Help! Versys vs. TMD 900 vs. Wee-Strom vs. F650GS vs. F800GS

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Guy Jinbaiquerre, Oct 8, 2008.

?

Which bike should I get?

  1. Versys

  2. TDM 900

  3. F650GS (parallel twin, not single)

  4. F800GS

  5. Wee-Strom

  6. Something else

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    Hope I can get some recommendations on this one. I'm in the market for a new mid-size bike. I will use it for the following things, in decreasing order of frequency:

    (1) 12-mile round trip city commute to work each day, 2-up. Here I"m looking for something light and nimble, good at lane-splitting, with good handling on wet pavement, strong brakes, and that can take a topcase for carrying work papers, briefcases, and a helmet.

    (2) Solo or 2-up touring mostly on-road, including expressways, but with some tame dirt trails. Bike will have panniers and topcase, etc. loaded with camping gear for 1 or 2 people Probably about 30-40 days a year of this kind of riding. Here, the bike should be comfortable for 2 people doing long hauls on pavement, with good handling in twisties, good brakes, yet still capable on dirt.

    (3) Dirt riding, solo, on more challenging (but not "EXTREEEEME!!!!") dirt trails. The key factor here is off-road ability. I'm new at riding dirt, so will probably only do it a little bit at first, but if I get hooked on it, I'll probably want to do more.

    More info: I'm 5'8", 29.5-inch inseam, 105kg. My pillion, er, wife is about 50kg.

    I'm looking at a few bikes, including the Versys, Wee-Strom, TDM 900, the new BMW F650GS parallel twin, as well as the F800GS version. I'm also open to other ideas if you think I overlooked a good choice. (I've test-ridden a R1200GS, but I think it's a little too big for me, especially as a daily commuter. The KTM's, like the 990 Adventure, are also generally a little too big and/or too high in the seat for me.)

    So, what would you recommend if (1) money were no object, and (2) if you were looking for the best "bang for the buck"?
    #1
  2. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    1. Versys 2. F650GS 3. F800GS 4. Wee (but only because everyone will be laughing at you for riding such a fugly bike :lol3 )

    1. F650GS 2. Wee 3. Versys 4. F800GS

    1. F800GS 2. F650GS 3. Wee DNF. Versys

    1. F650GS 2. Wee 3. Versys 4. F800GS

    Overall: F650GS

    Just my $0.02 worth. The "Wee" crowd will be along shortly.
    #2
  3. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    I am guessing you didn't rank the TDM at all because you are not familiar with it? Or do you really think it is the worst bike in every category? :eek1

    Also, I find it interesting you put the F800 last in the "touring" category. Is that because "adventure" bikes (long suspension/ride height, big front wheel, knobby tires) are not so good on pavement? Sorry to sound like such a noob...
    #3
  4. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    Not familiar. Interestingly a recent UK mag (RiDE) compared a used TDM and a new F800GS (and a used KTM990). They liked the TDM but only if you ride it "smoothly" complaining about the "budget suspension" and "slap in the drive chain" if you get too sporty.

    It's brilliant (I have one) but 2-up touring on an F800GS? I'm not sure.

    No worries! :thumb

    Edit: This thread might help: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=328843 and fill in your damned profile!
    #4
  5. Motoriley

    Motoriley Even my posing is virtual

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    Hey bud....fill out your profile. Lets us know a wee bit about ya. :ear

    Ooops just saw that Wildman is already on your case


    #5
  6. beep

    beep Guest

    I've ridden all of these bikes except the F800GS, but I've a reasonable idea about that since it shares a lot of components and seat with the F650GS (twin).

    If I ignore your requirement for offroading (3), I'd say that the choice would be between the TDM and Vstrom, both would make good tourers/commuters - either solo or two up. The BMWs' seats are pretty hard, tiring I'd have thought over long distances and neither are brilliant for pillions. The Versys, good that it is, might not be that great for pillions - it felt quite a short bike to me, not a lot of room for rider and pillion to move around. Bewteen the TDM and Vstrom, the TDM has the best brakes but the Vstorm would probably be better offroad (I haven't ridden any of these bikes offroad).

    The F800GS certainly has the best credentials for going offroad, but the idea of using such an expensive new bike to learn to ride offroad fills me with horror. Even if you're a brilliantly gifted natural, you WILL drop it! But if you don't mind a few scuffs on your new bike (get some crash bars), then this may be the best compromise or possibly the F650GS (with more offroad tyres fitted). So these would be my "money no object" choice, if you weren't too bothered about maximum pillion comfort.

    But if I was wanting to fulfil 1,2 and 3, I'd buy a good secondhand Vstrom or TDM and spend the money I saved from not buying a new F800GS, on a used "proper" dirtbike or trailbike (a 125 would be a good choice if you just want to play around offroad and learn some basic offroad skills more cheaply and less painfully than using one the bigger bikes mentioned!) Or go on an offroad riding course and then buy the BMW ;o)
    #6
  7. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    It's nice to see original topics that have never been discussed before.

    :rolleyes
    #7
  8. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    :stfu :asshat

    He's a n00b. He's just askin'. Jeez, some people!
    #8
  9. tedder

    tedder irregular

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    #9
  10. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    Okay, okay, I filled out my profile a bit. Yeesh! :uhoh
    #10
  11. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    :thumb
    #11
  12. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    But then you'd have had nothing to bitch about!
    #12
  13. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    Hmm... why do you rank the F650 as the best bike for touring, but the F800 as the worst? It seems to me that the differences between the two bikes have to do with stuff that wouldn't really affect suitability as a tourer, and certainly not by such a large amount... or am I missing something?
    #13
  14. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    What was I thinking, trying to participate in a community of fellow bikers when I could be searching Google without any human interaction!

    Seriously, I HAVE done a lot of online research already, including reading ADVrider forum threads and bike magazine reviews, as well as building my own spreadsheet comparing the specs of the various bikes. That's how I came up with my list of choices, which does not include bikes I eliminated from consideration, like the Tenere or Transalp.

    Having done that research, I wanted to get specific feedback from other riders with respect to my own particular planned uses for the bike. And no one seemed to have a problem with that. Except you.
    #14
  15. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    True, there's a lot of subjectivity as well as objectivity in there. You've got to make your own mind up; it ain't gospel! The F650GS is better (IMHO) than the Versys for 2-up touring as there's more space and I couldn't bring myself to put the Wee first. :D 21" spoked front wheels, a hard, narrow and high seat, 'perky' power delivery... the F800GS has to come last out of the four, doesn't it?

    If it helps, a German magazine this year rated them for touring ability:
    Strom: 90%
    F650GS: 80%
    F800GS: 80%
    Versys: 60%
    #15
  16. beep

    beep Guest

    From my limited experience of the bikes (testrides only), I'd agree with German magazine, with the TDM at the top with the Strom. Also, in the unlikely event of me ever being a pillion, I'd much rather be on the Vstrom or TDM, instead of the BMWs and Kawasaki. As a solo rider, my personal picks would be the Vstrom or F650GS - both great bikes.
    #16
  17. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    That actually does help a lot! It (and all the other comments) tells me the Versys is not the best of the bunch for 2-up touring, while it's a closer call among the others.

    I have test-ridden an F650 and didn't have any problem with the seat. I need to get my hands on a Wee and get some first-hand (first-ass?) experience of its seat by comparison.

    If I can't feel a big difference with the Wee, my heart is telling me to go for the F800, because it's so damn cool. Still, the Wee-Strom actually sounds like the best all-rounder and also the best deal.

    I guess a test-drive comparison is the only real way to tell which is better for me. Too bad BMW won't be selling the F800 here in Japan until early 2009... :becca
    #17
  18. robsuzuki

    robsuzuki Adventurer

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    I love my VStrom. But not great in the dirt or mud. Too heavy. But GREAT for a commute or 2 up fun. 50 MPG. Very reliable. Very quiet. To me, it handles great in the turns as well.
    #18
  19. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    I just read Beep's post... sounds like maybe the Wee-Strom is the best all-round pick after all, and a great deal vs. BMW.

    The 800 still looks like the coolest bike, but "coolness" is not one of my criteria here.

    --- AAACK! and now I read robsuzuki saying the Strom is "too heavy" for dirt or mud! I thought Wee riders love the dirt?!
    #19
  20. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    F800GS
    Street: 80%
    Trail: 90%
    Touring: 80%
    Accessories: 80%
    Price/Value: 70%
    Overall: 80%

    V-Strom
    Street: 90%
    Trail: 60%
    Touring: 90%
    Accessories: 80%
    Price/Value: 80%
    Overall: 80%

    F650GS
    Street: 90%
    Trail: 30%
    Touring: 80%
    Accessories: 80%
    Price/Value: 70%
    Overall: 72%

    Versys
    Street: 90%
    Trail: 30%
    Touring: 60%
    Accessories: 70%
    Price/Value: 80%
    Overall: 66%

    Many will argue!
    #20