This FAQ is dedicated to collating and summarising the opinions of Long Term/High Mileage Owners
General High Mileage Feedback
Refer also individual FAQs and the Surveys, accessed from the Main Page)
Anyone on this board have a 650 (any 650) who has not had trouble, repairs or replacements. We hear of ALL the problems, but rarely, if ever, hear anyone say that their 650 is trouble free. Guess I can't judge by mine 'cause my classic has only 6,000 and my GS 1/3 of that. To date, they have been trouble free but I'm sure.., having said that, that it will change tomorrow. Mentioned in a post below that my worst fear about riding is equipment failure. Is there a BMW MC, or just a BMW 650 that you can buy, take care of, and count on not to let you down?
HM - Classics:
Obviously, the BMW carb models are more reliable and easier to fix, especially on the road. I have owned more than a dozen bikes and I have to admit that the classic F has been the most reliable. I'd give a lot of money to get rid of the wind turbulence though. William--USA
Nothing bad to report on my 1998 ST @ 31000 Km. Just the usual wear and tear ( brakes, tires, chain, sprocket, steering bearing...) I always feel confident before long trips (1000 Km ±). Canadians don't surf the net, we paddle it ! Martin, Ont., Canada
15000K and all's well. (Knock on some wood and all..) Sean #1015 Ottawa Canada
I had over 18,000 trouble free miles on my '99 until I traded it in for an RT. Scott C. #345
I recently bought my bike (97 ST) from Jean #636. It currently has 23,000 miles on it. Looking at his records, he has done the steering head bearings and routine maintenance only. I 've put on 800 miles in the last 2 weeks and as far as I can tell (from Jean's excellent records and my own experience) no mechanical failures. Nate
Over 24,000 miles in 2 and a half year on my 2000 Classic F650 and no problems. Just routine maintenance and still running the original chain and sprockets - I have a Scottoiler. BTW William, you can get rid of the turbulence by replacing the mirrors with the mirrors from a 1150GS. Works like a charm. If you want added wind protection put on a Parabellum appropriate for your height and cut a notch out of the bottom. Leo #699 Utica, NY - 2000F
99F650 bought new......6k no problems at all, 97 F650used with 6k....now 16k no problems at all, 99 F650 used with 5 k...now 7k no problems, Had 1 flat on 2nd 99 and replaced the chain on the 97, otherwise, just regular oil change, etc. DaveJ#888 (Hannibal, MO).
The only problem that I have had on my 1997 Funduro over the past 29,000 miles is the replacement of the steering bearings under warranty. I even have the original battery and VR. As the steering bearings were a factory assembly defect, I would have to declare my bike completely trouble free. Richard #230, Pacifica, CA
Nothing mechanical on my '99 until 18K miles, when the steering head bearings failed. after that, my VR failed and I had a stripped cylinder stud (leaky head gasket). my wheels were warranted sometime early on due to slight discoloration, nothing functional. I'm now at 24K miles and expect several thousand trouble-free miles ahead. my bike is running and handling better than it ever has. Mark #403
About 15k and except for normal wear--tires, chain, sprockets--no problems.. Having said that--stuff will probably start happening!!!! --but so far my l999 F650 has been trouble- free. Bill No.391 LV.
I am at 70,000 miles and all I have had was the stock water pump at 30k and rear wheel bearings at 18k. I now change the waterpump and wheel bearings at 25 to 30k intervals as regular service. My clock has started to act funny during a heavy rain. I ride a 97F. I have been through the carbs and replaced the rear shock but I consider this type of thing a regular wear item. Looks like the extended warranty I purchased will not be used. Steve#417(IN,USA).
About 15k and except for normal wear--tires, chain, sprockets--no problems.. Having said that--stuff will probably start happening!!!! --but so far my l999 F650 has been trouble- free. Bill No.391 Las Vegas.
They have all been broken down, at one time or another: /2, /5 /7/ K's, oilhead R's, classic F's. My present ride, an 02 GS is still running, but it is only a month old with 5k. My other registered bike, a 98 Roadster has been in Vt at Frank's BMW for a new input shaft in tranny. I've been broken down all over the country with BMW's; and it is NOT because of lack of proper maintenance or abuse. It is just iron and plastic bolted together and it all wear eventually. Actually, I think YAMAKAWAZUKI's are more reliable! Just my two cents. Steve#105
Hi, I've got a 1999 bike with 38,800 miles, #16389. +16k of long distance touring with lots of equipment. I'm 200#'s. Steering Head Bearing Replaced at 30K, Felt Notchy starting at 28K, Self, OEM Bearings, new plastic parts. Limited off road, bumpy back roads. Water Pump Failure. Still going strong but planning to pre-emptive replacement at 40K oil change. No Current Symptoms, Self, $40 I think, Pump Kit. Chain & Sprocket 1st Chain and sprockets at 17K. 2nd at 29K. Have next chain & sprockets in hand and have chain riveting tool. DID520VM and BMW Sprockets. Have ScottOiler and ChainWax when I think of it. 1st Chain ChainWax only every 1k Tires. Metzler Tourance Rear about 9K. Front's about 15K Wheel Bearings. Rear Left Side Failure 27K. Replaced Fronts at 30K pre-emptive. Chain Carrier original. OEM Bearings. Also have new seals etc to put in. Left side bearing failure wiped all that stuff, not available in Newfoundland. Next tire change will put that in and chain carrier bearings.
Werner's Around the World Stats Around the World Stats. Wrapping up my recent trip: Time and date: 7/1 to 11/7; four months, seven days. Distance: 47,000 km (31,000 miles). Bike: 2000 F Classic. Mileage at departure 42,000 km. 23 countries. Air freighted bike 4 times: 1) Ottawa-London (US$1,000); 2) Dhaka-Bangkok (US$750); 3) Kuala Lumpur-Perth (US$1,800); 4) Sydney-Los Angeles (US$1,800). Tires: Bridgestone Trailwings, Continental Escape, Pirelli Scorpion (my favourites, Trailwings, better in sand and mud). Chain and sprockets DID VM and 15T Sprocket Specialist, rear, BMW, lasted the whole distance thanks to Scottoiler. Breakdowns: Speedo drive, small hoses from radiator to overflow, and vent hose from valve cover. Falls: many; damage: front flashers and cosmetic. Other problems: Lack of power at high altitudes, running too rich; vacuum lock when tank three quarters empty (Acerbis tank). Total cost: approx. US$15,000. Favourite country: Thailand. Best adventure: Top of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. Werner
I bought my '98 in 12/99 with about 2k on it. Now it has about 32k. I bought my '97 last summer showing about 17,500 or so and finally got it on the road in the fall. Only... the speedo wasn't working yet. After fixing the speedo drive, the bike seems to think I've put about 400 miles on it. I think I've put about two or three times that. I haven't ridden much any of the past several years. This year I plan to do more riding than many of the previous years. Last year I put 4000 miles on the bike in just two long weekends and that was the majority of my miles for the year. Flash412
60,000 miles (90,000 km), just broken in. 130,000 miles on my 91 R100 GSPD, well broken in. Werner #547 -- 2000 F650 Classic -- 1991 R100 GSPD.
I think Charlie has well over 80k miles. I am currently at 74k miles. My bike still looks and runs great. Steve#417(in,us)
I have 86 thousand on mine and I'm planning to add 7,000 to it in June. The funny thing is that I bought the F as a commuter bike, I guess I'm commuting all over the country now. The last bike I bought new I had for 12 years and only had around 25 thousand miles on it. Charlie #070 From PA
I bought my F650 for a road trip to the Arctic Circle (2000). Tried to sell it in 2001, and decided to keep it. It's gotten more miles than my K75RT for 3 years running. Unfortunately, my K75RT is required to tow my KwikKamp trailer, or it would be gone. Marty #436-Chicago-97 F650F
Things I wouldn't do
again....in no particular order:
1) I would not replace the chain without changing out the cogs even though I have gotten 24K miles and counting on the cogs with two chains. Dragging the last miles out of the cogs is noisy and makes a little more vibration. I will probably install an oiler when replacement time comes. To get the mileage out of the cogs properly takes more cleaning than I want to do in the end. The stock chain was toast at 12000. I put a DID520VM X-ring chain on. It still has some miles left but like I said it is noisier even though the teeth aren't pointy yet. It would probably go longer if it had been matched to new cogs to begin with.
2) I would not put a fuel system cleaner in my tank again. I believe the Redline Fuel System cleaner has aged my inline filters and my fuel line. Who knows what the o-rings in the carbs look like. The fuel line is basically disintegrating.
3) I would not mess with the carb settings other than opening the organ pipes, using the euro main jet, and adjusting idle mixture to prevent backfiring.
4) I would not reinstall stock front brake pads as I did for my third set. The Galfer Green pads (second set) were awesome and are worth using even if they don't last as long under hard use.
5) I would not put anything but Michelin T66's or the like on the bike again. My second set of tires were BT45 street tires and though they were fine, especially in the wet, they don't compare in stability and rideability to the T66's I put back on.
Just my humble observations... Chris in Santa Cruz, CA.
I have the following
1. I would not replace sprockets unless they showed noticeable signs of wear and would recommend either using an automatic chain oiler or oiling the chain every other fill-up.
2. I have used carb cleaners from Gumout, Berryman, STP, Snap and Bardall for years with no apparent problems or damage to my fuel lines or filters - including the 10 year old lines on my CB750.
3. I have not changed out the main jet and have watched the mid-range mixture get richer over time due to wear of the needle jet and jet needle. I have not messed with my organ pipes (in order to keep water out of the airbox when I wash the bike), but have yanked the box snorkle. Very early on, I removed the charcoal cannister and turned my idle-mixture screws out 1/2 turn to 4 turns out from seated.
4. I have returned to the stock brake pads after trying Galfer Blue pads. The stock BMW pads wear much longer and provide a better bite on my MAP 340 mm brake rotor.
5. I have tried two complete sets of Michelin T66 tires, which worked very well on wet pavement, but wore out rapidly. (I believe the T66 tire is being replaced with a new model this year.) Avon Distancia tires lasted twice as long on the rear and look to go four times as long on the front. They seem to work just as well on dry pavement, not quite as well on wet pavement and neither works very good in mud, sand or gravel.
So there you go...everyone's got one - an opinion, that is. Richard #230
HM - GS/Dakars:
With almost 300,000 miles on 12 different BMW m/c's, including 12,000 on 01 650 GS, I have never been stranded by a mechanical failure...knock on wood. Gene / Barwick, Ga. USA
I've only had my 01 GS just over a year, 8500 miles, but there have been no mechanical failures of any sort. Mike #926, Calif
5500 miles (or so the odometer tells me) and the only things not working properly are the mirrors and the speedometer which reads a good 25% higher than actual. SScratch '01 Dakar Nashville.
I see that Davemishalof mentioned in another thread that he has 47,000 miles on his 650. I've only managed 10,000 since I bought mine 14 months ago. So, who's got the highest mileage on their 650? I'm talking total miles on the bike not just what you have ridden. SScratch '01 Dakar -- Nashville.
01'GS(8k mi.)- Starter motor replaced shortly after purchase. Radiator leak started this last weekend on top left side close to the plastic shroud. Definitely not from a rock/debris strike, as there isn't any fin damage and the leak is a pin-hole size one that spurts out like a fine-line water gun. All my riding is street too. Also, the magic self-adjusting mirrors and S&S problems that come & go despite: FI update, snorkelectomy, pipe & Fuel Nanny. This is my second first-year-release-model BMW (the other an R850R), both plagued by constant problems. The most disappointing thing about both bikes was the great potential each model had for being an awesome bike. jpd793(SF).
23.9K miles on my Dakar. Other than normal maintenance items (tires, chain,
sprockets, etc.), I've replaced the following:
approximately four turn signals (they break easy in falls)
one clutch cable (warranty)
two mirrors (one warranty, one fall)
one handlebar weight (vibrated off)
one sump plug (made of cottage cheese-rounded bolt)
one fork reflector (blame cattails on the Trenton GS ride)
one battery (my fault-old battery is still electrically sound, but the terminals are too soft)
That means so far the warranty problems I have had
1. Surging and Stalling - multiple tries. It is still stalling when cold
2. Leaky radiator (bad welding)
3. Bad fuel gasket (fuel ate the gasket)
4. Bad water pump
5. Broken clutch cable (in the middle of it)
6. ABS sensor
My small list of warranty work:
S/ S - have "tested" all the new maps for the ECU.- (The first one was the best, but my dealer had no way to put that back. I now have the first program installed, and I do not want to have it "updated")
New ECU unit.
New Lambda sensor.
New ABS unit. (complete unit)
New oil press. sensor.
New wiring harness (engine & ECU part of it).
ECU unit, Lambda sensor, wiring harness and ABS unit all changed due to water and corrosion in the (watertight) connectors. (Watertight, to keep the water inside the connectors?)
Items not covered by warranty:
New water pump (shaft and simmer rings)
I plan to have a new waterpump housing and axle made, to accommodate an outer bearing. I just do not feel the present design is good enough. 23- 24K miles between overhaul just is not what I want. I love that engine but it need some small improvements. I do not know if a 3. bearing will cure the waterpump, as my outer sealing was hard (not flexible), so maybe I might try to find a sealing that is meant for higher? temps first. haakon#626 (Norway, F650GS)
I have two bikes and since 12/23/2000 I have accumulated: '01 F650GS 47,165 '02 K1200RS 53,002 total 100,167 I have 690,000+ miles on BMW motorcycles since 1983. Living in Southern Calif. makes it easier to feed my riding addition. LOL. davemishalof Inmate # 717 -- '01 F650GS San Diego, CA
Detailed High Mileage Service Records
For a detailed "Round the World Trip" F650 Service Record; Service Record for TWO Classic F650's, (From Erin & Chris Ratay's Website).
Finally rode back into the USA, after 4 years (well, 3 years, 11 months, and 5 days, but who's counting?) Crossed from Copper Canyon into New Mexico at Columbus (anticlimactic), and went to Deming before lunch on Friday... Discussed the problem with the crew, and were later told they could not do a leak-down test until this coming Weds. Rode to Tucson Friday night (stopping every 50 miles to check/add oil) and hit Iron Horse first thing Sat morning. Leak-down test showed that exhaust valves/seats are worn, maybe intake too, piston rings will need to be checked, and we might have problem with breather seal again (we replaced rings and seal 20,000 miles ago, though at the time, no sign of damage to rings or cylinder). According to the dealer, we're looking at about $300 just to tear down the engine for full inspection. Then, valve job, potential ring job, and maybe even breather seal would probably run a couple of thousand $$$, plus a couple of weeks. Marty says even if we replace the "damaged" bits, the rest of the engine is worn from heavy use.
Our 1997 F650 is blowing oil out the airbox -- about 1/2 quart every 100 miles. Bike has 98,000 hard miles, and breather seal and rings were replaced at 76,000 miles. Bike currently runs fine, but leak-down showed that major air is escaping through exhaust valves, a little through the intake, and also a tiny bit past the rings. Changed rings previously only because we had them, and engine was torn down to replace breather seal (all that work for a $1 seal!). Valves were re-cut at 60,000 miles.
Just an update, as we kinda left this hanging a bit. We're staying with Al & Julie Jesse, and with Al's help we have torn down Erin's motor. The bike was losing a lot of oil, like we experienced in Patagonia a year ago. The good news is that Erin & I tore the engine apart (split the cases) in less then 3 hours, the bad news is that the head needs an overhaul. We sent the head to Ron Wood Racing in California, and we're "stuck" until we get it back (we're begging Ron for early next week). For awhile there (last 2 weeks), we thought we might have to change the engine. We were told some things that made us think the engine could be severely worn, and probably not worth repairing. Finding another engine in a short period of time seems futile -- we've heard rumors of $600, but all we have been able to confirm are upwards of $2-3,000. Getting a new head would cost around $1,000. Surprisingly, with 98,909 miles on the clock, the engine looks pretty sweet! Thankfully, after opening it up, the "damage" is not so bad. We could have replaced the crank case breather seal (again), buttoned it up, and continued. The bike had been running strong as ever -- the only reason we stopped was because of the oil puddles we were leaving. The concern is the intake valves were seated a bit deep. The exhaust look OK, but the intake could cause us a problem down the road -- not today, but maybe 5,000 miles, maybe 25,000 miles -- it's hard to know, and why take the chance. So Al contacted Ron Wood in CA and asked his help -- we sent the head out last night. It's gonna cost a little over $400 to overhaul the head, and take about a week. The Nikasil (or however you spell it) on the cylinder looks near-new. The rings we put in at 76,000 miles are OK, but we have to check the gap. Al looked inside and said the shifter arm and gears look near-new. Everything looks in great shape! Since we have the engine in pieces already, we will change the rings, all gaskets, and a couple of crank case seals. Probably the water pump too, just to be safe. The extra time is chewing into our schedule, but we're in great company and the truth is, with just under 100,000 miles on the engine, it really wasn't that bad ;-) Thanks for your ideas and suggestions, and hope to see you out on the road. -C & E
1997 F 81,000 miles, I'm going on memory on the mileage below cause I don't feel like looking it up :-) .
Rear wheel bearing 38,000 miles and another rear wheel bearing around 60,000 (replaced every one front and rear just in case).
Ignition switch 65,000 miles.
Voltage Regulator 78,000.
Tach cable 79,000.
Both rubber choke diaphragms cracked 79,000.
Oil seal behind sprocket 79,000
Oil seal behind shift lever miles ?? (maybe 45,000)
Bike is in the shop now because the coolant tank filled up with engine oil, probably a head or cylinder gasket.
Also started to loose antifreeze before this, so I told them to replace waterpump seals and impeller shaft.
81,000 miles. Lots of batteries, tires, light bulbs, chains and sprockets. Probably a few more things I haven't thought of but nothing big.
Steering head bearings still seem good. Never had to add oil until this last problem.
Starts good runs great.
detailed Classic F650 Service
100,000 Miles: This is what happens to a '95 F650 when ridden through South and Central America. Serviced by third world Mechanics and Pirates.
Rear tyre: Bridgestone trail wing: till 52,700km/ Conti TKC 80 till 67,500km/74,000km(2ndhand)/79,300km(+2,500KM)(2ndhand)/
Oil changes: 47,500km(f)/52,700km/57,700km(f)/60,000/66,500(f)/71,500km/75,000km(f)/77,600km(+2,500KM)/79,300km(f)/81,500km/86,100km
Steering Head Bearings: 56,000km/ XXXXXXX
Chain: 57,700km(2ndhand)/65,800km (VAZ-too weak)/72,300km (chain torn twice!)/CHAIN KIT 88,300km
Brake pads (front): 60,000km (custom-made tractor)/66,500km/79,300km(+2,500KM)(some grip left on old ones)
Brake pads (back): 60,000km(custom-made tractor)/66,500km/ 79,300km(+2,500KM)
Front Tyre: Bridgestone trail wing till 61,000km/Conti TKC 80 till 79,300km(+2,500KM)(2nd hand)/
Magnetic impulse switch in generator repaired: 60,500km; replaced at 66,500km
New Sprockets: 65,800km(VAZ)/new front one: 75,100km (VAZ one was loose from beginning)
Starter motor checked: 71,500km
Outlet manifold (rear twin rubber piece at carburettor): 71,500km
Rubbers in rear sprocket: 57,700km
Rear wheel bearings: 68,500km
Forks sealants: 72,800km
Change brake fluid: 40,000km/ 71,500km/77,600km(+2,500KM)(back one only; partially)/79,300km(+2,500KM)
Oiling cables: around 54,000km/71,500km/77,600km(+2,500KM)
Change fork oil: 40,000km/72,800km
Change radiator liquid: 71,500km
Clean carburettor: 60,500km/ 71,500km
Full service: 40,000km/ 71,500km (ECUADOR -HAHA!!!)
Change starter motor relay: 75,100km (was NOT necessary!)
Inlet manifold (front twin rubber piece at carburettor): 77,700km(+2,500KM)
Change gasket for generator cap: 75,100km
Crack in engine block where screw from generator cap is screwed in, probably caused by torn chain that banged against that cap, moving it out of place a bit: cold metal to stop the oil from leaking out:75,150km/77,700km (+2,500KM)
Change spark plug caps: 75,100km
Change head light bulb: 75,800km
Change spark plugs: 40,000km/60,000km/75,100km
Speedometer cable (complete set): 77,600km(+2,500KM)
Thermostat broken/replaced: 78,500km(+1,500KM)
Lubricating brakes: 77,600km(+2,500KM)/79,300km (front one again)
Exchanged broken clutch lever: 77,700km(+2,500KM)
Battery liquid replaced (AGAIN!!!): 77,700km(+2,500KM)
Adjust shims: (were TOO TIGHT! mechanic Ecuador?!) 79,300km(+2,500KM)
Battery: 77,700km (+2,500KM)
Change brake fluid: 71,500km/77,700km(+2,500KM)/79,300km (FRONT ONE ONLY)
Front brake: friction with brake disc: 77,700km(+2,500KM)
Radiator excess tube broken at outlet due to pressure from tank above: 71,500km/75,500km/77,700km(+2,500KM): turned upside down rubber rings on holders and taped right one
Gearbox: could not shift into first gear for about 10km: 78,800km (+2,500KM)
out that "Nockenwelle" shows scratching; needs to be replaced together with
top and bottom
For more Info see www.2-mad.com
I put nearly 10,000 on my Classic since last November when I bought it used from a fellow in Seattle.
The things on mine that have needed attention are:
Counter shaft sprocket came loose. I removed it, cleaned it added LocTite then torqued it.
The shift lever became just slightly loose (not loose enough to be a problem) but it did improve shifting when I snugged it up.
The wires going to the rear brake light switch ended up hanging down near the chain and became just slightly worn (I caught it just in time) on the outer insulation. I coated it with some of that liquid electric tape stuff and tape. Afterwards I used some cable ties to secure it properly out of the way.
My rear taillight was flickering then not working. It had come loose at the white connector under the seat. One side had come loose from the plastic fitting allowing it to loose contact. I reconnected it to the plastic fitting and it has been fine since.
Other things I did to improve on the original stuff:
Installed steel brake line to the front brake.
Race tech mods to the forks.
Installed an Ohlins rear shock.
The large 7-gallon tank.
Did mods to the air box.
not have done any of these changes if it had not been for the fact that I
bought all of the parts used from a friend and he did the installations with
my assistance. In doing these things it allowed me to learn and see much more
about the bike. The brake line and Race Tech mods were really good
improvements for heavy braking. I really recommend it. The other things are
taking more time to realize the benefits (the rear shock is great but I'm
still in the learning phase of handling) but all in all I'm very happy with
Good Ride'n Bill