Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 22

Thread: Is a new '14 650GS up to the full TAT ride?

  1. #1
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    288

    Is a new '14 650GS up to the full TAT ride?

    I'm narrowing down my choices for a bike that I'd like to ride for the full (Tennessee to Oregon) Trans America Trail ride. I'll very likely be buying a new bike and spending a few months getting it prepped for the adventure and I've narrowed the field down to a KLR, a DR650, and the 650GS. The new '14 650GS that I'm looking at has the wire spoke wheels but it's still a 19" front. Whatever bike I end up on will need all the engine/radiator protection parts, a fuel range of at least 250 miles, and handle thousands of miles of dirt road as well as the ATV goat paths we'll find in Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.

    The BMW is intriguing because of the 3 year warranty, 50+ hp vs. much less for the other choices, heated grips and ABS standard, and general quality of construction. For the next year, this bike will be predominately a dirt bike for me, hence the DR650 in the mix.

    Is there anyone here that's done the TAT on a 650GS? Is the 19" front rim much of a problem (vs. the 21" of the other choices)? Can I get the range I need out of the GS?

    This is about as heavy a bike as I'd want to use for this ride because of the more technical difficult sections we'll ride out west. Any weight loss advice for it aside from ditching the exhaust cans?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance!

    Wes
    2012 K1600GT, Vermillion Red (for the epic road trips)
    2013 S1000RR, Granite Gray (for the track)
    2014 KLR 650, White/Black (for the TAT)

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Grayling, MI
    Posts
    143

    G 650 gs

    I have a 2013 with mag wheels that also has a 19 inch front. I chose the mags because I did not want to screw around with tubes. I have not wanted a 21 inch front and have taken the bike down an ORV trail that I maintain and done a whole bunch of gravel. I am not familiar with the degree of difficulty that your trail comes with but I would not hesitate to take the GS almost anyplace if it had aggressive tires on it. To my advantage I have had the opportunity ride multiple day trail rides on lighter four strokes so some of that experience is transferable to moving a bigger bike through the woods. I think the DR would probably be the easiest handling in tight situations and the least comfortable on the open road. Its smaller. The GS is probably best on the open road and less agile in situations like deep sand and woops. The KLR is probably somewhere in-between. I think the main advantages of the GS is the combination (in my case) of mags, ABS and fuel injection over the other two bikes. You won't get 250 miles of range unless you carry or rig a supplemental supply with the GS. There are a couple options. I don't know how tight and remote your trail is but up here in Michigan its rare to see someone do 200 miles of trail in a day (maybe real rare). Planning your trip around gas and food availability every 100 to 150 miles would be within the GS's fuel range. I really like the bike.

    Wayne Koppa
    Grayling, MI
    71,449 Life

  3. #3
    shortythorne shortythorne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Steens, Mississippi
    Posts
    25
    I am on my 4th 650 single. I have ridden the Mississippi and Arkansas part of the TAT, but not on my BMW. I rode my 650 KLR for that. I can tell you the spoke wheels will be a bit of a problem for changing a tire in the middle of no where (tubes). Personally, I would never put my Beemer thru anything like the TAT. It is just too nice of a m/c to trash it like that, especially a new one. If I just felt that I had to ride it on a BMW, I would go for a used Dakar. I can't say since I haven't ridden the entire TAT, but I believe the farther West you go the rougher it gets. The right rider could do it on almost any bike, if you are skilled enough. I would go with a KLR considering the $$ & the 21" front wheel. No way would I buy a new anything to ride the TAT. The first half of the Mississippi section is ok, but when you get into the MS Delta, and the ARK Delta you will find that you may be crossing private farm land (subject to being shot on site) plus if it has been raining, it is absolutely awful. I burned up a clutch doing just that. I recommend skipping these areas completely, as it is just BORING and a giant pain. The rest of Arkansas was great! Hope you enjoy the ride. Gail

  4. #4
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    MT - The Big Sky
    Posts
    4,336
    The 650 single cylinder GS has been ridden around the world by multiple people and used for other remarkable adventures, including by riders as notable as Helge Pedersen.

    I think it is more than capable for what you plan to do, which sounds like great fun. Hope you can keep an ongoing thread posted here as you do it. Good luck.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  5. #5
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    "Big Bend" TX
    Posts
    9,083
    The OP question asks about the bike - a '14 F650 Twin I think. My opinion is that whether a bike is appropriate for a specific task/ride depends on the bike/rider combination.

    Part of it is rider skill, but some of it is also rider physique. Big, long legged muscular youngsters are one thing. Smaller folks or oldsters may be a different story.

    Before I would hazard a guess about the suitability of that bike I'd need to know more about the rider.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  6. #6
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    MT - The Big Sky
    Posts
    4,336
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    The OP question asks about the bike - a '14 F650 Twin I think. My opinion is that whether a bike is appropriate for a specific task/ride depends on the bike/rider combination.

    Part of it is rider skill, but some of it is also rider physique. Big, long legged muscular youngsters are one thing. Smaller folks or oldsters may be a different story.

    Before I would hazard a guess about the suitability of that bike I'd need to know more about the rider.
    Don't think they made a 650 twin after 2012. And, the post is in the thumper forum.

    But your observation is valid. How big a boy are ya Wes?
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  7. #7
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    288
    Thanks for the replies! I grew up in the dirt before graduating to the street some 35 years ago. I hadn't ridden any dirt since the 1970's until these past two summers where I spent a month on Maui riding KTMs, DRZs, and KLRs. We did everything from a 200 mile day on the roads to climbing the backside of Haleakala on some challenging jeep roads in soft volcanic cinder. That experience over the past couple of summers lit the fuse again for some dirt riding. As for me, I'm in pretty decent shape, 5'9", 190 lbs + gear. My feeling is that the GS (any GS) would be fine for the eastern portions of the ride but out west the largest Adv bikes would be suicide. I think the GS/KLR is about as big a bike as I'd want so I've ruled out the 800GS, Triumph Tiger 800XC, etc.

    It's coming down between the KLR and the 650GS thumper. They're about the same weight but the GS is way more bike (HP, comfort, features). There's a lot of experience with the KLR and what mods are required for this tough ride so I know what I'm in for there. Not so much with the G650GS and so I'm wondering if I abuse the suspension for 4,000+ miles in will it hold up? Is it tough enough to get dropped several times a day in the tough sections and come up swinging?

    Wes
    2012 K1600GT, Vermillion Red (for the epic road trips)
    2013 S1000RR, Granite Gray (for the track)
    2014 KLR 650, White/Black (for the TAT)

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Grayling, MI
    Posts
    143

    G 650 gs

    Wes I have almost 29K on my GS and have started thinking about a replacement shock. At this point it is still doing fine and has handled light trail duty and being hammered up to Prudhoe Bay then back down to Key West and points between. The stock seat has a 2x4 inside of it and that has to be dealt with one way or the other. I switched to the solo seat (optional equipment on the parts list) and had gel pads put in. The solo seat gives you another storage area. I think the seat is a bigger issue than the suspension. I think someone inside BMW is getting paid off by the aftermarket seat suppliers I am happy that I bought the vario bags as that they can be put at the smallest configuration which helps cut a narrow profile and also conform to the inside contours of the bike providing a little extra storage. Other stuff I added besides a GPS is the tall National City windshield and a Scottoiler.

    Wayne Koppa
    Grayling, MI
    71,449 Life

  9. #9
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    288
    The seat and rear storage box is something I'd want on the G650GS. Is there any option there to add more fuel instead of the storage box? The range on the bike is adequate but not exceptional when we get out west in the middle of nowhere and it's 200 miles between gas stops. A wrong turn or some back tracking could put me in the hurt locker if I wasn't carrying some extra fuel.

    This Trans America Trail ride relatively easy dirt roads east of the Rockies and people have easily done that section on 1150GS/1200GSAs. Out west, the bike of choice seems to be something like a DRZ400 or DR650 - much smaller, lighter, and more dirt oriented. I'll be taking the G650GS on those trails. These are places that people do on KLRs mostly with modified suspensions and I'd love to hear from anyone that's really challenged their G650GS in hundreds of miles of washboard/rutted road, ATV/Jeep trails, and deep sandy roads to see if it's up to the task. And yes, I realize that's and entirely different question than if *I'm* up to the task. I guess I'll find out this year

    Wes
    2012 K1600GT, Vermillion Red (for the epic road trips)
    2013 S1000RR, Granite Gray (for the track)
    2014 KLR 650, White/Black (for the TAT)

  10. #10
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    The 650 single cylinder GS has been ridden around the world by multiple people and used for other remarkable adventures, including by riders as notable as Helge Pedersen.

    I think it is more than capable for what you plan to do, which sounds like great fun. Hope you can keep an ongoing thread posted here as you do it. Good luck.

    I'll be chronicling my prep work and the actual ride and I'll post it up here if I decide to go with the GS. Right now, in my mind, it's almost a coin toss whether I go with the KLR or the G650GS. There's so much knowledge out there on prepping a KLR for this kind of duty and it's about as simple and easy as a old VW bug (and about as advanced technically). Loads of cheaper upgrades for it available as well. So a bit of my decision is about how much I'll have to spend and wrench on the GS to make it properly set up for this adventure. I really appreciate all the feedback I'm getting here - it helps a lot!

    Wes
    2012 K1600GT, Vermillion Red (for the epic road trips)
    2013 S1000RR, Granite Gray (for the track)
    2014 KLR 650, White/Black (for the TAT)

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Grayling, MI
    Posts
    143

    G 650 gs

    Please don't take offense to the "up to the task" issue. It's a valid concern. When I was coming off the Haul Road in the rain I ran into a rental group on GS's and KLR's. Some of them looked like deer in the headlights. One bike was already loaded up and they had just started. Buying a GS or KLR doesn't automatically impart dirt riding skills on the rider.

    I have carried fuel in a bottle and also rigged a small go-cart 1 gallon fuel cell from the solo seat storage area. There is a luggage rack auxiliary fuel tank system that you can find on the internet. I have also seen another system on the internet that was put together by the rider. Round barrel-like tank in front of and a little higher than the luggage rack You have got me spun up on this a little and I would want to look at the sections on the map and see what we are really dealing with on fuel availability. Maybe there are only a few sections you would really need to haul extra fuel????

    I understand what your saying about modified suspension and all but it has been my experience that when taking a bigger bike off road I end up riding it more like a jeep than flicking it around like a 250cc dirt bike.

    If you want to PM me I can dig around for some links to those fuel systems if you can't find them on your own.

    Wayne Koppa
    Grayling, MI
    71,449 Life

  12. #12
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    MT - The Big Sky
    Posts
    4,336
    My wife started riding on a 650 single and she still has it for when we go off road. I ride it every now and then and find it a fun bike to ride. It has been very reliable. I do not know a great deal about the KLR, but have seen many on the road. When I lived in Fairbanks and would have 3-400 riders stay on campus every summer there would be several KLRs in the mix. Once or twice a year there would be a KLR that was using an extereme amount of oil and down on power. Typically this meant that the lans between the groves the piston rings ride in had broken. The bikes with this issue seemed to be bikes that had been pushed hard on interstates on their way to AK. A local guy was a bit of a KLR expert and stocked 680 kits for the KLR. If there was no damage to the bore he could have the bike fixed in a day; if the bore was damaged he had a 700 or 720 kit (I'm not certain which) and he could have the bike on the road in two days. That all speaks to the simplicity of the KLR. I'm not aware of any systemic issues with the BMW's engine and transmission. They used to have some issues with steering head bearings and with leaking fork seals. With either bike I would carry a Seal Mate (http://www.amazon.com/Motion-Pro-Sea.../dp/B0039LDF4A) and use something like Shock Socks to protect the seals (http://bermmotorsports.com/). Carrying an extra set of seals would be prudent as well.

    Have you checked out the Chain Gang site (F650.com). It is a resource for all things F650, or at least it was. I have not been there in a long time. Helge Pedersen also made a video about how to do maintenance on the F650 in the field. Again, it has been five or so years since I last saw the video, but he has a website and it may still be for sale.

    I also see that ADVRider has an area dedicated to Thumpers and I suspect you'll find much to help you there.

    Overall, I think you'll find both bikes are capable of the trip, with the BMW being a more refined machine. Worth the extra money??? A personal decision.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  13. #13
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    "Big Bend" TX
    Posts
    9,083
    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Don't think they made a 650 twin after 2012. And, the post is in the thumper forum.

    But your observation is valid. How big a boy are ya Wes?
    I don't know what the goofs called the 800, 700, 650, (800cc) engine when any more but I am pretty sure that once the twin was introduced all the thumpers were G650, not F650. But I might not know that even.

    I was once asked about this naming confusion - along with that of bikes called K1200RS. I replied that I absolutely, to a moral certainty, knew why it had happened. "The intern was in charge that day!" The rest were all at Octoberfest.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  14. #14
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by wkoppa View Post
    Please don't take offense to the "up to the task" issue. It's a valid concern.
    No offense taken at all! It is a valid concern and my questions should have been prefaced with "assuming a rider up to the task..."

    So here's my update on my quest for a TAT attack vehicle. After spending some time at the BMW parts counter and service shop talking to them about what I wanted to do to the G650GS, I've come to the conclusion that I was trying to make it a bike that it is not. It's not a Sertao, a bike that would have been perfect for me for this trip, and the G650GS just isn't meant for serious dirt adventure without some new forks and rear suspension and new front wheel plus maybe some fuel range enhancement. That's $3,000+ in work on a bike that starts at $9K out door. It's a hell of a bike no doubt but I'm going with one of the other choices that will more easily lend itself to the kind of abuse I'm going to dish at it.
    2012 K1600GT, Vermillion Red (for the epic road trips)
    2013 S1000RR, Granite Gray (for the track)
    2014 KLR 650, White/Black (for the TAT)

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Grayling, MI
    Posts
    143

    All is lost.

    Well we tried our best. Now I have this vision of Wes out there on the trail, swatting monster mosquitoes, changing the tube in his front wheel, for the second time. He reaches into his pack for his Kawasaki Anonymous Book and he comes out empty handed. Damn

    All kidding aside, keep us posted. It would be great to hear about your schedule, what map products your using and what issues you have. This trail has got my interest. I only have a few payments left on my last trip so this could be the next one after I have a bake sale or something to raise some money.

    Good Luck

    Wayne Koppa
    Grayling, MI
    71,449 Life

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •