F700GS as newbie bike?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by spurcap, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. spurcap

    spurcap Adventurer

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    Hi all, New here. Thanks in advance for any help.
    Found some similar threads that I read through but no great answer to my specific situation so wanted to get some advice. Sorry for a long first post here!

    I am more or less a total newbie but have wanted a bike for a while and am going to finally get started. It will primarily be for short commute rides, taking camping (nothing a pickup truck couldn't drive), and for longer roads trip including maybe a bigger trip in the summer. I rode dirt bikes as a kid which is obviously a lot different than riding a big bike but have SOME riding experience. Also doing the MSF course next month and want to get thinking about a bike now so I am not scrambling with my licence in hand.

    I am trying to narrow my search down now and gravitate to the mid-size GSs (specifically, a F700GS or older F650GS (twin)) because - 1) like the look, 2) own lots of BMW cars and am reasonably brand loyal; 3) have no interest in a Sport bike (doesn't look comfy, don't want to take on dirt roads, don't want to be tempted to go too fast) and don't like the cruiser style. 4) the style seems like a good fit for my intended use.

    That said, I am concerned that 1) the bike is too big/heavy for me for a first bike. I am 5'9" 175lbs with about a 30-31" inseam. I sat on a F700GS the other day and was just flat foot although was wearing running shoes. Perhaps actual riding boots would fix this alone, or perhaps I would need a lower seat (or lowered suspension). Either way its not a lot of buffer room. 2) the bike is too powerful for a first bike; 3) I will inevitably drop it. Everything I read is that people think THEY won't but everyone DOES. I plan to get full crash bars and other protective gear from day 1 to minimize damage when I do but likely there will be some damage and looking at spending 6-7k on a bike means that I will want to fix it even if cosmetic.

    After rambling on, looking for some opinions.
    1) Is getting a F700/F650GS as a first bike a bad idea? I would prefer to get a bike that I will be happy on for a number of years than spend money on a bike I don't really like, invest in deferred maintenance as I do with everything I buy, and then sell it for a reasonably big loss after a season. But that said, if it's a stupid idea, I would prefer not to make a stupid choice which is why I am here.
    2) What do you think about getting a G650GS thumper instead of an F? Like that it's a little less power/ride height up front. But the price isn't that much lower up-frnt than the F, I would be happier with an F long-term, and a F seems to move quicker if I decide I don't want it and sell.
    3) As much as I think I would like a GS, open to other ideas....
    #1
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  2. dpike

    dpike BeeKeeper Supporter

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    a 700 is a horrible idea if you haven't even passed your msf first. get a sub500 ride it next summer all day every freakin day, get a 700 next spring. i get the bug, believe me, i completely understand but your skills will grow much quicker on a bike that is easier to ride and weighs half of what the F bikes do. the G bikes.. i had one, stick with a twin.

    where in Jersey are you ?
    #2
  3. spurcap

    spurcap Adventurer

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    Thanks for the feedback. Morris county, NJ. Any recommendations for a sub500 bike? I gave the 310GS a look but given they are fairly new they cost about the same as an older F, so that made me lose interest. Like I said, GS is what I liked the best but have an open mind and open to other ideas. Realized from the get go might be too much bike.

    For clarity (not that it makes a difference) I am talking about a bike to buy now to ride after doing MSF, not before.
    #3
  4. dpike

    dpike BeeKeeper Supporter

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    a yamaha xt250, the later efi ones rock. if you get a decent deal used, you'll probably resell it for 1 or 2 hundred dollars less than you paid for it.
    i'm live in somerset county and work in the port. feel free to pm me if you need anything, i've got some extra gear depending on your size.
    #4
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  5. zero war

    zero war Zee

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    I’m the same size and weight as you but have been riding for the last 30 years. I had my 2015 BMW F700gs up for sale but have fallen in love with it all over again. @dpike is a guru as he helps me out with all my F bikes issues. My F700gs has the 30mm lowered hyper pro springs so I could add a higher more comfortable seat and get better quality springs. I’m in north Bergen. Feel free to come by and take a look at mine if you like. I recently added a rekluse clutch which is another reason I love my f7gs even more now.
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  6. shuswap1

    shuswap1 Long timer

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    The mission(s) defines the type of bike(s) you'll need. My wife rides her own F700, she' thinks she's 5'6" but really more like 5'2". She just turned 60yo, maybe 135#. She'd sell me long before parting with her F7. She also has a KTM 200 and a dualsport KTM 350 for the rougher dirt. She happily rides the F700 off-road as well. Different shoes for different walks.
    I wouldn't buy the single BMW, you'll regret it quickly and I'd suggest taking the course, maybe a follow-up one as well and ask lots of questions of the instructors and other participants before taking the plunge. Either way, buy used, buy good, that's is my firm policy now and it has saved me a ton of $.
    The F7 is a great all around bike, punches well above its weight.
    #6
  7. Duitser

    Duitser Adventurer

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    I had many thumpers, nice and light and bought a f700gs.
    Best bike I ever had of all 14 for 45 years.
    #7
  8. eelco.haan

    eelco.haan n00b

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    I passed my bike license last december and bought an F800GS as my first bike
    Its not a beginners bike but very suitable for a beginner. Steering is soo easy. It goes where you look. Have tried a couple of other bikes since then but non of them felt so comfy and easy as my GS
    #8
  9. bykergrrl

    bykergrrl Been here awhile

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    Ditto
    Getting your license is the easiest part of getting into riding, the MSF classes are taught in a parking lot.
    No crazy drivers on their phones, nobody shooting thru a stop sign and no steep hills with stop signs that require you stop prior to the top.
    Buy and ride something that you can pick up when you've dropped it and that you won't mind scratching up.
    A bike where the weight and size aren't something that affects your confidence in the skills you've just acquired.
    #9
  10. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever It turns out you can't delete your account...

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    Regarding your three concerns...

    I don't think it's necessarily too tall or heavy for you, if you're fit and sensible. And you can always buy a lower seat.

    I also don't personally subscribe to the "you'll inevitably drop it" argument. I think that risks varies greatly from person to person, and only you know if you're inclined to do that kind of thing. I personally did not drop a bike while I was learning.

    The power is the thorny question, and nobody here can answer it for you. When the bike was launched, lots of hotshot moto journalists said it was so mellow to ride that it MUST be for learners. And it is mellow. The engine has enough low end torque to make getting underway easy, it doesn't really need to have its neck wrung to get the job done, and all the control inputs are relatively soft and predictable. It's probably the best handling bike I've ever owned.

    But it's also 75hp. And it will hit 60mph in about 4 seconds. And it's deceptively calm at highway speeds. So, if you're a very under control kind of person, not inclined to whiskey throttle or other ham fistery, naturally tend to ride within your limits and have good communion with your machine, then I think some people could start out on an F7 and have a happy life with it. If, on the other hand, you have impulse control issues, get lost in a red mist when there are other riders around, get inside your head too much and not pay attention t the physics happening under you - and there are LOTS of people like that - then the F7 is a potentially fatal mistake.

    The correct answer for most people is, start out on something a little less demanding. Only you know if you aren't one of them, and if there's any doubt, then there's no doubt.
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  11. diegosaenz

    diegosaenz Been here awhile

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    If you already have a license then you are knowledgeable enough to be riding and therefore I think a 700GS is fine. But if you haven't it's going to be too much to handle, because of the height. Which btw was my second bike, regular suspension and I'm 5'7".
    #11
  12. nvklr

    nvklr Been here awhile

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    :beer
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  13. spurcap

    spurcap Adventurer

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    Thanks all, some very good perspectives here. For what it's worth, I am in my mid-30s and more terrified about getting hit by a car than having any desire to go fast (in response to the question on impulse control). It seems that most are saying that it is not a great choice even if it would be a doable choice. Dpike gave me some advise on a dual sport bike (xt250) but would also be interested in any other recommendations. The other benefit of buying a cheap/beginner bike is that I will be in a position to test ride a long-term bike before actually buying it when the time comes. Perhaps I could get a good deal on one in the late fall at the end of the riding season too.
    #13
  14. shuswap1

    shuswap1 Long timer

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    Don't want to offend anyone but.....I had a carbed XT250 and I wouldn't sell that to anyone I liked, just lacked fun and was so cheaply assembled that not much could be done to make it better. There are better choices, i believe.
    #14
  15. spurcap

    spurcap Adventurer

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    A couple things:
    1) Dpike did say to get an fuel injected one (I have no experience to say if your experience would have been different if EFI instead of carb)
    2) Happy to hear your thoughts on the better choices.
    3) I am originally from BC (Van Island)
    #15
  16. thetrux

    thetrux Adventurer

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    I started on a KLX250 a few years back. Did a lot of small local road exploring and trail riding before getting an F800GS. It was a nice progression but the F800GS still seemed like a lot of bike at first and even now in comparison.

    What worked fo me is starting on a smaller, lighter bike. Avoid a lot of highway and heavy traffic. Get your reflexes dialed in before getting something with more power and weight to control.
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  17. Roughrider1886

    Roughrider1886 Adventurer

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    IMO the F700 is the perfect bike for your situation. I've owned one. It isn't too large or powerful to be intimidating and is perfect for gravel roads and will easily cruise at 80 mpg without being strained. It can do some of everything and it isn't a bike you will outgrow in four months and want to mov up in power. I would recommend it over the F650 thumper. Nothing "wrong" with the thumper but the two cylinder is just so much smoother in its power delivery and better suited to 70 mph or above highway travel. Get the F700...you won't be sorry.
    #17
  18. spurcap

    spurcap Adventurer

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    I knew this wouldn't be as black and white as it was going? What was your experience level when you got your f7?
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  19. Roughrider1886

    Roughrider1886 Adventurer

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    Im 58 years old, 6'3 in height and weigh 220lbs. I rode as a youth and through college on small displacement dirt and street bikes. Gave it up for family and then got back into it at age 48 with a KTM 520 MXC and rode pure dirt. Then went to a XR650L for more roadworthyness and didnt like it, then to the F700. I do have some experience riding but in skills I'm really a novice. I don't scrape my pegs or get air while riding in the desert. If you see daylight under my wheels, there has been a failure somewhere along the line. The F-700 is a great middleweight bike that you wont get tired of quickly. Its not too large and pretty nimble on the street. I personally think it is a huge leap in smoothness and sophistication above the F650 thumper. If you are able to flat foot the F700 I wouldn't worry a bit about being able to handle the size of the bike. The power is pretty mellow and it really was a good bike for the highway. I didn't have mine offroad much but works well on gravel roads and the like if you have appropriate tires. I am always looking for something different as I get bored well before I wear a bike out. I went to a KTM 1290 SAR in 2018. Sometimes I wish I had kept the F700 as well. The 1290 is a heavy girl and I miss the more compact size of the F700 when moving around the garage and mounting and dismounting, but oh the power of that beast. I dont think even a beginner can go wrong with the F700.
    #19
  20. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

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    One nice thing about starting on a decent used smaller twin is how much it will make you appreciate the F700 when you get it. That appreciation may not be there if you start out with the Bimmer. At least, not on the same level. Above all else, test ride anything you’re thinking about buying.

    Also, just to be clear, any F650 is a twin. The thumper is a G650. The OP was clear on that, but some other posters are not. BMW didn’t do anybody any favors by naming the first 790cc twin a 650. Especially when the G650 was actually 650cc. Same thing applies to the 790cc F700 vs the 790cc F800.
    #20
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