In the last 4+ years my wife has gone from a motorcycle newbie to a seasoned biker who craves riding. She's ridden almost as much as I have (my edge comes mostly from riding to work most every summer day while she, being a teacher, doesn't.) She's started riding the RS with our son on the back, short trips, getting used to having a passenger. She's dropped the K a couple of times at stop lights but has become very adept now. She has been fascinated with dual-sport riding since she started reading the ON. She watched Long Way Around. We've been to a couple rallies. She's sat on a couple F650 GS'.
She's been jonesing for a dual-sport bike and wants to do some dirt! I certainly can't fault her for that. Of COURSE, a GS was first on the list. But we decided we had to ride a few different d/s examples before deciding. It wasn't something pressing but if opportunities arose. She'd sat on a nice lowered F650 at a rally in May and liked it. We had an opportunity to ride both an '06 DL650 and an '06 Duc Multi 620 at the same time and with the helmet intercoms we spent a good 30 minutes chatting back and forth on the relative merits of both. I was disappointed that I liked the VStrom over the Duc because I REALLY wanted to like the Duc. We were in agreement that the DL came out on top.
Now to try and find a GS or two to try. Not an easy proposition for sure, especially when we were looking for used. A couple Friday's ago, I had the day off and decided to take a ride. I ended up at Street Cycles in Falmouth. They had a left-over '09 G650 and a '10 F650. I tried both. There was a lot to like about the big single. I didn't find what little vibration there was an issue, the bike was light and nimble. Acceleration was tepid until the engine was revved but it was a little reminiscent of the power curve of the K, slow and steady. The biggest drawback? Yep, the seat. The incentives BMW had on the G were almost too much to pass up - 1.9% and either $400 cash or $1000 in accessories. The F was a different animal altogether. Smooth doesnt begin to describe it. Excellent power in a likewise light and nimble bike. Great acceleration. Comfortable ride save for, you guessed it, the seat. Problem is, BMW had no such incentives on the 10 and it was an $11k bike. But it gave me some perspective to report back with. They had several R1200GS' in the shop but we were really resigned to leaving them to the "pros".
My wife found out that a colleague of hers was selling his '06 DL and she made arrangements to try it out. Only 2300 miles, Givi bags, Zumo 550, 3 windshields, 2 seats, center stand, skid pan. It was just too good a deal to pass up. I said "It's not a BMW. But then, we own 3 already. I think we'll be forgiven!"