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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15 Responses to 1550-mile review

  1. Rat says:

    What custom seat did you get?

  2. Kevin says:

    Speaking of Rick Mayer, how does Peter like his seat from RM? I also have a 98 hawk and I was initilly looking at a Sargent seat, but that Rick Mayer looks pretty nice…

  3. john says:

    about tyre pressure monitoring:
    I’ve had two BMWs with the RDC option… an R1200R (RIP :/) and now a K1200GT. On both bikes, I believe, the RDC system displays pressures adjusted for ambient temperature. This means the displayed pressure will almost never match up to what your gauge says, or what you inflate them to with a compressor + regulator.
    What’s your owner’s manual say?
    Glad you like the bike. Happy trails!

  4. Roger Willcut says:

    are you going to be selling off any of your xt225 stuff now (windshield, luggage rack, used Daytonass). Also I am going to get a tent would you still recommend the Sirius 2.

  5. Roger Willcut says:

    have read every thing you have posted ( I think). I have been looking on ebay for a sirius2 and I I think I will look for the aerostich cot as well. PS The Daytona boots you turned my on to are one the best best purchases I have made in 5 years. Roger

  6. Alex Castro says:

    Congratulations on the new F650GS. Are you happy with the mag wheels or would wired ones be better as in the 800?

  7. Roger Willcut says:

    Carolyn – how about a GPS recommendation. Expected uses (in order of frequency) HWY in family & rental cars; local gravel roads in rural SD; HWY Low Rider & XT; light off road XT225; Light to mod AVT off road (still on trails). Roger in Yankton, SD

  8. carolyn says:

    Roger — I have two GPSs, one for the car and one for the motorcycle.
    For the car, I have a Garmin Nuvi 255. It’s perfect for what I need in the car — just “I’m at Point A, how do I get to Point B?”
    For the bikes, I love my Garmin 60CSx. It finds all sorts of back roads (gravel, too!) and is pretty easy to route through various waypoints for trips. It also has a nice tracking feature where you can save the day’s route and download it to the computer to make a map of where you rode.
    I wouldn’t like the Nuvi for the bike because it doesn’t do enough for my bike trips, and I wouldn’t like the 60CSx for the car because I like having a touchscreen for the car (I don’t like touchscreens for the bike since I’m always wearing gloves).
    Hope that helps!

  9. Roger Willcut says:

    Hadn’t thought about 2 units – but will. Would you please take a look at the Garmin webpage and look at the newer models. I would like to get you thoughts. I wonder about Point A to B applications here in SD. As a Real Estate Appraiser I am often looking for rural addresses (E911) that are like this: 45688 432th vis a vis a town. Thoughts?

  10. carolyn says:

    We just had the Nuvi 255 in rural Wisconsin where the addresses are things like W200 S5912 and it didn’t have a problem.
    I just got the Nuvi less than a month ago; I used the reviews on Amazon to help me decide, and it had good prices, too. c

  11. Roger Willcut says:

    Done – I will start looking for best package deal on Nuvi 255. Thanks

  12. Roger Willcut says:

    Garmin Updates? How often do you go online and get one. Well I got us a Nuvi 255W Never being smart enough to let well enough alone, I got the wide model. It is going to be everything you folks said. Thanks. Roger

  13. Alisdair Daws says:

    Love your reviews – keep it up! I’m looking at getting the F650GS myself. One review I read said that the engine was a bit vibey at higher RPM. What has your experience been? ~ Alisdair

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