Kawasaki KLE500 vs. BMW F650GS?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Storm, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. Storm

    Storm Currently Between Crashes

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    Hi Guys,

    A friend of mine is about to buy a new touring/trail/commuter bike and is torn between the KLE 500 and the F650GS.

    Now before you all cry "BMW!", the reason between the quandry is that you can currently buy a new (MY2006 / 2007 Reg) KLE for £2700. So you end up with a new bike with a warranty, or a 3/4 year old BMW with 10k miles on it. Now, I appreciate that the BMW *should* be a better bike, but is there really that much in it?

    My friend plans to use it for commuting into London every day, touring to Europe twice a year or so (possibly 2 up) and maybe 10% of it's life will be spent off-road.

    Any thoughts? :wink:

    Thanks,

    Storm
    #1
  2. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

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    i would not touch an F-bike. their value is sinking faster than a flushed commode.

    X-Country... different story, but this belongs in thumpers maybe
    #2
  3. chtucker

    chtucker Been here awhile

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    Try to find a F series bike:huh

    I will only comment on the BMW.... I have had it for less than a week and I love commuting on it.
    #3
  4. RaY YreKa

    RaY YreKa Palanquins RTW

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    I've done 3000 miles on a 2003 F650GS since I bought it in mid-May; this is commuting, visiting clients (I am a social worker), and weekend ride outs.

    I absolutely reccomend it; 46ftlb of torque is punchy enough for the twists and turns of urban riding in the UK, and the suspension makes light work of potholes. The bike is *very* stable through corners, indeed I scraped the pegs on both sides within 600 miles of ownership. Build quality will stand up to our weather as well.

    I've also ridden quite a lot two-up. I am 16st (102kg?) and my g/f is 11st (75kg?) and the GS will still do 95mph with us and a top-box. OK, so that's revving the nuts off it, but the point stands.

    Buy the GS. The UK KLE is acknowleged is just about every UK road test as an absolute dog, and seems to have been (re)introduced by Kawasaki as a mere stop-gap until the launch of the Versys (an altogether different proposition).

    I like the 650GS so much I'm possibly shelving my plans to upgrade to the F800 series (though I may add a Blackbird as a touring bike instead).

    best, Ray
    #4
  5. RaY YreKa

    RaY YreKa Palanquins RTW

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    And sit on both bikes in the showroom - the KLE is physically a lot bigger than the GS.

    Ray
    #5
  6. earthroamer

    earthroamer Stuck in Pindadesh

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    Not in the San Diego area. Just take a look at CraigsList. Actually, if you're buying, you want the price to be down. You're buying a bike, not stock.
    #6
  7. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    How about a KLE650/Versys? Seems good for all but off road. I don't generally like BMW's but I like the F650, seems solid and well made if a bit underwhelming in performance. I wouldn't mind having either, but of the two (KLE500 or F650) I would lean toward the F650 if price difference wasn't huge.

    Note, I've not ridden a KLE500 as they aren't imported to the states, I have read a few revies and saw one when I was studying in the uk:deal

    have fun
    #7
  8. Storm

    Storm Currently Between Crashes

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    Thanks for the replys guys.

    My friend has just put a deposit down on a new KLE, as the price was just too tempting... A new bike for £2600... Not bad going!

    :D

    Storm
    #8
  9. richie1

    richie1 n00b

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    Hi, I have a new KLE and had the same predicament. Buy an "old" 650 GS or a new KLE500. So far the KLE has served me well, I go to work on it most days and have been camping on it to Ireland for a week, no problems at all. I admit I am not the most experienced rider but the KLE seems fine to me, in fact I love my bike. As for the magazine reviews in the UK, well if the new bike doesn't shave 1/100th of a second off the old bikes time around the whole of Cornwall or something they slag it off, certain magazines are just obsessed with speed, not actual use in the real world. My KLE can take heaps of luggage, cruise at 80 mph and return over 65 mpg most of the time, what is wrong with that?.. nothing in my eyes. Mind you the seat is a bit painful after 100 miles!!
    #9
  10. RaY YreKa

    RaY YreKa Palanquins RTW

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    Hi Ritchie: if you like the KLE then just enjoy it; the negative press was, iirc, in respect of Kawasaki re-hashing a 10 year old bike as a 'new' model w/out really sorting out its shortcomings or updating it at all.

    It doesn't stack up against similar machines BUT it's cheap as chips. I ride a GS so I'm biased, but I've also loved 'unloveable' bikes in my time (hey, I used to ride a Deauville!).

    Ray
    #10
  11. wibble

    wibble Been here awhile

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    Good choice, this is mine in the sahara, south tunisia in Jan.
    But heavy but at half the cost of a BMW you have to be crazy to consider buying the roundle..

    24 000 miles now, no problems:freaky
    #11
  12. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Long timer

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    Versys! ... stop it! My wallet hurts and my strom is going to choke me with my new chain.
    #12
  13. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

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    I just picked up a 2004 F650GS 2-spark for $4k. Good commuting through horrendous traffic, superslab no problem, fun in the twisties and on unsealed roads. ABS is nice insurance and like all used BMWs, it keeps its value after the initial plunge. The newness of the KLE only lasts a few moments, then you have a used bike that few people will want to buy later.
    #13
  14. Jonny955

    Jonny955 Been here awhile

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    I think they are both good bikes for the task. I've only ridden the GS650 but I did own a GPZ500 for a while and the engine is awesome (shared with the KLE albeit in a higher state of tune in the GPZ). Gas mileage and comfort is likely to be slightly better on the BMW and you can tailor it with a greater selection of OEM & after market farkles.

    One definate advantage that the BMW will have is the quality of finish. I'm not saying the BMW is more robust than a Triumph/Honda/Harley etc. but every Kawasaki I have owned has had a distinctly delicate feel to the finish. The exception to this is the engine paint which is likely to be better on the KLE.

    I delivered my mate's GS650 to him in Ireland early this year (in snow). Went 2-up, cruised easily at 85mph and was well impressed. Owners of earlier model KLEs have also praised their bikes so it's worth getting a test ride if you can.

    Jon
    #14