Worth the price to beef up a 650 twin?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by DiabloBlanco, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. DiabloBlanco

    DiabloBlanco Intl' Hops Inspector

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    Alright so I have a 650twin, which I bought to replace my 650 single. I spent considerable time on forums and checking specs after they were announced and released and I was very intimidated by the advertised seat heights... 30" inseam, former 650 single was 32.6 or something and advertised low seat was similar for 650twin (I just checked the tech data on the bmw site and it appears to have changed a little since the first models rolled out). Thus, I was worried a normal seat height 650 or even low seated 800 would be too high as I was already standing on the balls of my feet with the 32.6" Fsingle (not taking into account the narrower seat on the new models would better accommodate).

    Went to the dealership September '08 and they had a brand new 650twin sitting in the showroom and the salesman (dumbass) told me it was the low seat. The height felt good, test rode it, loved it, bought it. Soon after I realized I penis envy over the 800s and I also realized my seat was NOT the low seat, it was the normal 650 which means equivalent to the 800 with a low seat. So all along I could have just gotten an 800 if only I'd been more patient and a smarter consumer. It's really my fault. And what hurts even more (literally) is the normal height seat sucks, so if I'd gotten an 800 with a lower seat height my ass would be far more comfortable as evidenced on the 7000 mile return trip from South America I took this summer, and though not often, I wish I'd had the more off road capable 800.

    So it brings me to now. The cost to sell/trade in my fully farkled 650 to get up on an 800 would probably set me in the hole thousands. So would it be worth it (i.e. cheaper) to just beef up the current 650 with higher shocks and possibly a 21 inch front wheel and a low seat? How much would the 800 front forks run me? Jacking up the back, would it require replacing them? I don't care too much about re-gearing it, I don't much mind the current setup, I just want more ground clearance for the skid plate and a slightly improved off road performance.

    Thank you to anyone who can give me advice.
    #1
  2. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    I doubt it would be worth modifying the 650.

    Just ride and enjoy the 650 for what it is...kind of a girlie 800gs..:lol3:lol3:lol3

    Seriously though if your riding is mostly hwy the 650 might be better anyway.
    #2
  3. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    what is it you really want? the dirt bike look of a 21 and spokes? just more ground clearance? or just better suspension? have you tried intiminators in your forks? have you done anything to the stock suspension?You could put a 800 shock and a new set of forks on it but i wouldn't go stock! just what is it you really want or need? ps if you don't care about regearing it you probably don't need more ground clearance or longer suspension
    #3
  4. DiabloBlanco

    DiabloBlanco Intl' Hops Inspector

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    No it's not the look I care so much about, if that were the case I would just eat the cost for the 800. But during that 7,000 mile ride back from South America on the 650 twin, as I said, although a lot of it was standard road riding, there were a few times where the bike didn't inspire that much confidence in sketchy situations, and there were a plethora of times that I was bashing the hell out of the bash guard. A different example, a friend on an 800 did a river crossing with zero issues, but with the 650's lower clearance, mine must have been right at the cusp and sucked in a lot of water so where his kept right on rolling I apparently ingested lots of water and my girl kept wanting to die on me for the next few miles if I ever let the throttle down.

    Essentially what I want is somewhat higher clearance (and then I could also transfer to the supposedly more comfortable low seat as well). I love my 650 and that I've ridden every mile that's on its odometer and added every farkle to my liking and am not looking to trade it to an 800.. I don't claim to be the greatest rider or the most mechanically inclined individual, I can add my own farkles and minor maintenance blah blah, and I'm a fairly decent rider although I don't claim to be a riding god by any measure. But I'm not knowledgeable when it comes to semi advanced issues such as raising/changing suspension which is exactly why I'm just throwing this out there for advice.

    So to rephrase it: I'd love a little more ground clearance and just a little more offroadability. Is there anything I can do with my 650 to achieve that?
    #4
  5. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    Mate, I'm gonna call it like it is. You want the 800, so stop wasting cash on the 650 and trade it. Every day, more value is wiped off your 650.

    If you look at motorcycles like an academic, you'll quickly reach the only logical conclusion: that every motorcyclist on the planet should own a Suzuki 650 (DR or DL, your call), and all other manufacturers can simply close their factories and go home.

    Fortunately for you, me, and the motorcycle industry, motorcycles aren't particularly logical forms of transport. Shit, for what I just paid for my 800, I could have bought a Suzuki Jimny, gone all the same places (with an airconditioner! And my dog!), and had enough left over for a round-the-world air ticket.

    If it were all cold logic and quantifiable fact, nobody would ever buy an Italian bike... so, nobody here is going to convince you that the 650 is only mildly less offroad-capable than the 800. You'll refuse to believe the 800 has flaws your 650 does not. And soon, someone will hijack your thread by critiquing my selection of Suzuki 650s as the only necessary bikes to own. So, get out while you can, go sell some crack or whatever you have to do to afford the 800! :lol3
    #5
  6. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    All the 8 owners are going to tell you the same thing --sell it---if you havenit done anything to the bike i sugest you at least put in a set of intiminators in your forks as my stock forks would drop 2" with just the weight of the bike!! they provide .5" preload on the spring which put the static sag closer to what it should be plus the forks work better!! you will gain about 2" of ground clearance with this mod alone!drop a tooth on the counter shaft sproket and try this you will probably be surprised! if you buy a 8 you will be spending money on suspension anyway --so if you really want it set up the same just buy an aftermarket 8 shock go to call emig racing and get a set of clamps and a set of showa forks set up for your bike and install-- now you'll have what the 8 should have been!!!

    oh all in all you'l spend $3,000.00 to about $3,500.00 to have an 8 beater
    #6
  7. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

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    A poor (and cheap) bastard like me would just ride it until the riding value I'd gotten from it approached the depreciation hit I'd take to trade it, and live with my decision.

    But you have the financial resources to take a motorcycle trip to S.A., and on a bike that wasn't the best tool (in your opinion, not us internet pundits) for the job. So maybe you have the ability to absorb the loss from a decision you regret.

    If you're going to do similar trips in the future, and can afford to take the hit to your wallet, you might as well suck it up and get what you really want. The memory of the money will be gone before you get back from your next journey.
    #7
  8. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    huckleberry:
    I didn't realize the Intimidators would add 0.5" on the spring preload,
    just from looking at the pictures I would have guessed less - good to know.

    Price is now $300 :huh ???
    http://store.ricorshocks.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=47
    I was thinking it was less that $200 for a pair, maybe there was a sale that I missed out on?

    DB:
    I gotta agree with huckleberry's suggestion - for the cost of intimidators and a front sprocket you might end up being happy. Heck you might be happy by just installing some shim washers in the front forks to increase the spring preload a bit and save the $300 cost of the Intimidators :lol3
    It's a cheap enough "experiment" to try?

    The stock seats (IMHO) stink, the low-seat is better but still not so good, so and upgraded seat is a "budget line item" in either case -- at least in my feeble mind.

    On the water crossing I would be that the problem was that your charcoal canister picked up water - there is a recall that will be posted soon to address that, or there is a DIY fix if you're interested. I really don't think the ground clearance was the issue there ...
    #8
  9. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    getting spring preload on the front to get static sag correct really helps the bike off road and yes a 1/2" piece of pvc pipe would do that too! the real problem with the front forks is their very soft, i bent a set and tried to straighten them but the tube started to flatten out before the bend started to! something else to remember is if you go to a low seat your knees will be bent more! i'm trying to find a good taller seat, considering the touratwat, so it will be easier on my knees! In my mind the big thing about living and loveing a bike is making everything work and fit you which is sometimes hard to do and usually expensive! oh on price i got mine for $150.00 they had a sale when they first came out, they do work better than without them, easily feel the difference
    #9
  10. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    You bent the forks ouch............:eek1

    I am 6' 1" I / 32" inseam - I felt a bit cramped on the F658GS also ... I got the Sargent seat but had them raise it by 1" while maintaining the size of the "seating area". Typically the area would get a bit smaller as the seat gets taller (like a pyramid) but they fixed it up so mine didn't do that ...

    The Sargent being wider, flatter, and taller gives me a good riding position now!

    I had decided to put off doing anything about the front forks until they got broke in... it's time now to do something.
    #10
  11. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    a very enpensive boo boo!!!:lol3 I think it was $600.00 just for the tubes!now i just have to save up to buy another set! i want to change to a 43 mm conventional cartriage fork and i would like to get a wp shock then i'll be set!
    #11
  12. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    If it was me, I would modify the suspension of the F650gs. For some of us the stock F800gs is not ready for primetime off road and needs it's own modifications. You can read the threads here and make up your own mind.
    It is not cost effective to do a suspension transplant, but it looks like there is aftermarket available to improve the suspension. Determining wether the stock spring set up is adequate and changing them if not, would be a first step and might eke out a little more ground clearance in the process.
    Tire sizes may be another option. Even tires with the same sizing are not always the same diameter from different manufacturers. Try to find the tallest for a few millimeters more of GC. Are your fork tubes flush with the top clamp? if not do it.
    As for an f800gs shock on the rear, hardly used should be available on the used market. I don't know about fitment issues or comparitive lengths but perhaps it is an option. Just be careful about raising the rear too much as you will change the geometry of the bike and effect handling.
    Keeping the stock gearing indicates to me that your version of off road is a little softer than mine, so keeping the bottom off the occasional rocks is your goal, a full coverage skidplate should be a must if you don't have one.
    When I modded an old TDM, the above mods got me 3/4" of GC. Doesn't sound like much but it made a significant difference. Your bike has 1" more travel than that bike, but it was surprising where I took it.
    #12
  13. DiabloBlanco

    DiabloBlanco Intl' Hops Inspector

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    Thanks Huckleberry, I'll take your suggestions to my much more mechanically experienced friend and see if he can help me out with that... sounds like exactly what I was looking for.

    Regarding money, no I don't exactly have deep pockets, just a simple security guard/college student/part time soldier. I had just gotten home from a deployment so I had quite a bit of money burning a hole in my pocket when I walked into the dealership and saw my 650 sitting there winking at me, whispering sweet nothings to me. As for the South America trip, I was already down there for a study abroad working on my spanish (and senoritas) and I just couldn't justify having a GS bike sitting at home while I go to South America and NOT bring it with me and ride it home. And at about 50 dollars a day hotel/gas/food there's just no good excuse to not do the trip, even if it means a little debt.

    And yes, IF I did trade 650 to 800 all farkles are interchangeable, but I don't really want to give this bike up, love it, have had it for virtually every mile from when it read 0 to where it sits in my garage now at exactly 10,000, and have spent considerable time farkling it, adding hardwiring my GPS to canbus, dropping it all over the place in latin america, blah blah blah, I'm quite attached.

    I would also strongly disagree about the Vees and Wees being the best all around options. Good options, sure. Best? Well that's an argument for another thread that's been completely exhausted already no doubt.
    #13
  14. DiabloBlanco

    DiabloBlanco Intl' Hops Inspector

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    Good suggestions,
    When I spoke about gearing, as I said, I'm not an expert, maybe it would considerably help me? I don't do a lot of off road, but on my last trip and likely on future trips I will find myself off the beaten path where I want a bit more confidence. Now some of that comes from me and only more personal experience will help that, but part of the confidence does come from the bike as well... I don't need to be too hardcore, I won't advertise myself as being a badass offroader, but I am an adventurer and traveler, so I'm just looking for, say, 10-20% better off roadiness than it is now.

    Yes I have a bash plate, and it has no doubt paid its rent time and time again, there have been numerous times it's hit/bashed/scraped so hard it made me cringe but it has done its job admirably, especially so as this bike's suspension bottoms out so very easily on hard hits.

    I'm kind of a dumbass, I know, and it can be frustrating to give advice to dumbasses sometimes, so thanks all.
    #14
  15. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    Don't be so hard on yourself, lust plagues us all!!! lol I love my 658 too and it really isn't that bad while at the same time not that good all depends where you are and how much of a hurry your in! try the ricors very easy to install and will make the front end much better the stock shock on the 658 or 8 suck on square edge hits that is why it bottoms not much you can do but put a heavier spring on then it will be stiffer but still probably bottom on square edge hits at the right speed. to the best of my knowledge the only difference between the 658 shock and the 8 shock is 10mm of shaft travel which translates to aprox 1.5"" wheel travel if you put this on you will have to extend the front by at least that much to get the bike to handle the same.
    #15
  16. DiabloBlanco

    DiabloBlanco Intl' Hops Inspector

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    Dungspreader,
    Sorry I got "flash pissed". Sometimes it's hard to tell on the internets when someone is trying to flame or joke, no worries, and I do agree, part of me does regret not getting an 8 in the first place, but I'd probably take a 2-3 grand loss selling/trading the 650 and the additional 2 grand more an equivalent an 8 costs over a 658, so really, I'm trying to see if I can keep my bike but get more 8 handling out of what I have now for less than 5 grand. If it can't be done for cheaper then some day in the near future I would consider trading it in...
    So I'm just "throwing it out there" to see what the best options are.

    Huck,
    Thanks again! Once I get to work later (so I can get paid to kill time :evil ) I'll start looking for what you're suggesting.
    This? http://store.ricorshocks.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=041-20-1001GSTWIN
    And some new springs?
    #16
  17. DakarBlues

    DakarBlues One-everythinged man

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    DB,

    this is actually a great thread.

    I have myself thought about creating the perfect adventure bike, and I think that the GS650Twin is a good start, (the perfect start being a used or wrecked VStrom DL 650, but hey, you already have your 650 GS Twin in hand, so let's start there)..
    - first, it's a detuned version of an engine already considered as mild, so engine longevity and reliability might never really be an issue,
    - power is quite enough at 66 hp, although useability might benefit from a smaller sprocket, gas-mileage being close to extraordinary,
    - forks and rear suspension are to be dumped in favor of 2nd hand high quality/travel eBay-sourced White Power, Marzocchi or Ohlins (upside-down or not, it doesn't matter much),
    - windscreen needs replacing too, wet dream would be the TT Desierto fairing (more sensible money-wise, since you saved some money over the 800 though),
    - crash bars, bashplates, a large choice from TT to Get-it to Rugged Roads,...
    - hard luggage,
    - Powerlet,...
    - HID small-ballast and LED running-lights and flashers all-around,
    - a set of capoNord tubeless wheels 19x17 from Woody's Wheels Work shod with MEFOs or Heidenaus or TKC-80, whichever float your boat.

    I am pretty sure you won't lag much behind an 800 Gs or even a KTM 990 Adventure, and with all your savings from the get go, you might arrive at destination with some change in your pocket and a better frame of mind.
    #17
  18. xlv

    xlv Been here awhile

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    i found this tread yesterday and i have a 650gs that i got this summer, i really like this bike but like you there are a few things i miss from the 800 so after reading this tread i e-mailed my bmw-dealer just to see what he want´s me to pay if i should trade my very nice red 2009 for a white 2010 800, and yes it is a very stupid trade and it´s probably going to be far to expensive but........i need ti know :)

    /M
    #18
  19. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    yep right link at ricor i'd just get them 1st i'm 215 lbs and the front end isn't really bad with just them the springs that are in there have 0 preload so the 1/2" the valves add bring it up pretty close to where it should be for sag( which should be 25-30 % of travel) for the back its new shock time even with the 8 you have to remember if you think about buying an 8 its still got shitty suspension just 1.5" more!
    #19
  20. DiabloBlanco

    DiabloBlanco Intl' Hops Inspector

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    Dakar
    Actually it's 71 hp, but who's counting? :deal haha
    And I never really know what to make of the word "detuned" when speaking of the engine, it's just tuned "differently". And, someone can correct me if I'm mis-recalling, but a long time ago over on the british adventure site I saw a graph of both bikes hp output and the 650/800 were virtually identical up to something like 6,500 rpm, and I'll be honest, I don't spend a lot of time above 6,500 rpm!

    XLV, yeah, it just doesn't make any sense financially to trade it in, and I don't think they're that different that you can't upgrade it to a near equal level for less than the hit you'd take trying to trade for it. Plus I DO like having TPMS on the bike, the spoked wheels on the 800 aren't that big of a deal to me.

    Huck, got anywhere you'd recommend for looking at rear shocks?
    #20