100 mile review of the F650GS

Yesterday was my last day of vacation, so I put it to good use by trying out the new bike.  

I was a little apprehensive at first since I wanted to head to the city for some bridge shots, but break-in procedure states to keep the bike under 5000 rpm.  That wound up being no problem — I'd forgotten (how? dunno!) that the twin has SIX gears instead of the thumper's five.  Highway cruising at 75mph in 6th gear kept the bike happily under 5k rpm.

Obviously this isn't an ideal freeway ride review since I did have to watch the rpms, but I can confidently say that the bike will work out for those inevitable long hauls.  Downshifting into fifth had enough power to pass people with ease and cruising in sixth was comfortable.  Once the bike can go over 5k rpms, it'll go all day at 80mph, by which of course I mean the safe and legal freeway speed.

I had a little bit of wind buffeting — not as bad as the taller riders whose reviews I'd read — but I'm going to hold off on that because I do have a F800GS windscreen on order from the dealer.

30 miles of freeway later, I was in sunny San Francisco.  Time for 19th Avenue and the "stop and go traffic" test! 

Once again, the bike did great.  No overheating (or even warming), no complaints from my clutch hand, no problems putting a foot down every block on the San Francisco hills.

And then I was at Fort Point; time for bike porn!


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After a few dozen pictures, I had some unintentional U-turn practice as I got hopelessly lost in the Presidio.  This happens every time I'm in the Presidio and you'd think that I'd remember my way out eventually, but no.  However, I can now say for certain that the twin F650GS is good at parking lot U-turns. 😉

Can't complain, though, as the Presidio district gives photos like this:

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Baker Beach:

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OK, enough Golden Gate Bridge!

I turned southwest, towards the Sutro district, to pick up the Great Highway south along the coast.

There's not much to review about this bike from this section of road; it's about 40mph and fairly straight, with enough stop lights tossed in to make you have to watch the traffic.

I did entertain myself at said stoplights by spotting myself in duplicate in the F650GS's cockpit.  Hey, look, it's me!  Hi, me!

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The Great Highway does, of course, offer more opportunities for bike porn.  So here ya go.

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I need to do a separate entry about the onboard computer on this thing — one of the "non-optional options" that hiked up the MSRP.  I'm a gadget lover, so I confess to loving it, but I swear the thing is probably smarter than I am.

I do wonder why they gave the largest amount of real estate to the single most useless piece of information.  Does anyone ever really need to know what gear they're in?

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Not surprisingly, the F650GS handles long sweepers really frickin' well.  The Devil's Slide area was pretty free of traffic and toodling along at about 50mph was fun and easy.   The bike holds a line really well in these conditions and I barely had to think about lane placement at all.  Yum.

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Lunch at Cameron's in Half Moon Bay: spinach and artichoke soup with garlic fries.  Nom nom nom!

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Time to hit some tighter twisties!  I kept going down the coast for a while, then peeled inland at San Gregorio to hit Stage Road.  Time for some one lane, 1st or 2nd gear curves!

Once again, the bike did great.  There were some times that I wanted "1st and a half" gear, but I think that was mainly because I was still keeping the bike under 5k rpm.  If I could have gone higher in 1st gear, I don't think I would have even noticed the gearing "problem".  Clearly I'll just have to go back to Stage Road over and over to retest. 😉

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Along this section, the bike also hit triple-digit mileage! Woo!

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I kept on the one-lane curvy theme back up through the Santa Cruz Mountains, turning onto Old La Honda and winding and weaving over the summit back towards Portola.

Once again, the bike was a ton of fun to ride…..and to photograph. 🙂

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The forested portions of Old La Honda even gave me some wet-and-pine-needly curves to play on.  Not a slip nor a slide from the Beemer!  I didn't take many photos of this section as the lighting was bad and there were just enough cars so that I didn't want to block the road, but here's the idea.

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So that was my shakedown ride of the new bike.  I really had no complaints at all — none that won't be nonexistent once I can go above 5000 rpms, at least.  

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