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Old 09-17-2010, 08:20 AM   #1
Paco Lopez OP
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G650GS or F800GS buying advice

Greetings inmates. Long time lurker, first time poster (and a long post it is). A few years ago I started dreaming about buying a GS and rambling around the western US exploring lonely desert trails so I learned how to ride and now I'm looking to buy a GS. I'm new to all this so I'm looking for some guidance from the experts (that's you guys) about the pros and cons of the G650GS vs the F800GS, the various farkles that go with them, and the buying process.

The Bikes:
I've read a few reviews that paint the G650GS as a commuter bike with some off-road capabilities while anyone interested in serious dirt time should go for an F800GS. This doesn't make sense to me seeing as the G650GS is mostly the same bike as the old F650GS single which I've never heard called a commuter bike. I don't plan on going off-road for the sake of tackling crazy obstacles but if there's some cool place I want to get to that involves miles of gnarly single-track I don't want to have to bail because the bike isn't up to it. So, any thoughts on the off-road capabilities of the G650GS and is all this "commuter" talk just because BMW changed their marketing message and the reviewers are parroting it?

Here are 2 of the reviews in question: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/73/196...irst-Ride.aspx and http://www.motorcycle.com/manufactur...iew-87721.html

The western US is also a big place and I'll have to pile on the highway miles to get from point A to point B. Am I going to hate the highway on a G650GS? Would I hate it any less or more on an F800GS?

The G650GS seems like a simpler bike and I'm a big fan of "less is more" (the less stuff you have the less there is to break and the easier it is to fix). Any thoughts on reliability and field fixability of the G650GS vs the F800GS?

Overall I really like the G650GS (especially with the price) but ultimately I'm worried that I'm going to end up with something that's not capable of doing what I want it to and I'm going to end up trading it in on an F800GS in a year. I'd rather just buy the bike I'm going to keep and be done with it. I'm really hoping someone will say "The commuter thing is just BMW marketing crap, the G650GS is an awesome bike on the highway and off-road and while the F800GS may be better the G650GS is perfectly capable of handling anything this continent can reasonably throw at it".

The Farkles:
Any thoughts on the plastic BMW Vario cases vs aftermarket metal cases? It looks like the Vario cases sit a lot closer to the bike because they're shaped to fit around the exhaust and I like that the size can be reduced when it's not needed. That said, they're plastic clamshells rather than metal top-loaders and I'd be worried about break-ins (both by people and hungry animals), stuff falling out every time I open them, and having them crack into a million itty bitty pieces if I dump the bike. Keeping in mind that I've never ridden a bike with panniers: is the extra width that big a deal and is metal going to offer significantly more security and survivability than plastic?

The Buying Process:
I've been trying to find websites that have the invoice cost of BMW bikes with no luck, any help would be appreciated. I'm approaching this like buying a car (and maybe that approach is wrong).

I have a local dealer offering me a leftover 2009 G650GS (new) for $7000 and BMW has a $1000 in free accessories deal on the 2009s as well. He's itching to get the deal done by the end of the month. I'm wondering if BMW is about to come out with the 2011s and the prices on leftover 2009s is about to drop even more. Is this already a deal of a lifetime that I should jump on, should I wait it out and see what 2011 brings, or should I try to haggle him down and buy now?

The dealer also has a 2010 F800GS that they've used as a loaner/demo bike that he offered for $10,000. That doesn't seem like much of a discount for a bike that has been ridden around by who-knows. Thoughts?

Thanks all and hopefully I'll have a bike so I can start posting ride pics up here soon :)

Also, would anybody get miffed if I cross-posted this to Parallel Universe?
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:51 PM   #2
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youre slightly confused . the f650gs and f800gs are parallel twins with the 650 being the more commuter oriented of the two. most comparisons are between the 2 f bikes. the g650gs is the thumper and besides lacking another cylinder is about as capable as the f650gs . the newer g650gs is way different from the old ones more street oriented and heavier. there are more farkles for the f bike than the g bike. but unless your gettinf the 800 the other two are a toss up between power and price.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:50 PM   #3
Paco Lopez OP
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Apparently I am confused: I thought the G650GS was just the old F650GS thumper with a new name, I didn't realize they made any mechanical changes. Comparing the spec sheets I don't see much of a difference, what did they change to make it more street oriented?

BTW: I'm not even considering the new F650GS twin, if were to go that route I would just go all the way and get the real 800.

Edit... I think I figured out what I overlooked: Would anyone have considered the old F650GS thumper (non-Dakar) as a capable bike for what I'm looking to do? If not then there's probably no point in looking at the G650GS.

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Old 09-17-2010, 04:58 PM   #4
bc_seattle
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comments

I own a R1150GS.

I recently rented an KLR650 for 8 days; fell in love with the KLR super high fun factor. In progress ride report with pics of the KLR:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=612713

I've riden the F800GS briefly off road.

I had a G 650 X country for a week last year when my bike was in the shop and spent a week commuting on the freeway with it.

I'm in a back-and-forth quandary between the F800 and the KLR for my next bike.

I'd give the KLR a very close look. Cheap and great in the dirt. Very well mannered and easy to ride in technical terrain. Takes an unbelievable amount of abuse. You do not want to make throttle control mistakes with the F800 although it is a great bike and the best of the lot on the freeways.

There are no bad choices here. Pick whatever moves you and get out in the dirt. From what you listed above my rankings:
1) KRL 650
2) G650GS (the name thing is very confusing here... I'm pretty sure the thumper 650 used to have a F designation but I'm not positive.)
3) F800GS

Good luck, safe riding!

BC
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:04 PM   #5
brian83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satur9
youre slightly confused . the f650gs and f800gs are parallel twins with the 650 being the more commuter oriented of the two. most comparisons are between the 2 f bikes. the g650gs is the thumper and besides lacking another cylinder is about as capable as the f650gs . the newer g650gs is way different from the old ones more street oriented and heavier. there are more farkles for the f bike than the g bike. but unless your gettinf the 800 the other two are a toss up between power and price.
i think you may actually be slightly confused too. the new g650gs is actually almost exactly the same weight as the "old" f650gs (when they were still thumpers, up through 2007). they're also virtually identical so i wouldn't say the g650gs is any less offroad capable as the old thumper f650gs.

i've got an '09 g650gs and it's very capable as a highway rider but unfortunately i haven't had any offroad experience on it yet so i can't speak to that.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:52 PM   #6
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$7000????

If you're not going to buy that 650 for $7K, can I get the number of that dealer????

If you're at all worried about highway performance on a 650, don't be. People take them around the world and back again - at about 65 m.p.g.

I think you should buy the 650 over the 800. The price is better you'll love it.

I mean, the 800 is sweet... but in reading your post I think you want the 650 but are just unsure. As I said - don't be. You'll be cruising on the highway at 125 km/h... then hitting the fireroads after. Have fun!

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Old 09-18-2010, 06:50 AM   #7
revjebmor
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Question

I bought a 07 F650 GS with 30k on it. It had been well maintained, so it still runs great. I'm impressed with it as a road bike and a med. level trail bike, even with the bald tourance front and kenda rear that came on it. I put Conti TKCs on it and I must say they transformed the bike considerably. I've rode blacktop with better handling than the bald tourance/kenda combo(no chicken strips) and can ride dirt roads 70-80 mph comfortably. They operate well in mud also. The bike itself is quite manageable as far as picking it up off the ground goes, has plenty of torque thru all gears. Downside is topend, which with OEM gears is around 105, I think. I rode an 800 demo for a weekend and wasn't terribly impressed. It has plenty of pickup, but I'd be afraid to weave it through some of the fire roads I ride on the 650. Plus the stock seat on the 800 feels like you're riding on a cinder block after a 100 miles or so. If you get the 650, buy a used one with the rotax powerplant. the new ones are chinese(G650GS) Hope this was somewhat useful.

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Old 09-18-2010, 11:54 AM   #8
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For what it is worth, the BMW website shows the G650 GS having a 4 gallon tank. The owners manual for my 2005 F650 GS shows tank volume at 4.5 which I have confirmed from observations at the fuel pump. It may not seem important to some, but I like the extra range of my tank. If I was buying a single, I would look for a 2007 or earlier with the larger tank.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:38 PM   #9
stewncissy
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The Wife has a 2010 G650GS....she loves her bike! She has the Vario cases. We have done plenty of interstate riding at 70-80mph. We havent done a lot of off-roading yet, so I cant tell you how it is in the dirt. But my wife is in love with it. She had a cruiser before this one. Its a little small for me though.
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:22 AM   #10
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Seems to be some confusion here...

BMW fucked up when they suddenly renamed the single bikes to "G" and transferred the "F" to the new paralell twins.

There has always been an easy system to BMW model names:

First letter: Engine type
R - boxer twin
K - inline 3, 4 or 6 (New K1800LT)
S - inline 4 (New S1000RR)
F - single

Second, number: Displacement (changed to actual cc's in the early '90s)
80 = 800 cc
100 = 1000 cc
1100 = 1100 cc

Last letter(s): Purpose of bike / Chassis type, suspension, wheels, tires, fairing, features etc.
GS - Dual sport (Gelende strasse)
ST - Sport touring
RT - Road touring
LT - Touring (Big heavy)
RR - Road racing
R - Roadster/ naked
S - Sport

Example
R80 GS = Boxer, 800cc, dualsport
F650 ST = Single, 650 cc, sport touring/ street

The F650 history:

1993-2000: F650 Funduro - single 650cc "offroad"
1997-2000: F650 ST - single 650cc "street"

2000-2007: F650 GS Dakar - single 650cc "offroad"
2000-2007: F650 GS - single 650cc "street"

2009-: G650 GS - single 650cc "street" (same as the 2000-2007 F650GS)

2007-: F800 GS - twin 800cc "offroad"
2007-: F650 GS - twin 800cc "street"

They should ofcourse have named the paralel twin something else, like, ohhh I dunno, "T" maybe or "G" if they were so set on having a "G" engine.....

Hope that helps a bit :)

typo....
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:18 AM   #11
JimR
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Welcome, and as already mentioned above tires are what will make the bike "trail worthy". IMO the bike (mine is a 2006 F650GS) was designed as an all road commuter, be it a dirt road, gravel road, or fire break, cobble stone, brick, chip seal, or asphalt. It has handled every forest service road I have ever been on with no issues (other than my own). Months ago I started a thread trying to define a dual sport/enduro and it turned into a mess. What the general consensus was is that any bike can be a trail bike, it mostly depends on skill level and confidence. I like my bike but I think it's too heavy and not geared quite right for difficult single track trails. It is a tractor, it will haul my fat butt around along with a crap load of camping gear at 80 mph all day long and can tackle the poorest maintained roads. I think by reading your post that you may be well served in buying a used 2005-2007 F650GS DAKAR. It has a taller suspension and taller front wheel and is more "trail worthy". Good luck on your selection and keep us posted. Regards, Jim.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:27 PM   #12
Paco Lopez OP
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Thanks for all the input everybody. It's all very good stuff, please keep it coming :)

I'm currently considering an F800GS posted in the flea market. I figure by the time I get a new G650GS and farkleize it I will be up to the cost of a used 800 with farkles. Here's the catch: I have short legs (30" inseam) and I'm worried that a Dakar or 800 might be too big to handle (even with the low seat).

It sounds like the G650 would be fine on the highway but what about the 800? Is it too dirt oriented to be comfortable on long highway hauls? I've seen lots of comments about how horrible the seat is (which can always be changed) but what about the bike itself?
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:15 PM   #13
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Buy It

I can tell deep down you want the 800GS, so that's what you should buy. Nobody needs a motorcycle, you WANT a motorcycle. It's 100% an emotional purchase, so go for the bike you want, not the bike you think you "should" buy.

Enjoy your 800!
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:32 PM   #14
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I have a 32" inseam and the Rallye seat which is 40mm higher and Hyperpro springs that jack it up a bit more. When I first got the 800 with the standard seat I found the seat height to be very high, but after a week of pretty intense riding I felt fine. Then when I got the Rallye seat (because a used one was available and I dont like the standard seat) I went through this all again. Now I am fine with it although I often end up on tip toes. So ... I wouldn't discount the 800 because of the high seat ... try a "real" dirt bike like even a Yamaha WR250R and it feels really tall even compared to my 800 with the Rallye seat. What I am trying to say is that it might intimidate you at first, but if you stay confident and stick with it it will soon feel fine.

You could also see how you like the low seat ... could be better for you and some people even find it comfortable..
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:46 AM   #15
brian83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andoulli
For what it is worth, the BMW website shows the G650 GS having a 4 gallon tank. The owners manual for my 2005 F650 GS shows tank volume at 4.5 which I have confirmed from observations at the fuel pump. It may not seem important to some, but I like the extra range of my tank. If I was buying a single, I would look for a 2007 or earlier with the larger tank.
same part numbers for an '05 F650 GS and an '09 G650 GS fuel tanks so this statement isn't correct.

http://www.maxbmwmotorcycles.com/fic...ts=16117651037

interestingly enough, the owner's manual for my '09 G650 GS lists 4.6 gallons as the usable fuel quantity so if we go by what the owner's manuals say, the G650 GS wins in fuel capacity.
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