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Old 06-04-2012, 07:14 AM   #1
michelsavage OP
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Enduro, really?

For a Montreal Ushuaia trip this Fall, I bought a F650GS all farkled up. On my first outing off road, I hit a bit of sand and I hit the ground. Now, I'm beginning to have doubts: is it possible that anywhere a 650 or 800 "enduro" (or any so-called "adventure bike") can go, any road bike can go too? So far, my F650GS is as wobbly on gravel as my previous Intruder, if not more due to narrow tires. Are there any REAL advantages to a 650/800 off road, over any road bike? Or is it just hype, myth, status and image. So far, I find my F650GS far less comfortable than any bike I've had in the past, almost too high, and pretty hard to control over anything but pavement. I thought that with the F650GS, you could just turn off the road, drive across the field without hesitation. Now I discover that, well, it ain't too good in sand, it ain't too good in mud, it's wobbly over gravel.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:25 AM   #2
Maxacceleration
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Air down. Like maybe 22/24 psi f/r.
And do you have any off-pavement experience? (legit question).
You have to get used to your bike feeling 'loose' too.
Its best to have experience on a dirtbike to be able to understand what your F/GS is doing on the squirrelly stuff.
Its not always easy.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:39 AM   #3
Bucko
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Cool2 Instant off-roader? Don't think so.

Buying dual-sport (enduro, adventure bike) won't make you a go-anywhere rider any more than buying a sport bike will make you a racer. You've got to learn to ride each bike for their intended purpose. Longer travel suspension makes your GS taller, but it also soaks up a lot more bumps that street bike suspension will, and lets you go over bigger obstables without knocking important bits of the bottom of the bike. A KTM 530 EXC is no good in sand if you don't know how to ride sand, and any bike will be loose on gravel. Gravel is loose, so the ride is loose. I'd suggest getting some off-pavement rider training. A good place to start is here: www.dualsportriding.com.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
michelsavage OP
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Good advice

i have zero experience off-road. Taking lessons is probably the only way to go. Thanks.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:26 AM   #5
buelrdr29
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a few notable features!

Just to give some background... I am a rider that has owned just about every style of bike out there. I have done lots of offroad racing, dualsporting, track days, supermoto, touring, and other motorsports as well. I have learned each style of riding has a different style bike and/or setup and each style has been well developed in order to suit a purpose.

Now to adress the f650gs and f800gs as an offroad bike...

I realize just by siting on an f800gs that is very limited in its offroad capabilities. But as an adventure style bike it is not intended for the extreme offroad. This bike has some great features that are vastly different than other bikes (such as an intruder).

1. The seating position and eros make it possible to stand and to sit high on the front of the bike tor proper offroad technique.

2. The larger front tire makes a big difference when negotiating rocks and other objects.

3. The brakes are set up to have good feel and adequate, but not excessive, stopping power.

4. The longer travel suspension and "offroad" style valving offer way better performance than true road bikes.

5. The motor is made not as powerful but is still responsive in order to command your bike not just gas it and go.

6. The factory seat is setup for a great transition from seated position to standing, but is terrible for long road use.

7. Steering and frame geometry make the handling very lively, but this bike is not as stable as a full street bike especially when th speeds are increased on pavement.

I am sure there are more reasons why the gs line biks are great for some limited or milder offroading. I love my 800gs and my girl loves her 650gs. She is still learning to ride and finds her ttr230 converted dual sport much more fun off he pavement when the riding gets tougher but it is still fun to ride on light offroad sections. I fnd I am able to do a lot. Of forest roads and jeep trail type trails on my gs, but I still have real dedicated dualsports and dirtbikes for their intended purpose.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:10 AM   #6
BcDano
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Any bike Any place

If it has wheels it will go and many over landers have proven this fact in spades. If the wheels go around it will go over the ground. How it goes over the ground though is a very different story. Not sure I would want to race your intruder in the Dakar or even give it a rip on my local logging roads. My 800 on the other hand, giddy up my friend, very good time.

The bike set up and your technique in using that set up is what makes the adventure bike a better machine for when you get off the tarmac. Remember as well that every bike is a compromise. A Honda Goldwing sure is a plush ride (hell they even have an airbag now), but a brutal machine to handle on the Dempster Hwy in the rain.

Any bike Any Place (really it's up to you)

Peter and Kay every country on their Harley (lots of off road time)



Helge Pedersen on his 1200 Adventure

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Old 06-04-2012, 10:26 AM   #7
skamikazee
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....all of the above, and change your tires.

Just because it's labelled Enduro/Trail you can't expect the bike to behave like a streetbike on tarmac, you have to develop a complete new set of skills.
And yes i believe the F800GS is one off the best large displacement bikes out there, with a few modifications it's probably just as capable as an 950R or HP2.


Check out these videos.
http://youtu.be/Fxw8U8bIhY8


cheers
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:44 PM   #8
Casejeep
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this is going to be a helpful and positive thread, i can just tell.
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:51 PM   #9
grndzr0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casejeep View Post
this is going to be a helpful and positive thread, i can just tell.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:11 PM   #10
GB
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If you're close to Montreal, call Moto Internationale. They offer off road training for larger dual sport bikes. Learn some skills and build some confidence.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:45 PM   #11
SilverBike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelsavage View Post
... On my first outing off road, I hit a bit of sand and I hit the ground. Now, I'm beginning to have doubts...
I understand your story.

On my recent long trip, I pulled over on the side full of sand for a break with a speed around 10mph max. Truth: that was my 1st time real experience of offroad. I was almost in REAL trouble. Two things happened in my mind instantly:

1) I MUST take some courses for off road if I want to go off road.

2) I will not go off road. Reason: With a few injuries (hip & knee) from other sports, it's time to love & respect my body. Plus, I'm not in my 20s anymore :).

BUT, did I have a second thought of having a different bike? Not a single second. Along the trip, I enjoyed my babe's every single of its heartbeat (engine stroke). I even patted my twin a few times to appreciate its performance.

Just like everything else, it's not about the bike, car, kite etc... name it, it's all about skills.

Good luck & have fun.
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:42 AM   #12
EggChaser
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I had the F650GS off road on the official BMW course (run by Dakar rider Simon Pavey)

Admittedly they had fitted knobbly tires and taken off things like indicators and the screen. However, for my skillset (more or less mountain bike only before the course) I was surprised at what they got us doing on them in only 2 days. Also other than when they got us to deliberately drop them to learn how to pick them up, only dropped the bike twice and managed to get it upright without help even on a steep slope. I did stall it sliding down a dirt bank into a river, which caused a lot of amusement even though I didn't drop it. Managed to restart it in the river and rode out

Don't think I would want to do more than well packed forest trails on dual sport tires however and we didn't find much sand.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:49 AM   #13
Snowy
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Originally Posted by Casejeep View Post
this is going to be a helpful and positive thread, i can just tell.
Oh Ye of little faith.

The F series has potential. There. I was positive.

Having a dirt bike background, I find it almost offensive that people call them dirt bikes.

They are a road bike with some limited off road capability. My wife waving my bank statement under my nose with the BMW parts purchases highlighted is pretty much the limit. We must live at the bottom of the world, because some parts take 6 weeks to get here.

Most do not buy them to take them off road. I know this will upset people, but it comes straight from BMW. In fact, after attending a BMW owners club meeting, I can pretty much guarantee my old GSX1100 did more off road than the average GS around here.



You can successfully set up a F/GS to do more serious off road work. But expect to break things. They crash fairly well. I'll give them that. They don't like big loads.

But it's easier to handle in the dirt than a 1200.



Tyres. The single biggest contribution to handling in the dirt. Results may surprise you. Full knobbies can be worse than road tyres on a really hard surface with ball bearing gravel. Dual Sport tyres can give surprising amounts of traction. Each tyre has it's own specific terrain that it works best in. Figuring out what you need is the trick. What works on your friends smaller dirt bikes may not work on the larger BMW. The other side of the coin, the tyres may work better with the extra weight.

Confused yet?

Wait until the dreaded ABS tries to kill you. Or the CANBUS decides to go on strike.

But are they fun? Damn straight they are. Which is probably just as well.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:36 AM   #14
Maxacceleration
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A lot to disagree with there Snowy.
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Horsepower is a distant second to useable torque, unless cafe cruising is the reason for the purchase...
Quote:
Originally Posted by DireWolf
Sounds dangerous.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:55 AM   #15
Casejeep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowy View Post
Oh Ye of little faith.

The F series has potential. There. I was positive.

Having a dirt bike background, I find it almost offensive that people call them dirt bikes.

They are a road bike with some limited off road capability. My wife waving my bank statement under my nose with the BMW parts purchases highlighted is pretty much the limit. We must live at the bottom of the world, because some parts take 6 weeks to get here.

Most do not buy them to take them off road. I know this will upset people, but it comes straight from BMW. In fact, after attending a BMW owners club meeting, I can pretty much guarantee my old GSX1100 did more off road than the average GS around here.



You can successfully set up a F/GS to do more serious off road work. But expect to break things. They crash fairly well. I'll give them that. They don't like big loads.

But it's easier to handle in the dirt than a 1200.



Tyres. The single biggest contribution to handling in the dirt. Results may surprise you. Full knobbies can be worse than road tyres on a really hard surface with ball bearing gravel. Dual Sport tyres can give surprising amounts of traction. Each tyre has it's own specific terrain that it works best in. Figuring out what you need is the trick. What works on your friends smaller dirt bikes may not work on the larger BMW. The other side of the coin, the tyres may work better with the extra weight.

Confused yet?

Wait until the dreaded ABS tries to kill you. Or the CANBUS decides to go on strike.

But are they fun? Damn straight they are. Which is probably just as well.

Well that's one persons opinion. It happens to be wrong but everyone isn't perfect. I have yet to find a place that a "dirt bike" can go that I can't.

I have found that people who get these bike who come from a motocross/dirt background have a harder time adjusting to these big bikes because they know how they think they should ride the bike. But of course adding 200+ lbs it changes they way the bike handles as well as adding 40 hp.
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