual inmates found from searching other threads, myself included, averaged.

Suspension travel:

2007< KLR650 = 9.1" front / 9.1" rear
2008> KLR650 = 7.3" front / 7.9" rear
2010 DR650 = 10.2" front / 10.2" rear
2009 F650GS = 6.7" front / 7.1" rear
2009> F800GS = 9.0" front / 8.5" rear
2010 990 Adv = 8.27" front / 8.27" rear

IMO, I would not have taken the F650GS2 on the routes you've been riding. I would have taken a Suzuki DR650, KTM 690 Enduro R, Kawasaki 2007 or prior KLR650 (preferably military model), or Honda XR650L (would be my pick). With any bike (maybe except the KLR650), you're talking buying an enlarged fuel tank though.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:29 PM   #7
Simonf8gs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dajg
to sum up.... the bike doesn't have enough clearance. the cast alloy rims are rubbish. the rest is component failure (pump at after 50k) or result of damage off tarmac.
I'm not sure what the point of your post You want to share a mistake you've made about the wrong choice of a bike for a purpose?

You knew it has cast alloy rims, why have you chose that for hardcore "offroad" ridding like you seem to do?

Can you get on a bike with higher ground clearance and still touch the ground? If so, why didnt you get on that bike?

hepco and becker bask plate are crap, thanks for letting us know, but it's got nothing to do with the bike itself right?

You flipped/crashed the bike and are suprised things break? Have you got good and well designed crash bars? it could make a difference vs the crappy one?

How much weight were you carrying? you said 40L of fuel? Plus camping gear, water, tools, etc ? Kitchen sink?



I'm not sure I understand, so you need a hardcore dirtbike with super high ground clearance, indestructible excel spoke rims, a bike that can withstand multiples crashes and get you comfortably 1000k to your next fuel stop? Please let us know if you find that perfect bike that do it all without breaking, I'd also like to get one No offense there i think you must be a very good dirt rider but got the wrong tool.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
dajg OP
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Location: Angola heading north...
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simon;

there was no choice of roads - i was on the best of 3. normally i prefer tarmac...

i am not paying out the bike - i like the bike. it just isn't suited to this continent. actually i think the F800 would have done no better.

the crash bars are great.

if you look at the opening line of the post i have a link to the hubb where i posted under the "which bike forum" so yes - there is a reason i share my mistake.

i was carrying about 40kg gear, add 20 for panniers, racks, guards etc. add 25 for fuel and water. not remotely close to the load limit for the bike.

i sold my 4wd, car & house before i left on this trip. i already had this bike a year and didn't want to spend money changing it for something i was unfamiliar with. whoops.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:55 PM   #9
upweekis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dajg
umm... my ride buddy has a ktm640 adventure - great bike.

for me, i reckon a dr650, drz400 or klr650.

something crashworthy... something with ground clearance.
I would whole heartedly agree with a DR650 Good Stuff
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:21 AM   #10
raider
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There's a company called Compass Expeditions who use the F650 Twin as their rent-a-bike fleet for their (admittedly straightforward) off-road South American trips, because they praise its durability in the event of ham-fisted renters pranging it.

I'm sorry to hear the F650 didn't live up to your expectations, because it is a genuinely-capable RTW bike. But if you're seriously cross-shopping it against DR650s, DRZ-400s and LC4 640s, you've chosen the wrong route for your bike or the wrong bike for your route.

I can't help but suspect that if you did all this damage to your bike on the "easiest" of the roads you planned to ride, you're either riding it WAAAY to hard or you've failed to take into account the capabilities of your machine when you're picking where to take it.

A Toyota Highlander won't go where a Jeep Wrangler can - this doesn't mean both vehicles, in their way, aren't excellent examples of an SUV.
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raider screwed with this post 06-12-2010 at 07:38 PM
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:10 AM   #11
JoelWisman
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Great post and too true Raider.

I might also add that Compas and other outfits prep their bikes for conditions expected and weak spots on their bikes.

I'm willing to bet the 640 that made this trip had some spots addressed BEFORE this trip as ktm is no stranger to needing a few mods before being round the world reliable.

This would be a great topic for a full web site. Hmm, maybe I will make one :)

but at the least, disable all interlocks, carry some fuel treatment for fuel injected bikes to help with shit gas. Carry an extra filter and ideally an extra pump. Don't run a fuel injected bike empty, fuel is also coolant and lubricant for the pump. Stock wheels are not that tough, pick your line and speed well or upgrade wheels and idealy both.

But regardless of the bike, break downs are pretty common on serious trips in the wild or 3rd world. Having the skill enginuity, parts and tools to fix such is part of the adventure.

I have been the drafted into being the defacto ktm, klr, BMW and Suzuki mechanic on many trips cause they all break or they wouldn't all need technicians like me and I'd have to find a new line of work :(
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:39 AM   #12
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F650GS is a Street bike

You should have been on a dirt worthy bike. the F650GS is a street bike, hence the alloy, tubless tire wheels. I am sure if you tooka Vstrom or something else in that class you would likely have had similar problem. As I alway say, "you have to have the right tool for the job, dude"
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:17 PM   #13
Mike.C
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelWisman
I might also add that Compas and other outfits prep their bikes for conditions expected and weak spots on their bikes.
and there in lies the answer. An F658 is IMO a very good starting platform for an overland machine, but as with all bike designs are a compromise that will only become truly capable for the rigors that are likely to be encountered, after some thoughtful and well implemented preparation. Proper preparation prevents Pxxx Poor Performance!

Dajg's comments on what failed for him and his observations are fantastic "on the ground" information for doing the required preparation, which being from "on the road" experience IMO carry some weight.

The list of items on our F658's requiring modifiction or preparation before setting off on our journey is extensive and was added to as a direct result of his post - Thanks Dajg!
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:37 PM   #14
raider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike.C
and there in lies the answer. An F658 is IMO a very good starting platform for an overland machine, but as with all bike designs are a compromise that will only become truly capable for the rigors that are likely to be encountered, after some thoughtful and well implemented preparation. Proper preparation prevents Pxxx Poor Performance!

Dajg's comments on what failed for him and his observations are fantastic "on the ground" information for doing the required preparation, which being from "on the road" experience IMO carry some weight.

The list of items on our F658's requiring modifiction or preparation before setting off on our journey is extensive and was added to as a direct result of his post - Thanks Dajg!
Yes, that's a fair point. I hope we, collectively, don't come across as being critical of dajg's info, because he's out there riding it and I'm in my study with a hot tea.

I take my hat off to the guy for an adventurous spirit, great attitude, and fine taste in motorcycles.

Thanks, dajg, for your feedback which will help others help make their own preparation decisions in the future. I guess you got a little bit of a thorny response because, well, this is the 800 twin forum, and we all got a little defensive about our choice of ride.

I hope the rest of your trip comes together without a drama. Take my advice above, though, and match the ability of your bike with the difficulty of your route and you'll enjoy your trip a bit more. I finally gave up trying to cross deserts on my Wee, and loved the bike so much more when I did. (Then I bought an 800GS, because I like crossing deserts more than I like Wee ownership.)
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raider
I guess you got a little bit of a thorny response because, well, this is the 800 twin forum, and we all got a little defensive about our choice of ride.
Much as you may want to believe that, it ain't what the sticky says Parallel twins is bofus.
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