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

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

  1. Uriel

    Uriel Adventurer

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    I don't know what the service is going to cost yet...my dealer has a habit of hiding the costs of things (including the bike itself!) until the very last minute...not exactly confidence inspiring. I'm dropping it off tomorrow and I'll ask them then. I let you know.

    Congrats on the Zegas...can't go wrong, really :)
    #41
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    i think that's an outdated notion dating back to airheads compared to the other offering at that time.

    i used to own 2 bmws so i'll comment.
    the german's over engineer/complexify things and as such seem to have issue with most bikes. granted they are built well with quality stuff, it's just the german engineering mindset that comes back and bites them in the ass with reliablity issues.

    i've done my time with the germans and i'm back to dead reliable jap offerings.
    #42
  3. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    Regarding the original posters concern, I to am a bit leary of buying a BMW just because of the companys attitude of keeping you reliant on a dealer for every little thing. yes, you can do your own work, which I intend to, but after a fair amount of research and reading first hand reports from owners it seems I'll have an uphill battle. I think that's what worries me the most, is that many of the satisfied owners think issues aren't a problem because it's under warranty. I can't count the number of times I've read on the two other 800GS forums where the solution is to ride with a cell phone an the assurance of BMW roadside assistence to make everything better. I suppose if you never get far enough into the dirt where a tow truck can't go, an cell phones don't work this is an o.k. solution. And I ride alone in these places often.

    The idea of scheduling a simple service seems rediculous to me, yet this is normal fair for what seems the average BMW rider. Again I have to chuckle at the amount of times I've seen guys wait for a service so the dealer can install things like handgaurds. Please don't take this as a knock on Beemer riders as I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions to this, and I intend to be one to, but merely an observation from reading the forums.

    Yeah, I've owned plenty of bikes with character and soul, mainly Harleys and some finicky sport bikes that were built on the edge of reliability, but all of those were easy to repair on the side of the road (an I have many times:D). I suppose over the last ten years or so I've got spoiled on the Japanese reliability an ease of ownership. Yeah, I'm a big fan of my Strom for street use, It does what I want it to do an when the day does come when it doesn't start or has an issue of some sort I will be honestly shocked. Of course that bike hasn't seen a dealer since I bought it, an the maintenance is simple and DESIGNED to be done with regular tools an a shop manual.

    So why get a BMW at all? Because my Strom doesn't do dirt and most dirtbikes don't have enough balls on pavement for what I want. BMW simply offers a machine that currently doesn't have a Jap equivalent...or I'd buy it instead. There isn't another BMW out there that could convince me to get on board. If I was only riding asphalt or dirt there's plenty of better choices fror me. So I'll have to pay for the passion of this particular bike, while I hope that after getting it I'll carry on about what great fun it is I don't feel any need to defend it against people who don't feel the same passion, I also won't be a cheerleader for the aspects of ownership that are already a turn off before I even take delivery.
    #43
  4. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

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    Right on Dave. If the Japs built an equal bike to the F800gs I would buy it!!!
    #44
  5. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    I guess I'm on the other end of the spectrum ... I am still riding the bike I bought new in 1982 ... if my F650GS ever gets here, there will be a cat fight in the garage I'm sure.... :lol3

    Jim
    #45
  6. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    I am a do-it-yourselfer also, and have my money down on a BMW with some trepidation....

    In the old days of carburetors & points & plugs a handy rider with a decent tool roll could usually figure out how to make his/her way home .... Now with fuel injection being far more popular, and solid state electronic ignition being pretty much universal it is easier to be left stranded with no "plan B"... I guess I"m kind of resigned to that... on long treks (which won't be that often for me ... I'll pack some extra water/food bars and make sure somebody at home has a copy of my travel plans.

    I want to do my own maint. keeping proper documentation so that if challenged on a future warranty claim I can prove service was done. I also plan to go by the local dealer every 6K miles and pay them for (what I hope is) an hour or less of shop time to plug the bike into the diag. computer to compare firmware levels and check for TSBs / recalls ... unless I can figure out another way to make those things happen....


    ***** >>>>> I would dearly love to be able to get the information on recalls / TSBs, and the release of new firmware (like fuel maps) but I have not found a source for that yet... if anybody else has done so please post! <<<<< *****


    Jim
    #46
  7. SQD8R

    SQD8R Eat squids and be merry

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    Check out f650.com for reliability. High mileage f650 variants on site. Also check out micapeak.com

    FWIW I've got over 130,000 km on a r12gs and hp2 and no issues, esp. off-road.
    #47
  8. gungnir

    gungnir Norse adventurer

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    Provided it is available on the US market. :deal
    #48
  9. Dave92029

    Dave92029 Been here awhile

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    Just a little background: I have ridden BMW's since 1983 and accumulated over 860,000 miles on BMW bikes.

    I have been stranded several times dues to mechanical failures. Since I used to travel long distances, I always rode a well maintained bike. Thus the failures, which were always covered under warranty/ goodwill.

    I'm sorry to say the BMW bikes today are not as relaiable as the bikes that I first started riding back in the 1980's.

    When I get together with other BMW riders ( I still own a R1200GS), the conversation seems to always get arround to mechanical problems that the dealer fixed under warranty. BMW riders used to talk about the long trips that they just completed or had planned.

    It is my personal experience that the new BMW bikes are not particularly reliable. I strongly suggest having a towing service contract, like AAA premier, prior to going on a long trip. It is also a good idea to have a complete listing of BMW dealers in case you need assistance.

    The new "F" series bikes look very interesting, but for $5000 less you can buy a totally relaible V Strom. The V Strom may be "souless", but by that I guess you mean that you have a Mechanically uneventful trip. I feel that mechanically uneventful trips are a Good thing.

    I have enjoyed ridding BMW's and I wish BMW would stop having their customers beta test their bikes. Perhaps BMW, which is a low volume mfg. should focus on making less models, but making them much better than they are today.

    I am enjoying ridding my DL650, and leave the R1200GS at home.
    #49
  10. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    My DL1000 stranded me twice. I've never had any BMW of any year strand me. Admittedly, I never owned a BMW >2001 but still the statement that the DL is more reliable than a BMW isn't, IMO, supported by the facts.

    Also is the only reason you ride to get from A to B? Why bother on a bike you say is souless? Why not take the train or a truck? Even if you could prove to me that Bike A is less reliable than boring bike B, I'd rather take bike A and accept the risk of trouble. I mean, this is a sport, not a trudge.
    #50
  11. Monkey_Boy

    Monkey_Boy Long timer

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    You don't need facts to have an opinion. You proved that one already. :D

    But seriously, the new 800GS looks awesome, a larger fuel tank would be nice, but hey, what can you do? So you live with it.

    My Bombardier ATV had a Rotax engine. Rock-solid performance, no problems. I suspect BMW has a good engine there. Plus, these new bikes are much simpler than the big bikes, so I'd be inclined to think they're as safe a bet as anything BMW makes, on the plus side. I also like the steel tube frame better than a cast unit for off-road work.

    If I was planning a particular trip and I determined the 800GS was the best choice for that trip, I'd buy it and roll the dice.

    To own a BMW you have to really enjoy the bike and be willing to live with the warts and cost of ownership. Nothing right or wrong with that. Ride what you want to. It's all good.
    #51
  12. Monkey_Boy

    Monkey_Boy Long timer

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    I have a terrible disease: I buy a bike for a particular trip, do the trip, then sell it. Costly for sure. Silly, for sure. But hey, you only go around once. I bought the 1150GS for just one trip to Baja. Perfect bike for that one. I don't care about brand names, just what the bike will do for me.

    Now, the DL650 I took to Canada and Alaska this past June, it's a keeper, it is such a joy to ride, simple, zero worries about road trouble. I sold the DL1000 and I'm ridding myself of the beast of all beasts, a 2002 Goldwing. Speaking of no soul, the GW is the poster child of soullessness. Plus, the riding position is too cramped for my long legs.

    I put about 4,500 miles per year on the race track, so my 2006 Gixxer 750 will go after the end of this season for a new track bike.

    I love this illness. :lol3
    #52
  13. Lopoetve

    Lopoetve Been here awhile

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    This is the simple truth I think. I'd rather ride something I question, but enjoy the journey and the company of the bike, than not enjoy it but be guaranteed to get there.

    Part of the adventure is dealing with adversity if it arises, right?
    #53
  14. Lopoetve

    Lopoetve Been here awhile

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    For me, soulless means I look at the bike and shrug. I have no urge to go anywhere, no interest in riding other than as a cheap alternative to driving, and no interest in exploring. It's a fine piece of transportation - so is a corolla, and if not being ~involved~ with your riding machine is fine for you, it does its job just fine. If you look for something that actually interests you in riding, actually makes you want to ride every time you look at it, the V-strom may or may not do it for you, and for me it doesn't any more than my Ninja 650 did. I look at it and just have no interest in doing anything with it. My Sportster, every time I look at it, I WANT to ride. I want to find someplace new to go. Same with my Old CBR, before I sold it (trust me, I regret that one). It's the difference between loving the journey, and loving the ride, and for me, I need both. The Sporty felt right when I sat on it. The V-strom just didn't feel wrong, it mostly didn't feel anything.
    #54
  15. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    Yes. Well, it used to be, but since bikes got so reliable, we forget the old days of elemental riding where you had to contend with many things.

    I'm sure ancient ancestors would laugh at us saying we are adventure riders when our idea of adventure is a good but unpaved road or having to contend with using our cell phones to call the next dealer to address a needed repair on our bikes.

    Of course the other side of this is that the reality is we get maybe 2 weeks off to do a trip. If we get a major breakdown 1 day in, we're stuck until next year.

    I guess like all things, you pay your price and pick your poison.
    #55
  16. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    :dunno
    #56
  17. Monkey_Boy

    Monkey_Boy Long timer

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    All in fun, my friend. :1drink
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  18. AngryRed

    AngryRed Lost in Cyber Space

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    Well said... It is a shame these bikes are available outside the US though.
    #58
  19. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    True words.

    I guess it's all how you define souless or lack of character. I've owned a number of track bikes that I never made an emotional connection with, they were just a collection of parts to get the job done as efficiently as possible, BUT those souless machines allowed me to have some of my best experiences on two wheels.

    I've also had bikes in the garage that made me look back everytime I walked by, and I definately would make a connection kickstarting them and feeling the character as I let out the clutch, but a short ride was enough.

    I always follow my heart when buying a bike (or you'll never be happy) but I need to know the bike will get the job done also. Wierd thing is the more fun I have on a bike the more I start to give it the second looks before turning out the lights in the garage.

    For me the 800GS is a decent compromise between all of that.
    #59
  20. Desert Dave

    Desert Dave Enjoying the moment

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    You bet!

    Thing is I get myself into more than enough adversity with about any bike I care to, I might as well stack the odds in my own favor.

    I've never had a problem with feeling like I didn't break enough stuff on the trail :lol3
    #60