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Old 09-07-2010, 06:52 PM   #16
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: May 2005
Oddometer: 2,348
If you are a high mileage rider your choices are limited unless you plan on a complete engine rebuild every 18 monhs or so, and a top end redbuild at half that.

Old donk in the Transalp is about the only thing around that lasts.

And if you have a 30" inseam and arthritic shoulder most singles have a seat / certre of mass 6" too high.

My G/S does not weigh 150 lbs than a 650 single with the same fuel & accessories- try 50 lbs. It is 150 lbs more than my B44VS , so I know the difference.

But it isnt a dirt bike, it is a capable all roads / dirt track tourer , and it still fills a nitch that nothing else on the market seens to fill.

The Transalp could get close , if Honda ever Honda got round to selling what people want to buy , at a price the want to pay.
Seat 2" lower, weight 30 kg lower and price the same as the Wee Strom.

But dont hold your breath.
Adelaide Hills, Australia. 93 R100 GS, 77 R75/7 ,70 BSA B44VS, , 86 R80 G/S PD, 95 BMW Funduro F650 ST
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:40 PM   #17
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Location: Boulder
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I have a R100GS and a XR650L and have been suprised how much the GS can do off road as well as the XR.
If I get on the XR directly after I have been on the GS I don't like it nearly as much.
I will always have an airhead GS. It makes my soul happy. Can't explain why but it for sure is more than the sum of its parts.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:16 PM   #18
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Location: Way Out There.
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Originally Posted by Mathias
This might be the wrong place to ask this, with so many people being airhead GS converts.
I'm noticing how much money a decent GS fetches on the market, and I can't help wondering, what do you get with one that you don't get with a current thumper?

The obvious comparisons would be with the Suzuki DR650 and the Kawasaki KLR650. The horsepower on the thumpers are down by a few hp, but the weight is down by 50-100lbs. Seat heights are similar, as are the wheel sizes.

However, a GS in good shape is close to twice that of a used recent thumper. How do they compare in areas such as comfort, off and on-road capability, reliability, useable power, etc?
I've got all three - DR650, KLR650 and a GSPD BMW.

If you never intend to do technical singletrack, get the BMW. It'll do everything else in greater style, comfort and aplomb.

If you want to do a lot of technical stuff either of the thumpers will outshine the heftier BMW, though the BMW will handle "a little technical" stuff now and then.

Basically comes down to how you plan to ride the majority of the time.

The BMW is a lot more comfortable than either of the singles and a lot more road worthy with additional smoothness and power. Having said that, the singles are fun and with a decent seat can be made bearable for long trips.

But they'll never be as armchair comfy as the BMW.

imho, ymmv, fwiw,
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:26 PM   #19
Solo Lobo
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Location: Shoreline, WA
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Originally Posted by Brian-M
Donno. I've got an R100GS and as soon as I fix whatever the most current problem is, I'm parking it till it's sold. I haven't made it more than a thousand miles without some sort of money and time sucking problem with this bike. It'll be the last BMW I own (of anything sold up till now).

A lot of the issue for me is that the GS is not a good "dirt" bike. I'd never ridden off-pavement (for longer than a driveway) before buying the GS, and after the 2 trips (one cut short by a blown-up transmission) I was able to take this year, I know I need something that is better off road. It's not a good road bike either, for the money, maintenance and parts premium required. I really wanted to like this bike, and maybe if it had not been a money pit I would have liked it for a little longer, but it's like any multi-function machine. Ok at lots of things, but great at nothing.
Sounds like your poor experience with one bike has colored your opinion of a brand. You should put some miles your GS now that things are fixed and re-assess. It is the rider more than the bike that makes something work in the dirt.

Trans failures for boxers are sadly quite normal... that said once rebuilt by a real pro they may not need to be done again for 100K plus miles.

My GS was a great road bike, and a very acceptable off-road one as well. My G/S is also a great road bike (more for solo riding tho) and a better off-road bike than the GS was. Is it a KTM 690 Hard Enduro? No, but the KTM will never be as decent a road bike as the GS...

It's all about compromises, but opinions are like... (fill in the blank)
"punk rocks what it's all about" - J. Strummer

Originally Posted by Stagehand
your bike is suitably dirty. Well done.
So I sold my GS and went shopping for a G/S!
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:35 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Alejo
If I could find a DR650 that was not a total rat for the right price, I would have one as a dirt dedicated/run around town kinda bike.

But I know from experience that on the open road it is a dog.
Don't know what your experience is but I sure wouldn't call a DR650 a dog. In fact, it's got pretty impressive throttle response, even at highway speeds.

My wife's DR650 is stock except for a GSX-R muffler and a bit of carb twideling. That thing's a little hot-rod.

It'll run down the highway at 120 or 130km/hr without any troulbe at all and still has sharp throttle response at those speeds. Much quicker than my KLR650. On twisty gravel roads the additional power also makes it a lot easier to throttle slide than the KLR.

Certainly not a dog.

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Old 09-07-2010, 08:35 PM   #21
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Location: Fort Fun CO
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Yes to that, I hated my gs after I pulled a head stud, but after vowing to "dump the piece of crap as soon as it's fixed and never buy another BMW anything!," I got it back on the road and fell back in love. It's not a trail bike, just a good all purpose touring/back roads bike.
"It's no fun without the improper equipment"
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:49 PM   #22
Melting in GA
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Warm Springs, GA
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Originally Posted by SOLO LOBO
Sounds like your poor experience with one bike has colored your opinion of a brand.
You know what they say about first impressions...

Anyway, the bike isn't fixed... it's STILL broken/not operating correctly. Or maybe it's an "again", not a "still", as I've made it 800 miles since the last major issue.

As for coloring my experience, I liked motorcycles enough a decade ago to try it out as a profession and became a Suzuki, Yamaha and HD factory trained and certified mechanic. I didn't much care for the work ethic needed to make a survivable living so I went back to computers but I still fix and flip bikes because I enjoy wrenching. Of those bikes, I have NEVER had any that caused as much trouble, or where parts ($25 for an oil filter and associated pieces??? $70 for ONE mirror?) as this BMW, or the BMWs of friends. Yea, they'll sometimes make it a few miles before having a labor and cost intensive issue... but I took a $1000 VFR, bought a $300 used motor and ran 119k miles with only 1 tow (burned the stator wires clean apart ~ had a couple Reg/Rec failures, but a voltmeter warned me). Ok, it's a Honda and not of GS style. I understand that the Rotax powered, chain final drive F650's are good bikes, but that's not really a "traditional" BMW and I don't much care for the styling.

I'm cheap by nature (being poor), I value high return for the dollar and this BMW is anything but. I don't even know if I'll be able to afford to ride next year after this BMW fiasco this year (I've borrowed heavily against money I've been trying to use for fix and flips as I can't find a job).
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:56 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Rucksta
There seems to be an assumption among many that a current model KLR is a trail capable bike.

I've not riden one but have observed many on group rides and maybe it's the riders or maybe the bike or a bit of both but the KLRs are the bikes that make for great photo oportunities on creek crossings and big hills.
They are also the bikes that need help over logs and eroded rock sections.

Well set up DRs on the other hand fly in the hands of a capable rider but as soon as the track opens up to moderate to rough twin track the lack of power starts to show. Once the dirt becomes a road or the road becomes sealed the GS is all over the DR

the GS and the G/S aren't for everybody but for those prepared to get the best out of them the are a genuine multi purpose motorcycle.

Oh did you know you can shine them so they fit in (almost said look good but then you'd think I was on drugs) at the coffee shop.
Ruksta, have a go on a KLR. They work just fine for off-road use.

I've ridden my KLR through stuff that'd make for good trials sections. No problem. The clutch is unusually forgiving.

They're pretty drown-proof, too. Have had mine through a water hole that caught me off guard (same hole drowned my buddy's KTM 450EXC). In mild shock I just nailed it in desperation and waited for the "gurgle-gurgle-stall" and it just pulled right on through. I was amazed. Never a problem in more moderate stream crossings.

Pretty capable bike when you consider it's also happy to burble down the expressway at 120km/hr.

edit: KLR's a LOT cheaper to operate than a BMW.

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Old 09-07-2010, 09:08 PM   #24
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I've had several years of BMW riding and not counting oil/gas my parts/purchase price currently adds up to slightly less than 1600$.

I mean, we're talking KLR territory there.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:24 PM   #25
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I swapped bikes with a KLR guy recently during a mixed surface ride. I couldn't believe how different it felt from my GSPD. In fact, while he was still trying to figure out how to power up the spaceliner, I shouted to him that his bike felt like a 125. When he loked up I was standing and slapping his KLR between my thighs like a freshman cheerleader. I felt absolutely empowered to do things off-road I would never attempt on the GS. It was liberating.

Then we got on the highway, and I felt like I was riding one of those motorized barstools you see at the rallies. Except maybe the barstool has a more comfortable seat. After a few miles of my buddy leading, he pulled over and wanted to switch bikes back. He, too, was pissed off at how well the PD felt on the road compared to his KLR.

Just my experience.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:06 PM   #26
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Nelson New Zealand
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I've got an 08 KLR & it's been dropped, jumped & thrown around like it shouldn't be - I didn't know when I bought it that it was a 'road bike'. I very rarely turn away from tracks that smaller bikes go up or down - but if I do usually because the tyres won't get traction or my back is rooted from trying to pick it up again. On the road I find it far more than I need as far as handling & power goes. DRs are great to but the stock ergos don't suit me & they're naked.

I have recently bought a R80GS as a project & am slowly doing it up. My worryI have expressed to my mates after the few short rides I've done is that I hope its performance can be as good as the KLR when finished.
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:25 AM   #27
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
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I owned an 08 KLR and my G/S and was able to compare them side-by-side.

The KLR was what thumpers are - fun, fairly simple, relatively cheap build quality. It did almost everything pretty well, and yes, it had a certain charm of it's own.

Some observations:

I'm not a big guy, and a big difference was balance and ergos. The KLR is a watermelon-on-a-stick. The G/S while weighing very nearly the same, carries the weight low and *feels* much smaller/lighter.

The KLR was wrapped in crap plastic, full of little fiddly fasteners, and made of plastic that explodes on first impact.

THe KLR, being water cooled, and having everything tucked up under tank & fairing, is a typical pain to work on. The G/S valve adjustment for instance is a breeze in comparison to KLR.

KLR feels like thumper going down the road, G/S feels much smoother (more flywheel effect?).

I often ride 2-up, and wife immediately voted the G/S much smoother and comfortable (though neither is huge in the passanger compartment area).

KLR's are GREAT bikes. I preferred the G/S for my ride. ymmv...

"If you hold a cat by the tail, you learn things you cannot learn any other way."

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Old 09-08-2010, 06:56 AM   #28
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Joined: Aug 2003
Location: Way Out There.
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Weight Clarification:

A KLR weighs 330lbs.

A BMW R80G/S weighs about 450lbs.

There's 120lbs between them, people.

DR650's weigh even less at about 280lbs.

fwiw: The GSPD has been down all season with another failed driveshaft.
The KLR and the DR have been shouldering the riding chores until I can
stomach buying a replacement piece.

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Old 09-08-2010, 07:20 AM   #29
SS Blowhard
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Location: Gold Coast
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My G/S weighs considerably less than 450lbs.
My riders handbook states 368lbs dry.

It is very easy to beat the stock figure just by buying light when you replace failed /damaged components

DR 650 SE 2004
Overall Length: 2 255 mm (88.8 in)
Overall Width: 865 mm (34.1 in)
Adjustable seat height - seat height can be lowered 40 mm (1.6 in) with suspension modifications performed by a dealer.
Dry weight: 147 kg (324 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 644 cc SOHC 1-cylinder, 4 valves. 43 hp (32 kW)/ 6.400 rpm, 54 Nm/ 4.600 rpm.
My bike is slow but the earth is patient.
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:24 AM   #30
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Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Oddometer: 485
Originally Posted by Lornce
A KLR weighs 330lbs.

A BMW R80G/S weighs about 450lbs.

There's 120lbs between them, people.

DR650's weigh even less at about 280lbs.

I own a DR and I know it doesn't weigh 280lbs. Even Suzuki lists the curb weight a 366lbs, which is likely optimistic.

I've ridden a R100GS and I thought it was a great bike. It felt solid, very agricultural, like my DR, and on the highway it was nice and smooth. I noticed the extra weight a little when I rode in some loose gravel, but it was something I got used to. All-in-all, I thought it was a great bike. However, since a decent airhead GS is worth twice what I paid for my DR, I'm not sure I'll ever see one in my garage.
1992 BMW R100GS
1969 BSA B25 Starfire
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