Why choose the 650gs over the 800gs?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Bikeaddict, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Bikeaddict

    Bikeaddict Bikeless Due To Recession

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    Ok, so here it is. I rarely do dirt. I prefer 19" wheel caus it holds better on tarmac where the bike will spend 98% of its life. But I like the looks of the 800gs better. Why should I go w/ the 650gs? :eek1
    #1
  2. monkey-butt

    monkey-butt Adventurer

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    because its cool!
    :D
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  3. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Because it has a 19" front wheel with cast wheels and you'll be spending the great majority of your time on the tarmac. :lol3 but if the 800GS gets your heart pumping.. do you go with your heart :raabia or your head :jjen? :dunno

    What I didn't like about the 650 is the single disc on the front wheel.. and I have not done back to back riding on both bikes, so I'm not sure if the second rotor would be good to have on the 650 or not.
    #3
  4. GSdiablo

    GSdiablo cubical farmer

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    The 21" easier to steer, the 19" front tends to fight you alittle more at slow speeds on pavement. I stick with the 650's cause they are pretty cheap to run. Great gas milage/easy on tires.
    #4
  5. B-B

    B-B out of my lane

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    I test rode both and found I preferred the gearing and throttle response of the F8 over the F650, and I didnt have any issues cornering with the big tire so I went with the F8.
    #5
  6. Ride-a-lot

    Ride-a-lot Been here awhile

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    If your mainly riding on the tarmac then the 650's wheels are easier to get descent street tires. The seat on the 650 is also down to a realistic height.

    And the 650 also takes regular gas instead of super.
    #6
  7. mudmaps

    mudmaps Aussie World Traveller

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    Why consider an 800GS at all if you're going to live on the pavement?
    #7
  8. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    buy a XR 100 it will fit better
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  9. Chadx

    Chadx my toot toot

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    How about more economical price?

    If I recall correctly, torque was actually slightly higher on the 650, than the 800, up until fairly high in the power band. Really, except at higher RPM and WOT, the 800 engine doesn't have many advantages. So you'll have to honestly ask yourself where, in the powerband, you live. Rarely wind the bike out to redline? The 650 will serve you well. Can't get enough hp, hit the rev limiter often? You might consider the 800. Either bike will exceed the speed limit in short order. The quarter mile times aren't real different (see below). I have started moving to smaller bikes because I've found it's more fun to wring the neck on a small bike and use it to it's limit than to ride a high power, high performance bike and doddle around at 1/2 throttle all the time as to not end up meeting Mr. Officer.

    I agree that the regular vs. the premium of the 800 is an advantage. So is the better fuel economy of the 650. Note the 650 is geared taller than the 800, but depending on your riding style, that is easily changed, too.

    Here is a copy and paste from another thread...
    Note that the 650 is called the 658 (to diffrentiate it from the single cylinder 650).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    MCN Review 658 vs 800 April 2009

    The April 2009 issue of Motorcycle Consumer News tested the new F650GS. Before I get to their impressions I will provide the hard numbers, as they take less thinking on my part. The engine, which is rated at 71 hp by BMW, tested as 63.4 hp @ 7600 rpm and 50.8 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5850 rpm at the rear wheel (on the same dyno, the F800GS tested 73.7 hp @ 8250 and 51.45 lb.-ft. @ 5750 rpm) and the rev limiter kicks in on both bikes at 9000 rpm. The F650GS ran the quarter mile in 12.53 seconds @ 103.75 mph, with a 0-60 time of 4.24 seconds (the 800GS accelerated through the quarter mile in 12.20 sec @ 107.78 mph and 0-60 in 3.95 sec.) The top speed of the 650 was 121.4 mph @ 8100 rpm in fifth gear and 121.5 mph @ 7400 rpm in sixth gear. (The 800 had a top speed of 125.7 mph in sixth gear.) The actual speed at an indicated 65 mph is 63.1 mph and the engine is turning 3700 rpm @ 65 mph.

    The F650GS weighs 473.5 pounds with a full tank of gas. The 800 weighed 490.5 pounds. Both bikes had ABS, the computer and a centerstand. The MSRP is $8995 and the price as tested was $10,575. The bike they tested was flame red. They mentioned that the 650 can run on regular fuel, but the 800 needs premium fuel, unless the FI has been reprogrammed by a dealer. Again, it was mentioned that the 650 uses a different FI spool that results in a slower and less abrupt throttle opening. Seat height is 32.4” or 31.2” with a seat change, or 30.1” with the factory lowering kit. Maximum permitted load is 522 pounds for the standard bike, but is reduced to only 331 pounds with the factory-lowered bike. Wheelbase is 62” and ground clearance is 7.5”. Their fuel mileage (ridden briskly) was a high of 54.4, a low of 42.3 and an average of 50.9 miles per gallon. Routine service interval is 6000 miles and valve adjustment interval is 12,400 miles (?).

    Now this is interesting: Braking performance from 60 to 0 was 131.2 feet with the ABS activated and 120.6 feet with the ABS turned off. The F800GS had a best stop of 127.5 feet with ABS. The dynamometer comments were as follows: "Detuned with milder camshafts (7.2 mm lift vs. 9.64 mm on the F800GS and reduced valve timing), the F650GS’s 798cc motor gives the same strong power below 5300 rpm, yet runs on regular gas, its smoother delivery off the bottom end is another plus. It is an excellent motor." The total cost for a 12K major service is estimated as $416 for 5.2 hours (@ $80 an hour) of labor and $120.42 for parts (my dealer charges more for labor).

    Now don’t shoot the messenger , but the magazine seems to like the 650 better than the 800 (especially considering the $2265 price difference). They liked the 650 for its: "superior engine drivability to its big brother, the F800GS; excellent handling from street-based tires and geometry; lower seat and center of gravity aid handling." What they didn’t like was: "lower footpegs can cause ground clearance issues; either seat (high or low) is not long-term comfortable; F800GS windshield (3" higher) should be standard”"

    The two testers preferred the 650’s lower suspension and stated that they rode the two bikes back-to-back and the 800’s "longer travel suspension proved to be a disadvantage when compared to the cornering prowess of the shorter and less expensive F650GS." They also prefer the bike’s wider 19" front wheel and state that the single disc brake makes for lighter steering and affords noticeably more on-road cornering grip. In their opinion, both bikes have the best transmission that BMW has ever featured on a bike, with smooth shifting up or down. The worse features of the 650 are its hard seat and poor wind protection. (That should be no surprise!) The magazine really liked the 650GS and is hoping to be able to keep one for a long-term test.
    #9
  10. JRWooden

    JRWooden never attribute to malice...

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    We beat this one pretty hard in another thread here or on F800 riders ... but here is the "ammunition" I used on myself - as you read it you will be able to guess what I purchased - the F658GS.

    Having owned it for a year I have never said to myself "gee I wish I'd bought the "real" 800" and I do have pangs of remorse over other decisions :lol3 but everybody is different, and so ... well without further adieu here's my list:


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Cost difference is ~$2250

    658 has 14 less HP but only above 7,000 rpm. With 70+HP for the 658 I think that would be fine for me. I have a feeling that the detuned engine is a way better engine unless you like living at very high RPM. I don't, so I'll take the improved powerband ath the lower rpm.

    Since the F658 is an 800cc engine that is "detuned" one might expect better reliability?

    658 seat height is ~1.2” lower, has less ground clearance, and less suspension travel, and a less “sophisticated” suspension, but I don't see myself in "bottoming" situations; my off-roading will be more "casual" ... fire trails. gravel / dirt roads / etc...

    658 tubeless tires w/ cast rims vs. 800 tubed tires w/ spoked rims
    Tubeless tires easier to fix on the side of the road; the cast rims appear to have very heavy duty cross-section so should be pretty durable.

    658 does have smaller front wheel which is better for traffic/commute more "flickable", but not as good for balance at low speed off-road (as I understand it) and also not as good for climbing taller obstacles; but I'm thinking that the smaller front wheel being better for my "prime" activity (on the road like you) is OK and since I will not be doing "really serious" off-roading I should optimize to the road riding.

    Stock tires are the same series for both bikes.

    658 has shorter windscreen - I don't know if that is good or bad, I'm thinking I'll maybe want taller screen from either 800 or after-market, or maybe just the "flip" thing like TT sells to stick on the top of the 658 screen.

    658 is geared slightly higher (lower numerical ratio) but if this is an issue a simple change of front sprocket to drop one tooth (like the 800) should provide rough parity there and improve low speed tractability.

    800 has larger radiator

    800 has a (too small if you’re really serious about off-roading) plastic bashplate as standard equipment.

    658 weighs 15 lbs less (faring, larger radiator/forks, sump guard ….)

    Different color choices and different “look” I think most of the really manly-men get the "real" 800 ;-)
    #10
  11. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    You shouldn't, based on this criteria:

    Get the 650 and every time you see the 800 you'll have buyers remorse. Buy the 800 and you'll be happy you did every time you see the 650.

    Its not a crime to be vain.
    #11
  12. superhawkrider

    superhawkrider Adventurer

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    I just bought a 800gs and it is a kick to ride. I have a 30" inseam and it is hard to get both feet touching the ground at stops with the low seat. I figure that will get better as the suspension breaks in. The throttle is very sensitive, especially in first and second gear. It has less wind protection than my 08 klr that it is replacing. I really enjoyed my klr, but the 800 is so much more fun to ride. I do about 50/50 on this style of bike and that is the main reason I wanted the bigger front tire for off road, and it does look tougher:lol3 .
    I have ridden my dads 09 650gs and really like it to. The main thing I like about the 800 compared to the 650 is that the 650's steering felt twitchy and the 800 feels more controlled to me. The 650 handles so fast that I felt it needed a steering dampener to keep from getting into a tank slapper. They are both great bikes. Just get the one that makes you happy riding it, and just sitting there looking at it.
    #12
  13. Terrytori

    Terrytori Namaste

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    This
    , of course, is an extremely rational viewpoint. Applied equally to
    the automotive world, we would have all of about 3 SUVs on the road.

    Hmmm... nice.:rofl
    #13
  14. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    Except that, of course, following the logic to the end, one wouldn't then buy A 650 GS for the street either...
    #14
  15. Meatn'taters

    Meatn'taters Not any more Supporter

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    At 5'8", 31" inseam, the 800 is just too dang tall - tip toes for me to touch, with the lowered seat. Not good. I didn't ride it. Got 3,000 miles on the 658 I bought - 85% pavement, 15% fire roads, gravel. Larger front wheel, suspension on the 800, not a big deal for me. I don't have the desire, or energy, to take a 500 lb. bike on single track. If I ever bottom-out my 658 - well, I'm thinking I'm riding way over my head, somewhere I shouldn't be riding, and there would be pain involved. I love my 658, love it. Very nimble, flickable, doesn't feel like 500 lbs., on or off road - exceptional rides in the twisties.

    I had the 800 windscreen right outta the gate - blocked all wind up to my neck, which 75% of the time was just fine. Though, got tired of the wind noise at speed, just got a Aeroflow standard screen - only ridden once, liked it, though jury is still out. Gearing - yea, in my opinion, gearing is pretty screwy, though not a problem really. Forces you to ride at low end, unless you don't ever use 5th or 6th gears. I'm typically between 4-5,000 RPM on the pavement - still plenty of power response at this range. 1st gear is pretty high, though, the bike actually rides fine on dirt as low as 2,500 RPM, and responds quickly with a blurp of the throttle - I have never stalled this bike.

    Do I ever have regrets not going for the 800? Not really riding regrets, but only ego regrets for me. While looking at it in the garage, I sometimes feel like I bought my wife's bike, until I remind myself of all the farkles I have that are really free from the price difference, and that I'm too damn short for an 800 anyway, and that I don't have any real intentions to do any hard core off-roading, and how much I love riding my 658. It's an awesome machine.

    That's what I know.
    #15
  16. Meatn'taters

    Meatn'taters Not any more Supporter

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    658 seat - forgot to mention - is brutal. 90-minutes is about it, go two hours, you're standing up, squirming around, whining, numb, pissed. Might be my boney ass, I don't know. I got a Air Hawk 2 cushion - helps a lot, but doesn't quite do the trick. I've read similar complaints about the 800 seat as well.
    #16
  17. dsavage

    dsavage Been here awhile

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    I bought a 650GS in 2008 and love it. I do a lot of gravel and dirt roads and like the idea of tubless tires and am not worried about busting a wheel. I have farkled it with just about everything in the TT catalog plus happy trails panniers. Bought a corbin seat for all day comfort. Took it on some primitive roads in New Mexico and Arizona and the bike is far more capable than its owner, especially with TKC 80's on it.

    Wind protection is my only complaint. Put a Cee Bailey sport screen on it and it looked great but gave me headshake above 80mph. Just bought a 800 stock screen and haven't road tested it yet. If I need more wind protection, think I'll try a laminar lip.

    I was considering a 800 but since I also own a GSA I decided to go with a bike that would be easy to load in my pickup, have more than enough power to keep up with traffic (put a 16 tooth on the front) and be a kick to ride in the twisties. If you are thinking that you just bought your wife's bike then go with the 800. My wife doesn't ride so that was something that never occurred to me.
    #17
  18. midengineracer

    midengineracer Lost, with a GPS

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    Occasionally I wish I had the 800. I bought my bike expecting to spend most of my time on the street and that is what I do. However, when I do take it off road, I find it quite easy to bottom the bike (both ends).
    I was beat up on the 800riders forum for asking about suspension upgrades and told to ride the bike as is, I am riding it too hard, no way you jump the bike, etc.
    I also have been told to put TKC80s on it and enjoy it.

    But that brings me to why I haven't sold the bike and bought an 800, I love this bike for my daily commute (25 miles one-way). I might be riding it from here to GA in a few months (on the stock seat, your butt will break-in eventually). The maintenance has been minimal. I love the stock tires (traction is fine for around here and I have scraped footpegs to prove it) and have ~9000 miles on them (it is time for new Battlewings, or maybe Tourances). I have only adjusted the chain once, when the 600 mile service was accomplished. I have lubed it twice in 9000 miles (yes, I have pulled some wheelies, it has seen air-time with on-throttle landings, but it was tensioned correctly unlike many other chains that have people complaining about them).

    It turns out the correct answer for me is this bike and a true dirtbike for dual-sporting.

    The only thing my 09 F650GS needs is more height (and I am only 6'0", 185lbs), particularly between the seat and pegs. Another inch overall might not be bad.
    #18
  19. huckleberry

    huckleberry BACK ROAD BOMBER

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    because it fits what you want in a motorcycle, at least as closely as possible
    #19
  20. giodog2000

    giodog2000 Been here awhile

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    Both good bikes... I'm sure those who bought the 800 can honestly say it's an awsome bike on the tarmac aswell. And on the other hand , having bought the 658 , I can honestly say it does very well off road (with tkc80). If you decide to go with the 658 , please , don't take the lowered version if you really want to enjoy that 2% times you'll be offroad. I'm very happy with the 658 but if I knew i would get hooked that much on offroad (over 50%), I would have bought the 800 right away. Now I'm always trying to upgrade my 658 so it compairs with the 800. Then again , if you read people who have the 800, they go through the same thing . They feel the suspension is not perfect for ffroad and some have invested thousands to upgrade it. So I guess you are back at square one.....the only option left is looks :rofl
    Sorry if I confused you more than anything , but when BMW came out with both models it was obvious ( just by the name of the 650 with the 800 engine) that we'd all loose it :loco
    #20