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Old 02-08-2013, 07:56 PM   #1
michelsavage OP
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F650GS, 6 months later

Some might remember me.

I was going to South America from Quebec. I had bought a brand new F650GS with all farkles and complete touring/camping equipment. Well... After 4 months and about 3 000 km, I sold the bike. I don't know why I really never liked the bike. Too high. Too top heavy. Too affected by crosswinds. Too uncomfortable. I did a 1,000 km road-trial and needed to lie down by the side of the road every 15 minutes after 100 km. Some might remember my posts about: "Help, I'm riding off-center" - I never did explain why I rode that bike off-centered. Anyway, I sold the bike and all equipment, lost 8 grand, went to Thailand and fell in love with a lady who... loves bikes.

Recently, here in Thailand, I rode two different Honda Phantoms 250 cc. Custom type bikes. One had a warped handlebar and was really old while the other was OK. And while riding these bikes, I couldn't help saying to myself: "With my F650GS, I had forgotten how comfortable a bike could be." It would be silly to compare the F650GS and a Phantom, it would not be fair to both bikes. But the Phantom reminded me how incredibly tense and uncomfortable I was on the BMW. Although the Phantom was not as nimble as the BMW, riding it was soooo easy.

Now, with my girlfriend being an expert rider (like all Thais really), the idea of a long trip on bike resurfaces again. But not on BMW (an excellent bike, both from an engineering standpoint and versatility (asphalt and grass/mud/shit). Because the Beemer is too expensive, too high (despite available adjustments), too uncomfortable (despite new seats), etc. I am now looking at a Kawasaki ER-6N: it's inexpensive, fast, extremely agile but it cannot go off road. But let's face it: with the BMW, I wanted a bike that could go off road as well as ride well on pavement. A compromise: not too good at both. With the BM, first time I hit sand, I hit the ground. Above 85 km/h, winds plummet and I felt like being inside a rocket, even though I had the best helmet on the market. OK. Now, I will forget about compromise bikes, good for all and good for nothing. I will stay on asphalt and get a bike that's silly easy to ride, low center of gravity, fast and agile.

Or maybe I should go sailing again...
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:51 PM   #2
mustardfj40
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Glad to hear that the smaller bike works well for you. Btw, was the F650GS for your first motorcycle? Have you ever even ridden a mountain bike off-road?
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:22 PM   #3
Barbadi
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Well... trying not to sound like an ass...

I had the same issues with the same bike. Its all about geometry. Had to try 5 different wind deflectors, 3 different seats and two different handlebar risers. Then find the correct angle for the handlebar (and switches).

I finally concluded with Givi screen, bmw touring seat and SW Motech barbacks and I was ok.

At the end I was about 500 euro poorer but my bike could take me places that no "easy" jap crap can take me, with that big a smile on my face.

Yeap the german marketing department destroyed the bike's ergos to make it look "bad" but since you reverse the damage, you have a bike that requests only 4,5 litres per 100klm, to outrun everything in the midleweight category, with 72 hpwr, it is the most versatile and nimble and can really go two tracking -not pretending to like these Versys, Vstroms and Transalp 700s- and still go to work each morning.

Know why? Cause ergos and seats can be made aftermarket -wise, but that king of riding geometry, that engine and frame cannot. Not the Jap "cheap is good" way.

All these don't came cheap, but what does nowadays?

Pitty you sold it, you should have asked around for ideas. After all what is internet for?
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:11 PM   #4
michelsavage OP
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Indeed

Indeed, I have learned recently the F650GS, like its big brother the 800, needs to be adapted for each rider's ergonomy/physiology. Despite many posts here, I failed to realize that critical apsect of buying a Beemer. Oh well. I probably had the best bike, but having not adapted it to me, it turned out to be the worst bike for me. I had a Honda long time ago, then a Virago 920, which was high and horrible, then three Suzuki Intruders, which I loved. Here in Thailand, where I have stayed for 6 months, I have driven Hondas 100cc (like everybody) and Phantoms.

Now, I'd like to trry sport touring bikes such as Kawa's ER-6N. Just see. Also, after my nerve racking experience off road with my 650 (you gotta take off road courses), I decided I'll stay on asphalt. We'll see...
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:22 PM   #5
david1983xtc
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Hi Michel

Please... do NOT try ER-6n...

Before I bought the F650 I owned a ER-6f. It is cheap and has plenty of power... but absolutely unconfortable for me. The handlebar position is "strange", after a few hours riding, my elbows hurt me, and a few hours later... the back also hurt me.

Moreover, the suspensions of this bike were designed for just one person... if you try to put a second person on the bike or just the luggage, the supension is very soft!!

Yes, awesome look, cheap and powerful... but, for me, totally wrong bike. Need new suspensions, new handlebar and proper wind protection.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:22 PM   #6
GSFREEK
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After you have ridden a thai girl , nothing else will satisfy you !!

I remember you when you were planning your trip ! Have fun in that beautifull country! ;)
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:28 PM   #7
roundtripping
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I wonder how long it's gonna take before someone in this thread comes to the conclusion that people are built and shaped differently and that a bike which fits one person well may not fit another person at all?
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
Tom Morrison
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSFREEK View Post
After you have ridden a thai girl , nothing else will satisfy you !!

I remember you when you were planning your trip ! Have fun in that beautifull country! ;)
Thai gals are great, just don't get them angry, or your riding days might be CUT short.

Also be on the lookout for Adams apples.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:36 AM   #9
MikeMike
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The F650GS needs a better windscreen (a friend of mine made a new one for me, he's a plastics whiz) and an Airhawk.
You can throw in a throttle lock or a wrist rest if you really want to.
Put on some decent tires and you are off like Jack the Bear.
It isn't a bad design for a 3rd world do it all type bike. I know, I've racked up 50,000kms on mine here in Mexico and it is now my only transportation. Yes, Motorrad customer service is absolute crap, parts prices are outrageous, but it does the job.
I have no idea why you had to ride off center, or why you bothered to invest so heavily in outfitting a bike you hadn't become comfortable with, yet. What keeps the F bikes from becoming an everyman's RTW bike, are parts availability and pricing and the complexity. It can be done but there are easier bikes to do it on. A V-Strom 650 is also an excellent 3rd world bike, less complex and cheaper to service and replace parts.
You would have had much better luck with a good used Dakar single.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:39 AM   #10
epicxcrider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roundtripping View Post
I wonder how long it's gonna take before someone in this thread comes to the conclusion that people are built and shaped differently and that a bike which fits one person well may not fit another person at all?
Haha, that would make too much sense.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:43 AM   #11
michelsavage OP
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Beleive it or not!!!!

Just back from a short trip from Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Pai and back. That's 280 km. But because of the somewhat 1500 curves on this trip, the two-way trip took 7 hours. The bikes? One Honda CBR250R and one new Honda CBR500R. Sport bikes. I'm 65 and it was the first time I rode sport bikes. I had Intruders, a Virago and the famous F650GS, farkled for RTW trip. How can one spend a lifetime whithout knowing the joys of a sport bike. And you know what? After 7 hours (split into 2 sections over 24 hours), I hurt nowhere!!!! My BMW F650GS hurt like a torture instrument only after 100km or 1 hour. Well, the only part of my body that hurts now in my face, from grinning all the time. This goes to show 2 things: adapting a bike to a particular physiology and personality is aboslutely personal and individual. And 2: If you stay on concrete, asphalt or hard dirt, any bike will take you anywhere. So yes, I'm thinking again about a long trip. Not in a Panzer, that's for sure.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:45 AM   #12
vtbob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelsavage View Post
. This goes to show 2 things: adapting a bike to a particular physiology and personality is aboslutely personal and individual. And 2: If you stay on concrete, asphalt or hard dirt, any bike will take you anywhere. So yes, I'm thinking again about a long trip. Not in a Panzer, that's for sure.
Well said! I'm old enough to remember that the best dirt(real off road, ISDT etc) were rather lightly modified Triumph, BSA etc street bikes. BMW 500 and 600s with earl's fork wandered the world! Those riders took those bikes every where.

We have the luxury of living is a world where the bike now are so highly specialized, we often lose sight of the fact that a motorcycle, any motor cycle can a lot of wild places. We obsess that unless you have 1200cc and 125hp you can not tour two up.....or if you have less than 8 inches of suspension travel you can not do dirt roads let alone the Dalton or Dempster.


The new specialized bikes of today, make less experienced riders look good as they do the difficult parts (the last 10%) easier.

We have the luxury of excess/outstanding motorcycles.....but the real importance is finding one you really like, that fits you and take that one every where!
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:46 AM   #13
Loutre
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicxcrider View Post
Haha, that would make too much sense.
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