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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I usually hate threads where someone asks strangers on the web to help with purchasing decisions, but here I am!:)

I love my TW for back roads and trails but I am considering something to get me to the trails further from home.(keeping the TW) In other words something that is better suited to highway cruising but still capable of moderate trails and backroads. i am considering two choices:

First, a 2016 BMW G650GS, used with 1300 miles. Has the optional spoked wheels, center stand and heated grips. It still has 1 year of the original BMW warranty left. Or, a new 2016 Honda CB500X. Both bikes are the same price, one year warranty and I love both of them! It seems like the BMW would be better off road but the Honda would be a more comfortable cruiser. I know the Honda would be as reliable as a stone but I have no experience with BMW reliability or maintenance. With the crappy wet weather we have been having I have not had the chance to test ride either bike. Opinions please? Has anyone ridden both bikes?
 

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I met a guy at the flying monkey ralley with the 650 BMW and he had over 120 000 miles on his. He had some interesting stories on where he had been with his bike. If you went with the ralley raid kit for the Honda, you would have a good adventure bike. As they are the same price, I would go with the BMW.
A guy I ride with had the Honda for a few years and loved it for the road. He did some FSR riding with it after putting a skid plate on it. He traded it in for an African Twin to allow him more off road riding.
 

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The Honda is a touring-adventure bike but all of it's "adventures" are for the street/road.

The BMW is the on/off road version of their 650 commuter. I test road a used one a few years ago and didn't like it. But not the dual-sport one you are considering. I don't know if that means it's the commuter with off-road tires and different styling? Seems BMW puts more effort into marketing and design before engineering nowadays (and I own 2 BMW's). Is gearing different on the GS or is it just pretty make-up? You'd need to do more research.

You already own a TW that you say you are keeping. Question back to yourself, do you need 2 dual sports or 1 of each... a dual-sport and a street bike?
 

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I really do not want this to sound negative because it is not meant to be, but I would say neither. I think you will know the right one when you see it. After owning over 30 motorcycles I would still get the one that you know when you see it. The one that before you go to sleep the first few nights with it you have to go back outside and take one more look at. The one that gives you a big s&#t eatin grin when you walk up to it. (Yes I have a problem, I know that....move on)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I really do not want this to sound negative because it is not meant to be, but I would say neither. I think you will know the right one when you see it. After owning over 30 motorcycles I would still get the one that you know when you see it. The one that before you go to sleep the first few nights with it you have to go back outside and take one more look at. The one that gives you a big s&#t eatin grin when you walk up to it. (Yes I have a problem, I know that....move on)
You bring up a good point but both of the bikes I mention give me "a big s&#t eatin grin"! I guess my only big issue is a preconceived notion I have about the reliability and maintenance cost of owning a BMW and I am trying to find out if that is true or not. I have only owned Japanese bikes(there was a CZ once:eek:) and I am used to, or maybe spoiled by the "plug and play" reliability they offer.
 

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Speaking from experience I have both the TW and a '01 F650GS. I am am a couple of BMW forums and the 650 is in general quite capable with the correct tires (the tires on mine were new when I bought it but not dual sport so I have not ventured far off road yet). I like the smooth power band of the beemer as well as the low seat height and the lower center of gravity due the the under the seat fuel tank....however it is not a light bike and there is no doubt I could pick it up from it's side if need be but not too many times before I'd be way too tired to continue. Originally I shunned the BMW because I was also concerned about how tough and reliable they were but there is no perfect bike and I have been totally pleased with mine. As an adventure bike I think you would be happy with it for hard pack and water crossings but I doubt that you will be climbing over fallen trees or rocks the size of watermelons with it.
:eek:ccasion14:
 

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It's a reasonable concern about BMW and everything that you read on the internet. I am on my 4th GS now and they have been rock solid reliable. My starter failed on this most recent GS but I was aware that the Valeo starter that was in it was a notorious piece of junk. I actually had a spare at home, BMW no longer uses them. I think that another reason for BMW reputation for more failures is that they are used for many more miles than most other brands, at least this is true in my case. My 4 BMW's account for way more miles than the other 2 dozen motorcycles that I've owned combined. 40,000 miles is considered a lot of miles for most brands but is considered low mileage for a BMW. BMW's with over 100,000 miles are quite common, I just don't see that with other brands. Yes they are out there but they are the exception, not the rule. Best of luck and enjoy the search, I'm sure that you will be very happy with your choice.
 

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Now as for Honda..... We have a small workboat at my job that has a Honda outboard on it. One morning one of my employees calls me and says that the workboat will not start. I said, It's a Honda, it's either out of gas or the kill switch lanyard is not clipped on. He called right back and said it was the kill switch lanyard.
 

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Just get a DR.
All the others have too much plastic to break.

49,000 miles and the only reason its broke is because the magnetic tip on a drain plug came out and got back in the transmission.
Starts right up whether it freezing or desert hot.
 

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I have ridden both bikes . I wanted to love the BMW but hated the vibrations and it just always felt like I was in the wrong gear. I really like the CB500x and it could be a real contender for my next bike but I would have to ride the Kawasaki Versys 300x first.
 

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The Beemer is a bit "vibratey" at speed. Rode one extensively a summer or two ago. I still liked it except for the vibration.

(And I'm not a Beemer Hater, I own 4 of them)

The 500X with Rally Raid seems to be liked by many. Only ridden one stock. Nice. Typical Honda nice.

The KLR is a very good bike, but someone mentioned seat height. Mine is lowered 1.5 inches and has some sort of super expensive suspension on it. It is still a bit high for my liking (I'm 5'9-10" with a 31 inch inseam.)
But it has been my go to bike when the weather is temperate. I do not ride it when it is cold, as the stator does not have enough power to run a full set of heated gear.
Learned that the hard way.
Always carry a jump box.

A DR is another good choice. No long term ownership stories. Rode it for a month or so till it became one of the conditions of a large group sale. The guy had to have it or he would not take the rest of the bikes. Not my deal. It was a friend's bike. I really miss that bike.
 

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I, too, was going to make the trailer suggestion/joke, but I actually totally get it. I have the TW as my mountain goat trail to shorter, slower dual-sport ride.

I also have a Honda CB500F. I got it as a short seat height street bike, and it has been great. Rally Raid is building parts popular for the 500X, most of them actually work on the F as well. To expand its capabilities from just a street bike to one that will also fill the roles of dual-sport and ADV, I've equipped my F with the Rally Raid Level 1 suspension kit, bash plate, wide footpegs, R&G radiator guard, and a second wheel set which is spoked. I'm still getting the wheels set up with brake rotors and TKC80 tires, but when I do, I'll be able to switch from street fighter to "Halfrica Twin" in about 20 minutes.

I'm not sure that you can go wrong with either, or any of the other bikes mentioned. There are so many good bikes to choose from now. Of course, the never seem to make the "unicorn" bike that will make everyone happy. I'm not a BMW guy, and I'm happy with mine, so I vote Big Red. Test rides might be what decides it.
 

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.......... and a second wheel set which is spoked....... .
Larry, on your set of spoked wheels for your 500F, did you stay with the 17" front wheel, of try a 19"?

What tires did you choose for the second set of wheels?

I'm in the process of adventurizing my 500F.

jb
 

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Because of seat height, I got 17" wheels and level 1 suspension. The 19" front wheel alone won't fit, to my understanding, without using the level 2 suspension and associated parts because level 2 raises the whole bike up 2". It would jam up at the lower triple tree otherwise. If I was taller and had a longer inseam, level 2 with the 19" front would be ideal. I also paid for the tubeless application.

I decided on the Continental TKC80 tires.
 

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Thanks for the info, Larry.

Back on topic.....

I had a 2006 F650GS for a year (before they changed the designation to "G"650GS)....it was a good bike but I never bonded with it.

As I recall, the oil change procedure was a bit wonky. The fuel tank is under the seat, and the oil tank is under the "fake" tank.

If it matters, the G650 (engines assembled in China) has been discontinued by BMW.




Like Larry, I currently have the CB500F.....mechanically the same as the 500X (engine and transmission).

I would personally prefer the Honda....but you should take a test ride on each if you can.



jb
 
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