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Thread: Older F650 - suitability for new rider?

  1. #1
    Kindly curmudgeon W7lej1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Spokane Valley, WA

    Older F650 - suitability for new rider?

    Hi Folks,

    My adult son is in the process of getting started riding. First comes the rider safety class (good choice, IMHO) and he is doing a little looking at beginner bikes. We are wondering about the older F650's. At first look, size and weight seem OK for a new rider. Of particular interest to me is reliability and maintenance costs. How do the F650's stack up? Any chronic issues known? Any particular years or models to steer clear of? Operating cost will be a key factor for him.

    Also, any subtle issues that make that family of bikes not advisable for a new rider?
    Marty in Spokane Valley, WA

    '79 R65 - the rolling running project bike
    '08 R12RT - "new scoot"

  2. #2
    Registered User wkuwiz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    NW arkansas


    I bought an 06 Dakar for re-learning to ride. Liked it so much my girlfriend bought a lowered F650GS.
    We both enjoy riding.

    Plus maintenance is relatively easy.

  3. #3
    RD'nNH&AZ rdhudson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Summer in Lakes Region of NH and winter in the Sonoran Desert of AZ
    I like the 2002-2006 (or so) F650GS. Easy to ride, very controllable and low center of gravity. The Dakar is taller. Avoid the 2001 perhaps, as they had run-ability issues, earlier 650's were carbureted and I'd avoid them. Find one with good service and condition in the $3000-$4000+ range. The same bike is still made called the G650GS I believe. They are a great beginner bike that he won't outgrow. I've use my 2002 for dirt roads, short pavement rides and even one cross country trip. It can do it all. These bikes can suffer lean surge which responds well to a plug change, the engines are bullet proof and only need a valve check and plug each 12,000 miles or so. Oil level is checked in an odd way and DO NOT OVERFILL. Check for leaks before buying. See for help and FAQ
    2002 F650GS, 1998 R1100R 75th anniversary edition, 1983 R80RT (just sold), 1959 R60 (in restoration), Honda CT90
    If you must make a mistake, make a new one each time.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    East Troy, WI
    I have on 07. Still haven't outgrown it. The only other bike that may tempt me away someday is if BMW re-releases a 1200 S or ST someday.

    There may be a lot of panel bolts but once removed maintenance is a snap. My only grip with the bike is I wish I could find a true sport touring tire as I rarely get off pavement and there isn't much offered for those rim sizes.

    Low speed to tactical maneuvering on the interstate is always a hoot.

    I'm not positive but you may be able to drop the throttle into the other slit on the throttle body to tame it down at first?
    Kris - 2014 F800GT

  5. #5
    Registered User David13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I say yes.
    The older ones were well known for their dependability. And easy to work on.
    It will be a good opportunity to learn how to keep it running.
    Any bike needs maintenance and the rider needs to know about that.
    There is a lot to learn on the road from all angles, and that bike would probably be quite good to do it.

    Wait. When you say older, do you mean the old one cylinder?
    Well, if not the new one, two cylinder, which is actually an 800 probably would be good also.


  6. #6
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central WA
    We have a pair of 2007's. Both were factory lowered and have the low seats. Mainly because we are both inseam challenged, and when we bought the bikes we were low time riders and felt we'd be more comfortable that way. In the 7 years we've had them, the only maintenance has been oil changes, one valve check (spot on), fork seals on mine, new battery for each. This year, I'll be putting on new tires, chain and sprockets on both.

    The way the lube system is set up in the bike is kinda weird and a PITA the first time you swap the oil and filter, but you get used to it.

    My only gripe about the bike is the parasitic drain on the battery. If you're not going to ride for a couple weeks, you have to stick it on the Tender. Other than that, they have been a blast to ride.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  7. #7
    That thumper motor is a real neat power delivery too with what feels to be great torque. I can go for an occasional ride on my wife's and it is always a fun experience. I would agree with flyby biz that the first time you change the oil and filter is different but not hard. Visit as a great resource for these cult bikes. There were also some DVDs for sale that showed a lot of the maintenance too and they were very helpful.

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