F800GS or large thumper like XR650L ?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Inniswhe, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Inniswhe

    Inniswhe Been here awhile

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    I am looking for opinions of those that went to the F8gs from larger GS's and use their bikes off road quite a bit.

    I have a r1150gs that works great and is a joy on the highway but really to heavy for anything rougher than decent fire roads, it hates mud even with the heidenau scout tires.
    I find myself preferring dirt more and more so I am looking at either a f8gs or xr650l. If I go with the bmw I sell the 1150 as I am confident that the f8 will cover pavement duty but wonder how much better it will be on fire roads and occasional slow single track, is there any point in that move ?

    How much better would the XR be ? Problem with the honda is it will probably suck on the pavement so I won't want to take it on any longer trips camping where I get into the better logging roads etc.
    I used to have a transalp that was a pretty good all around bike but still lacked off road, due to weight and pavement suspension. The f8gs is about the same weight as that bike so I wonder if the f8 is any better offroad with modern suspension ?

    So do I try to get that elusive all around bike that does not seem to exist or have two bikes that each have their place and frustrate you on every ride where you mix both on and of pavement?




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  2. SlowRide13

    SlowRide13 Veteran n00b

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    I find I need two bikes, if for no other reason, to have DOT knobbies on one and K60s (or comparable) on the other. But if I had to have only one bike, it would be the F8.

    (from a XRR and XRL rider from way back)
    #2
  3. Motoriley

    Motoriley Even my posing is virtual

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    I'm guessing if you thought the Transalp was not up to it you won't like the F800gs off road. :D She is a big girl. Better than the 1150 for sure. I find mine ok off the road and great on the road and that is my compromise. You might find a KTM690 a better fit. No perfect dual sport yet! You could check some of the vids in my signature line to see where I like to go since everyone's idea of off road is different!
    #3
  4. Kiwi Tinkerer

    Kiwi Tinkerer Ross

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    I have had a bunch of bikes. Original f560 funduro and then Aprilia pegaso.
    OK in gravel and good on the road.
    Then got an r1200gs which I found too intimidating for dirt.

    So sold that and got a BMW G650 x-challenge. Fantastic.
    Very competent off road. closest bike to it is KTM 690. I love dirt. Took it in mud and dirt and learned how to ride off-road.
    And I regularly toured on it. Just needs a better seat and a little extra gas for touring.

    had a mate with DR650. the xchallenge has much better, modern, suspension and brakes and more power.

    Thoroughly recomend it.

    Now I have f800gs, purely so I can take my wife on the back. Great in the gravel. less power than the old 1200.
    I do not expect to be taking it the places I took my xchallenge.
    Good luck.
    #4
  5. Inniswhe

    Inniswhe Been here awhile

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    motoriley,
    I watched several of your videos great entertainment. We ride a little tamer but similar trails(less the sand pit) to your crew so I really appreciate your input.You guys have all of the bikes I have been considering except the x challenge which kiwi mentioned in hits post.
    The more I look back on the transalp, I still really liked the bike in many ways just felt a better suspension was needed.I am 6'3",230 . Its been a while but I guess it was quite a bit lighter feeling than the heavy 1150. A friend still has one so maybe I will give it a ruin to refresh my memory off road.
    One of the biggest problems I find as a big guy is that every bike feels to small and cramped until modified for fit so test rides at just a way to get an idea if there is potential
    Actually I wasn't going to consider the f8 until I saw some of your videos and it appeared that the f8 faired about the same as the dr
    and xr .
    Do you give up much going to the f8 over the dr/ xr offroad ? It seems you have spent some time on all of these.

    Like you I think I want that decent highway ride. I live in PEI so any tougher ie fun single track is at least a couple hours away in N.B.

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  6. CheckerdD

    CheckerdD Long timer

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    I currently 1200 GS and an 800. I skipped the oilhead era, but have owned R100 and R80 GS's. And one KLX650. The 800 off road is comprabible or slightly better than the the airheads. If that helps. If your going to ride 700 miles to Utah and do the White Rim trail, it's great. If your going to your favorite OHV park near home it's not going to be fun, I mean it can do it, but it's work not play. It is quite a bit better than the 1150, but it's a difference in degree, not a different catagory. You can improve the 800 if you tweak some things like rims, crash bars, and risers, but it will never beat a real off pavement single, off pavement. So it comes down to whether you would be happy with some improvement, or a bike to take with you in the back of a pickup. Dave
    #6
  7. Bayner

    Bayner Long timer

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    An XRL isn't really that bad on the road. A new tank, jetting and exhaust and it can hold it's own. It's certainly better on rough ground. If you're talking multi-week/month touring, I'd go with the F800. If you're thinking long weekends out and about, get some saddle time on the Honda - you may be surprised. (I think there's a good reason it hasn't changed much in 20 years!) I always thought the biggest downside to the Honda was the seat height, but at 6-3 it's not a problem for you.
    #7
  8. biodieselandon

    biodieselandon Been here awhile

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    I've watched all of your videos on youtube they are very entertaining.
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  9. Motoriley

    Motoriley Even my posing is virtual

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    Glad you liked the videos. Since you are a tall guy you should really try to find an HP2 to take a spin on. Fantastic dual sport for you stretched out boys! A little rough around the edges compared to a 1200GS or 800GS on the road but sweet in the dirt. The 800 is a lot less of a handful if you are big as well. The smaller bikes are certainly more capable than the F800 in the gnarly stuff but I find them cramped and I'm only 5'10" 220lbs. I did find the KLR roomier than the XR/DR and I've owned 2 of those and done a few cross Canada runs on them and they were OK on the highway. Did a 1200km day on a KLR once, worst part is all that pain is that I ended up in Winnipeg...I digress. I also have gotten used to having 80 horsepower and find the thumpers pretty anemic. Kind of a rambling response....



    #9
  10. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    I can ride my DR650 all day anywhere, be it super slab or 2 track. Believe it or not, with OEM gearing on both F8 and DR, the DR engine is more relaxed at speed on the slab.
    :dunno
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  11. Avner

    Avner Not noob anymore

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    I agree with CheckerdD and many of the others here. I had a used 1200 that I abused off-road until I realized I'm really working and not having much fun wrestling it in dual-sport events. I sold it and got the Sertao in June of this year. I had tons of fun with it off-road and as a daily commuter, but it was no fun at all on long slab days. 5,000 miles later I traded it in for the 800 I got last week, and I already know that I'm set with it for a long time. HOWEVER, it will not be my first choice to go play in the mud with the 250cc bikes like I did with the Sertao. It will be my only choice because I have only one bike.

    The bottom line is that you really need two bikes to fully enjoy each spectrum (hard-core dirt and long days on the slab), but the 800 seems to be positioned right in the middle - perfect for going cross-country packed with all of your gear, and depending on your skill level - play in the mud and get you back home with a big smile :D
    #11
  12. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

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    I can say the same with the Husky.
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  13. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    Why hello John Gil.
    :1drink
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  14. Avner

    Avner Not noob anymore

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    My problem with it (other than being spoiled) is that when I ride with full panniers and camping gear at 65-80mph on the 650 it is hard to stay ahead/between traffic pockets, and you are really "working it" plus being blown from side to side with wind-gusts and 18 wheeler. I've done it many times - yes, but I rather be on the 800 on long slab days.
    #14
  15. TowPro

    TowPro Lets ride

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    I agree with those that say you really need (at least) 2 bikes. :deal

    I grew up riding off road for 38 years. I still ride off road (some).
    I had an xr650L and a Buell Ulysses , sold the Buell and bought my F800.
    The XR650L can be a more capable off road bike then the F800. But if your only riding stone/dirt roads, the F800 can do everything the XR can (accept mud, but that is because you can get better tire selection for the XR).


    I ended up selling the XR650 and buying a slightly used Husky TE250. The Husky is a much better dirt bike then the XR650 would ever be, plus its street legal.

    But since we are allowed to all have our own personal opinions,I refuse to take my BMW somewhere that I can do major damage to it, while I would never think twice taking the XR or Husky into that same situation.
    I figure why beat up my BMW trying to do something it's not really designed to do. Kind of like using a hammer to loosen a bolt when you know you have the right tool in your box.
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  16. biodieselandon

    biodieselandon Been here awhile

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    The Sertao is a good option. I think the G650GS is a pretty good road bike. I rode mine (not a Sertao) back and forth between San Jose, CA and Spokane, WA several times, a few of those times in a straight iron butt shot. I pretty much accepted it wasn't very good in the dirt and I should have got the Sertao, but I traded for the F8 instead and I couldn't be happier.

    The nice thing about medium to big bikes in the dirt is it really helps develop your skill. When I ride a small thumper or a 2 stroke now it feels like I am just floating around.
    #16
  17. 8thdwarf

    8thdwarf perfect,just perfect

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    I have a '98 XR650L and took it on a 4k mile loop up the CA cost to Seattle, then to Yellowstone NP to the CD trail. that was in 2011. It's loves the desert. California city, jawbone area, death Valley... it's in it's element. while on the slightly heavy side, IMO, for chasing dirt squrrles, it is a blast. super reliable, easy for 90% of repairs, engine has been unchanged for eons. That being said, if you do a lot of pavement riding, I'm doing more pavement than dirt lately, it is close to it's envelope. getting from point A to point B on the pavement can feel like you've been holding on to a blender full of ice . 65 to 70 mph is it's top cuzing speed, any more throttle the BRP (big red pig) just makes more noise. top speed is 95 on a good day, in a tuck with wind at your back. I bought a 2010 F800GS and took pretty much the same trip except hitting Glacier NP and no Continental divide route, in 2012 and found the 2010 F800GS is WAY more highway friendly, it loves the pavement. cuzes at 80 with out missing a beat, and VERY smooth. run it up to 100 and it can hum there all day long...Canyon cruzing and freeway flying? loves them both and makes both fun. Fire roads? OH YA!!! WOO-HOO!!! it can dance in the dirt, but take it on a single track and it will start to become work. it's like dancing with a big lady... you have to coax and conjole and finesse rather than power through stuff. and picking the F800 up is a after an oops is a BITCH...tipping the scales at 460LB + gear can be interesting on the side of a hill. I love them both. I am thinking of getting a Yamaha WR250F for more single track stuff, but that's just a dream. I find myself using my 800 more and more, especially since the price of gas is in the stratosphere as of late. I run the XR on desert days only now...... just my .02
    #17
  18. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

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    I can't argue with anything you've said.
    I guess I prefer different types of travel and avoid the scenarios regarding traffic and higher speeds you've described at all costs.
    I have changed to soft panniers and lighter camping gear/carrying less items as well.
    One mistake I made with my 800 was being realistic in it's overall abilities. It was an okay bike in a transitional (bike) time of life for me, but I'm much happier with the thumper, and I'll admit my surprise about that.

    Multiple bikes is where it's at if you've got the option. I'm still not there yet.
    Still haven't bought a personal vehicle for hauling my bike either, so a thumpin' I will go!

    Hey Frank.:feelgood
    #18
  19. petzi-baer

    petzi-baer Been here awhile

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    That's the setup I am planing to get. A small street legal dirt with my F800. I just took the F800 to some minor dirt a first for me. It was doable, but no fooling around at that weight. But to get from a to b with some dirt mixed in not a bad choice. Have a look at some of the ride reports in this forum and you learn about the limits this one is good: Bella Coola and Beyond: 9 days in and out BC on 2 F800GSs.

    Petzi-baer
    #19
  20. jessehere

    jessehere Ridin'

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    I agree with kiwi i have x and f8 and te250


    #20