1550-mile review

Saturday will be my 1-month anniversary of owning the 2009 F650GS and, since I'm at 1553 miles now, I thought I should give a more thorough review. 🙂

So, in no particular order…

Engine
I'm digging the additional 20hp that the twin has over the thumper.  It's not so much horsepower that I'm scared of the bike (yes, I'm a pansy) but it's way more comfortable on my freeway commutes, especially when I need to pass someone or accelerate quickly down an on-ramp.

I've still noticed a couple of moments of snatchy response but I think it's rider error instead of the motorcycle.  The bike is really quick to small throttle movements and sometimes I'm just sloppy with my throttle control. 

Transmission
Very smooth.  Shifting is trivial and I've never hit a false neutral.  Speaking of neutral, it's super-easy to find with the engine off or on (like when sitting at a stoplight).  No more hunt-and-peck for the green light!

Handling
It sorta creeps me out to have a low suspension bike! I keep thinking I'm about to drag something.  It's the weirdest feeling.  Also, I suddenly have no chicken strips on my rear tire.  I think these two points are related.  Hrm…

The bike handles really well.  Really tight twisties (10mph) are a little rough but I think that's because I tense my shoulders up — it makes it hard to maneuver even with the wide handlebars.  The bike really holds to a line well,though.  I don't fight the bike in a turn or have to do a million tiny adjustments entering the apex.

Ergos
The seat is a torture device.  Get rid of it.  I did! I went up to Rick Mayer Cycle two weeks ago and got a custom seat.  Now my butt is happy.

Other than that, ergos are pretty darn good.  My only complaint is that the clutch lever is too far out from the handgrip, even when adjusted all the way in.  I have to twist my wrist out slightly to reach the lever, which is bugging my tendonitis.  I just ordered a Wunderlich clutch lever which claims to bring the lever closer to the handlebar (this was backed up by a fellow shorty on T3h Intarwebz), so hopefully this will be a non-issue soon.  

Oh, and the F800GS windscreen works really well.  I don't know how it would be for taller riders, but I like it a lot.  I don't get a lot of helmet buffeting.

Braking
Love it!  No problems at all.  This is my first ABS bike though I can't honestly say I've noticed any difference.  Granted, I haven't had to do any emergency stops at all yet, so I'll keep you posted if I change my mind.

Off-Road
I've hardly done any off-roading at all so far, so this section won't be fleshed out yet.  

I did a few miles of gravel road on my way to Rick Mayer and, to be honest, I didn't like the stock tires at all.  I felt very squirrely.  New dualsport tires must go on the research list. 

Non-Optional Options
The non-optional options are growing on me.  I've used the heated grips a few times and the onboard computer is great.  Given my druthers, I'd rather have had the under-tail storage than the tire pressure monitors, but so far its readings match up with my tire pressure gauge, so at least it seems accurate.

I think that's it so far.   Questions?  Hit me up and I'll try to get to them ASAP.  :)
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