Which would you take off-road: F800GS or the old 650GS Dakar single?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Guy Jinbaiquerre, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    Just wonderin': If you could have either a new F800 GS or a used 650 GS Dakar single in good condition, which one would be your pick for dirt/trail ridin', and why? :ear
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  2. v8toilet

    v8toilet Nothing to see here.

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    I owned both. I don't really think that there is much difference on the dirt between the two. The extra 35HP of the F8 is nice but I don't notice it being much of an advantage on the dirt. The old Dakar may have the edge in crash worthiness though.

    Same weight, same seat heights. Both have lame suspension stock. Maybe my Dakar memories are foggy though. The Dakar was pretty solid, I have a friend with 100,000 miles on the clock on his Dakar with no serious engine work. Water pump and valves and it keeps going. Dare I say the Dakar had better rims.
    #2
  3. tmex

    tmex Long timer

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    I currently own both, and prefer the Dakar by a narrow margin in the dirt. The FI is not quite as abrupt on the Dakar as the F8, and it definitely "feels" lighter and smaller. The F8 is much better, of course, when you are on the pavement getting to the dirt.

    I had a number of teething issues with the F8 so the Dakar definitely seems more "sorted".
    #3
  4. Guy Jinbaiquerre

    Guy Jinbaiquerre Monorail Conductor

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    Is that because of comfort, power, or something else?
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  5. tmex

    tmex Long timer

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    Power mainly. The F8 will cruise effortlessly at 70-80 mph. The 650 single will as well, but it just feels like it is working harder. The F8 is actually a very nice feeling bike on the road.
    #5
  6. SenorPeligro

    SenorPeligro Proper Naughty

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    The lesson I learned on my F650GS was to install decent crash bars and hand guards before one ventures into the bumpy stuff. :poser

    Currently farkling up my F800GS for dirty antics.
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  7. v8toilet

    v8toilet Nothing to see here.

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    That's how I feel TMex.. if I was going to TDF or on a really long extended ride I would feel more confident from day one on the Dakar. I rode one brand new after the 600 mile service 10k in about 13 days. The F8 would've left me by the side of the road. In fairness though it was the second to last year they made the Dakar model. Throw an extra cooling fan in your luggage and I think it (Dakar) would be pretty trouble free.

    Don't get me wrong I like the F8 a lot.
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  8. Maddaddy

    Maddaddy Terradrifting

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    I think I would choose the Dakar as a more RTW worthy bike. Only because it is a time and field tested bike with aftermarket mods that work.

    The 800 will get sorted out in a few years. (hopefully) I'd like to see a better solution fo the larger tank.
    #8
  9. Motoriley

    Motoriley Still riding like crap after all these years.

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    Never ridden a Dakar but I find the f800 better than the 2 Klrs I owned in the past off road.
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  10. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    "For dirt and trail riding"? The G650, but wish I had a DR650. Neither is really a dirt or trail bike.
    #10
  11. Gangplank

    Gangplank Advenchaintourer

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    I owned both and ths is the best description I can provide:

    The F8GS rides just like my Dakar did in many respects except...

    Freeway - The F8GS is by far better on the freeway. It cruises at speed effortlessly and in acceleration there is no competition F8 hands down.

    Around town - they are a tie and ride pretty much similar in most ways

    Dirt - the F8GS trounces the stock Dakar. There is no contest. Best I can describe it is as I said to a friend a week after getting the F8GS, "With the stock Perelli Scorpions (streed tire), it rides just like my Dakar did offroad after I redid the front forks, put on an Ohlins rear shock and when the Dakar had TKC80's on it.

    Same rider, same conditions there is no way I would choose the Dakar over the F8GS in any condition other than based on price alone AND if price is your concern then get the Dakar and plan to spend $1000 on an ohlins shock and $500 on having the front end done by Traxxion Dynamics (gold valves, springs, etc.)

    After that it will ride the dirt same as the F8GS but it will never keep up on the long haul.

    Just my .02
    #11
  12. haildamage

    haildamage Been here awhile

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    damn guy, gonna add another bike to the stable?!? shoulda just bought the F800GS in the first place!

    anyway, both are a bit heavy for the japanese forest roads, IMO. i honestly think a properly set up DRZ400 is by far the best ADV touring bike for japan, but i dont have to fight my way out of tokyo to get to the good stuff!
    #12
  13. JBruyet

    JBruyet Mountain chaser

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    I've never had/ridden the 650 but I do love my 800. Forest service roads now call to me. No, they don't call to me; they scream at me to come ride on them.

    Interesting name. Does it have something to do with foreigners and civility?

    Thanks,

    Joe B
    #13
  14. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    if i need to go MORE offroad than i can go on my 650 twin i want a ktm 450 exc. then we can really go offroad! Otherwise i'm pretty happy with the 650 once you get the suspension sorted.
    #14
  15. F650Dakar_Norway

    F650Dakar_Norway What off-season?

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    Having crashed both and still owning both:

    Neither bike is particularly well for true, technical offroad riding in rough terrain. They're both pigs and too heavy for that specific (true offroad) purpose. These bikes are designed for more realistic allroad performance and reasonable dirt roads - not hard-core offroad.
    The F650 Dakar is by far the most crashworthy and well-proven RTW tool, IMHO.
    The F8GS is by far the best in performance and roadworthyness (handling, power, grin-factor etc.).

    The main weakness of the 8GS is its weak plastic beak/instrument assembly support combo. I regard it as an all-kindsa-roads-including-off-tarmac-bike in offroad clothing. For that it works exceedingly well, but I'm unsure of its potential RTW qualities. It seems more fragile and less crashworthy than the 650 Dakar. A skilled rider can do a lot of stuff on it in different all-kinds-of-roads, including dirt- and fire-roads/light offroad terrain etc., but it's more a 2-wheeled SUV than a true offroad-tool. Same goes for the 650 Dakar.

    Given the right impact from a specific angle - even at at a lowly 30kmh - the whole F8GS front assembly with lights, instruments and fairing will simply break off and dangle by the instrument cable. The glass-fibre reinforced plastic front frame holding the instruments & front lights is not particularly solid.

    The F650 Dakar is superior in crashworthyness with its handlebar-rotating beak and steel profile instrument/light holder assembly. As you can clearly see on Dakar-Rally-bikes, a metal front assembly is the proper solution for holding things together when things go rough and you're prone to mishaps enroute.

    The snatchy throttle and light flywheel is another offroad-liability with the 8GS that can be adressed both technically and physically, but out-of-the-box, factory stock I'd choose the F650 Dakar for more technical riding - simply because its less abrupt ON/OFF throttle action is easier to handle in the rough for my prefs.
    #15
  16. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Interesting comments. I have a 2006 Dakar. And I have test ridden an F800GS. I agree, the F800GS is really better on paved roads. Such a smooth bike, lots of power. Around town, the F800 is a bitch on stop-n-go traffic. Or try to ride it at 30-35mph. That thing surges in very erratic acceleration. It can get you tired very quickly. I would say the Dakar is better on those specific situations (slow moving, and stop and go). The rest of in town riding I agree, a tie. Now, the trouncing comment for dirt... that I don't know because I haven't ridden an F800GS on dirt yet. But I've heard plenty of negative comments about the stock suspension of the F800GS. As far as I know, its rear shock is a Sachs. My stock Dakar has a similar setup. The F800GS may be better, but trounce...? And I bet that on technical stuff the Dakar is better than the F800GS. But I don't care about technical stuff, I like to ride on forest roads and in the desert.

    I embedded here two videos of me riding my stock Dakar on forest roads. You will see by the view of the speedometer that I don't ride too fast - I'm not the kind interested in confirming the boundaries of speed as expressed in the laws of physics. My top speeds on these roads range from 50-70mph. For trouncing, would I need to be riding a F800GS at what? 60-80 or 70-90mph? I'm sure I would be riding faster on a F800GS.:evil Just won't bet on trouncing. My 2-cents. Which it seems are different than your two cents. Different currencies. :D
    <object width="480" height="385">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2Uhl0bCD4jY&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></object>

    <object width="500" height="405">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0Uwcu3Mhvk0&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&border=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="500" height="405"></object>


    #16
  17. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    I don't know the Japanese forest roads. But I have an 09 WR250R and an 06 F650 Dakar. The WR rides similarly to the DRZ400.

    There is a stretch of road that I enjoy riding and I videoed riding the two bikes on the very same stretch. I rode the WR first and a couple of weeks later I came back to the stretch with the Dakar. I did not push any of the bikes. Rode the same style. After I completed the run with the Dakar I went home thinking I did ride a lot SLOWER on the Dakar as compared to the WR. Well, when I "processed" the film, I realized the riding times were virtually identical - check the duration of each video. The perception was so much different, though. In my mind, the WR250 was undoubtedly faster.

    So... the point I'm trying to make here, guys, is that perhaps the rider makes the difference? It does. But beyond that, different bikes will give you different impressions and sometimes the input that you get from them may trick or mask reality.

    And the impression that the heavier Dakar (or an F800GS for that matter) will not perform as well as a lighter bike on forest roads may be just that: an impression. Although I don't know the Japanese forest roads. You can enlighten me on that.

    In the end, it is all fun!

    And it seems like we will forever keep the :topes coming even when the numbers confront our perceptions.

    Here are the videos:
    <object width="500" height="405"></object><object width="500" height="405"></object>
    <object width="500" height="405">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/i5w2l3bGLsI&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&border=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="500" height="405"></object>


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/h8sHCjHJZzM&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&border=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="500" height="405">
    #17
  18. raider

    raider Big red dog

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    (Disregard: I'm an idiot.)
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  19. F650Dakar_Norway

    F650Dakar_Norway What off-season?

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    Well, to be honest I wouldn't choose either the F8GS or the 650 Dakar for offroad or trail use. I'd rather have a lighter, more offroad-worthy bike alltogether. Like a KTM450EXC etc. These two bimmers are true allroad-tourers with their own pros & cons, but not genuine offroad bikes. I enjoy them both for what they are are, but that also mean I at worst stick to easy-to medium-level dirt roads within my modest personal riding skills.

    Although "just another skilled opinion" from a dirt-riding journalist, I very much agree with Jimmy Lewis about the true capabilities of the F800GS. It'll do much dirt-road stuff, but it's not a true offroad motorcycle:
    http://www.dirtrider.com/reviews/motocross/141_0811_2009_bmw_f800gs_web_impression/index.html

    Your mileage may of course vary :beer
    #19
  20. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    I think your assessment is right on. And so is Jimmy Lewis'. And I'm glad I'm not the only one waiting for an adventure version of the F800GS. Actually, I'm waiting for a Dakar version of it (mostly I'm waiting for something that will be more dirt oriented - better suspension, primarily). I'm also waiting for the bugs to be clear. Meanwhile, I'll be happily riding my reliable 06 Dakar and my 09 WR250R. And for a more street oriented bike, I have my eyes set on the MilleDue. That's how I've heard Italians referring to the MTS1200.

    #20