There were a number of ‘must meet’ criteria we had for the bikes we wanted, the most important of which was being bombproof. Once I realised that there wasn’t really any chance of getting a shaft drive that was small enough for Cathy, the decision wasn’t too tough. The BMW F650GS in its various guises appears to be ‘THE’ choice of world travellers. The single cylinder 652cc twin spark motor seems to be relatively indestructible (famous last words), with amazing fuel economy, and enough grunt to deal with all of the luggage we will inevitably try to start off with.
We were lucky enough to hear that the BMW Off-road School sell off their bikes each year at Bath Road Motors in Bristol. So it was that we picked up a couple of F650GS Dakars. For those aficionados out there saying the colour is all wrong, after the off-road course all of the panels are replaced, and we felt that silver was the most practical colour.
The canvas bags that can be seen on the side of the bike are our answer to carrying extra fuel and water, there is a 10lt jerry can in each. This approach was taken when we discovered that it was going to be over £1000 per bike for long distance tanks. £35 Seems far more reasonable. The giant bag on the back is made by Ortlieb, the theory is that they are dust and waterproof, I am sure that will be put to the test more than once. Being bright yellow (Glyn) and red (Cathy) does make us difficult to ignore.
There are so many other bolt-ons that I will just list them next to the supply company.
Touratech: Panniers, crash bars, tank bags, front mud guards, off road footpegs, brake stops, fork guards, radiator guards, handlebar risers (Glyn), bottle holder, brake master cylinder guard, oil tank caps, and center stands.
Nippy Norman’s: Led rear light, accessory convertor socket, side stand extender (Glyn), and reflective stickers.
Somerset Superbikes: Gel batteries, sprockets and chains, Continental twinduro tyres, heavy duty innertubes, one K&N and one BMC airfilter, forkseals and oil.
Bristol Motorrad: All of the BMW specific spares that we need to take with us.
Bath Road Motorcycles: The dealer that we got the bikes from, and a valuation for the carnet just under a year later.