How's BMW reliability (thinking 650/800GS) and maintenance?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Lopoetve, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. Lopoetve

    Lopoetve Been here awhile

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    I've been shopping for an adventure bike for a bit now, and a friend made me promise I'd at least give the new BMWs a try. So, as well as the Uly and Strom, I'll be traveling down to the BMW shop to take a look, but this is the question I don't know -

    Buell reliability has always been a little questionable with a few design choices (rear wheel bearings?), but generally solid, and maintenance on those buggers is dead simple (yay air cooled twin).
    The Strom, from what I've read, is dead reliable, and also easy to work on.

    I'm passing on KTM because of the maintenance nightmare I've seen - but where does the new BMW twins fit in? How hard are they to work on, and how has longevity and reliability been (historically, since these are new bikes) for the company?
    #1
  2. Dave92029

    Dave92029 Been here awhile

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    I hope that the new F series bike are more reliable than the current R series bikes.

    Some of the on going "issues" with R series bikes that come to mind are:

    Final drive failure
    ABS brake
    Key ring replacement
    Fuel guage readjustment
    Clutch

    All of the above items, which are not formal recalls, will cause you to call for road side assistance and a tow to your nearest authorized BMW dealer. :eek1

    The quality and reliability of the current BMW bikes have caused many loyal BMW riders to buy other brand bikes. I'm one.:cry

    An other indicator is the semi annual Iron Butt, and the number of DNF or BMW's that broke down.

    Buy a V Strom for a lot less money and the same amount of fun. You can spend your time talking about your rides rather than how the dealer fixed this and that under warranty. :clap
    #2
  3. Lopoetve

    Lopoetve Been here awhile

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    my only problem with the strom is just that they're, well, so soulless... :( No offense at all to them, they just never did much for me. Maybe the 1000, since I mostly rode the 650. Hows the 1k off-road? not single track, just fire-road/double track/gravel?
    #3
  4. Dave92029

    Dave92029 Been here awhile

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    In the last Iron Butt there was a Victory Vison entered. I think that the stock bike weighs 900 pounds, but this bike was entered in the Iron Butt so it was carrying extra fuel and everything that might be need for two weeks riding any where in North America. Not the bike that most would choose to ride "off road".

    There was a bonus location to Bristle Cone Pine forrest to vist the oldest living tree in the world. The road to the bonus is twelve miles of of rock, dirt and pot holes.

    The fully loaded Victory Vision made the 24 miles round trip with no problems. It wasn't because this is a good off road bike, but because there was a real good rider on this bike.



    This was a long way of answering your question about how "good" is the V Strom off road. My answer is it depends on how good a rider is on the V strom. :D
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  5. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    :lol3 Spot on!

    Ignore dumb-ass comments about final-drive failure. Some people obviously have a axe to grind; the 650/800GS are chain drive. :rolleyes

    You'll love it. :thumb
    #5
  6. 2tallnwide

    2tallnwide Long timer

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    One man's souless may be another's epiphany, but the rest of your post is, as you say, "spot on"....:thumb
    #6
  7. Lopoetve

    Lopoetve Been here awhile

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    and I grant that - there's certainly nothing WRONG with the strom - it just doesn't do anything for me, at all. I tried riding a bike like that for a year. put 5k on a Ninja 650R. bike had no soul either, and it never felt right. Sold it, bought something else.
    #7
  8. Guzzirider

    Guzzirider Adventurer

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    Was chatting to an F800GS owner at the fuel station the other day- he loved his bike- only problem he had was about to have his third set of steering head bearings on warranty.
    #8
  9. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    3rd set ... Holy moly..........:huh

    Have you got any deatails on that?
    How many miles and/or what the failure was caused by?

    Jim
    #9
  10. Guzzirider

    Guzzirider Adventurer

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    Not sure- he was only using the bike on tarmac mainly for commuting. He had only had the bike a couple of months- not sure of the exact mileage.

    These things happen I guess- maybe just a coincidence.
    #10
  11. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    I guess, but I really don't like the sound of that ... esp. from a tarmac-based rider... it's the 3rd set that gets me... replaced once would be OK... maybe some grit got in them at the factory or whatever... but to move on to the third set is .... mmmmmmmm ... "less excusable" :eek1

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh no matter... we'll probably never see the dang bike here in the USA... :lol3

    Seriously, thanks!
    Jim
    #11
  12. Monkey_Boy

    Monkey_Boy Los bitchos atacan

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    Uh, he was referring to the R models, those with drive shafts... Who's the dumb-ass now? :D

    BMW's cost more to maintain than Japanese bikes for sure. And BMW's suffer from some very weird engineering problems, something that seems very ironic to me. :kbasa The fuel gauge problem is utterly bizarre. Helll, my $2,000 Yamaha Zuma had a more accurate fuel gauge than my big GS did.

    As for the new twins - they're not a BMW motor (at least I don't think so - could be wrong). The older 650 had a Rotax engine, never heard about a problem with that motor. As long as BMW doesn't make it themselves, it seems to work.
    #12
  13. CrazyMike

    CrazyMike ***42***

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    The new 800 twin motors are Rotax design as well.

    I've been lurking on a lot of different forums trying my best to learn as much as I can about the new F-GS twin motorcycles. I may have missed it but I've heard absolutely nothing about steering head bearing failres.

    Here's what I've heard:
    Stalling - some have been fixed by uploading latest software
    loose hardware - comb the bike on delivery to verify all fastners are at least tight
    A few EWS failures - ring and computer replaced under warranty

    not seen too much else..
    #13
  14. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    Urm... you? The OP asked about the F650/800GS so WTF has R model shaft drive got to do with it?

    Seems to me you're also talking out of your ass as you seem to know nothing about the new twins. You wanna bash BMW? Fine. It speaks more about you than it does the bike.
    #14
  15. CrazyMike

    CrazyMike ***42***

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    So if a BMW lasts longer than a Japanese bike (and I understand that some last longer than others on both sides of this equation), how do you factor that in on cost?
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  16. Uriel

    Uriel Adventurer

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    There is quite a discussion on UKGSers.com about clonking forks. It has been suggested on there that it could be the head bearings. IIRC someone just posted to say that they needed to have theirs retorqued and that cured it. Not failures as such, but a potential for problems.

    Mine is currently sitting, waiting for it's 600 mile service, but I noticed during that 600 miles that my forks started to clonk. Got more noticable as the miles went on, but that could be just me getting settled on the bike, and maybe throwing it about a bit more. Regardless, it's something I'm going to bring up when I drop it off on Friday.
    #16
  17. CrazyMike

    CrazyMike ***42***

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    I do remember that now, thanks.

    My GF's 97 F650ST was clonking once. I torqued the top nut and we've had no problems since. Maybe (hopefully) it's a simple fix.
    #17
  18. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    Hey, Uriel :wave

    Saw your pics of the panniers. Persuaded me to go for them too.

    Got my 600 service next week. How much for yours (if you don't mind me asking)?
    #18
  19. Rad

    Rad Done riding

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    I was really considering going for the F800ST. I test rode them 3 times and spent time lurking on the 800 forums. There sure are a lot of recurring problems; the most troubling appears to be the top end leaks.

    I know the internet blows problems way out of proportion, but I have learned, if a bike has the potential for a particular problem, come hell or high water, mine with have it :yikes


    I guess I just live right, or not :patch
    #19
  20. Global Rider

    Global Rider Alps Adventurer

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    Far better than most, considering more BMWs have circumnavigated planet earth than all other brands put together.

    The only BMW that has left me stranded was when it was 21 years old. The original rear wheel bearings finally failed. Yeah I know, crappy quality control. Those suckers should have lasted at least 25 years. :lol3
    #20