|Today, 11:00 AM||#1|
Joined: Mar 2013
2013 BMW G650GS or Suzuki DR650SE or KLR 650 or something else
* I took an MSF class and got an M endorsement last year Dec. Have been trying to decide on my first bike since.
* A few thousand miles of experience with step through scooters from 10 years ago in pretty inhospitable conditions. I think I've forgotten most of it though. I ride road bicycles though.
* 32, male, 5ft 10.5in, 30in inseam.
* Reasonably athletic - marathoner and can bench my body weight (170lbs).
* I live in Manhattan, NYC.
* Intended purpose: Riding to some places I go for running in, in and around the city. Occasionally riding to Jersey City across the river. Taking a long vacation trip on the bike once a year with my wife/kid/friends in the wife's car, potentially with the wife on pillion at times if we can get a friend to drive her car. Back roads to the extent possible but you cannot really avoid the highways here. There don't seem to be any trails around here.
* Budget around USD 9k for the bike. Already have bought all gear.
* Don't want to buy used. Just averse to the risk of owning someone else's problems, especially at a high speed on two wheels.
* Don't want to spend more than $500/yr on insurance. The parking I've scoped out is expensive as is.
* Don't want a bike that will need TLC frequently. I have very little time outside work and family and in that time I would just want to go out and ride.
* Safety is very important to me. 2yr old at home that I want to see grow up (and ride with!).
I had started out thinking I will limit my search to ABS equipped bikes.
Had settled on a Honda CB500F but the damned bike with ABS is just not coming into the shops here. And I didn't like it that much anyway, it was more of a compromise "first bike."
So I went and sat on a BMW G650GS at a local BMW dealership. LOVED the bike. They quoted me $9k OTD which seemed reasonable, though not overly so. I came back to think it over and saw all sorts of reliability concerns and a general consensus that BMW quality control is shot.
Researching the BMW led to threads about the DR650SE and KLR650 and Wee-Strom 650. Of those only the Wee has ABS. The summary is:
1. Honda CB500F: Cheaper than my budget (less than $7k OTD), cheap to insure ($460/yr), sat on a non-ABS model and it was okay. Nothing great but okay.
2. BMW G650GS: Right on budget, cheap to insure, sat on one and it felt just right, LOVED the idea of it. But reports on the post-2009 bikes on the forums are TERRIBLE. Looks like I should exclude this on reliability grounds alone.
3. Wee-strom: Right on budget (will be less than $9k OTD), EXPENSIVE to insure ($780/yr), sat on one and it felt TALL - I was on tiptoes. Excluding this due to cost-of-insurance.
4. DR650SE: Under my budget, cheap to insure ($470/yr), no FI, tubes instead of tubeless, no ABS (!!), have NOT sat on it but like it on paper. Talked to someone who said they can do more than tiptoe it at a 5'9in height, so maybe it sags enough for me to mostly flat-foot it.
Options are to:
1. Wait indefinitely for the Honda. The last I heard was end of May, but then that has been a moving deadline since mid-April. I'm frustrated with the wait!
1.5 Buy the CBR5000R - the UGLY faired and clip-on'd version of the CB500F for $500 more - which I CAN get in the ABS version right now.
2. Buy the BMW and hope that all the problems that have plagued others will not affect me.
3. Give up the ABS and buy a DR650SE. In the process also give up FI, tubeless tires.
1. What do you think of the reliability and cost-of-ownership concerns of the BMW vs. the DR650SE?
2. But how easy is it to lock the front/rear wheel on a DR650SE? Does the longer wheelbase make locking and sliding on paved street less likely? I don't want to start an ABS debate - I have seen people are pretty passionate about that topic on forums - so I am wording this question very carefully.
3. What do you think of the street-safety of the BMW vs the DR650SE? Is a newbie rider more likely to crash one vs. the other?
4. Wildcard question: What would you have done if you were in my shoes?
|Today, 02:18 PM||#2|
Joined: Jul 2010
Well, I'll throw in my €0.02
I own a G650GS, bought brand new last October. Although I miss my old bikes, this one ticks all the boxes for me.
Its fast enough (I rarely go above 100 km/h, 60 mph, too many cops with radars going around, plus I don't like riding on highways), fairly comfortable as far as suspension goes, so stupidly easy to ride that I probably push it a bit more than I should, sips gas, plus it fits my 6'1" frame perfectly.
I did buy it when they knocked 20% off the price, so it jumped immediately to the top of my list, knocking off the new Strom, the Versys and what could have been a second Sportster in my hands.
I almost went for the Sertão, although I'm very glad I chose the regular version (with ABS, heated grips [best invention ever]). I ride it whenever I can, and in any weather as long as ice is not involved.
I've had no problems with it, and the dealer is pretty damn good as far as support goes, but then again, I'm on another country entirely.
I ride it to work, to errands and whenever I'm in the mood for light offroad duty, it does it effortlessly (well, as far as those tires allow it to).
For the record, my previous experience was with a CB500 (previous EU model), XR600R (loved it and was scared s***less of it at the same time), a 1200 Sportster and now this one.
|Today, 02:48 PM||#3|
Grumpy Young Man
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Spacecoaster FL
Wow! You cram a lot into a post. If you were just going solo, I'd suggest the DR, but it's not as good for 2up as the KLR650, G650GS, or the Wee. All of those bikes can seem a bit heavy to a noob though, with the BMW having a lower seat and COG than the others.
What's your weight and what are your wife's dimensions?
We're 5'8/200lb/30"inseam and 5'4"/petite/30"inseam, and the DR is do-able for us, but not very spacious at all if we have luggage. I lowered the rider pegs 1", the passenger pegs 2", and installed touring pegs on the skid. I also installed a Seat Concepts seat. The main issue left is that the seat isn't very long with a tankbag and a topcase installed. Phreaky Phil addressed this by making a longer seat, and rode the TAT 2up with his wife. He's 5'10, so he's roughly your size. Foregoing the tankbag would probably help.
All that said, the DR is the simplest and easiest to maintain. The BMW has the most power and best MPG. The KLR will probably be the easiest to find at a low price, new or used.
I wouldn't worry about ABS with a DR, although you may choose to upgrade the braking feel and power with a braided stainless hose or two. Larger rotors and various pads are also available. As for locking the brakes, the 367lb (curb) DR can be flung around like a mtn bike compared to most 500cc+ streetbikes. I purposely lock the brakes all the time and haven't dumped it because of that yet, as opposed to the many OTHER reasons that I dump it regularly in the dirt.
EFI is nice in some ways. It can be a bear to repair, even for dealer techs. BMW and Triumph have both confounded dealers at times. Single-carb thumpers aren't bad at all, IMO, to even fix in the middle of BFE with just a few simple spares. The DR's BST40 is simple. I don't even have to remove it from the bike to make adjustments if I swap exhausts. It fires up every morning without issue. So does my 4-carbed YX600. I rode that to work in Chicago winters even.
Regardless of what bike you choose, CONTINUE to develop your riding skills (counter-steering, stopping, looking where you want to go, etc.) and your attention to SEEing and BEing SEEN. Wear gear too...helmet, armored gloves, ankle-protective boots, chest/back/shoulder/elbow/forearm/knee/shin/kidney/hip/coccyx protection. A decent set of helmet, gloves, jacket, pants, and boots can cover most of that and be easy to get on/off. Carry a term life policy that's 10x your gross annual (as a replacement income for your family, that they can typically draw 8% from annually without depleting an annuity), and that your medical policy covers moto injuries.
Enough on all that. If you want simple to maintain, the DR is tough to beat. The KLR isn't far behind in that regard either. The BMW can be very reliable too, but if something DOES go wrong, it can be costly to correct, especially if you aren't repairing it yourself. Thinking now as a starter bike...As a starter bike, I'd go DR or even smaller. Ride as much dirt as you can, and learn how to handle the bike when traction gets kinda crazy. Save the long-distance 2up travel for after you've got several thousand miles of moto experience under your belt. By then, Honda should be shipping that CB500X with reliable and inexpensive ABS and EFI, and a Wee will seem pretty manageable on pavement.
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