Suz VStrom 650 vs BMW F650GS

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by joe camarda, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. joe camarda

    joe camarda Been here awhile

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    By way of background, I recently posted to Craigslist to trade my DL650 VStrom (plus cash) for a late model BMW GS (long shot, I know). Thinking that a GS owner might want to downsize for financial or other reasons, and might be appreciative of the accessories I've added to the Wee, I might not suffer the "farkle" value loss we all know too well. I honestly hadnt considered the F650GS when I made the post as I was interested in the R series GSs. But as luck would have it, someone responded with a tentative offer re the twin (F650GS) and I'm curious.

    So....would anyone care to venture an opinion regarding which of these two bikes (DL650 VStrom or F650GS) would be better suited for the long haul at sustained high speed?

    I know that slabwork is NOT the "forte" of either bike, but would one get the nod over the other? Or would I be trading my Wee for a bike no more or less suited for slabwork than my Wee.

    Thoughts and comments from the Collective would be appreciated:ear
    #1
  2. mousitsas

    mousitsas Long timer

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    The wee is a far better highway bike than the the F8 twins, due to better seat and larger fairing. So, if this is the intended purpose of use, it is not a good idea to change. Both F8 bikes though are better off the road than the wee and they have more enjoyable engines.
    #2
  3. cug

    cug --

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    I cannot really compare with the F650GS (though I have driven one, but only briefly), but I have a F800GS and my wife has a 2006 V-Strom DL650. They are definitely different - please, this is no bashing in any direction, this is my personal opinion of the two bikes we have and which I both ride regularly:

    Suzuki better / nicer:

    - more weather protection (our's has a huge Givi windshield)
    - handles a bit lighter on tight backroads (19" front wheel, F800GS has 21")
    - tubeless tires (same as F650GS)
    - way better seat
    - less vibration above 5000rpm
    - blinker switch, overall switches (ergonomics of the switches just makes more sense)

    BMW better / nicer:

    - way better brakes
    - better acceleration
    - more "planted", feels way more stable (highway or backroads doesn't matter)
    - better suspension
    - less vibration below 5000rpm, overall smoother engine
    - WAY nicer gear box / transmission


    Overall, both are really good bikes, but I really think you can actually feel the price difference between the two and for me, it was worth even the difference up to the F800GS, though I wouldn't mind having an F650GS either. I'd actually prefer the F650GS over my F800GS as I neither need the power, nor the big front wheel, nor the height, nor the two brake disks in the front. But okay - someone wants to switch? :rofl

    I don't really need the differences between the two Beemers, I only wanted one at the time I was looking and the F800GS was available while the F650GS had a couple months delivery time.

    Coming back to the Suzuki and F650GS comparison, I absolutely prefer the Beemer over the V-Strom. I like the brakes and engine way better, it feels more solid and the one thing I miss can be solved with an Aeroflow windshield or so. I think the F650GS is a real upgrade, but others might like the DL650 characteristics better so this is my personal take on this.

    With regard to highway:

    I think the F650GS is better than the V-Strom IF (!!!!) you add solid wind and weather protection. I haven't ridden with an Aeroflow yet, but reviews are raving and I think it can catch up with the Suzi in that respect.
    #3
  4. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    strom. it a multi-cyl v-twin making 70hp.
    it will cruise comfortably 80-90 all day.
    #4
  5. cug

    cug --

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    So? The new F650GS is a twin and has 71hp.
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  6. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    ?
    my strom is smooth all the way across the rpm range.


    #6
  7. Wambo

    Wambo On the road to nowhere

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    I can tell you of my experience if it helps. I owned a 2004 DL650 for approx 2 yrs (25,000 miles) and I got a chance to demo the 2008 F650GS twice. Pluses for the GS-Stock, It's slightly quicker, lighter feeling, easier to plant your feet on the pavement, and a bit better in the corners. Negatives, it has less wind protection, the seat is even less comfortable than the stock DL650, the headlights are no where as good, and the engine is not as smooth at higher rpms. It also has a smaller gas tank, but the GS may be even more fuel effecient from reported tests. If I was to go with a stock bike choice, I would stay with the DL650. There are, however, better aftermarket seats, and windscreens available for the F650GS. It will never have as good of stock headlights like the DL650, and the engine will (at this point in time) not be as smooth as the DL650 at higher rpms. Future models may change this. I think it is a good start, though, and hope they make it even better.
    #7
  8. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    my bad. thought he was asking about the thumper as it was a f650gs but now it's called a g650gs. in that case both should cruise nicely at speed.
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  9. cug

    cug --

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    Kind of. Let's put it this way: the F800GS I own is significantly smoother below about 5k rpm and significantly rougher above. The V-Strom doesn't have the variance. I definitely prefer the BMW engine and I still like the DL650 engine a lot.
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  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    Having owned both a Wee (>18,000 miles) and an F800GS (>16,000 miles), I'd have to give the slab comfort award (for what it's worth) to the Wee. But that's where the advantage ends. The F800/650 engine is more powerful, the transmission is slicker, the ability to eat up the twisties is considerably better, and in sheer pleasure of riding, it's simply no contest. The Wee is a nutritious bowl of oatmeal, the F800/650 is a steaming plate of huevos rancheros.

    David
    #10
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  11. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    I have a K7 Wee.

    I recently tested an F650GS, with the high seat and ABS, running on TKC80s.

    If I could afford it, I'd trade in a second. The BMW is a better-made, better-quality bike. I don't know the stats, but I found the engine to be much smoother at higher speed, with more grunt for overtaking above 120km/h, and much more torquey at low speed.

    The whole bike felt more nimble and less cumbersome, appreciably more solid, and looks a sight better. Oh, and the screen didn't throw turbulent air at my face. Seat wasn't as nice, but you can fix that easy.
    #11
  12. EnderTheX

    EnderTheX Dirt Rider

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    To exacerbate the debate I declare both the DL650 and the F650GS as chick bikes... Now who wants to challenge my heavily modified 08 SV650S in the twisties or my heavily modified F800GS in the twisties and dirt? lol...






    :ksteve yes it is late in the night and yes I am looking for a fight. :lol3
    #12
  13. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    Beats the shit out of those single-cylinder v-twins....

    :rofl

    Sorry couldn't resist.
    #13
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  14. cug

    cug --

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    You mean because all those modifications are just diversions from rider inability? :evil
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  15. DrDale

    DrDale Been here awhile

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    Really, a better made, better quality bike? I'm intrigued by the F650 also, but seeing many pages and reports of items like wheel bearing failures because BMW cheaped out on key parts is a bit disconcerting. I suspect the wee will likely be more reliable, and in fact probably is higher quality than the beemer.
    #15
  16. davyboy

    davyboy Adventurer

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    owned a strom pryer to my 1150gs,the strom was amazin,took it round ireland,lovely ride,ive friends wit the 650 gs and they love it,so i think its personal choise.:D
    #16
  17. larlec

    larlec Been here awhile

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    I'm in the process of selling my 1150GS that has been fantastic (and still is) because I will not be able to ride for at least the next year due to back problems. I am already considering which bike to replace it with and these are my only choices so far, so please, on with the discussion...
    #17
  18. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    I own a K9 Wee, and have tested the F650GS twin. It may be the better bike on the twisties, as well as town riding, and the Beemer´s got more torque, but still doesn´t make it a ready-to-go touring machine, at least compared to the Suzuki, which has much better wind protection, and more room for rider and passenger. I think the GS would not like to carry as much weight as the Wee either.

    1-up and light load, fully up to your personal preference.

    But especially 2-up and lots of luggage, I think the Wee wins hands down.
    #18
  19. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

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    good summary c

    the one thing I was truly surprised at was your comment about the tranny. of all the bikes I've ever been on , the Weestrom has the slickest/surest/most advanced 'feeling' tranny - just a touch at the right moment shifts it - I often do not use/need clutch at all. That said, I'm intrigued with ANY non-asia bike that 'got it right' on the tranny! is this a same/or/rework of the ST tranny?:dunno

    #19
  20. cug

    cug --

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    Looking at our two bikes: yes the Beemer definitely FEELS like better quality. What the actual end result will be - I don't know yet.

    I think one of the reasons why you read so many complaints about the BMW bikes is that people just expect way more of them than from other brands and BMW might be okay or even good, but just not that good ... they might be even, or a bit below, or a bit above the average Japanese bike maker - people still expect way more and therefore complain earlier / more.

    Believe me: I don't want to defend the BMW misconceptions that happened, but at least, they are dealing with it under warranty. Ever had to deal with a warranty claim for a Japanese bike? I had, a couple times - it was a nightmare, every single time. BMW - I go there and they help without questioning.
    #20