F650 or V-Strom 650

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Vettel, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Vettel

    Vettel SuperDave

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    I have been reading both this, and the stromtrooper forums with regularity over the last 6 months or so. I am looking at getting either of these machines in the spring of this year, and would like your honest thoughts. Both bikes i am looking at would be ~2011. I used to own a CBR600, and rode Police bikes for the Army in a former life, so this will be the first in some years for me, but happen it shall.

    Points to note.
    I love the look of the BMW. Not many do, but i think it looks great especially in the SE colour scheme.

    The only off road this will see is if I am going into a ditch, so at that point, I shall be physically separated from the bike and not particularly care about its handling at that point...so basically, none at all hence the 800 is discounted for me.

    The alter ego, read wife, is not going to stand for huge servicing bills or problems without giving me the "I bloody told you so" stare....( i read about wheel bearings and cracked tanks etc...but believe these to be older issues. Tthere are others, not just this, as I am sure there is with any bike.

    I dont like the look of the Strom, it has hit every branch of the ugly tree in my book, but you do appear to be getting a lot more of a complete package or deal for the money...farkles and luggage included for around the same price as a bare 650GS. This is why I keep going back to it.

    The BMW dealer is just around the corner from me - 1km at the most, the Suzuki is 15km away.


    I cant help but feel that...with the strom, i would be dreaming of the BMW wishing it were one, and with the BMW, i would be dreaming of the Stroms running costs and reliability (the bike needs to be a daily 3 season rider for me).

    If it were you, and i appreciate the answers will be a little skewed here but hey, honestly and knowing what you know, would,you still go for the beemer?

    Thanks muchly.:D
    #1
  2. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    I've never owned either bike, and never ridden the F650, but if you scroll down to "Road Warriors" and find the thread...aww heck. here it is http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=851287 "the most boring bike you've ever ridden" Suzuki DL (both 1000 and 650) top the list. Reliable? Absolutely! Fun? Well...it is a motorcycle, but there's a lot more to riding than infrequent valve service, and you have to take the Strom in half to adjust the valves.

    Compared to the F650 ( I HAVE sat on one, just not ridden one) the DL is top heavy. A 5 mile test ride on the WeeStrom was enough for me
    #2
  3. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    I've owned both. Admitted one of the very old F650's.

    The F had a better turning circle, slightly better ground clearance and far more 'character' than the DL. The DL wins everywhere else I can think of.

    I currently own a DL and ride about twice the k's/year I did on the F. A lot of little reasons for that, but overall, the DL just works out easier to cover long distances on than the F.

    If you want the BMW though, buy it, motorcycles aren't about head, it's about heart.

    Pete
    #3
  4. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    We're not discussing the thumper here. The "very old" F650 was about 20 less HP than a DL, a little less torque, and a narrower seat.

    The modern twin, 800 cc "F650" puts out the same HP (approx) and more torque, starting earlier. It's power is very tractable and smoothe, and it's weight is carried lower.
    #4
  5. Cap'n Ron

    Cap'n Ron The Devil's Advocate

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    Really? :norton
    Maybe I've had one more shot of Tequila than permissible but.....
    Why not just buy the bike you like? :baldy

    Happy New Years! :1drink
    #5
  6. DandM

    DandM Long timer

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    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    Have ridden both bikes in question but have not owned either.

    That said, in the past I owned four BMW's. There is a reason some of us say BMW stands for "bring more wallet." Truth told they are great bikes and I enjoyed those I owned, but there came a point at which the arrogant corporate business model, lack of a dealer network, and the constant woman-like whining and complaining of the club members in my state made me disgusted with the marquee. So I washed my hands of it and moved on.

    Those things aside, I have since learned to do all of my own service and any repairs short of an engine tear-down. If you are mechanically inclined you can save a lot of $$ on maintenance and avoid the "told you so stare." (Your bride and mine are obviously 35th cousins by virtue of gender affiliation). :lol3

    Recently, I ran up on a wee-strom owner in north Alabama who had also owned BMW's and who had owned the strom and several other bikes, including a GS at the same time. He told us that after a while, the strom was the bike he went to every time he got a couple of hours to go ride. So he sold everything else and now just owns the one bike.

    Finally, I would observe that when it comes to viewing art, women, and motorcycles, both beauty, and ugly, are in the eyes of the beholder.

    Getting serious about the matter, my suggestion would be to sit on both bikes, ride both bikes, and buy the one that feels like a solid fit. You are going to be on the thing for hours on end, and the ergonomics are critical to enjoying the bike -- no matter who thinks it's beautiful and who thinks it's butt-ugly.

    My ramblings are probably no help on a firm decision, but FWIW, any motorcycle is better than no motorcycle.

    :thumb
    #7
  8. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    His comment is very valuable. I passed my driving licence on the 658GS and test rode the Wee when I passed the licence.

    They are both smooth and will take you where you want to be taken. I found compared to the 658GS the Wee felt top heavy and found it a bit too smooth. Like it has been said a bid of boring. It's like a Honda (XLV if you want). I missed the sound of the exhaust and the caracter from the 658GS but didn't miss at all the seat :lol3. Anyway since I hadn't had the bucks for a 658GS I went with the G650GS single, sold it 2 years later for the 800GS and I'm back on track :lol3. I almost went back to the 658GS but I really didn't like the look of it (but I like the look of the SE since it's basicly the same color scheme as the 800GS from 2008-2009) neither did I like the look of the Wee... still don't like it, especially the new one...

    Anyway I think if you want to keep a long term bike I'd go with the beemer since it's the one you wanted and you won't regret it because you listn'd to your heart. The Wee will take you anywhere since it's not a bad bike but you'll always regret the beemer and in a couple of years you'll change the wee for the beemer (at that point your wife will give you that look again :lol3).

    BTW I don't think BMW are so overpriced. My 800GS is cheaper than my 650GS single (I save like 40 bucks on every bill in comparison with the single :huh). The oil change is really simple to do and for the rest you have anything you need on this forum. Oh and since you'll take a 2011 you'll still have 2 years warrenty from BMW against 1 by Suzuki (correct me if I'm wrong).

    But since I'm a twin owner myself I need to warn you. If you want to spend some hours riding on the 658GS you'll need to buy a new windscreen (and NOT the BMW overpriced Touring screen) and a new seat (there you can take the BMW comfort seat :wink:). And that my friend is the start of the farkling fever... :cry
    #8
  9. larlec

    larlec Been here awhile

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    I've had 4 BMWs and sold my 1150GS and later bought an F650GS. I've had it for 3 years now (just off warranty) but have not put tons of miles on it for a variety of reasons. I did put lots of miles on my 1150 including a run to Guatemala from Colorado.

    The F650 is one of the nicest rides I've ever had - a bit underpowered on the highway but certainly acceptable. As a commuter it's a superb ride. I've probably spent $2.5k on farkles including rebuilding the seat, new windshield, engine guards, etc. but I could see spending that on the Wee as well.

    I love the F650 - when it's running right and there's the rub. BMW completely blew it on the fuel system set up and I've had the bike in at least 4 times for new injectors, fuel pump, cracked fuel tank and it still has some problems they do not seem to be able to work out with the engine dying when down shifing from time to time. Unfortunately I no longer trust the bike and the worst thing that can happen with a bike is to lose trust in it. Two or three times I've looked at Wees and should have pulled the trigger on a great deal last fall but was hesitant for a day and lost it. I hesitated because I just have too much money in the F650 and I really want it to work. I'm going to ride it this summer and if I can cure it's problems and regain trust I'll keep it, if not I'll probably pick up a Wee or look for an old 1150GS again or maybe a Moto Guzzi.

    I feel the Wee is a much less sophisticated bike and that's exactly why I'd buy it - the F650 and all the recent BMWs seem to be way over-engineered to the point of being somewhat fragile - they have a really hard time handling something as simple as 10% ethanol gas and are, at least for me, fairly difficult to work on. As for being boring, I've never been bored on a bike, even when crossing the plains or on other long runs with minimal external stimulation. I have, however, been really pissed when my F650 stalled and kept stalling and I have been bored when my bike was in the shop for weeks at a time while they replaced injectors and parts that could not handle the most common gas mix in North America. Just my experience, yous may vary completely.
    #9
  10. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    have you asked your dealer to remap the bike for poorer fuel?
    #10
  11. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    #11
  12. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now

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    Are you looking at the new bikes?

    My opinion on the F658 is that it's the same quality as the Vstrom but higher priced, minus a brake rotor. :dunno why they did that I don't know. The rotor for me is a deal killer, since there doesn't even seem like a reasonable way to add a caliper & rotor to the other side.

    The F700 seems like a BMW Vstrom to me. I only like the looks of the 800 Beemers when they're loaded up with luggage, shod with knobs and covered in mud. As street bikes.... Meh.

    I think the new Vstroms have come a long way in the looks department, but I don't think the old ones look bad. Having test ridden the F800GS and then ridden the same roads on my Weestrom, I was underwhelmed at the BMW, and felt the BMW had a vague steering and buzzy motor when compared to the Suzuki.

    If you're running on looks alone, buy what moves you.

    Me, if I had to buy a new bike today, it would be either the new 650 V-Strom or one of the 800cc Tigers.
    #12
  13. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    It is a difficult choice. I had the same decision in 2010.

    the recommendation to get on an ride both is the best. By the one that makes you smile the most.

    when i was looking, the dealer let me take a WeStrom for a good test ride...over 1hr up mountain twisties. I was satisfied with the bike. It had abs which is very important to me.

    I then took a bmw F650GS twin on a similar ride. The BMW is lighter, a bit faster and handles the twisties a bit better.

    while i do a lot of dirt roads I do not really go off road, I believe the BMW would be slightly better off road

    The WeStrom was about $2k cheaper and may be more reliable over the long term.

    There are quite a few farkles available for the Westrom,, there are a huge amount available for the BMW.

    In the end I bought the BMW and am VERY happy with it. I have over 32K miles now, just changed the chain and a new set of plugs last fall. No other repairs but tires (about 10k miles a set). Likely new front brake pad this coming summer.

    Have fun chosing
    #13
  14. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    Back when I was on beemers and hung out at the Chain Gang site, the fuel injected 650's came along and for a while there seemed to be a huge problem with the FI mapping and engine stalling. IIRC one of the inmates stumbled on a fix that amounted to a different length spark plug, i.e., a slightly longer plug did the trick for a bunch of them. No more stalling, smooth power.

    Maybe that's useful info to you and maybe not, but FWIW there 'tis.

    Do a google for Chain Gang F650 and you'll find the site.
    #14
  15. Vettel

    Vettel SuperDave

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    Very may thanks all. You have given me some good ideas. I will ride both, but the BMW looks like its ahead. I will let you know what i chose when the snow melts!
    #15
  16. Vettel

    Vettel SuperDave

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    #16
  17. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Thumpers - OFF TOPIC
    These are the BMW parallel twins being discussed
    #17
  18. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    Whoops! Sorry. I forgot about the changes in the model line.
    #18
  19. Vettel

    Vettel SuperDave

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    In answer to some of the comments here, i have looked at the F700 as well, and love it. Hard to justify $15k on one by the time delivery and taxes are done, hence a year or two old f650 or strom.

    The 2012 F650GS special edition ex demos around here are costing the same, ok $300 less than a non-farkled (is that even a term?) F700. Frankly, i was surprised at that. I know the SE has some bits from the factory, but its last years model, with 5K km on it. Hey ho. If i could find a 2011 SE, theres a question - did they make them in the 2010-11 years?, then that would likely be the best result for me.

    The KLR, which a lot of people rave about for a cheap bike is too off-road orientated for me. I live in a major metropolitan area and logging roads....actually its Montreal, the roads suck, but anyway, it not for me.

    Decisions decisions...
    #19
  20. larlec

    larlec Been here awhile

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    You should also take a look at the review of the 2012 DL650 review in the May 2012 issue of Motorcycle Consumer News, a magazine I highly regard. They gave it about as high a rating as a bike could get. You should be able to find it on-line.
    #20