F650GS for Long rides

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by kabulpostie, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. kabulpostie

    kabulpostie Been here awhile

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    Hello All,
    Thanks to this forum and Long Way Round I have decided to just say screw it and take a long trip on a bike, minimal planning etc. Basically I'll be going for Yuma, AZ to North Idaho and back. I am a returning rider and my current bike is a Ducati Monster S2R1000, while I could use that I'm pretty sure more comfortable options are available.
    Hence my interest in the F650GS. My only concern is it's ability on the freeway. Is it capable of long sustained speeds 75-85 without too much discomfort?
    I am interested in this particular model for several reason please let me know if am missing anything or have grievous misconceptions.
    1. the F650GS is cheaper due to the unfortunate marketing name of "650"
    2. I'm short so this bike will be easier to deal with (I would love a decked out F800 but in all reality I would never use it to anything like its full capability)
    3. From what I can tell from this forum it's reliable
    4. 95% of my riding will be tarmac with the occasional gravel road for short distances (pains me to admit this since after a 6 hour session of Long Way Round I have visions of riding through Mongolia:)
    5. Has the capability for storage so it can be my daily transportation and still practical.

    Can someone help me out here and either talk me into it or out of it? Just looking for some info from experienced folk who are not currently in my "gotta get bike and go" frenzy:)

    Thanks all
    #1
  2. dlandsberger

    dlandsberger n00b

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    Do it!
    I'm 5'8" and I bought the F650 for EXACTLY the reasons you list. I do mostly paved riding, like to take a couple long trips per year -- and want a lower light bike that I can easily handle.
    Three caveats -- buy good luggage -- I have the TRAX boxes -- good panniers make the trip -- do NOT overload a rear box -- keep the weight low.
    Buy a good windscreen if you are on the interstate. Buy a comfortable seat -- the stock seat is a torturre device. I'm partial to Corbin seats -- but there is tons of advice on different seats for everyone. The bike will cruise all day with no problem
    #2
  3. GH41

    GH41 Been here awhile

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    Are you keeping the Duc? Your Duc and the 650 weigh almost the same. Will you miss the additional HP? The more upright seating position on the 650 will be no fun all day long on the interstate at 85 mph. To bad you are so far away. I have a like new 2012 650 that back issues are forcing me off of. GH
    #3
  4. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Ok,you asked....I just got back from a weeklong trip to WV from 2 hours east of Toronto. It was my first long trip on my GS,as in more than one night. 2003 F 650 GS. One 36 litre Givi top box,2 21 litre side bags,1 approx30/40 litre " marine" type bag.

    The marine bag has a hard type bottom on it and carried my bulky items,tent,sleeping pad,pillow,sleeping bag,poles,and a few smaller items like first aid kit, microfibres towel, ect,ect. The bag has 4 rings for attachment and it was very,very easy to attach the bag quickly and remove as well. The GS is not short of attachment points for various items.

    I mounted the bag on the passenger seat behind me as I am a short,lighter rider and am always careful to keep weight low and centre on a bike. 5"4 tall with short inseam.

    I keep the top box as light as possible. The heavy things go into the very bottom and towards the front of the side bags. I usually run 41 litre side bags,but using the marine bag it very handy and frees up my side cases so that's why I was able to take my smaller 21s.

    The seat was a effing killer. Absolutely horrible. So painful and uncomfortable, I eventually just started riding leaned slightly forward and rested my feet on the luggage rails so get the weight off the sitz bones. Agony,agony,agony. I already had an Alaskan sheep pad on the seat and had to put my REI inflatable seat pad underneath the sheepad,I couldn't hardly touch then but,fuck it, I had to do something. It didn't help that much, I'm. Afraid.

    The throttle was very,very tight to hold open on the highway,exhausting. It needs to be addressed before my next trip. I do have a throttle lock that doesn't work that well. The wind seemed to hit my upper body pretty squarely,I have the Dakar windscreen on the bike.

    The bike seems to want to cruise at 100 kilometres an hour. That's where the sweet spot seems to be. When I would go faster,110/115/120 the bike just sounded and felt so " busy" the vibrations weren't awful but not the most relaxing experience.

    I hated it in the mountains of WV. A lot of work up and down the gears, and it seemed so twitchy trying to carry speed through the corners,ANY steering input and she would be running just a little offline. I didn't find it confidence inspiring to say the least.

    Tires are Torrance's,coming towards the end of their life,that may have been a factor but I don't think so.

    The sitting upright position I am trying to come to terms with, I am sure it's comfortable but I have yet to find that right position. Although, interestingly enough, when I put the air pad under the sheep pad,it changed my position slightly and I was more comfortable with my wrists and throttle hand.

    I do find the seat kinda pushes you forward though.

    My riding is almost all pavement with a few gravel roads,nothing to gnarly, I am not that great of a dirt rider.

    The positive.....killer fuel mileage. My light would come on at like 400 kilometres. I was able to eke out almost 430 k on a tank( I DID have to coast down a mountain to the gas station....) but still......very cheap to run. And I pay 332 bucks a year for insurance.

    After I bitched to a riding friend about the bike,he asked if I was going to sell it. Nope, I am going to hang in with it for the rest of the season,I want to really give the bike a fair shake. I am going to address the seat issue and I already have a set of lowering links for it.

    And,for disclosure purposes,my weapon of choice for touring for the last 4 years has been the Hayabusa. I am on my 3rd Busa now and it is an absolutely brilliant sport touring bike. The seat is incredibly comfortable,the inline four is powerful and smooth,the gearbox is butter. BTW, the BMW gearbox....ugh....clunky, but it gets the job done.

    The Busa is usually kitted up with a 55 top box,2 41 side cases and that is plenty for what I need. I only camp and carry all my food and water,clothes,utilities ect,ect. For reference, I rode the Busa to Alaska and back last year, including the 350 k top of the world hwy,all gravel. Never a mechanical issue and handled the gravel with aplomb.just.....slowly. Sport touring tires on her.

    I bought the BMW because I thought I would be ├╝ber gnarly adventurer but I have figured out that I am not much of a dirt road rider,maybe that will change when the bike is lowered,and frankly, I am going through a riding identity crisis.

    I have taken the Busa off the road for the summer but may be forced to bring her out for my trip down the the gap/ BRP.

    Oh, another thing I liked about the Beemer was the tight turning radius, super easy while my Busa goes into full lock quickly. I do find pushing the Beemer around harder because its higher and I can't wedge my knee into the side fairing to help push, like I do on the Busa. I have the small light ballistic battery in the Beemer for weight savings.

    Oh, and if you have to boost the Beemer,fuck, 6 screws ,take the seat off,pry the 3 false tank panels apart,what a friggin pain in the ass. And then reassemble everything. Not like just popping the seat off and presto,there is the battery,simple,simple simple.

    So, I am hoping,with a few tweaks to the Beemer ,it will be a more comfortable mount. It will always be a 650 thumper though, and I still have to come to terms with that. Just don't be in a hurry to get anywhere.

    Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.......
    #4
  5. kabulpostie

    kabulpostie Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the information guys. I am going to take a test ride this weekend. There is a really good deal on one that the PO decided to paint..so resale is a bit lower, so I figure I'll give it a shot. I'm keeping the Duc, and it's really not all that powerful (my first bike was a CBR 600 and it felt way scarier than the Duc does), so it'll be interesting to see the difference. More power would be nice, but then things get heavier and more a pain in the butt etc. I'm planning on staying in motels for my trip (I know not a real tour or adventure but I can't afford to buy gear and the bike and all the other crap I'll need).
    I'm really hoping I like the bike, I'm set on doing this South to North and back again trip and I only have about a month before I'll be leaving..so not a lot of time to figure things out.
    Once again thanks for the input it has been very helpful.
    Oh, as a money saver I am considering ammo can panniers if I end up with a bike soon..will I pulled over and beaten by an angry mob of BMW riders for such a fashion faux pas? I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around $1,000+ for some panniers, maybe I'll look into soft bags..
    #5
  6. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    I considered ammo panniers but discarded that idea because they are very heavy. If weight is an issue, expandable soft bags will work, thats what I used until I had the money for hard bags. Just be sure to take some medium plastic kitchen garbage bags in case of rain, the provided bag covers never stay on.

    You should be able to pick up a used set off craigslist on a bike forum somewhere. Ditto for gear, did I read that you didnt have money for gear? Buy used overpants, used gloves but a new helmet and not one that costs 69.99. Thats also what I didi in the beginning, just bought used everything.
    #6
  7. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    Location:
    Western Vermont
    The F650GS can easily do it.

    On the way to Alaska and back to Vermont we cruised 85+ all day for several days. Did several 500 mile days. When boredom set in we did a few runs to 100 mph just for variety. My riding buddies have a R1200RT and a R1200GSA.

    Doing fast , long days, in the wind is tiring on the body. I recommend a good windshield ( i have aeroflow) and a cruise controll ( I have throttlemiester).

    85mph is 5 k rpm. did not burn a drop of oil. 35k miles on the bike now.

    have fun
    #7
  8. redxblack

    redxblack Adventurer

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    Location:
    Akron
    Hello - Brand new here, but this thread looks like a similar issue to what I'm having.

    I'm on my 2nd Ducati Monster (a 2000 m900ie) and considering selling it to purchase a 650GS. I know there's a hp drop that's fairly significant between the two and I'm good with that. I miss my old m750, which is closer to the same range as this machine. I took a ride on the 2012 at the dealer and it felt really right, but out of my budget. I have a line on an older (2003) single and have no first hand experience at all. In fact, I haven't ridden a single since I was 12. This will be the only bike in my garage, so I don't want to get this wrong.

    I'd be riding mostly tarmac and gravel right now, but hope to get off road next season.
    #8
  9. mustardfj40

    mustardfj40 Been here awhile

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    That's a F650GS single cylinder you were talking about? The F650GS Twin is a different animal.

    Rode my 2012 F650GS Twin from San Francisco Bay Area to New York City, then took Blue Ridge Parkway down to Atlanta, GA. Total milage was around 5000 miles last Summer, planned to ride to Alaska this year but got a new job...
    #9
  10. malloy

    malloy Been here awhile

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    5800 miles & 17 days to Texas and back solo, fully kitted for camping, rain and snow for fun. Absolutely no problems, no oil added. :clap Cruise @ 80 mph all day. 47 mpg average - 39 mpg low, 60 mpg high.
    #10
  11. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Yes,the single NOT the twin. The seat sucks big time. Just got a air hawk today. It pushes me into the tank and I could feel my pants starting to twist around my thighs. With very little to no air as recommended by manufacturer.
    #11
  12. bmwgrrl

    bmwgrrl Can't see me...can't stop me

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    A2, Chicago
    I have a fully kitted 2005 F650. Jesse's, hepco top, Sargent seat (beadriders keep the air flowing and the water draining) throttlemeister, HID's, hwy pegs on the crashbars, Dakar shield with a Wunderlich adjustable thingy on top (best accessory I ever bought for my crapped up neck). TKC 80's because if there's a road less travelled, I will take that.

    Love the mileage, love the versatility, and properly loaded, I don't get blown around. Best bike, and I'll never sell it[​IMG]
    #12
  13. dr_54

    dr_54 n00b

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    I recently found a 2010 650gs twin and promptly rode it 700 miles one way to a friend's house in TN. It does have a Corbin and aftermarket screen but no handguards or highway pegs. It was very comfortable and on the return trip I made the trip in one day, including a couple hours of driving rain.

    I bought it for many of the same reasons, and I got a good deal besides. At highway speeds (70-75 mph) I was getting mid 50s mpg. On our side trip to rt 129, I was getting close to 70 mpg. I thought the fuel gauge was stuck.

    Planning on Oregon next week. I've travelled by RT, FLHT, and Concours and this is one of the best.
    #13
  14. flatland964

    flatland964 Been here awhile

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    In my experience, everything you say about the 650GS twin is true. I have been on several week-long or more trips on mine. It has been dead-on reliable and routinely gets close to 60mpg. My fuel light comes at around 180 miles. For me, it has very comfortable ergonomics and it is a very natural riding bike - nuetral steering, etc. It also has great low-end torque and fueling.

    On the other hand, I personally couldn't ride down the block on the stock seat and swapped that out as fast as I could. I have the Corbin and it is very comfortable for riding all day, but be aware that its width makes the bike feel taller.

    These bikes have occasionally had some minor rough running and stalling issues which have been attributed by some to the effects of ethanol. I had some of that early on, but have eliminated it with the occasional use of Techron. I also use premium gas, even though it runs on regular. That's probably unnecessary but, some brands have more detergents in the premium, and the like uses so little gas it makes little difference to me in cost. Anyway, haven't had that issue in a few years now.

    If you get an early model, there were also some recalls you want to make sure were done.
    #14
  15. Agcountry

    Agcountry Adventurer

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    Monterey, CA
    I ride mine regularly to Nevada. About 600 miles round trip Cruising 75-80 on the freeway. Great mileage, reliability. Have wolfman soft luggage. Get it, you won't be disappointed.
    #15
  16. Geoffster

    Geoffster Fool - Born This Way

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    Over the years I've had sixteen bikes, and eight have been BMWs.

    I'm hanging onto my RT for long distance rides in the winter. And its cruise control.

    But my F700 is my favorite of the sixteen. I've hardly ridden my RT since I bought my 700.
    #16
  17. Manventure

    Manventure Been here awhile

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    Just rode my 09 650gs from Seattle to Reno and back over a long weekend and would do it again in a second. Highway pegs on your crashbars will help and keeping the rpms somewhere between 3500 and 3900 will keep the numbing vibrations to a minimum but I love the bike and would do it again in a second.

    P.S. I am a small guy as well and bought this bike specifically for that reason. Would never sell it.
    #17
  18. somejuan

    somejuan Adventurer

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    May 14, 2008
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    New Zealand
    Get one mate you'll be impressed. I've had my 650GS twin for four years now and clocked up over 50K on both sealed and gravel roads - only unexpected issues I've had were the steering head and rear wheel bearings flogging out a bit early. I go away once a year for a couple of weeks at a time and have found that soft bag option works for me.

    Just be aware that for some sitting on the F650GS stock seat is comparable to riding a bit of 4x2 - I had my set modified by an auto upholsterer for $70 who exchanged the foam insert for me ..sweet as now.

    Enjoy .....
    #18
  19. nokiaj

    nokiaj n00b

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    Dallas, Tx
    :rayof Love my '09 F650 GS - Added stock tall windshield, luggage, a soft tail bag for my sunglasses, purse, camera and a can of windshield cleaner. I also purchased a custom seat from www.renazco.com/. http://scottyb.smugmug.com/Other/201208/25205603_bQ2BnF#!i=2069126213&k=CtwDh75&lb=1&s=A

    I've ridden all over Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico & Colorado....The only complaint I would consider is the long stretch of boring highway - when my seat gets really tired...Otherwise, my bike is a dream!

    Not sure if the link above works....:babe
    #19
  20. macbethandbanquo

    macbethandbanquo Been here awhile

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    Watched this thread closely as I was considering WHICH GS to buy. This week I brought home a brand new 2012 DeWalt color.....my favorite, F650GS (Twin)

    First ride home was 84 miles, and boy were they FUN!! Really light and nimble, very little vibration. The stock seat and suspension must have been made with me in mind....I'm 185lbs and it feels fine. (of course, I have less than 200 miles on it now and will know better later for longer trips.)

    My only complaint was that I thought the sidestand foot was a little small and didn't want to hunting a beer can when I parked at my favorite restaurants in the country, so I ordered the $50 FAT FOOT by Kildala and it's on its way.

    The other complaint was that I was looking over the bike when I got it home, and found that 2 or 3 radiator fins had been bent by something I apparently hit on way home....AND that there were 2 tiny gouges in the oil cooler and a small dent in the oil filter, with a little dirt on it as if something flipped up and nicked it. Damn!

    So I ordered a Kildala radiator guard today from Nick. That should cure the radiator getting bent fins.

    And, I will have to save a litte cash and order the Moto bash plate from Canada, since the bottom needs more protection. Also, I'm a little disappointed that the 2012 model does not come with the bash plate mounts and I have to also buy those at $47.25 before I can put a plate on.

    So, all in all, after I spend another $500, I'll have it well protected.
    But.....I LOVE the bike, and expect to have great fun on it. So far, it's getting 60mpg and I'm stunned. (But I'm taking it careful the first 300 miles)

    Mine came with a high windshield and it works well. Also the ABS and the computer. Not really needed but nice to have. And, for the first time in about 50 years of riding, I'm finally having heated grips. Not bad!
    #20