Would You Recommend an F650GS to Someone Living in Developing Country?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by gfloyd2002, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

    Feb 28, 2009
    Joel, hook up with Jim Von Baden and you two can do for F658/800 owners what has already been done for oilhead owners!
    Good video and good commentary would secure your win of the kharma lottery.
  2. Law Dawg (ret)

    Law Dawg (ret) Been here awhile

    Sep 10, 2003
    Left Coast
    Maybe something along the lines of this for those of us that are ummmmm..a bit challenged? :1drink
  3. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

    Apr 22, 2009
    STL, MO, USA
    Thats an interesting idea. I have trained a couple hundred techs in my career, maybe I could write something :wave
  4. CheckerdD

    CheckerdD Long timer

    Apr 30, 2005
    Dave Rankine, Reno NV
    I rode my F800 to Ushuaia from Reno this fall. So I think I can speak for a few things. 1) Third world gas is better than gas in the US because with rare exceptions it does not have ethanol in it. In other words don't use that as an excuse not to buy a BMW. If you get worried about your injectors, every once in a while throw in a can of STP injector cleaner. You can get that anywhere. 2) Having a second cylinder is worth some significant bucks if you going to go any distance. 3) Generally there is a BMW dealer in the capital of every country in the world. But if you have a job like mining engineer where you work in the boonies, you want something made in Japan that has a large dealer network. 4) The Chinese are coming. You see their bikes everywhere including broken down on the see of the road. But they are so damn cheap you could buy a new one every year and it would be a long time till you paid more than a beamer. Dave

    THEAPE EML Rocks

    Dec 13, 2011
    PERTH. West Australia.
    Hello GFLOYD,

    As this is question is something I have asked and answered myself a few times, I thought I should weigh in with my thoughts, based on some experiences.
    • BMW is a very well recognised brand in most places in the world - if it breaks or is broken you will find a way to get bits for it - either wherever you are or from another nearby country that has a dealer and understands that BMW riders venture all over the world.
    • Wherever you are in the world, the chances of finding a dealer/mechanic that speaks English are probably higher if the dealer sells BMW. I was recently living in an Asian country and looking in dealers of many brands for a bike, the only BMW dealers in that country (5 from memory) all had someone who spoke English, the other brand dealers - lots of them, had a big hassle to communicate.
    • A BMW is tough if you ride within its limits and look after it. This may seem biased, but after 50 plus bikes and 5 of these BM's, I think I am right.
    • I have just bought a 2008 F650GS Twin, I was actually looking for a late model twin spark Dakar single. The Dakar I have owned and ridden before in South Korea , I found the handling, suspension and power amazing and perfectly suited to Geoje Island where I was living. Once I rode the twin , I was sold (I am back in developed Australia). The twin is slightly heavier, but once the wheels are turning it is better balanced- particuarly at low speed, the fuel range is better and the extra horsepower and torque is very nice if you have a load on, the advantage of the tubeless wheels is a big plus too. The two things I miss on the Dakar are the 21 inch front wheel and the slightly plusher suspension. The smaller wheel I can live with; because I know it is tubeless (probably tougher than a spoked rim - or if I bend it- in a fix you could probably beat it semi straight to keep you going) and the suspension I will "tune" to my taste in time.
    • To Summarise, go and buy a 650 GS twin and put some miles on it, you wont look back.
    As this is my first post I thought I would make it a decent one. Merry Christmas.
  6. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

    Feb 28, 2009
    That's the one that has been subject to about a dozen recalls with issues from chains, to bearings, to air filters, to batteries, to more bearings, etc... Oh, snap! I forgot to mention brake disc bolt issues, too.
    At least if you bought used, you likely got one that the previous owner had sent in for the recalls.

    The level of training of BMW mechanics in some parts of the third world ranges from factory trained and certified to just off the street with zero knowledge of the product. Pricing of parts is also famously skewed throughout the world, with one nation subject to one price and other nations to other prices. There is no uniform pricing of parts, other than they are obscenely expensive unless you source your own. The F650GS does not respond well to low quality fuel, no matter how you map it. BMW clearly states in the owners manual and on a sticker on the tank cap, what is the minimum acceptable fuel. Having run it on lower grade fuel due to no premium fuel being available in one area I put this to the test, you immediately feel the difference in performance.

    The overall design of the bike (which is truly greater than the sum of its parts) is actually quite good for the types of roads and surfaces you encounter in a developing country, the F800 has the edge there but with decent tires, the F650GS twin is capable enough to get you where you want to go unless it is the middle of a swamp or something.
    It also works surprisingly well in all environmental conditions when you run premium fuel, especially high heat and humidity, it runs warm but as long as you keep the fan clear, it performs well. Just my observations from having run one for the last 2 and a half years in a third world country and accumulating about 35,000kms. Having another 6 months of BMW roadside assistance keeps me comfortable because if it fails, I think it will put troubleshooting skills to an interesting test.
  7. Flashback

    Flashback Mommys Lil Monster

    Jul 6, 2007
    Hawai'i Island
    DR 650 -> bullet proof. reliable. parts available everywhere. can be fixed in the chicken coup if that's your only available space.

    BMW = lot's of headaches, special tools that cost a lot of money, extreme learning curve to understand their particular kind of engineering, lot's of money to get parts shipped in special for your bike, lot's of down time waiting for said shipping...the list goes on and on.

    I love BMW, don't get me wrong there, quality engineering, quality machines. Great bikes. But for developing countries and marginal economies, definitely not a recommendation.

    As a for instance, I ran into a certain U.S. diplomat recently who had to travel from his developing country to the U.S. to get parts to take back on his special U.S. diplomatic flight to the country he was working in because it would have taken him 6 months or more to get them through local sources...up to you whether you want your bike in the garage or on the road.

    For developing countries I would never recommend BMW.