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BMW R65 for Newbie Touring (it all sounds wrong)

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by eddruitt, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. I am wanting to tour around Australia with a few mates on motorbikes and in cars. Am on a fairly tight budget and am only getting my license at the moment so I will still be on Ps when I do the tour. I am in NSW so I can get bikes that are on the LAM list so I dont have to ride a 250 around Aus. I need to buy a bike for under 4k (because there is probably 2500 min to spend on gear and extras). Was looking at a couple of BMW R65's and they looked like they might fit the bill just fine. Was wondering if anyone can tell me what they think of the R65 and or suggest something more appropriate.

  2. Hi eddruitt and welcome the to Forum

    R65's are an old bike. From what I hear, pretty reliable, but parts may be an issue out of the major centres. Am sure there are a few dedicated BMW Forums around so you'd need to check into them. These bikes have been known to do a few hundred thousand KM's, but the one you buy may or may not have been looked after.

    What are the other guys riding?

    For $4k, you'd go close to getting an older DR or KLR650 from around 2002 which would do any dirt, secondary roads much easier.
  3. Another option may be some of the early/mid 80's Kawasaki Z 550/650s. Some came out with factory panniers and a small fairing, plus shaft drive. Just the thing for what you want. They have smallish fuel tanks though.
    Combine it with Kawasaki parts availability (plenty of dealers, they stock lots of older stuff, plus heaps in wreckers) and ruggedness, and you'll be well off.

    Regards, Andrew.
  4. Go with the BMW. It'll do great. Join a BMW club for more info.
  5. The only problem with a BMW is when the final drive eventually needs servicing/repairs, best budget $2k if you're paying someone.
    The good old BMW run forever myth, they don't, and they cost a lot of money to fix when they break. It's just that BMW owners either don't like talking about it, or conveniently forget how much it cost.
    I read/hear so many times about people with airhead/oilhead problems, certainly as frequently as with other makes of bike.
    Given the fact that they are also overpriced for what they are (second hand and new) and I wouldn't touch one with a long pole. I sure as hell wouldn't buy one in teh hopes it would be a cheap reliable long distance ride.

    Regards, Andrew.
  6. I've been around BMWs and BMW riders for 30 years (There are three BMWs in my garage right now) and except for some late model GS models the final drives are bullet proof. With the R65 the final drive is very understressed.

    As for being overpriced, I disagree. They are worth the extra $$. BMWs are not my favorite bikes, but they are bloody good. Better for touring than most modern Jap bikes.

    Cars stopped using chain drives centuries ago, I wouldn't buy a touring bike without a shaft drive. And BMW have been building shaft drives longer than anyone. Be assured, they know what they are doing.

    And as for $2000 in the very unlikely event that the final drive does fail. There is a BMW complete final drive on eBay right now for less then $100 "Buy It Now". Cheaper than a new chain and sprockets. Don't listen to the myths, join a BMW club and listen to the truth.
  7. Well I guess I am all figured now.
    I have now gone from having no idea to having some idea and that confusing me. I think that the BMW is a good bike and I have a good friend who swears by them. Talking to other people they seem to either be a bit of a love em or hate em style bike but most people agree that they are very reliable. I Do worry about the availability of parts outside the major centres though. If I was going on a long ride and the bike was in good nick when I left would I be likely to need any specific BMW parts. Also can anyone give me a little bit of an indication of how important a screen is.

    Thank you for all your feedback.
  8. Definitely get a screen. try and find one you can adjust up and down a bit, to get it where you want it.
    And buy the biggest soft panniers you can find, better to have too much storage than too little.

    Regards, Andrew.
  9. Yeah, an adjustable screen is a good idea. Some (most??) screens increase wind noise in the helmet, so be prepared for that. An adjustable screen will help you to minimise the wind noise. (But if you are wearing ear plugs like you should be, then wind noise won't matter a lot.)

    Personally I prefer a small screen, it does the job but doesn't get "in the way".

    As for being prepared for a breakdown, I just carry a good toolkit and an RACV "Motorcycle Tour Cover" card. :cool:
  10. For what its worth, I own a BMW R65LS (the sporty one :moped: ). Its a great bike if a little underpowered and is not real bad for long distance, although like any smaller capacity bike the vibration is going to wear you out on a long haul. The engine is bolted directly to the frame, and its an opposed twin.

    A screen would be great as you do cop all the wind in your face but its not bad if you tuck down a bit.

    Being a German tank, it loves to carry stuff - mine has hard panniers and I have ridden it fully loaded with all my army gear including a full pack strapped over the pillion seat. That said, the stock rear suspension is not great but is ok if you don't treat it like a fireblade.

    Recommendtations on bits to carry. They come with a great little tool kit, if your don't have one get one, it has most of what you will need to keep the bike going if you run into trouble. You could take plugs but the R65 is pretty good on them anyway. Maybe a carby kit including a diaphram - I would recommend doing a rebuild if you buy a bike with an unknown history. Its easy to do and does not cost much. Take the front cover off and check diode board is still screwed on properly (apparently they can come loose and short out - mine never has), check your alternator brushes for length. Do ALL your oils and greases, including drive end and rear drive spline. Carry a few spare bulbs (this is really the only area I have had problems). Additionally, I would replace the rubber sleeves that connect the carbs to the inlet port, they are cheap and will cause you grief if they crack (idle probs). Clean your tank, replace filter.

    Seriously there is not a lot of stuff you need to take outside of maybe spare oil, filters etc. The Boxer engines are very reliable, the gear boxes are pretty good and the drive trains are bullet proof if they have not been abused. (My splines are a bit worn but I think the guy who owned the bike before me got carried away with the sport side of the bike). If you get all your tappets set correctly and the bike tuned right it will keep going with few problems. See Snowbum's website for extensive tuning and maintenance tips.

    I have recently had issues with uneven idle which is now fixed (throttle "o" rings eventually). Carbs will probably cause you the most grief if seals are dried out or worn, but if you sort these out before you go you should have minimal issues. The Bing carbs are very forgiving and not overly fussy.

    Contrary to popular belief older BMW parts are very inexpensive. I get my parts from Munich Motorcyles in Perth and they carry just about anything you would ever need. They have a good website and will post stuff out no probs (I rang for a couple of O rings and springs and they arrived next day). If you got stuck anywhere I doubt if it would be for more than a couple of days even if it was something major.

    Go for it. You won't get a fire breathing rocket, but you will get a bike that has character, is nice to ride, sounds pretty good (I have staintune pipes), and should go forever.

    Good luck.
  11. The R65 is a great bike and ideal for touring around Australia in comfort. You can ride an R65 for hours without aches or pains while most others have to take a break from the saddle on their bikes after a couple of hours.
    Had to sell my '85 monolever R65 because my right knee and leg are shot and couldn't take the weight of the bike when stationary in traffic.
    Sold it for $4600 the day after advertising, it only had 35,000kms up. Find another like it in good condition and it'll take you around the world.
    (now light CB250)
  12. I rest my case about BMW's being overpriced...........

    Regards, Andrew.
  13. There are two kinds of riders:

    Those who own BMWs, and

    Those who wish they owned BMws.

    The reason they appear, to some people, to be over priced second-hand is because people are willing to pay those prices. If they weren't worth it they wouldn't sell.

    You get what you pay for.
  14. You can source a pretty decent K100RT or even K1100LT for around that money, the final drive can be expensive to repair, but they really are bulletproof. The K series motors also go forever if looked after.
    Great cheap touring option..
  15. You bought a badge! :LOL: The reason they are overpriced is because people mistakenly believe they are better, they are not.

    Regards, Andrew.
  16. There are two kinds of riders:

    Those who own BMWs, and

    Those who wish they owned BMWs.

    Hi Andrew,

    have you read Aesop's Fable about the Fox and the Grapes?

    Sounds like you have a severe dose of the sour grapes. :wink:


  17. I have to say that there arent too many GTR1000 getting about as well as BMW's of the same vintage. I have to say the Bimmer is a way better bike than the crude GTR1000 ever was.
  18. Out of a GTR1000, My R65LS, a KLR650 and a CB900 doing 1620km in 22 hours, the only one with a problem was the GTR :LOL: :LOL:

    I do a lot of miles on my R65LS and it's rock solid. Don't believe that parts are dear - they are no worse than Japanese bikes. and generally available. (The "normal" R65 is better for parts than the LS since there are differences between the LS and the rest of the range and they only made around 6000 of the R65LS).

    A K100 is certainly a more comfortable and faster touring bike but if you need one that's LAMs approved then you can't go past the R65. As well as that the K is a heavy bike and takes some getting used to. The R65's are light, comfortable, handle predictably and generally are a good all round bike that is far better than a K on a dirt road. :LOL:

    I bought mine as a stopgap replacement for my K series with the idea of getting classic (red plate) rego for it when I replaced the K. I probably will do that sometime but it's been 30,000 km and I haven't looked for a replacement yet :LOL:

    By simply replacing the rear shocks with Ikons and a Staintune or Overlander exhaust you'll improve the handling, add a little to the performance and sound a lot nicer.
  19. There are two kinds of riders:
    Those who own BMWs, and
    Those who wish they owned BMWs.

    Hi Tony,

    it's a long time since I did Latin at High School. Worked out the first three words but got lost on the verb. What does it do to your soul?

    Cheers, Terry