2009 F650GS twin versus a boxer twin

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Richard Ray, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Richard Ray

    Richard Ray Musical Motard

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    My wife rode the F650GS single for many thousands of miles. She got tired of working so hard keeping up with the two 1200GS's she rides with.

    She is considering an R1200R or the new F650GS. (The 800.) We're looking for comparisons. (Price is not the point.) Will the F650 do a good job of long distance touring in relative comfort? Will it keep up with a 1200? I'd love to hear from someone who owns one.
    #1
  2. Denalidirt

    Denalidirt High Plains Drifter Supporter

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    I dont own one but I dont think she would have a hard time staying in the group. The detuned 650 has something like 75hp, that a big boost from the older 650 single, about 55hp. You might look at the 800gs 85hp much better suspension, about the same size and weight. They both share the same motor
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  3. Dave92029

    Dave92029 Been here awhile

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    Richard,

    I currently own a F650GS twin and I put over 70,000 miles on a F650GS single, and over 50,000 miles on a R1200GS.

    The new F650GS (800cc) is a more powerful, better handling bike than the original F650GS. The new 800cc bike is a BIG improvement over the single and the single is a proven Long Distance touring bike.

    My general opinion is that the larger the engine in the bike the faster and smoother it will get to high speed. Also as a general statement I would say that either F650GS are good touring bikes if you ride at speeds up to 85mph. Both bikes are capable of going faster, but they are more comfortable if you do not ride at sustained speeds above 85mph. The R12R is comfortable wll into the triple digits.

    Since the F650GS is lighter and has a lower CG I have found it easier to ride in town, on dirt roads and on tight twisty roads. The R12 is an excellent handling bike but less weight is better in many situations. The F650GS weighs approx 60 LBs less than the R12R. Depending on the size and strenth of the rider this may reduce fatigue on a long trip

    The F650GS twin is much smoother and a lot more powerful than the single F650. The new 800 requires much less shifting, but on a straight road the R12R will pull away from the F650.

    The R12 has a larger altenator so it would be easier to install and run all of the following at the same time: extra lights, electric seats and heated cloths, etc. I have found that when I do long distance touring I want and use more ellectric toys. A larger altenator is an advantage.

    The F650GS gets approx 58mpg vs approx 40 mpg for the R12R. This translates into a greater range since both bikes have similar size fuel tanks (4.2 vs 4.6)

    I realize that to you price is not important, but the base price of the R12R is
    50% higher than the price of the F650GS ($12620 vs $8255)

    The R12R is a shaft drive bike and may have Final Drive issues vs a chain on the F650 which requires periodic maintenance and no FD issues. :>)

    If I were making the choice it would depend on what type of roads I would be traveling. My current bike is the F650GS and with a Cee Bailey wind shield and saddle it is a fine long distance bike IMHO, but I prefer twisty windy roads to blasting down the interstate.

    The best way to make this decision is take your wife to a BMW dealer and see which bike puts the biggest smile on her face. Long distance touring is suppose to be fun so let her decide which bike she feels will be more "Fun". :clap
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  4. John Ashman

    John Ashman Adventurer Wannabe

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    The problem with big pistons is that their power taps out faster than engines with smaller cylinders. If you have a big engine, it's not a problem, but at half the size and basically equal cylinder size, it's hard to get around that with revs because it won't want to rev. But the F650GS will rev quite a bit more freely than the 650 single.

    If it's basically all on-road riding, there are more comfortable bikes since the 650/2 has more of a dirt bike style seat (needs a Corbin or something), such as the F800ST (also higher revving engine). But it has the 6-speed which helps. Huge upgrade in terms of just being able to keep up, but it's not going to be a perfectly level playing field. It would have been nice to have the option of the regular 800 engine, but it shouldn't be a big deal. The 650/2 should get you 60-70% of the difference she now has.
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  5. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

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    Dave, the 12GS holds more fuel than you give it credit for. Other than that all good facts.
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  6. mrleadfoot67

    mrleadfoot67 Adventurer

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    My girlfriend also rides an F650GS single, and has the same issue on the highway. She spent about three hours demo riding the new F650 Twin and was really happy with the bike. She said it feels much more stable on the highway and it feels like it doesn't have to work as hard to keep up with traffic.

    I've ridden both bikes and have an F800GS. The 650 twin is a great bike, it feels much more like a real motorcycle than the 650 single does, and has got slightly more low end torque than the F800 does. It's a great motorcycle. The only concerns are the seat and the windscreen. The low seat is uncomfortable even on a demo ride, and the standard seat leaves a little to be desired too. Both of these are easy to address in the aftermarket, and the 650 twin will be easier to handle on a fire road than the Boxer if that is a factor.

    The 1200R on the other hand is going to feel bigger and more massive. Depending on your wifes riding ability/experience/learning curve/how she perceives the bike, it might me more intimidating. Teaching my girlfriend how to ride opened my eyes to how different women and men can perceive the same thing.

    At the end of the day, the bike your wife feels better on and inspires more confidence is going to be the best choice. She should definitely test ride both before you guys make the decision.
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  7. Dave92029

    Dave92029 Been here awhile

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    Marty

    Yes, but Richard's wife is consdiering the R12R not the R12GS :D
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  8. John Ashman

    John Ashman Adventurer Wannabe

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    If money *were* and object, I'd go for a used Kawasaki ZRX1200R - big engine, small, comfortable bike.

    If it is for road only use, I'd certainly consider the F800ST if a fairing/saddlebags are desirable.

    I've always loved the R-R bikes as a naked, stylish, round town kinda bike.
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  9. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Put her on a Wee Strom, more than enough power, no BMW breakdowns.
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  10. * SHAG *

    * SHAG * Unstable

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    I test rode the new twins and was impressed. The 650 would be a good upgrade for her and you're already dealing with chain drive. A lowered 800 may be a better choice :dunno The 650 was fast and the 800 was faster. I had a huge grin after riding both :1drink
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  11. Kicksave

    Kicksave wannabeema

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    I'd have to second Dave's excellent review. The F650 single was smooth for a single cylinder. But that's like being tall for a midget. The twin is much smoother, making it a nice touring bike. The extra 21 hp is very noticeable. I like the F800 GS as well, but it's tall, even if you get a low seat model.
    #11
  12. cartejo5

    cartejo5 Adventurer

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    Have you considerd a Versys I had one earlier this year went to Italy on it did about 2,500 miles in 10 days easily cruised at 90mph plus and was doing 50 mpg plus. Absolutely fantastic bike if you ride solo but a bit cramped 2 up - the only reason I sold it!!
    #12
  13. CaptainWhizzBang

    CaptainWhizzBang Adventurer

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    My R1200R has 19k on it now and has always averaged 48-54 mpg using 87 oct. I've also put 5.3 gal. in the tank after going 270 mi.:1drink
    #13
  14. scrannel

    scrannel Scrannel

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    Not sure about this legendary final drive issue. BMW's mistake was believing the rear could be "sealed for life", and they are over that now. My K bike got its diff oil changed at the initial 600 miles and every 12k after that. Don't think you should let that be a deciding issue. IMO.
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  15. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

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    Given that CWB's MPG on the 12R is G2G :D, he makes a good point.
    Your range will be limited on a 4.4gal F650 tank. The 650 will keep pace but may be offset in range. Also, I think another thing to consider is will you wife be comfortable taking the 12r where the 12GS's plan to go.

    ...and please note the subtle "be comfortable". I know the bike will go likely anywhere you want (or are crazy enough to ride), the point is does the skill/experience of the rider and her opinion thereof compensate for the design differences inherent in the different machines.
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  16. blackie

    blackie Been here awhile

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    The 650 is a nice mid sized bike for touring, really stable and the range will allow it to keep up with a R12R for most part. Speed wise I've been cruising all day at 75mph on it no issues and it'll easily do 100mph. But being a naked bike, 100 mph you'd feel like you're a human sail. So an aftermarket windscreen is recommended for long tours. Also, depending on who's butt is it, the 650 twin seat is like sitting on a plank. So I got me an Airhawk pad. But there is a whole slew of seats coming out in the market now so you have options for that. Go to UKGSer or F800riders for more evaluations of the 650twin, like any forum you'd probably have to sift through a lot of stuff to get what you want . Also a rather neat video of a 3 way test at Youtube the guys preferred the more nimble Versys but the gal prefered the 650. Have fun researching :1drink

    Edit:
    Just curious, why not a 1200R for her too?
    #16
  17. John Ashman

    John Ashman Adventurer Wannabe

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    That youtube test confused me. They started off with 'which is the best beginner's bike' and the only beginner chose the F650GS and then the experienced riders vetoed that and called it for the Versys. I would not buy the F650GS if it was never going to see a fair amount of dirt roads, but they never even took any of them off road.

    I think the Versys is more of a SuperMoto than an AdvTourer. But it seems like SuperMotos and light Adv/Tourers are the new SUVs that aren't designed for off road and rarely go off road, but are 'cooler' than regular streetbikes. Like a Nissan Murano or Mazda CX. So, it seemed kind of ridiculous to not, at least, take them down a trail or two just to see if the opinions changed a bit off road.

    It also looked to me that the F650GS in the test had the low, scalloped seat which suuuuucks if you're over 5'2 and wouldn't be surprised if it had the low suspension too. I hated the low seat option on that bike. Just weird feeling. So, I can see why the guys would go for the Versys if that's the case.

    If it were 90-100% onroad, I'd certainly consider a Versys or even a V-Strom. But the 1200R is a much cooler bike and could probably go anywhere the other two could go. I love those things. Only thing I think is close to that for a powerful, comfortable naked bike is a ZRX1200R, but it lacks the cool factor and got put out to pasture.
    #17
  18. flemsmith

    flemsmith lurk

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    My wife's 650 single puts a fair amount of hot radiator air on her right leg when riding for distances here in Az summers. How does the new 650 twin cooling system handle similar situations?

    roy
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  19. NTBill

    NTBill A little wired...

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    No problems with mis-directed hot air.
    Bill.

    www.ironbarkriders.com
    #19
  20. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    While the origins of this post is old...some may want to ref it.

    I've riden R-RTs for a long time and last year bought the F650GS over the R1200RT. Price was not the issue! Size, weight, low speed and parking lot handling, dirt road handling were the deciding factors.

    My best riding buddy still has his R1200RT. We've been known to often enjoy 100 to 120mph on remote back roads. Clearly the RT has more power but if you just enjoy the speed and the twisties we go for miles together. We don't race just ride the speed the road calls for. Admitted the F650GS is not as quick at 110 120 is a chore this where the RT walks away. The F650GS is more flickable in the corners. I use stickey tires not knobbies, When we get lost and sometimes have to do class 3 or 4 dirt roads...the 19 front wheel vs the front roller ball of the RT makes them much safer and more relaxed than the RT.

    Done 3 back to back 600 mile days, 12k miles first year maybe more this year...and 60+mpg is not bad either. One of those days was to in just over 10hrs... so crusing at 70 to 85 was the norm all day.

    hope this helps
    #20