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Thread: BMW F650GS as a touring bike and starter bike

  1. #1

    BMW F650GS as a touring bike and starter bike

    Thinking of buying a BMW F650GS as a starter bike for my wife and hoping this would work for touring. Is this to little of a bike for touring, should I go for an f800 instead. I believe the spoke wheels have tubes in them. How do you fix a flat when you are road side?
    Thanks Jim

  2. #2
    Registered User LENRT1200ST's Avatar
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    Great idea

    I have a 2011 F650 Twin, w/ Tourtech accessories. It's picture is on the website. in this forum. Search F800 RT and have a look. I'm the smiling old guy. Snapped during a trip from GA to PA to visit friends last summer.

    3 days, 63 mpg, running w/ the young guys... pricecless! Light, agile, runs w/ the big dogs on the freeways and is a respectable back road weapon, carries my stuff, my daily ride to work in Clearwater, FL.

    Len

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    Registered User nytrashman's Avatar
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    like the previous poster i to have a 2011 F650GS and have it setup for long distance touring. these are very capable bikes that are equally at home blasting through the back roads as they are hammering down the interstate.

    the F650 has cast wheels with tubeless tires but the F800GS has spoke wheels and tube type tires. changing a tube on the side of the road is doable, but it sure is a PIA.

  4. #4
    In the summer of 2010 Voni toured through 30 or so states and a bit of Canada on an F800S twin, covering just over 22,000 miles. In 2011 I rode my F650 single and she rode her F800 twin just over 20,000 miles during 4 months of summer.

    I think a person can tour on them.
    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://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by nytrashman View Post
    the F650 has cast wheels with tubeless tires but the F800GS has spoke wheels and tube type tires. changing a tube on the side of the road is doable, but it sure is a PIA.
    All true, and I have historically cursed tube type tires, labeling them a 19th centruy solution for a 21st century problem. But I have to say, when I hit a chunk of wood in the road, bending a wheel beyond repair to the point I could look in from the side and see about 2 square inches of the still inflated tube, I decided I might rethink my attitude.
    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://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  6. #6
    Riding for the SON
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    I now have 60,000 miles on a 2009 F650gs and have been to a lot of the USA and Canada on the bike, so I say you can tour on it.

  7. #7
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Remember the 650 twin IS an 800, just detuned.

    Unless you and your wife are on the big side, should make a fine touring bike and is a GREAT solo bike.

  8. #8
    wanderer
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    Rather than buying another R..RT which has grown to big for my tastes, I bought a 2010 F650GS, it has the same ergos as the RT with a lot less weight and bulk. I added a full complement of Aeroflow wind shield, duct deflectors, leg guard which gives me nearly the same wind a weather protection of my old RT. Added Jesse bags.

    I have found it handles the twisties with tourances very nicely

    Al with 60+mpg if I keep it 65 or under

    I looked at the F800ST...the belt drive and the extra HP were nice...but the riding position...egros were just too much sport bike...folded my knees , leg to much. put too much weight on my wrists

  9. #9
    Registered User mvscorpio's Avatar
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    I started on a 2003 650CS, and when I was ready for longer trips I moved to a R1150R. At the time, the CS had zero luggage options and was buzzy for highway. So I loved the 1150, then began coveting the twin 650 for a lighter ride. I bought it used, came with Happy Trails cases which hold a ton. I kept the 1150 for awhile, just in case I was not happy with the 650 for longer trips. In a month I decided to sell the 1150 and have never looked back. The twin has taken me out to Wisconsin, highways, back roads, dirt roads...it does it all. LOVE IT.
    Maria 2009 F650GS
    www.bmwbmw.org

  10. #10
    Nomadic BluBeast's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I was a fairly new rider when I bought my 2010 F650GS. I had a 250cc cruiser for about 2000 miles and 6 months previously. The GS and I commute 35 miles a day in an urban jungle with no side luggage, like a sport bike. We tour up and down CA and OR like a sport tourer, up to 400 miles a day, with an OEM top case and Kriega soft luggage. The soft luggage works great as a lumbar support (and on the soft luggage note, I use a Xena motion detector alarm when I'm off the bike.) I put a medium height Aeroflow off road windshield on, with a Wunderlich wind deflector, to limit wind blast, have OEM hand guards and use a Crampbuster for straight and flat freeway miles. Also, I put Mark 3 Pivot Pegz on to give my feet options to stretch during long days. I'm considering highway pegs for my OEM engine crash bars.

    The only drawback that I"ve found to using the 650GS as a tourer (as if I have some great experience with different bikes, not....) would be lack of protection for legs. It gets pretty cold when the thermostat drops below 55 F. I did pick up a rechargeable battery powered Venture Heated Vest last month and it's been awesome. The battery lasts 2-5 hours depending on what setting you're using. As far as legs go, using pants with bombproof knee armor is a must.....otherwise my kneecaps freeze off.

    I've considered upgrading to a sport tourer, but the nimble 650GS is just an outstanding bike. I didn't even address the tires or traction.

  11. #11
    Registered User nytrashman's Avatar
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    The only drawback that I"ve found to using the 650GS as a tourer (as if I have some great experience with different bikes, not....) would be lack of protection for legs.
    Aeroflow solves that problem with duct deflectors and leg guards.


  12. #12
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonseal View Post
    It gets pretty cold when the thermostat drops below 55 F.
    really? 55 is too cold?

    that is not a bike issue, that is a lack of appropriate gear issue.

    For example, i rode in this morning to work (only 15 miles) on my F800GS- high was 22, low was 17. jeans under riding pants (Fieldsheer with removable liner), legs were not a problem whatsoever. Hands didn't like it quite so well, but legs and feet never noticed a thing. not even cold enough for the electric vest.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  13. #13
    Certifiable Old Fart beemerdons's Avatar
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    I'm 6'-1" and 250 lbs. and the BMW F650GS Twin is a great touring bike!

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=638662 The BMW F650GS Twin makes a great touring bike, I have 25K+ miles on my 2009 including an Alaska trip and two expeditions through Mexico's Copper Canyon.

    What a great all around performance motorcycle, you can ride 1.5K street miles to Creel en Chihuahua Estado, then ride 1K miles of dirt en Barrancas del Cobre, then ride 1.5K street miles back home to mi casa en Chandler, Arizona.
    Don Stanley; aka Chuy Medina "El Burrito Ballerina"
    BMWMOA #24810; www.azbeemers.org/forum #89

  14. #14
    Nomadic BluBeast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    really? 55 is too cold?

    that is not a bike issue, that is a lack of appropriate gear issue.

    For example, i rode in this morning to work (only 15 miles) on my F800GS- high was 22, low was 17.
    Sounds like you know about windchill in CO:
    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/

    Anything under 55 when I'm touring is a consideration if we're talking about which bikes can protect the knees. If we're discussing gear options, that's a different story.

    @nytrashman, thx for the suggestion...I completely forgot that they made those! Just solved the problem.

  15. #15
    Can it tour? Well, Werner Wachter, owner of Edelweiss Mototours used an F650GS twin during his recent Round the World tour. He could have chosen any BMW, so there must have been some compelling reasons to chose the 650. I'm thinking reliability, capability and fuel efficiency might have come into play. Scott

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