F650GS owners, have you taken it offroad??

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by giogolf, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. giogolf

    giogolf Been here awhile

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    Hey,

    Guys, I have been posting a lot around the bike forum lately about different bike options. I really want to get into dual sporting, and I really like the XCountry and the F650GS. I really like the F800GS, but that is not in my price range. I have toyed around with getting an old used KLR and keeping my Ninja for the road, and the KLR for the dirty work, but I am not to crazy about it.

    I test drove the XC and really liked it, however, I was not used to riding a naked type bike and it felt a little light in the front at speed. I got over thinking it was the bike, after I rode a speed triple (my dream street bike), and also felt weird with the front end. So it obviously my newness to naked bikes.

    Anyway, I pretty much am down to 2 bikes the F650GS, and the XCountry. Now I know the XC will do great in the dirt. I have read the reviews, and the ride reports, and it will do more than what I am going to do with it. I am only going to ride fire roads, and trails, I just want to get dirty and explore. All my dual sporting will be lower speed, no jumping, and no heavy duty technical stuff if I can avoid it.

    Ok, so why am I looking at the F650GS, frankly, I feel I will gain some light 2 up riding (on road only, short rides), and better on road performance for my highway commute to work every day. Also, if I want to take a long trip, I can pack it up more than the XC.

    Now I haven't seen to many post about taking your F650GS off road, so how is it? Please keep the posts about the F650GS, and try not to make VStrom suggestions, or just get a F800GS, etc.. Thanks you

    So what is the F650GS capable of?
    #1
  2. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    i think the 650 twin would take you anywhere you would want to go so long as your not in a big hurry! i have ridden mine on single track quad trails dirt roads interstate highway even right out thru the woods once you just have to remember you don't have a lot of ground clearance and the suspension is pretty soft stock otherwise i think it a great adventure bike!
    #2
  3. giogolf

    giogolf Been here awhile

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    What do you mean not in a big hurry? 70HP at the crank, my bike Ninja 650R has 62HP at the crank and its plenty fast, I think the BMW will be more than I need unless I am hauling 400 pounds up a mountain, but I am sure it could handle it anyway.
    #3
  4. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    well i'm kind enough to answer and you get snippy-------i meant you weren't chasing a 950 se type of hurry--not that it didn't have enough power to pound you into pulp over the bars when you bottom the soft suspension!!!!!!:lol3
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  5. giogolf

    giogolf Been here awhile

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    No please don't take what I said as being nippy, I wasn't, I really appreciate that you replied. Next time I will use a smilie or something so there is no confusion. Have you taken your bike off road?

    But anyway, I think the F650GS will have a good amount of power. You know what really gets me though, is when you read the magazine reviews and they say that te F650GS is a beginners bike. I read an article from Motorcycle USA (which I usually like) saying that the Ducati Monster 696 is a beginners bike. I mean come on, the 696 is has 80 HP, and is pretty damn fast bike.
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  6. Red tailed hawk

    Red tailed hawk Adventurer

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    During November and December of last year I was trying to decide between the same 2 bikes that you are considering. I had decided to buy the f650, had taken a test ride and had even found a low suspension model (I'm 5'4") optioned out with only 200 mile for $9500. After driving 3 hours to close the deal, I started looking at the x-country. As much as I didn't want to admit it to myself and as nice as the f650 was, to me it felt very much like a street bike. The x/c on the other hand felt light and nimble easy to throw around and to me much more capable off road. I had to ask myself (and you should ask yourself) which of these two bikes would I have the most fun on. I ended up buying the x-country because at this point in my life it is the more versatile motorcycle. If I thought I would be spending more time on longer rides and less time sliding around on dirt roads the f650 would have been a better choice. It all boils down to what you want to do with the time you spend on the bike and what puts the biggest smile on your face.
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  7. giogolf

    giogolf Been here awhile

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    I have not driven the F650GS yet, but when I rode the XCo, man did I have a blast around town. I think I would get in trouble with this bike. Even though the XCo is not a hooligan type bike, but man did I hold back from hopping curbs on my test ride.

    With that said, I think the F650GS will be quick and nimble on the tarmac. I would probably enjoy highway cruising a lot more as well. My only concern is with the XCo, I have a 40 mile highway (4 lane throughway 75 mph average speed) round trip a day to work. I would hope it doesnt get old doing that on the XCo.

    However, I still need to test ride the F650. In the meantime, I am trying to get an idea of the this bikes offroad capabilites.
    #7
  8. giogolf

    giogolf Been here awhile

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    Thanks for you reply. But the Dakar version is a different beast from what I read. The Dakar had more suspension travel, more clearence, and spoked 21 inch front wheel. I think the Dakar is an awesome bike, I wish BMW still made it.
    #8
  9. JRWooden

    JRWooden Homeless motorcycle vagabond ... and ... loving it

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    I was looking for the same kinda think you are, and thinking about my riding pals and THEIR bikes, and some of the longer trips we have planned I finally concluded the 1-lung XCo was just not good enough for the street part of my riding and that I would rather compromise a bit on the dirt side than the street side.

    I rode both and the XCo is lighter and easier to toss around for sure, but the vibration and ~20HP less pushed me the other way ... FWIW.

    Jim
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  10. midengineracer

    midengineracer Lost, with a GPS

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    So I will post.

    I have the 09 F650GS, standard suspension and seat. I have almost all the options (no alarm or heated grips, wish I had the heated grips, oops).
    I am still riding on the Battlewings, I love the bike's road manners so much with the tires that I refuse to mount the TKC80 for more dirt ability.

    If you are staying on fire roads, dirt roads, non-technical stuff, you will love the GS. On regular dirt roads I fly but I really slow down for the switchbacks because the Battlewing washes out without warning on sandy, silty, loose stuff like that and I have mini heart-attacks everytime I think the bike is going down (repair to like new is very expensive, if you can deal with busted or scuffed parts, not such a big deal).

    Badly washed out areas with a nice chunk of speed can bottom the bike (I have the aluminum skidplate to protect mine, I have used it many times) as well as smaller jumps (2-3 feet, it will bottom).

    In technical stuff the bike is geared too high, combine that with the somewhat touchy off-idle response of the FI can make things a bit difficult to get going well (except for good riders, they don't have a lot of the problems I run into but they are able to ride faster, have been doing it longer, and have greater confidence in what they are doing). I am going to switch to the 800GS CS sprocket (one tooth less) soon to see how it does. I currently get ~64 MPG riding around town and have had the bike to 120 MPH so I can afford to gear it a little lower.

    With a set of knobbies, confidence would be improved but I will always think about the repair bill (until it is paid off :deal ) if I start pushing the bike in the dirt. It is, however, nicely stable at speed and plenty of power for dirt play.

    I love the road manners of this bike, that is part of why it is called a beginner's bike, it is really easy to ride. I scrape my centerstand from time to time around town and the bike will run comfortably at speeds that can get you arrested. This is the only bike I have that doesn't have bad chicken strips (I still have a little because it is a commuter for me as well).

    Do you have any specific questions now?

    EDIT: Oh yeah, I am not a fan of the cast wheels and run my tire pressure to high in the dirt to help prevent rim damage. That is probably part of why the front will wash out so quickly, I have never gone below 30psi front. That being said, I wacked a rock bad last weekend and the rim seems fine (bike was thrown around a bit though).
    #10