So we've all heard/seen the 650 xchallenge...let's see your XCOUNTRY!

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Olas, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    Evan,

    +1 on what Drone said. First decision is what size and weight you want and if a "light-ish" 650 sounds like the size you want (vs. a 450 dirt oriented or a 900 street oriented), then I think it's a good fit.

    Coming from a dirt bike perspective I wanted a capable offroad bike and yet comfortable on long paved stretches. I love this bike. I was going 80 mph on Hwy 1 in Baja for a couple of days in a 40 mph crosswind at times, totally comfortable... Then made a right turn and did 4WD roads with baby heads on them and dry rocky creek beds, then back onto the highway. It does it all and do NOT underestimate the awesome fuel injection system BMW has perfected. I've had it at sea level and 12,000 feet and never even thought about it, No dicking around it just runs perfect.

    So I consider the XCo to be "off-road" worthy on double tracks and 4WD roads, only really limited by ground clearance, but I actually like the 17/19 combo and the big fat wide front tire. I've done a few single tracks but usually they are too tight and too rocky. The suspension is sadly lacking, especially the rear... but just slow down and don't think you are on a 450 dirt bike. I had to lower my expectations in this regard, over time (DAMHIK). Beefing up the rear shock has been a multi-year quest to me, still not done... I want to do be able to do small water bar jumps and also little rain ruts I cross, without bottoming.

    Bottom line to me it sounds perfect for what you want. I've done a lot around Moab, the Rockies and even Baja. You can check out the Pics and Ride Reports at the bottom of my MODS PAGE to get an idea of the terrain I have had mine on no problem. Specifically, the White Rim Trail is TOTALLY doable but some rides in Moab have small sandstone steps or ledges so it of course can't go everywhere a real dirt bike can and you do have to plan ahead a little bit. I don't thrash my XCo and haven't laid it over, I'm older and been there done that on dirt bikes, plus it's too expensive to fix this one. It definitely is not as durable as some others so consider your riding style. But being a mountain biker I think you will catch on very quickly, it's all about reading terrain and you will adapt to the machine.

    Tires are a huge choice of course. I'll give you my prefs cuz you will ask eventually!
    I started out just getting the best off-road setup I could find, followed Geoffster's advice and love the Dunlop D606 rear and Conti TKC80 front. Haven't really tried others for off road but like this setup.
    But the D606 will wear quickly on long pavement runs so next I just tried the "wears like iron" Mefo Explorer and they are amazing at how long the rear lasts. I don't ride in mud so they actually work surprisingly great off road as well. Others like the very similar Heidenau. I think I might prefer the TKC on the front actually since it doesn't wear out that fast like the rear.

    The XCountry well she is a sweet siren alright! I totally understand the addiction! Do it!
  2. leafman60

    leafman60 Long timer

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    The previous post by Drone has a lot of truth in it.

    The XCountry was designed as a DUAL SPORT bike. It's not a dirt bike and was not intended as such. A lot of energy is devoted by some folks (with interesting posts on this thread) to convert the XCo into something it was never intended to be.

    The XCo covers a lot of bases. It will tear-up a curvy paved road. Very sporty, especially with the correct dual-purpose tires. It can also be an amazingly capable long-distance and high-speed tourer, especially with the 17T front sprocket.

    In mostly stock trim, the XCo is also very capable on many non-paved situations. If you want to do dirt roads or single track trails, it does quite well. If you wanna do Moab desert, very rocky surfaces with jumps and the like, you'll want more of a dirt bike which the XCo is not. Oh, you can probably make-do with the XCo in those situations but you'll need to slow down and be careful.

    The 19 inch wheel is the way to go for a dual sport bike. It works just fine on the kind of dirt situations most people will encounter and it is better than a 21 on the paved road. Installing a 21 on an XCo would present fender clearance and travel interference problems.

    One variable with the XCo that is easy to change is the tires. If you want to focus on the rougher side of off-road or dirt, a knobby like the TKC80 will offer better performance. If you are going to use the bike as a sporty street/touring bike, a pair of dual purpose tires such as the Michelin Anakees will provide more diversity of capability.

    At 5-10, 140, you are a good size for the little bike and the standard suspension set-up will work better for you than other, heavier riders. At 200, I got much better suspension at an economical price by increasing the rear spring strength.

    Who can advize someone on the proper bike for their purpose? Hard to do. Im thinking you are more interested in dirt and technical off-road running in which case more of a dirt bike may suit your needs better. If true, you'd be better off getting a more genuine dirt bike than getting an XCo and trying to convert it to something it was never intended to be.

    The DR650 may be a consderation directed a little more to dirt riding. It has a height adjuster on the rear suspension linkage. It won't stay up with an XCo on the road, though.
  3. Geoffster

    Geoffster Fool - Born This Way

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    First off, know that when I'm looking for answers, I consult with Drone and Snooker. Both will chat with you on the phone, giving the kind of personalized attention that's hard to provide online. Great guys both!

    On tires, Snooker knows more than most how much I've experimented. Right now I have Heidenaus fore and aft. Unqualified endorsement for the front in a dry environment! It has served me for more than 15,000 miles and is finally beginning to cup.

    I'm still in a quandary about the rear. I've run both standard and oversized Heidenaus, and while they wear like iron (up to 10,000 miles), the hard compound is uninspiring when cornering. The D606 is MUCH better both on pavement and off, but only lasts ~5,000 miles.

    About the bike ... While some may not appreciate the comparison, it's like an iPad. Nearly everyone who has an iPad finds himself/herself using his/her desktop and laptop less and less. I still write and do spreadsheets at a desk, but email, surf, and game on the couch. I still do long distance pavement rides on my R1200RT, but for nearly everything else, I ride my X-Country. As long as I'm comfortable riding off-pavement, if you reduced me to one bike, it would be my X-Country.
  4. RobbieO

    RobbieO Muskokatard

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    It will do what you want it to just fine, with the appropriate tires...

    Great in the twisties....
    [​IMG]

    Good for travelling.......:lol3
    [​IMG]

    Good on the gravel.....
    [​IMG]

    Good on light off road........
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And they wheelie ok.............
    [​IMG]



    Luckily, there is a really good one for sale in Ontario!!!!:deal
    Read my sig line............:evil
  5. Herbivore63

    Herbivore63 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the great, detailed responses. That is exactly the type of feedback I was looking for and increases my comfort level with moving forward on a XCountry. I know that every bike is a compromise in some way but it sounds like the XCountry might be be a good, workable compromise for me.

    In the relatively short time I've been on ADV, I've been impressed with the time and interest that the more experienced inmates put into providing help and information to others--Snooker, Leafman60, Geoffster and others.... :clap

    Snooker...I have previously been on your mods page and will likely be spending more time there. Great resource!

    RobbieO...That's a nice looking bike you have for sale and if you lived on the best coast, I'd talk to you about it. Unfortunately, it's a long ride from your place to mine, particularly in January. :eek1
  6. RobbieO

    RobbieO Muskokatard

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    Shipping is cheap.....or do a fly and ride in April!!!!!:lol3
  7. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    That's what I thought until I did the LA Barstow to Vegas ride put on by the SoCal AMA "Dual Sport" guys (a HUGE group) and 98.73% of them ride orange 450-ish flickers with full knobbies and a plate slapped on - point is I'm now equating Dual Sport with barely legal plated dirt bikes, and true Adventure bikes being bigger bikes typically since the focus is on long touring roads both on and off road. So I'd say our little XCountry is between a Dual Sport and an Adventure bike. Point is, terminology varies depending on the crowd.

    I have no idea what you are talking about or WHO you might be referring to? :lol3 Yeah the street slanted guys get sick of all the shock discussions and I understand that very well.

    There's another broad term... "single track". Being in Colorado these mean narrow trails with rocks on the sides a lot and in the trail as well, then throw in a little elevation change and the XCo is very soon NOT capable. If you are in 3rd gear or higher it is not a Colorado singletrack... :lol3 A high clearance bike is a must and ours is very heavy and marginal on MOST single track trails around here. Now somewhere like Kansas maybe sure if there are no tight trees or rocks. Ask me about the hidden rock that took out my gear shift lever on a flat single track with grasses hiding the rocks on every little 1st gear corner. Having said that I've done a few of the flatter ST's and well you just have to be careful but the chances of damage are high, just not enough clearance. I tend to avoid them so no it's not a dirt bike.

    True Dat. With your size, even IF you bottom your shock, the simple spring swap that Leafman (and Drone) and others have done is a cheap 80% fix. I live by 80% fixes in most of my life. But for me there is no reason I have to live with a shock that bottoms on the smallest of 12" rain ruts and water bars yet I still have not found a great solution. I'm revisiting this right now. :dhorse

    True but sounds like you want to tour highways also and man this bike is SO much better for that than any dirt bike. Some of that is the 21" pizza cutter vs. the heavy wide 19" fat mama in the front IMHO. Just limit the difficulty of your offroad expectations.

    The XCo stock shock also has height adjuster, but Leafman you know that so perhaps you are saying the DR has a much broader range or something.
  8. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    That is a bunch of BS man! :topes

    You got it backwards! :bow Drone and Geoffster... were the main ones I consulted when I first got this bike. I'm leaving out others who have been more active since then (tbarstow comes to mind)... but when I was asking questions that is who helped me the most. It was Drone's thread with pics (and I was new to Adv anyhow) that inspired me to put so much energy into capturing all my own mods and learnings.

    Man you ride a lot more than me! I only have about 17k on the bike in 3 years and I can't blame all of that on your year round season in SoCal... Because fronts do last so long I think I'm going back to the TKC and have a little better off road cornering - as that is my most vulnerable spot where I want the most traction.

    10k on a rear? That thing must be pretty squared off by then?

    At 2000 road miles mainly, my D606 was closer to a TKC rear when new, sure it has some tread but SHEESH!~...

    I'm seeing a trend here... I know you ride on the street a lot %-age wise so either you run your tires until there is very little tread left, or my Thanksgiving dinner pig fest is still a problem! :lol3
  9. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    :clap :freaky :clap

    Ok this is why we LOVE the new joiners to our thread, cuz we get to remind ourselves why we love OUR bike. Like every bike thread on ADV we all think we have the perfect bike! But in our case...

    WE DO ! :lol3 :lol3

    My street v-twin and my XR400 just sit and wait for my return. Well sorry but keep waiting!

    So... it's time to gloat and feel good about this wonderful little bike platform that truly can do it all. Right Colebatch ?? :deal
  10. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    Robbie in my mind you have always been THE Wheelie King of XCountry's ! Sorry you are moving on man..
  11. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    I bought mine used from a dealer 1000 miles away. Thought about a fly and ride but by the time I added up flights, motels, time off work I decided to have it shipped (I think $550 at the time). I used Federal Motorcycle over the others because they have an AMA discount which basically covered my membership cost - and AMA helps protect our sport plus the monthly magazine is decent (ok it not Canada but US policy influences activity in other countries too if you know what I mean). I think you have to call to get an accurate quote.
  12. O'B

    O'B Long timer

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    There is a low mileage one for sale on the Boise Craigslist 2009 2500 miles which is a steal. http://boise.craigslist.org/mcy/3508479565.html
  13. RobbieO

    RobbieO Muskokatard

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  14. catneck

    catneck Rabid Motorcyclist

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    That's a great deal. A couple hundred dollars at your neighborhood body shop will transform it into any color you like.
  15. catneck

    catneck Rabid Motorcyclist

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    Anybody convert 1 of these into a snow bike? Usually see KTMs, but would love the EFI.
  16. Geoffster

    Geoffster Fool - Born This Way

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    Yes, it's quite a problem in corners. But square is okay on the freeway and pretty okay off-pavement. Think straight line stability and big footprint. :-)

    My typical 606 mileage is ~4k. I replace early rather than late.

    I weight 190-200 with full gear. And I keep the bike light, too.
  17. Herbivore63

    Herbivore63 Adventurer

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    As a transplanted U.S. native, I feel ill every time I look at CL in the U.S. There is no economic justification for the difference in pricing between Canada and the U.S. An identical bike with comparable mileage is currently for sale in Squamish, just north of Vancouver. The asking price is $7,200.

    I went to my local BMW/Husqvarna dealer here to look at the TR650 after reading about what a great value it is at $7,000. My local dealer has it for $8,000 + $800 freight and prep. And that's before the 12% HST. Out the door price for a new TR650 is $10,000. :baldy

    There are advantages to living in Canada but they certainly aren't financial.

    Sorry....rant over.
  18. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    or a $7 can of truckbed liner from Wally World. :norton

    That's a fair price, I think the ABS is worth it too. And of course you've read about the difference between the 07 and 09s by now. Unless you are super short, for off road purposes I'd prefer the 07 with ABS.
  19. leafman60

    leafman60 Long timer

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    My bringing up a DR was to mention it as a 650 possibility that I consider to be a bit more dirt oriented than the XCo. If the seat height is a concern on the DR, it can easily be lowered by shifting a bolt in the shock linkage (much easier to adjust than the XCo.) The DR wont run with an XCo on the highway, though.

    By the way, Im 6-2, 205 and my XCo is jacked up with just the correct seat height for me. I cannot quite flatfoot it (part of that is the Corbin seat).

    To reiterate, the XCo has a wide range of capability - on-road and off-road.

    There are limitations with the XCo for sure. The terribly small fuel tank, the horrible seat, the lack of a tach,
    the challenge to adopt good wind protection, the challenge to attach luggage are just a few. Ive spent a lot of energy and money on fixing those things.

    I would not like the XCo in stock form.

    Going back, I'd probably opt for a BMW 650 single GS model instead of the XCo for my purposes. Most of the limitations I just mentioned are a non-issue on the GS series.

    Anyway, I gots what I gots and I like it.
  20. O'B

    O'B Long timer

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    Yes but at that price you could get a new shock and a set of marzocchi sliders and still be ahead! I bought mine of off Boise craigslist 2009 abs under 2000 miles for 5 grand a year and a half ago. The only reason this bike did not catch on is the price new. It contained a lot of high quality thought and eng. Now that they are totally dissmissed you can pick up one for a steal . It is a bike that takes some investment to bring it into its own. But admit it this thing runs like a little raped ape!!!:wink: