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Switching from R1150RT to a F650GS and still tour?


co_g30

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My twisted brain has been following this path lately and I ask for opinions re this line of thought.

 

Trade in my 2004 R1150RT which does long distances most comfortably and ably but probably due to my skills kinda sucks when one wants to explore the dirt roads one encounters in the mountains for a F650GS. Yeah, you can pick up the RT (done it many times unfortunately) but it still sucks, not to mention all the scratches on the tupperware.

 

Anyone got real experience with long distance riding, am talking 12 hr days, 500+ miles on a F650GS? Doable or don't even think about it without third party seat and big windshield? I am looking at 2004 and later versions.

 

tia

 

dom

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Dom,

 

I put 24k on a 650GS in 1 year. Atlanta to Vancouver and several trips to socal from the east coast as well. Came from an 1150RT. Not a lot of fun on long days x-country but still a very nice bike. Went to a 12GS and found it to be the answer. Can it be done? YES! Is it the answer? NO!

 

Good luck.

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Did over 7000 miles in 22 days on one two summers ago. Everything from 75-90 mph asphalt cruising to the Dempster Hwy (500 miles of dirt in one day) going to the Arctic Circle in Canada. Then on through Alaska. It had a tall Wuderlich shield and a Rick Mayer seat. I'd do it again. Would it have been better on an 1100/1150/1200 GS ... not in my opinion. :Cool:

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How big are you?

Yes, it can be done, ask Jacqueline.

But, for a larger rider, you'll make some compromises.

What about the "new" 650 (800) which retails around $10k?

More horsepower/oomph.

 

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I've owned an RT and have an 06 650 GS now. Having been at both ends of the spectrum I will say this:

 

I don't like tube type tires. I like Shafts; My friends 1150 GS runs circles around Pepper the 650 GS on pavement and fire roads. Pepper runs circles around his big Gs on anything remotely tough off road, and we are much less tired at the end of the day in the dirt. I personally now really like the factory lowered 1200 GS. (yes I am somewhat short and used to flat footing) The big GS with the "wings" has better long term wind control than the single GS. I think the twin 650 gs might have great promise as does the 800 gs. Twin 650 tubless;800, tube. The single GS has odd oil change and coolant change proceedures. No big deal unless you are used to easy changes. The single GS seat is not the best for long distances. Please note. My RT got 45 mpg; and my single GS gets 70 on regular. The RT was much more comfortable on long distance rides and had much more power on upgrades. The single GS is much more flicable and lighter; also with gas under the seat, the center of gravity is much lower than the RT. In my opinion the RT is for pavement only as it is ungainly on dirt, while the single GS shines as a combination bike, but as with any dual purpose machine it is not quite as good at any one thing as one that is purpose built for a specific purpose. Really long distance touring on a single GS? Yes, but a new seat and windshield will be mandatory. Oh, one more thing. The single GS has limited electrical power for added vests; lights; etc. vs the 1200's.

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Lets_Play_Two
My twisted brain has been following this path lately and I ask for opinions re this line of thought.

 

Trade in my 2004 R1150RT which does long distances most comfortably and ably but probably due to my skills kinda sucks when one wants to explore the dirt roads one encounters in the mountains for a F650GS. Yeah, you can pick up the RT (done it many times unfortunately) but it still sucks, not to mention all the scratches on the tupperware.

 

Anyone got real experience with long distance riding, am talking 12 hr days, 500+ miles on a F650GS? Doable or don't even think about it without third party seat and big windshield? I am looking at 2004 and later versions.

 

tia

 

dom

 

My wife has an F650GS and she has done 700+ mile days, but really does not like the vibration and noise, even with a tall windshield) that she gets at freeway speeds. While I have never ridden it any long distance (over 100 miles) it is much too cramped for my 6'4" 230 lbs.

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I'm kind of in the same quandary. I've been pounding numbers in my head, and trying to figure out what to do. Take into account, I'm 6'2" 240 and commute 600 miles a week on the bike rain or shine. I'm looking at these options......and maybe a few more

 

trade in my RT for a 1200GS

trade in my RT for a 800GS

trade in my RT on a Triumph Sprint ST and buy a cheap dual sport

keep my RT and buy a F650GS twin for commuting

keep my RT and buy a G650GS single for commuting

sell my RT, find and buy a R1200ST and buy a cheap dual sport

I also plan to go look at something orange on Sat, but I don't want to talk about it (I'm in denial, but its oh so alluring)

 

I'm mainly looking at the 650 bikes for the sake of commuting. You can't beat that gas mileage, and the fairing on the RT kills me in the summertime. On the other hand........I rode the RT to work today in sub freezing temps and snow squalls while staying perfectly comfortable behind that fairing. I have 4 spread sheets running that cover just about every detail of each. There is no answer.....I never thought I would be this stressed out about buying a new bike. :dopeslap:

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My wife toured with her 650GS for 10K Km one year,did a couple of 3K Km trips through the mountains and moved to the 1200RT last year because:

1. She didn't like riding on dirt that much even though the bike was pretty good in those conditions

2. Didn't like the violent buffeting on freeways from trucks due to the light weight of the bike

3. Said she felt small and insignificant on the highway

4. Wind protection (even with the tall BMW windsheild or the even better Givi replacement just not great for touring

5. Excessive vibration in her hands from the single if trying to put in slab time at 120+ Kph

 

All that being said the 650GS is a great bike! Doesn't burn a lot of gas, can turn on a dime, really light and flickable, lots of power for gravel or dirt, wonderful commuting attributes. She had the optional panniers and a 42 litre Givi top bag and it carried everything she needed as well.

 

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I've owned my 99' R1100RT for about 2.5 years now and earlier this spring, bought a 2006 F650GS. I haven't yet done any serious touring on the 650 yet, but I intend to next season. Need to get some panniers or something.

 

I commuted to work about 65 miles round trip all summer on the GS and really like the bike. Added a Cee Bailey tall windshield, which made the ride better. The stock seat isn't that comfortable for a long haul, but I like the riding position better than the RT ... more upright.

 

I've pretty much put the GS away for the season now in favor of my RT, which I consider to be my winter bike. Like OoPEZoO, I was also crazy enough to commute today on the RT through the snow squalls in NW Ohio and wasn't cold at all with my heated liner and hippo hands.

 

I'd say get the GS and keep both if you can! Good luck!

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I have a 1200rt now that I love. I've been itching to get a second bike - leaning towards dual sport. This summer I test rode a BMW 650 Dakar and didn't like it very much. I'm only 5' 11" and it felt cramped. It did corner well but got buzzy and blown around on the interstate. It also got really hot. I don't know if there was something wrong with the bike ( it was a 2007 with only 8K on it ) but there was a fan that kicked in after only 5 or 10 minutes of riding and blew hot air on my leg. I couldn't imagine riding it very far in the summer. I was pretty disappointed as I was went to the dealer expecting to buy. I also really like the ease of doing all the routine maintenance on the boxer engine. In a perfect world I'd get a used 1200GS but finances won't allow that right now.

 

Bill

07 R1200RT

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It also got really hot. I don't know if there was something wrong with the bike ( it was a 2007 with only 8K on it ) but there was a fan that kicked in after only 5 or 10 minutes of riding and blew hot air on my leg. I couldn't imagine riding it very far in the summer.

 

Are you sure that was a GS, sounds like you're describing my Buell Ulysses (love the bike, but hate the fan and heat). :dopeslap:

 

 

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ALOT of the "adventure" tour guys ride the older F650 (single cyl 650cc) long and hard, and I have seen alot of the ADV guys take them up some pretty technical trails then ride 400+ miles home. The big GS and GSA are absolutley awesome machines and in the right hands are capable of nearly the same stuff as the smaller bikes, but they are heavy and you'd better be really good if your going to do hard trails. I want a GS bad, realy I want two GS's: a 90's 650gspd for the kill myself stuff, and a r12gsa for the long haul everyday almost anywhere 2up stuff. The dirt bug bit me BAD, so I went and picked up a used KTM racer that I am doing a dualsport conversion to for now but the GS is in my future. I say get both, or keep the RT and if you are not sure about dualsporting get a uesd KLR for a while..

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I have an 04 RT and an 06 650 Dakar. Stay off the highway and the 650 is great. It's my favorite bike for the twisties and does good on dirt roads. The Dakar seat is more comfortable than the standard gs seat and only $150 from BMW of Chicago. That being said I'm looking for a bike which does as good as the 650 but less buzzy and better for highways. Maybe the new 800gs or even the new 800r. I'll test ride them in March at Daytona bike week.

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I'd say get the GS and keep both if you can! Good luck!

 

I'm pretty sure that is what will happen. I can also give Danielle the line that she can ride the GS once she takes her MSF course next summer.

 

BTW.......do you run dual sport or street tires on your GS, and what kind of mileage do you get out of them commuting?

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The key is in the set-up for the F650. As it comes stock (the older single cylinder), the seat slants forward and is uncomfortable. A simple 1 1/2" -2" foam addition to the front of the seat will level it out. Also, lowering the footpegs 1 1/2" using aftermarket pegs is easy. If you are taller than 5'8" this gives lots of leg room. Also, changing fork oil and fork preload helps immensely if you weigh over 130 pounds. All of these tricks are cheap to do, with the pegs costing the most at $105.00

 

For touring, adding the tall Cee Baileys shield will take care of wind blast issues, but will allow lots of air to the arms and shoulders for hot conditions. If its is chilly outside, adding tank panniers will keep a lot of wind blast off of your legs.

 

The bike is fine for touring if the speeds are 70 mph and lower. Much higher than that, and the engine will run out of "beans" when trying to accelerate in a hurry. Also, the faster you run, the less the mileage, which is true with any bike. As an example I got up to 76 mpg doing 55-60 and 58 mpg doing a steady 85 mph.

 

My longest days on the bike were around 10 hours of riding. It is not tiresome to ride unless you push it to its upper limits.

 

img_6160.jpg

 

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I had an 01 F650 GS and I put a lot of miles on it on all kinds of roads. I have done 12 hour days and I did haul lots of gear for camping trips. I switched to the 1150 RT in 2003 at my wife's suggestion because she thought the 650 was kind of a girly bike and she just thought I should have something more in line with her manly image of me. :/

 

I miss the gas consumption of the 650. It averaged about 60% of what the RT takes. The other thing that really bothered me about the 650 (and I am not suggesting mine was typical)was how many little annoying things broke or fell apart in my two years of ownership. Nothing ever left me at the side of the road but my confidence in the quality of that particular bike was badly eroded. The dealer and BMW was also 100% on the warrantee work but at the end of the day, it just didn't feel like a keeper.

 

I love the RT. Gas, oil, tires, battery...nothing else and it is more comfortable for 95% of the riding that I do. I will probably get another if I don't wear out before the RT.

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This morning on the way to work, Pepper the little GS and I came around a curve and 4 danged deer were in the road and moving. Hit the ABS brakes; took evasive action and missed the lot. If I had been riding Smokey the HOG, or my old 97 RT, I don't think I could have missed them, it was just that close. Mountain roads can be dangerous, and Pepper is the perfect commuter bike for them.

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I 2nd the thought of slipping into a used KLR. I have a blast on mine. Stock seat stinks and brakes are a bit weak, but a very usable bike. Cheap and easy to work on and maintain. If you like that and still want a 650GS, you can probably sell the KLR for what you paid.

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I had the same quandary but decided I liked Darth way too much to trade him in. So I looked around for a second BMW and I settled on an R1100R. Great bike, way lighter, good luggage capacity, comfortable, good wind protection available (Cee Baileys) and handles "regular" Texas dirt roads really well. Dunno about mountains tho :eek:!!

 

Oh! And way cheaper if you drop it :thumbsup:!!!

 

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I've had an 1150RT, and now own an F650GS (among others). If I could have only one bike, it would be the F650GS. I have ridden it into Mexico and Ca. No, it's not as comfortable as the RT, but it's more versatile, IMHO. It's certainly more fun. I've spent a lot of time riding R1200GS's too. I'd still take the 650 because it's better on gravel and forest service roads.

 

The 650 is not the best on the freeway, but it's plenty adequate. Read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". There's something to be said for riding a smaller bike that exposes you to more of the elements. You also tend to get more street cred on a big trip. More than once someone has asked: you rode here from Minnesota on THAT!?! Anyone can ride a big luxo-bike across the country. Not many can (or want to, really) ride a smaller bike very far. Not that a 650 is small, BTW.

 

 

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You also tend to get more street cred on a big trip. More than once someone has asked: you rode here from Minnesota on THAT!?!

 

Yeah, and you DAMN near ran into me at the gas station in Baja!

:grin::grin::thumbsup:

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Keep the RT and get the single 650 - '05 or later - and use each one as they were designed (plus some). My '07 650 has a tall windshield and Corbin seat. GREAT commuter here in Nashville. Loads of fun on the twisties on the way home - okay, I do take some slight detours.

 

Just got my '04 RT a couple of months ago. My preferred on-road bike.

 

Feeling like some off-road, take the 650GS. Looking for asphalt with twisties and hills, go with the RT.

 

Options are wonderful. Decisions can be tough. I've done 500+ mile days on both and have no reservations about taking either/or.

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I make the exact opposite switch, from an '05 F650GS Dakar to am '04 R1150RT.

 

The F650GS is a great bike but this is why I made the change:

 

1). Lack of wind protection on the 650, there are after market windshields but even the biggest I could find didn't help much.

 

2). The 650 is great on forest service roads and fire roads, anything more knarley than that gets pretty hard to handle.

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THe new 650 twin is a world of difference from the 650 single, smoother, better power. Adding Cee bailey windscreen , and bar risers really helped for longer distance comfort and wind noise. Awaiting corbin seat although Sargent also comes out next spring. Touratech and Jesse already make bags. 500 + miles no problem. Cramp buster throttle assist. RKA makes tank bags with the audio system enclosed in the bag and ram mounts on the bag to hold GPS, radar, cellphone, and FRS.

For me at 5'6 the new 650 twin has the advantages of lighter weight, not as top heavy since gas is under sink, true 50 mpg gas mileage, I thought about the lowered 1200 but didnt like the top heavy feel. If youre taller, then the 800 gs would be perfect.

The 650 twin rides great on the highway at indicated 80 mph. Front end gets light at 90. The front end fork is much more stable than the old 650 and the steering geometrey makes the handling completely different from the old 650. I think the 650 twin or the 800 twin depending on your height would make an excellent long distance tourer

P.S. Someoene actaully completed the iron butt rally on a 650 gs and finished in I think 19th place.

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I have an 04RT, 99r1100r, and a 05 650gs. I like them all. If I were to choose one to commute on it would be the 1100r. It has plenty of power, much lighter than rt and the build quality is much higher than the gs. Like a previous poster, I don't have alot of confidence in the gs. It has left me stranded and I don't feel the quality is on the same level as the other two bikes. The gs is a blast to ride and I have alot of fun on it but the other bikes are in a different class. You can find a r bike with low miles and not brake the bank as well.

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If I were to choose one to commute on it would be the 1100r.

 

I'll second what KCScott said. At one time I had a 2004 R1150R in addition to my '02Rt and my '06F650GS. I communted about 90 miles a day and much preferred the 1150R since much of the travel was on very busy multi-lane interstate highway. I felt much safer on the R-bike than the GS.

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