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Wee Strom & F650GS (single) - who's toured on both?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by jwnsc, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. jwnsc

    jwnsc Hang in there. Supporter

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    I'm considering both bikes for economical one-up touring and some unpaved road riding. The thoughts of those who have taken long trips on both bikes would be greatly appreciated.
    #1
  2. keystiger

    keystiger rat on a roll

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    Considering the same decision myself.
    Bump for info!
    #2
  3. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    The Wee-Strom was one of the best road bikes I have had. I rode it from South Carolina to Idaho in 800 miles hops, then used it off road to run the Lolo Motorway. I used a Givi windshield, Madstand windshield brackets, and Whitehorse Press tank panniers to build myself a still air pocket in the cockpit (IMHO, the key to comfortable mile-eating). The Wee-Strom is OK on dirt roads as long as things don't get too rocky. Ground clearance is an issue when the going gets tough. The riding position seems to be a little behind the center of gravity giving the bike a odd/different feel that most dirt bikes.

    I have a 2005 F650 Dakar now. It is the second one I have had, the first was a 2001. The bikes (Wee-Strom vs f650) weigh almost the same. The F650 riding position is more comfortable/intuitive in the dirt. The extra ground clearance and better suspension on the Dakar makes it a lot more fun to hustle along off road.

    [​IMG]

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    #3
  4. Zapp22

    Zapp22 ZAPP - Tejas

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    i think what Andy said is the Weestrom is a better road bike. its definitely got the power advantage. the Single is underpowered for its bulk but still manages off-pavement better than a strom ever will.

    Why not the new X-Country instead? way lighter, more powerful. Some say its got the only good seat bmw ever put on a bike :oscar
    #4
  5. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now

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    I was never comfortable standing on my Strom until I got some better handlebars. Protaper Pastrana FMX made a huge difference. Both better & more comfortable standing + a little more forward while sitting making the bike feel better while fast cornering on the street..


    I've always wanted a GS/Dakar mainly due to the gas-mileage of those bikes. If it was between the single 650GS and the Weestrom, I'd go with the Wee. The Dakar adds needed ground clearance and a 21" front wheel making it a better off-roader.
    #5
  6. brianjonesphoto

    brianjonesphoto Hacked off

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    Andy how would discribe the difference between the 2 for a 90/10 rider? My wife had a 650 srom, but it was too top heavy for her after it was lowered. I'm wondering if the 650gsl might be a good choice, but how would you compare the on road ride between the 2.

    I'm a bit torn between the single and the twin. I assume the twin will ride very similar to the strom

    Thanks
    #6
  7. G.Gordon

    G.Gordon Nation of Frustration

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    Well since the OP said one-up touring with "some" unpaved roads thrown in... I'm going to assume he means maintained gravel. If that is the case go with the Wee. It's cheaper, easier maintenance, smoother on the highway, basically a GTO (gas, tire, oil) machine. My wife has the F650 and there is no way I'd be able to haul across the country on that thumper. What you gain in dirt ability you'd be cussing when your trying to eat some miles to get somewhere.

    I've got the Vee and I just got done with a 70 mile gravel day to get used to the Sonic springs I installed. Wash boards, farm road ruts, hard pack up to 75mph... NO problem. I bet I've done at least 2500 miles of gravel and rough stuff on that beast. It keeps performing like the day it was bought. I've got 30,200 miles and replacing the springs was one of the best things ever done... that and a TKC front with Trailwing rear and you can tour anywhere you want to go.
    #7
  8. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    I haven't ridden a lowered version of either bike. I would assume that there would be lots of ground clearance issues off road for both bikes on anything except a graded dirt/gravel road.

    I never thought my Wee-Strom was top heavy. The biggest Wee-Strom issue for me is that it was uncomfortable to push the Wee to the speeds I wanted to travel off-road. If you are just going to plod along, the Wee is the winner, hands down.

    BTW, I believe that the F650 could be made more comfortable for mile eating. Several have been ridden in the Iron Butt Rally. Currently, I am very satisfied with limiting my trips to the two lane parts of America. The F650 is fine for me up to ~500 miles a day.

    I have been a lifetime dirt biker (enduro A rider in the 80's). I have been "Adventure Riding" since 2002, and I have been searching for the perfect bike for me. I started with the 2001 F650 Dakar and have owned a KTM 640 Adventure, a BMW R100PD, Wee-Strom, Suzuki DR650, Suzuki DRZ400, and a R1150GS. I loved them all except the KTM. All my friends think it is funny that I ended up where I started, with the F650 Dakar. The pic below is one of my favorites. I doesn't show much, but it makes my imagination run in high gear.

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    #8
  9. Night_Wolf

    Night_Wolf Leg Humper

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    While the weight may be similar between the F650gs & the Wee Strom the BMW will feel way lighter due to the position of the fuel tank. I purchased the Strom due to my experiences riding my then lady's F650gs. It's a more than adequate mount & much better for a n00b or someone who finds the Suzuki to be top heavy. FWIW I lowered my friends F650 with Kouba lowering links :thumb

    #9
  10. jwnsc

    jwnsc Hang in there. Supporter

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    Thanks Andy for the input. Sounds like we've both been down some of the same roads looking for that "perfect" compromise. My main consideration is an Alaska trip next summer, riding from Charleston to perhaps Fairbanks or the Arctic Circle. No plans on doing the Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay, but I imagine both bikes have completed that trip without too much drama, if I change my mind.

    I see your V-Strom had an auxiliary tank. That's something I'd definitely consider for my Uly, but I figured the Suzuki, getting 50+ mpg and having a 5.8 gallon tank, it would be unnecessary in North America. I know the F650GS thumper gets phenomenal mileage and has a 4-gallon tank, (unless you spring for one of those $1K TT rally tanks.) Which bike had the longest range with stock tanks?
    #10
  11. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    I never got 50mpg with my Wee-Strom. Maybe a bike without a big windshield, saddlebags, tank panniers, etc. could do it. The F650s do get great gas mileage. In my experience, the range on stock gas tanks is the same.

    I put the Aux tank on the Wee-Strom to be able to go 300 miles between fill-ups (my bladder limit). It would be really easy to do the same on the F650.

    The biggest difference between the 2 bikes is cost. The F650s seem to be bringing a premium right now (for used bikes). Of course, the difference might be won back on resale.
    #11
  12. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    Don't get the wrong idea. the Wee-Strom will go in to some hard spots. I took mine over Tin Cup Pass in Colorado. It was the kind of thing that I am glad I did but that I wouldn't want to do again. :D

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    I spent a couple of hours in the motel parking lots working the skid plate after this day.
    #12
  13. R.J.

    R.J. split personality

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    Last season Mr. R.J. rode a Wee and I rode the GS (both 2005's with stock tanks). We put on many miles together and fueled up at the same time. The range on the GS was just a little bit further with it's 17 L tank than the Wee with a 20 L tank, although they were reasonably close (I expect within about 50 -100 km). That said, we never came close to being fully empty.

    Having ridden both the Wee and the GS, I found the Wee to have more power on the highway (it ran at about 3500 rpm at 110 km/h where the GS runs at about 4700 rpm at the same speed), but felt it was much more top heavy. It felt like a much bigger bike and even with a lower seat, it is still too tall for all 5'4" of me so I never rode it off road. Mr. R.J., who is over 6', spent a fair bit of time in offroad and out of the way places with no problems. The Wee handled it all quite well.
    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. giddyupgirl

    giddyupgirl Been here awhile

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    I started out riding on an '01 F650 and loved it, put about 40,000 miles on it in less than 3 years, most of it street riding.

    The BMW served me well, but I wanted something that had a little more power for passing and interstate riding. I felt that when the bike was fully loaded for a x/c trip, I was pushing the engine to it's limit doing anything more than 70mph. So, I decided it was time for something new. That's when I bought the wee.

    The wee definitely has more power than the F650 and it vibrates less. However, I do feel the riding position is more comfortable on the F650. I've had problems with pain in my forearms from riding the wee. Although, I am barely 5'3 and have lowered it and added Rox risers get the bars a little closer. It has help somewhat.

    As far as it being top-heavy, I really haven't had an issue with it. The only problem I've experienced is that I have to be careful where I park. Because it sits very upright on the sidestand and any slope to the right can cause it to topple.

    I've kept the F650 and use it mostly for riding gravel.
    #14
  15. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    :rofl YUP IMHO the Dakar is the best all purpose bike ever made. Good at evrything. (great at nothing) :lol3
    #15
  16. dirtdiver

    dirtdiver Long timer

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  17. jwnsc

    jwnsc Hang in there. Supporter

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    #17
  18. righthandcranked

    righthandcranked n00b

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    I'm retiring from mx & thinking about the same bikes. If my mx withdrawals aren't to bad?
    #18
  19. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    The F650 Dakar is Quite possibly the best all purpose bike ever made. It is good at everything / great at nothing. I bought the first 2001 to arrive in the Northwest. 40K+ NOT ONE PROBLEM.

    That said: I am buying a new 2009 V-Strom 650 as soon as one arrives next month. I have ridden them and I want one as my commuter bike...

    My choice of the two. If someone said I could have either one for free.

    I WOULD TAKE THE DAKAR. WITHOUT HESITATION.

    It will go all day on the slab at 90 mph+. The 21" front rim makes it a more off-pavement worthy bike. While it is a bit of a pig you can do single track. (this is the weakest link with the wee-strom)

    They are both Great so no matter which you choose you will enjoy it.

    All the best. RIDE RIDE RIDE
    #19
  20. McB

    McB Long timer

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    McB version. :lol3
    #20