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Thread: Advice wanted, what year F700GS to get, and off road intentions...

  1. #1
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    Advice wanted, what year F700GS to get, and off road intentions...

    Hi, I am new to the forum, apologies for my newbie questions (and if threads exist that answer my questions, I did try to look...).

    I am looking to get a F700GS, and I have a question as to which year might be best for my intended use. I am also open to any advice or opinions on my situation so I will over share a bit. I currently ride a 2004 Bonneville, which I love, and if it weren't for the carbs not liking CA gas that much anymore, it probably wouldn't have occurred to me to upgrade. Previous bikes include 1983 BWM R65, and I was lucky enough to pickup a Honda NT650 back when they were new. My intention with the F700GS is 90% road, and 10% off road. I often visit a remote cabin that is 7mi out a dirt road, and some of the sketchier sections of the dirt road are a bit more like a jeep trail than 'non concrete road' if you know what I mean. Not as in 18" boulders, but definitely some steep/bumpy/loose sections here and there. Its totally manageable in my Jeep Rubicon, but I would never take my Bonnie out there! My point being, my 10% off road is actually off road. The trip to the cabin has 60mi of freeway, 20mi of awesome twisties, then the 7mi in the rough. My ideal bike would do it all well (or as well as a single bike could do all of those).

    If I am going to move on from the Bonnie, I would need the next bike, in addition to being a comparable or better street ride than my Bonnie, to be proficient off road. I was originally looking at the F800GS, but I rode one and I didn't like it. I am also looking at the Triumph Tiger, and I guess the Desert Sled too, although it feels very hipster. It occurred to me that if I could pick up a decent F700GS for cheap, and put on all the armor needed plus some 50/50 tires... that maybe its a proficient enough off roader (clearance seems good, same as the Tiger I think). The total price of such a setup would be alot less than a new Tiger, or waiting for a KTM 790 to come out, and it would be great to not stress about dropping the bike. Its not like I am planning on jumping it or being a dirt bike king... i more expect to drop the bike while opening or closing a gate, or coming to a stop in an awkward place... I am 5'11" ~175lb, I have been riding on roads for 30yrs+ but have little off road motorcycle experience (plenty out mountain biking though). I will very occasionally have a passenger. I test rode a F700GS the other day (all on road) and I liked it, it felt much better than the 800. I expect it could satisfy all of my road needs, and I suspect that while it may not be the best offroader, it may be proficient for my needs (again, not performance oriented, just solidly proficient... and I don't mind dinging up the skid plate etc).

    Anyway, its hard to find good info on what changed year to year on the 700. And I cant find a ton of evidence of others really setting up the F700GS for that last 7mi of off road. Do any experts out there want to opine on why (making this up) the 2017 is a must have over the 2015, or is a 2013 just as good as any other year, or whatever? I guess one of the last models had the Enduro mode? Any and all advice is welcome, including suggestions as to a different bike i should be looking at!

    Thanks very much in advance, I appreciate the advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    3rd October 2006 - 21:21
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    You probably couldn't go wrong with what you are looking at, but price is the issue as always. Get the latest model, lowest km's bike you can taking into account all the equip it comes with. Better value for money would be the DL650, maybe not so capable off road but prob better on, cheaper and easier to re-sell when the time comes. Maybe look at Tenere700 as well...
    Use these two websites to compare for spec and riding position and if you narrow it down to 2 bikes, search youtube to find a shootout between the two.
    www.motorcyclespecs.co.za
    www.cycle-ergo.com
    Then after you have done that, go with your gut feeling and buy a Ducati. (joking!)
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  3. #3
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    24th November 2015 - 11:20
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    I'd agree ref the DL650 VStrom over the BMW. Fabulously reliable and you'll get a newer bike for your money. Having rented the BMW in South Africa back in 2008 and having been let down thanks to a water pump hose failure I'm in the VStrom camp.

    By the sounds of your route the VStrom will be able to handle it without any real bother - You'd just need to equip it with appropriate boots but otherwise it'd be a good bet.
    Navy Boy

  4. #4
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    7th February 2007 - 23:38
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    Personally I'd go for the F8, but I may be biased. I put 18000k on a dl650 last year, great bike, solid as a rock and good value. Plenty of aftermarket fruit available too. It did everything I asked of it but never really excelled/excited. Tiger are supposed to be a good option too, but happiest higher in the rev range, and top heavy.
    If your happy with the current ride, just chuck some knobblies/protection on it and use that, have a fiddle with tyre pressure if traction's an issue

  5. #5
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    12th January 2008 - 15:44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Boy View Post
    Having rented the BMW in South Africa back in 2008 and having been let down thanks to a water pump hose failure I'm in the VStrom camp.
    A few years ago I rode an F800GS from Jo'burg down to Lesotho (Sani Pass) and back and happily found it to be perfectly reliable.

    Certainly expensive, compared to the DL650.
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