BMW F 650 GS Dakar Dual Sport Reviews on Cycle Insider (2)
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2007-04-09 2006 BMW F 650 GS Dakar Dual Sport View Listings

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Just picked up my Dakar, I have to give BMW a compliment, the Bike is so much fun and so comfortable and great to ride. I am from Europe and drove the Honda Africa Twin and other bigger Enduros, but the Dakar is by far the best Enduro I drove yet! It is also a big eye catcher, lots of people ask me at red lights what kind of Bike it is? Only issue, my Bike only has 82 miles on so far and I have a problem finding neutral, according to the service technician at the dealership the Dakar has a de-tuned racing motor and that the motor likes higher RPM,s but the problem should go away after the drive in period!?! Also, make sure that you are close to 6 feet tall, otherwise you have to stand on your tippy toes! Coming from big enduros to big heavy cruisers back to enduros, the BMW is by far the best and funnest Bike I have ever ridden! Go out and get one, you will love it!!!
- Mike, Lindenhurst, New York

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2006-08-25 2006 BMW F 650 GS Dakar Dual Sport View Listings

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Having just returned from a 2500 mile trip into Northern Canada I hope that I can justly review this machine. Picked up the Dakar having never ridden one. The first thing I noticed was the seat height. You are up there; at almost 5'9" I was able to get toes only on the ground with both feet. A bit of a slide to one side or the other easily allows for one foot flat on the ground though. The seat was uncomfortable after about a half-hour, and I realized right away that had to go! $400 later a new Corbin made a big difference. If you buy one and it does not fit up, you will have to trim the rubber spacers on the bottom back of the seat like I did, then it will snap right into place! I was amazed by the power and smoothness of this engine, a well proven product at this point. It is a totally different animal than the old "thumpers" that many of us remember. Vibration has virtually been eliminated, making this bike feel as smooth as my 70's vintage 550-4 Honda. It reminds of that bike a lot in the vibration department, and that is saying a lot! I can't remember riding a two or even three cylinder bike that vibrated less. Four to five hours of almost straight riding, with gloves, and no tingling fingers? Awesome! Mileage is great, with stats around 60 mpg. I must say that I ride easy on the throttle so that would be an outside figure for most. This machine cruises very happily at 70-80 mph, while turning at somewhere between 4700 and 5200 rpm. This is a range where I found minimal vibration, nice! Shifting is smooth, but the gearing is very tall. In order to ride with any confidence you must be going at least 10-12 mph. The risk of stalling is a big concern at any lower speed. With a compression ratio approaching diesel standards, they start at 13-1; this engine will just stop, tossing you to one side or the other. This is my biggest fault with this machine. There is no accommodation for technical riding, i.e. rough terrain, etc. It seems to me that the Dakar needs a "low hole" gear, if one could be fitted, below the present first gear. This idea would make it a "two down, four up" design, with the first gear becoming a "road first" and the second notch down a "dirt" or "technical" low. Fat chance right? You can change the output sprocket with one supplied by Tourtech, giving something like a 6-7% change, by eliminating one tooth. This change translates through the whole range of gears though and I have not opted to try it yet as I like the performance at highway speeds the way it is as stock. Braking is very solid, and strong even when loaded to the max. Weight of about 830 lbs. The suspension is very impressive, not bottoming out on rough dirt tracks at moderate speeds. If you ride this bike in sand you will want to carry provisions for air. It gets testy in loose stuff in a hurry, especially if loaded up. Mine has ABS, a very nice thing to have, hoping that you never need it. Use it once though, and you are way ahead in the game. Highly recommended by me. For any who say "nay", try going back to the old cable activated drums on the 60's and 70's, or better yet, scrub brakes! In other words, if the technology is there to make your ride safer, why not take advantage? You can turn off ABS if you want to. The stock screen while nice to look at is functional for one thing at our speeds here, and that is, you guessed it, dropping a load of high speed air in your face, along with whatever is in that air, dust, bugs, etc. I fitted mine out with a Cee Bailey's, and love it. If you do this, save yourself some aggravation and move your mirrors out as far as you can. They will hit the screen in tight turns or a fall/drop, and crack it! One thing about this retro-fit. If you do this and have a "rock-guard" on your headlight lens, you will find an irritating amount of light coming up the windscreen when riding at night. There is a solution to this, but I have not perfected it yet as I try to ride in daylight only, especially in critter country! Lighting in front was adequate, but a HID system from Touratech is strongly recommended for any "night-riders" and speedsters out there. On the other end, the tail light is wholly inadequate, reminding me of a 60's Harley at 6 volts! Change it to an aftermarket LED ASAP! The side stand is quite a piece, you could probably lift the entire bike, loaded, with it if you were strong enough. It lets the bike too far over when loaded though, resulting in a tipping problem. Solved by a piece of 2x4 with a strap on it. Stop, take out the auxiliary stand, push it under the side stand and lower the bike down, viola, stays upright with a heavy load! Make sure you attach the strap to the bike, and never try to reach down for it if it falls. You could end up in a very compromising position! No, this did not happen to me, but I had the opportunity to think about it! Touratech has several critical items for this machine available including a set of guards for the radiator. Bad, bad thing, poking a hole in your radiator out in nowhere! Mirrors are break-away type so get a couple of spares for them. The intermediate between the bar and mirror arm. I wish the tankage was greater, but you can't have everything. Throttle response is crisp, and the bike pulls nicely from around 3500 rpm. I was actually satisfied with torque from about 2800, but you have to roll up very slowly from this speed to avoid lugging the engine. Shifting is smooth, but for a silent shift the engine speed should be over 4000 rpm I found. Contrary to the wisdom of many pundits out there, BMW's are not designed to "clunk" when shifting. A proper shift is silent, or almost silent, and seamless. I am under the impression that design differences preclude "Japanese" shifts, i.e. silky-smooth. That said, BMW's can be ridden without gear-box banging! It is all about timing and pressure. I found an almost two-second wait from first to second and about 4500 rpm. At that time the shift was silent and seamless. The pressure required to affect a gear change is in the ounce range, difficult to measure with heavy riding boots on. I found smoother shifts when I lifted my foot off the peg all together and pulled up ever so gently while bringing the clutch to just about the disengagement (slip) point. It takes some practice and an ability to adapt, but silent, smooth shifts are possible in a short time on this bike. Speaking of banging gears, this thing idles at a wild 1500-1600 rpm! Want to tear up some metal? Keep banging this thing into first from neutral while it's running. That loud bang while the chain jumps? that's your gearbox being slowly destroyed. I always get on the bike, bring up the stand, rock it back and forth a bit and find first. Only then do I start it and drive off. Again, no neutral at stops, it's right into first and wait. Of course situations arise, but you get the idea?!! Incidentally, the idle is so high because of the complaints about the engine stalling by so many people. Instead of a gear ratio change we'll just turn up the idle! Brilliant! The engine is Czech built by Rotax. One thing the Czechs are known for is machining prowess, so no concerns there. I gave a 4 on quality as some of the fasteners seem to oxidize (that is, rust) rather quickly. Minor stuff, not critical parts for safety. They can be changed as needed with better quality. Riding position was good with me. I would prefer the bars back an inch or so and up by about the same amount, but that's a personal thing. As a conclusion, this bike is awesome! It is really a bike for everything. Quick, nimble, versatile, rugged, efficient, and sharp. My brother and I both bought one and are talking about getting rid of our other bikes, and R1200 C, and an R100 GSPD. This bike offers big-bang for the bucks. An excellent warranty and legendary name round
- Gerard, Brunswick, Maine

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