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Old 05-14-2012, 01:05 PM   #46
sieg
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Man, you said it better than anyone so true. +1.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:03 PM   #47
rageabout
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As much as one can define the requirements of their ride, mine boils down to something like this: I can pull out of my driveway in Albuquerque and be at the top of Engineer Pass CO or on White Rim Trail UT the next day. On the same bike. Today that bike is a BMW 1997 F650 ST and it does a decent job.On the road its too light, off road too heavy.


When the 800 came out, I was smitten. It was beautiful, and seemed the answer to my need for more power and a more dirt worthy bike with not much extra weight. And a gorgeous bike it is, in every color. I REALLY wanted it to be my next bike.

A riding buddy who owned one offered me a day ride on it. So I spent an entire day on the bike. On the highway, its head and shoulders above my 650. But I noticed one important distinction. At slow speed, its noticeably less stable. And the turning radius is noticeably larger which equates to two disadvantages off road. Less stable on slow, rough terrain and tight switchbacks. In the hands of a better rider, this bike may be a great bike. As much as I wanted this to be the bike, it has forced me to look at its bastard stepchild, the 650 twin. I haven’t test ridden one yet but it appears to be set up much like my bike. As others have said, it is not the looker of the 800. But the new yellow/black looks sweet. If the test ride confirms what I suspect, the 650 twin will be my next bike.
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:02 PM   #48
GH41
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Did you ever make up your mind Borv?? GH
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:17 PM   #49
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It will be the 650. But it looks like I will have to wait due to cash problems
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:34 AM   #50
Jon_PDX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyoma View Post
Ahhh, the eternal debate on the F800 and F650.

I own a 2010 F650 and this is my take:

It's all marketing forces at work here. Yes, the F800 has better suspensions and a double disc upfront and is more 'off road' and some say 'bigger’. The deal is this: both are essentially the same bike. The suspensions on the F800 are better on paper, but not that much. The 650 brakes just as nicely with its single disc. The F800 is taller, but not bigger. Both have identical engines, but tuned slightly differently. The 800 has a little more horsepower at higher revs, but it sacrifices for some smoothness below 4k. The 650 runs smoother below 4k rpm.

The 650 is an underrated bike in BMW's lineup, just like the F800R and the R1200R. The 800 will always sell better because it is marketed as an 'OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE' motorcycle. The double disc, the suspensions, and the 21" spook rims give it more cred. The specs are better on paper, but the improvements isn't that huge in real riding. The 650 is marketed as a 'novice' motorcycle and targeted at women. This is all marketing talk and far from the truth. The 650 is, simply put, a very competent road machine which most people will enjoy riding. The 800 is also basically a road bike, but dressed up as off road. Both are too heavy for any real off-road. One will have more enjoyment doing that on a 650 single.

Now, the biggest advantage the 800 has over the 650 is the looks. Personally, I believe 90% of the riders choose the 800 over the 650 simply because it looks better. I doubt most of them buy it for any real off-road capabilities although few will admit to that. BMW has deliberately under-designed the 650 for strategic reasons. In stock form, it does not have the beak extender, the 2 panels at the side and comes in simpler and less exciting single tone colours. It certainly looks like a plain jane beside the 800.

Both are equally good motorcycles because they are essentially the same. Get the 800 if you want a better looking motorcycle and desire more 'off road cred' among peers. But if one isn't too concerned about others’ opinions or how pretty the machine is. If one just wants to ride a good motorcycle; the 650 is plenty enough. He won't be shortchanged.
Hyoma,

That was a excellent post Hyoma

I'll add that when I bought my 650 last week the salesman made a comment about keeping a few 650's in stock because BMW wants them to.

I don't remember his exact words but I got the impression if they had a choice they would only stock the 800 and special order the 650's when someone wanted one. Not because he does not like the 650, but because there was more demand for the 800 over the 650.

Jon...
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:38 PM   #51
dinsdale
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Hyoma's post was excellent.
I have a 1200 GS and my wife got the yellow 650 a couple of weeks ago.
I got to break it in, as she has a broken finger at the moment. I love this bike. In my opinion it is a wonderful all rounder, unless you spend most of your time off road, which most of us don't.
Real world performance is exemplary and Hyoma's comment re. the marketing is true; it doesn't do the bike justice.
My comments are based on 50 years of riding and in excess of 40 bikes;
dirt, sport, race, adventure included.
There will be marital strife in the future, over who gets to ride this delightful machine.....
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:28 AM   #52
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GH, it became a Transalp 600 '94 this time, the GS will have to wait. I bought the TA cheap for cash, and that was the only way I would get a bike at the moment, didn't want to borrow money again for MC living!

The TA is great shape, only had 34k km (now it has 37!) and I will take for a 3 week spin next week the length of Norway.

In a few years I will get a GS, when cash is in hand.
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Old 07-17-2012, 03:27 AM   #53
y2blade
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Interesting reading :-)

I'm looking at the 800GS but tbh also now looking at the F650GS SE
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:33 AM   #54
itsatdm
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Just to clear up a few misconceptions. The F800gs makes more absolute hp AND torque than the F650 twin. 14hp is more than just a little, its 16+%. Same for the suspension travel. What you feel is where it makes that power in the rpm range. The little twin does it at lower rpms.

The new version 700 makes more HP and torque, but at a higher rpm than the older version. They had to change the cam profiles to do that. So some of that smoothness at low rpm may have disappeared.

Off road the f800gs gets ponderous trying to ride it slowly in tight conditions. Lowering the weight 2 inches lessons that. A smaller radius front wheel will always turn sharper and it reduces trail in the process which makes it easier to turn.

My opinion is the F800gs suspension is not as good as it looks. If you can live with less travel, it is a whole lot cheaper to fix damping rod suspension vs replacing cartridges in the F800gs.
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itsatdm screwed with this post 07-17-2012 at 11:11 AM
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:54 AM   #55
EddieMac
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I have a 2010 650gs and love it. I'm a street rider and have put about 23k miles on it so far. I've test ridden a 800gs and I think the 650gs handles better because of the size of the front tire (19" on the 650 vs 21" on the 800).

The only mechanical issue is that the valve gasket seal has to be replaced every 12k-16k miles, otherwise it gradually starts to ooze and will eventually make a mess. My mech says the 800 has the same issue.
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