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Old 04-29-2011, 06:28 PM   #1
teambft OP
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Brentwood, TN
Oddometer: 1,169
2007 BMW G650X XChallenge review (my two cents and pics)

Got my X-CH a couple weeks ago and I’m really, really pleased.
My two cents below – don’t take it too seriously.

I’ve owned everything prior – several KTMs (990 ADV, 640 ADV, EXCs, SX), had a KLR650 for a brief stint – legendary bike, but wouldn’t have last long under me where I ride, several DRZ400’s (great machines), XR650 (legendary), Husky TE610 – very nice – more slanted to pure dirt style than DS (IMHO) – although the 6 speed was nice, FI worked well, nice stator, etc. and owned many more bikes. Of all my bikes, my favorite was the 990 ADV. The bike’s weight was offset by immense power and a low center of gravity. The styling, the v-twin power and the KTM quality and design really set the bike apart. A true dual sport that could completely satisfy all day on the canyon roads and still tear it up pretty well on aggressive fire roads. Fuel range and oil changes were a bummer.

I got the X-CH from the original owner. It came pretty well farkled (details below). He used it mainly for road riding, one trip to the SanJuans, etc. – bike was cherry when I got her and had 2,100 miles.

Everyone has a different purpose for their bikes (as evidenced by the passionate posts all over ADVRider) and that’s what really shapes our opinions and reviews. And every bike has its known flaws. And every bike has its unique “break” – after owning so many bikes and doing research using forums, I’ve learned to temper the feedback and not let it shape my decisions too terribly much – like seeing some broken frames, for example. Of course there are instances in which every bike truly has a flaw that 90% of us will see - some are more obvious and abundant – i.e., fuel pump on the 990 ADV (although I never had the issue), frame and peg bolts and doo hickey on the KLR, crappy OEM battery on the TE610.


So I look for the following – not necessarily in this order:
  • Dependability/Design/Reputation – I ride by myself every so often and don’t want to get stranded out in the mountains. I’ve sifted thru several hundred pages on the X-CH and have done the same with the previous mentioned bikes. From what I can see, this bike just doesn’t have that many known, common issues. And those noted were mostly covered by recalls or are easy fixes (battery, mudflap). Shift lever is known to be too strong impacting the transmission shaft – already drilled it and bought a back up steel lever. Other than that, not much out there – no whacky FI issues, common fuel pump failures, subframe seems fine if you treat it with “respect”, maybe some comments about the speedo getting goofy…but all in all, I was amazed there wasn’t more, highly common issues…or more “must do mods”. Yeah, seat is hard as nails (so hard it would be out of place on a motocrosser), but every darn bike I’ve owned had uncomfy seats. Even some of the initial complaints about the suspension seem to have resolved themselves to a degree once owners knew how to deal with it. The engine is a superfreak by design!! Rotax reputation, dependable, unfathomable fuel mileage and doesn’t require synthetic oil. Design quality is what you’d expect of BMW. Fit, finish and component quality far exceeds the Japanese bikes I’ve owned and meets or exceeds the other Euro’s I’ve had.
  • Serviceability – I do basically all my work myself. Are oil changes and air filter cleanings easy? Are areas of the bike accessible? Do I have to carry a ton of different tools with me? Oil change on this bike is fairly straight forward. My 990 ADV was maniacal. The KLR was stupid simple. This bikes falls somewhere in between. Last bike I had with an oil tank was a Harley – interesting. Most of the bolt heads are pretty common sized and seem to be of quality. Air filter access is a PITA in my case due to the Touratech Tank – not really Beemer’s fault. My local BMW shop seems good – went there the other day to get an oil change kit and oil and they were helpful, knowledgeable and fairly priced. So far, so good.
  • Suspension/Ride quality/Performance – most of us are still searching for that perfect bike. In my case, it’s a dual sport that can do it all fairly good. Yup – have ridden single track (it far exceeded my expectations) with this bike and will ride the road for multi-hour stints and every thing in between. Did aggressive fire roads the other day with plenty of deep whoops, loose gravel sections, hard pack sections, rocky, steep, climbs. The bike did it all very well!! No problem getting air. Peg/Seat/Bar measurements seem pretty good for me (6’3” and 210lbs)…most Euro bikes fit me better anyhow. Clutch lever pull is nice/easy/smooth. Gearing is wide – darn tall second gear….but with the 14/49 gearing I’ve got her at, much better for my type of riding. Brakes are awesome for the most part. Rear brake is touchy, most likely due to high lever position, which I will resolve – ABS turns off easy for off road. After changing the speedo wheel size to 17, mph reading is perfectly dead on with my GPS. I do think they could have fit more data on the front screen – i.e., speed, clock and maybe battery volts all on one screen – it is big enough. I like a seat that is easy to remove – it does. I like the black engine cases – my experience is they hold up better than aluminum finishes and I can easily paint them if needed. Headlight seems pretty good for OEM – may upgrade later.
  • Fuel Range – that stranded thing mentioned above. MPG is 60 plus and of course with the TT tank, it has about 6.8 gallons of gas. I like that the stocker is under the seat, leaving only the Touratech 4.2 gallons higher in mass and the stock 2.6 better centralized. There were some comments out there about the small stock tank – but with the mpg this bike gets, its still comparable to other bike’s range.
  • Accessories and available mods - not a ton of accessories out there. Mostly Touratech. Mods so far are easy – tail tidy was already done – looked like an easy cut. Canister removed. I’ve found the 606 tires work well front and rear. Have read others having trouble with the 606 on the front. I’ve run up to 75mph and no issues so far. Airbox mod was easy – I did a partial Max Kool mod on the airbox and am real happy with it – I like the sound and the acceleration.

Again, don’t take this all too seriously – this is one rider’s impression. I have been riding for about 35 years (since Briggs and Stratton mini-bikes) and have owned a ton of bikes, but I’m sure as hell no expert. But I am sold on this Beemer and will likely have her in my stable for a while!! Just my two cents. Farkles and pics below.

- Superlaced Excel Double-Signature wheels (by Woody's)
- Touratech (TT) large bash plate
- TT 4.2 gal auxiliary fuel tank
- Hepco Becker large tail rack
- TT fork seal savers
- TT aluminum radiator guard
- TT rear (shark fin) brake rotor protector
- TT GPS mount
- TT Carbon fiber muffler heat shield (top, small)
- TT Carbon fiber exhaust heat shield (large, side)
- TT Carbon fiber master cylinder guard
- TT low profile oil drain plug
- TT front brake line clamp
- TT folding rear brake lever
- Radiator protection bar
- TT front fender extension
- TT 14 tooth countersprocket
- Drive Systems 49 tooth rear sprocket
- Acerbis Rally Pro X handguards
- BMW Lexan A9headlight protector
- Heated hand grips with Heatroller variable adjuster
- SW Motech center stand
- Dunlop 606 knobbies front/rear
- BMW Atlanta foam air filter
- Wolfman Expedition waterproof Saddle Bags
- Wolfman Expedition racks
- Garmin Zumo 450
- Ride On tire sealant front and rear
- Pro Gel grips

Ahhhhhh...so shiny and new and unadulterated....(she has had plenty of dirt on her by now)


Rampart Range riding area, south of Denver - this was at about 9,000 feet







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2011 KTM 300 XC-W, 2002 KTM Duke II, 2011 KTM 250 XC-W, 2010 KTM 530 XCW Six Days, 1998 Superhawk
2012 KTM 500 EXC - sold, 950 SER-sold (regret)
Prior: BMW XC, TE610, KLR 650, 07 KTM 990 Adv, and many more ...BMWs, Ducs, KTMs, Harleys

teambft screwed with this post 04-29-2011 at 09:32 PM
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:35 PM   #2
bikepikespeak.com
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Great write up! I kinda had a feeling you'd like this one.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:41 AM   #3
Cruz
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What size boot or foot do you have to need the gear lever that high on the shaft?

Most sit lower than the case or just level with the base of it. Yours appears setup like a trials bikes.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:44 AM   #4
teambft OP
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Wow - pretty perceptive on your behalf

Yup....its been lowered back down after that pic. I'm size 12 and my dirtbike boots are pretty thick. But of the last few bikes I've owned, this lever fits me best.
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2011 KTM 300 XC-W, 2002 KTM Duke II, 2011 KTM 250 XC-W, 2010 KTM 530 XCW Six Days, 1998 Superhawk
2012 KTM 500 EXC - sold, 950 SER-sold (regret)
Prior: BMW XC, TE610, KLR 650, 07 KTM 990 Adv, and many more ...BMWs, Ducs, KTMs, Harleys
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:50 PM   #5
Cruz
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Nice pick up too, just sold mine but not because I wanted to.

Hope yours serves you as well.

I would recommend putting the steel gear lever on and carry the oem one as a spare. The steel ones just bend and bend back into place but the standard after drilling will just break off and at worst punch a hole into the side case. As you already noted, you have to take off the left peg to fit a gear lever so it is better to have the soft lever on to start with.

You will notice at night that the TT headlight protector reflects a lot of light back at the rider and also makes the beam pretty crappy. Probably why it has the 'Not for on road use' sticker on it. When I rode at night I just slipped mine off the rubber mounts and the light is a lot better. You can get clear protective film for the light as well when the guard isn't on there.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:35 AM   #6
yamman35
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Thumb new bike

I know you brought the bike with the wheels already on, but why was the front wheel changed to a 17inch. How does the bike perform in comparison with the 21inch wheel. I have a 30inch inside leg and a 17inch wheel would help etc.

I have a Honda fireblade, Harley and KTM exc as well and I spend most of my time on the BMW. I got the bike for an African trip next year and its turned into a great all round bike.
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:43 PM   #7
teambft OP
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[QUOTE=yamman35;15802995]I know you brought the bike with the wheels already on, but why was the front wheel changed to a 17inch. How does the bike perform in comparison with the 21inch wheel. I have a 30inch inside leg and a 17inch wheel would help etc.

Front wheel wasnt changed to a 17"...still 21". My comment about recalibrating the speedo to the 17 setting is simply what worked to get the speedo accurate (speedo has three settings available).

I believe (could be wrong) the speedo sensor is on the rear wheel, which is still 18". I think the X-motos and X-countrys have 17" rear wheels.
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2011 KTM 300 XC-W, 2002 KTM Duke II, 2011 KTM 250 XC-W, 2010 KTM 530 XCW Six Days, 1998 Superhawk
2012 KTM 500 EXC - sold, 950 SER-sold (regret)
Prior: BMW XC, TE610, KLR 650, 07 KTM 990 Adv, and many more ...BMWs, Ducs, KTMs, Harleys
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:43 PM   #8
teambft OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruz View Post
Nice pick up too, just sold mine but not because I wanted to.

Hope yours serves you as well.

I would recommend putting the steel gear lever on and carry the oem one as a spare. The steel ones just bend and bend back into place but the standard after drilling will just break off and at worst punch a hole into the side case. As you already noted, you have to take off the left peg to fit a gear lever so it is better to have the soft lever on to start with.

You will notice at night that the TT headlight protector reflects a lot of light back at the rider and also makes the beam pretty crappy. Probably why it has the 'Not for on road use' sticker on it. When I rode at night I just slipped mine off the rubber mounts and the light is a lot better. You can get clear protective film for the light as well when the guard isn't on there.
Great advice on the lever and the headlight - thanks - I will follow it!!
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2011 KTM 300 XC-W, 2002 KTM Duke II, 2011 KTM 250 XC-W, 2010 KTM 530 XCW Six Days, 1998 Superhawk
2012 KTM 500 EXC - sold, 950 SER-sold (regret)
Prior: BMW XC, TE610, KLR 650, 07 KTM 990 Adv, and many more ...BMWs, Ducs, KTMs, Harleys
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:46 PM   #9
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nice write up, nice bike
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:23 PM   #10
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Good job teambft!!!!!

I have been lusting for a more dirt oriented bike after my 1st serious off road event. The BMW X-CH, Husky TE630, and aprilia RXV 5.5 lead that wish list, but in the end the KLR just seems right for what I do with it.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:51 PM   #11
teambft OP
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Originally Posted by pampaX View Post
nice write up, nice bike

pampaX - 40,000km? - makes me feel even better about my purchase.
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2011 KTM 300 XC-W, 2002 KTM Duke II, 2011 KTM 250 XC-W, 2010 KTM 530 XCW Six Days, 1998 Superhawk
2012 KTM 500 EXC - sold, 950 SER-sold (regret)
Prior: BMW XC, TE610, KLR 650, 07 KTM 990 Adv, and many more ...BMWs, Ducs, KTMs, Harleys
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Old 05-03-2011, 01:29 AM   #12
Ducksbane
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Nice Bike ... I recently got one myself!

What model Wolfman tank bag is that, and how do you find it with the big tank? I need more range and having ridden one with the Touratech tank I was surprised how it didn't really get in the way much, so I will probably get one in a few months. In the mean time I would like a tank bag and I like Wolfman.

Thanks

Will
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
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pampaX - 40,000km? - makes me feel even better about my purchase.
up to 43000k now yes, not too many problems as you pointed out. Never changed the oil before 10000k. The engine will last much more, I had a F650GSD with 84000K and sold it when got this one. It was pulling strong and is still around.

The shaft was a real pita ( also $$$). I'm very slow rider so never expected to have any problems. But as you said is easily solved if you know about it.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:42 AM   #14
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Someone I know here in Oz has an 04 650 with over 200,000 ks on it with out any major work.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:44 PM   #15
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I looked all over the tank bag and couldnt find a model name - I got it with a previous bike I bought. But I'm almost certain its the Enduro bag.
The straps it comes with are more than long enough to do the job - one goes around the front frame steering head and the other I "coat hanger'd" thru the mid section of the bike. It holds just the right amount of stuff.

Touratech tank is nice....but it does get embedded with dirt and road blast pretty easily. Its also very delicate in the sense its very exposed if tipped over....I put some 3m vinyl sections on the far outside corners for at least a little protection against that future, inevitable tip over/scrape.
I think the installation is pretty involved...fortunately it was mounted when I got it. Quick fuel line disconnects are nice - already helped a fellow rider who ran out of gas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducksbane View Post
Nice Bike ... I recently got one myself!

What model Wolfman tank bag is that, and how do you find it with the big tank? I need more range and having ridden one with the Touratech tank I was surprised how it didn't really get in the way much, so I will probably get one in a few months. In the mean time I would like a tank bag and I like Wolfman.

Thanks

Will
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2011 KTM 300 XC-W, 2002 KTM Duke II, 2011 KTM 250 XC-W, 2010 KTM 530 XCW Six Days, 1998 Superhawk
2012 KTM 500 EXC - sold, 950 SER-sold (regret)
Prior: BMW XC, TE610, KLR 650, 07 KTM 990 Adv, and many more ...BMWs, Ducs, KTMs, Harleys
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