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BMW F650GS advice/opinions

I’m considering making my BMW into a mule and I’m looking for advice from owners on which approach to take. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what your experience is/was on what you did, what you’d have done differently and how the bike performs with the addition of a hack.

So some questions to get started. What road speed can I expect? I suspect it’d bring the bike’s top speed down a bit. Did you change gearing via drive sprockets to compensate? How does the rig perform off-road? What type of tire did/do you run on the hack? What brand/sort of hack do you run? Fiberglass or metal? Which would you recommend? How much effect did the addition of a hack have on mpg? How does the rig handle? Did you add a steering stabilizer and if so what brand/style? Do you run a brakes on the hack and if so hydraulic or mechanical?

I’d value anyone’s opinion on the matter even if you haven’t owned the specific combination but may have known someone who does/did who I might contact. Thanks.

1983 HD FXRS 1994 HD FLSTC 2002 BMW F650GS Dakar 2004 Ural Troyka

Jay of DMC had one at the BMW national rally in Billings, MT several years ago  He had a Russian Jupiter sidecar on it.  We rode it around the fairgrounds but never on the highway.  I just remember it made a nice handling rig. That is what I know for what it i worth.

Will Short

Ex-President of the USCA

 

Hawk welcome to the sidecar web site. Have had a F650, good machines, but not with a sidecar.

Did hang a cargo sidecar on a KLR650, similar machine in power and handling. What is nice is the ease of gearing down by changing rear sprockets. How much to gear down, (the lower you go the more top speed is reduced) depends on how heavy of a load you are carrying and the terrain you are riding on.

Here on the coastal flats on east Texas, went from a stock 43 rear tooth to a 46.  If I was exploring forest trails loaded with camping gear in Colorado, then a 49 tooth rear sprocket would be better.  I carried a larger sprocket just in case I needed it. Is easier to swap rear sprockets than the counter sprocket.

Tire selection again all depends on what type of surface you'll be riding.  Since we all wear out the rear tire fast on a sidecar set up, I bought Shinkos, they're cheap and hard rubber so lasted a bit longer.

Fiberglass doesn't stand up as well to off road vibrations and banging on rocks.

MPG? expect a 20 - 30% drop in mpg.

Brakes on the SC? In the mountains, coming down hill on gravel, a third brake is needed. Had it tied into the rear brake pedal on the KLR with a double banjo bolt. On flat land riding, third brake not needed.

Never needed a steering stabilizer.

Check the http://www.dmcsidecars.com for sub-frame and mounting struts for the F650.

Hope that helps your thinking some.

CCjon

 

 

Of course it depends on what F650 GS you have, The F650GS single works ok as a sidecar bike depending on the aerodynamics of the sidecar you choose your top speed will be around 70mph +/- The F650GS twin is really an F800 detuned a bit. Never owned the F650 twin, I did own an F800GS and worked very good as a sidecar bike on the highway but with the stock front end not so much off pavement. Once I put a leading link front end on it, it was a totally different story, fantastic bike off pavement. The one I had we mounted one of our Enduro sidecars on it, the new owner is now doing a RTW trip with it. The F650 single works ok with the stock front end, better with a leading link. We have leading links for both versions of the bike as well as mounts. The mounts are included in the price.

Steering dampers are often needed if the mounts have flex and or the alignment is not spot on. We almost never find a need for a damper (stabilizer) However many people confuse steering dampers with steering modifications. When ever you add a sidecar you have heavy steering unless you reduce trail on the front of the bike. This is done by moving the front wheel forward about 2 inches. Much more on this in other posts. For the F650 we do this with a leading link, BMW called their version an "Earls" fork. Nice to have but not a must have and can always be done latter.

Brakes, I firmly believe in brakes, others will tell you that you do not need a brake. My gut feeling is most of the people that say you do not need a brake either did not want to spend the money on a brake or simply do not know how to hook up a brake. On our sidecars we use a Brembo caliper to a rotor of our own manufacture. As I have often said, if a brake keeps you out of the emergency room even once it was cheap.

As to fiberglass vs Steel read this link http://www.dmcsidecars.com/metal-vs-fiberglass-sidecar-bodies/

What ever sidecar you go with make sure it is attached properly with proper mounts (read the thread on saferwholesale) we can supply mounts for brands of sidecars other then ours. Velorex sidecars often come up cheap used if you go with one of these read this article http://www.dmcsidecars.com/the-result-of-improper-sidecar-mounting-and-the-proper-fix/ I find that the Velorex would be ok on the F650 single not so much on the twin and I would not go off pavement with it ever.

If I were doing this and looking for the best bang for the buck I would go with the Sputnik we offer http://www.dmcsidecars.com/sidecars/sputnik-sidecars/ it is a great value, works ok on and off road and is easy to get in and out of and of course comes with proper bike specific NOT universal mounts.

If you are going more off pavement the Enduro is a lot of fun http://www.dmcsidecars.com/sidecars/enduro/ but its aerodynamics are not all that great at higher speeds. There are lots of photo's of F650's with both of these sidecars in the gallery section of our web site http://www.dmcsidecars.com/gallery/enduro-sidecars/  and http://www.dmcsidecars.com/gallery/sputnik-sidecars/

Fuel economy like anything depends on speed. Sidecars aerodynamic suck as such the faster you go the worse your millage. As a rule figure you will loose about 20%

Not sure where you are located, if anywhere near us you could come by and see a bike I sold to one of my employee's. It is a K75 with a Sputnik, you could get and idea of the fit and finish on the Sputnik, how we make our leading links and mounts.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

http://www.dmcsidecars.com

866-638-1793

Holy cow and thanks for the warm welcome! On hindsight I guess I should’ve mentioned my bike is a single but in my defense I’ll say I’ve rebuilt a Harley engine by campfire light however I couldn’t fill a post-it note with all I know about BMW’s!

I’m new to this sidecar thing if you couldn’t tell. Matter of fact I had my first ride in a sidecar last Saturday then switched positions with the owner and herded it back from whence we came....all in all about 6 miles round trip. It’s the 2004 Ural Troyka that’s listed in my signature, I bought it but opted not to ride it the 4 hour trip home with weekend tourist traffic in northern Michigan (apparently I’m not as crazy as I once was but that doesn’t mean that I finally grew up!). So I haven’t actually taken possession of the rig yet, I’m running up there this Sunday. On that matter, have any of you hauled a motorcycle with sidecar approximately 5’5” wide on a 5’ wide trailer?

I really like the leading link front end idea, when I read Jay’s response I immediately started wondering if it would work on a Dakar model because I believe it sits just a tad higher than the other models but my fears subsided when I saw stock photo on the DMC site appears to be a photo of a Dakar. Does the leading link front end just slide into the stock triple tree? Does it come with the fender in the picture? (If not I’m pretty sure I’ve got a motorcross fender laying around).

I modified my fuel injection a bit (because try as I might I just couldn’t get the stock bike airborne) so I guess I’m not too worried about the effect on fuel economy. I’ve got to look around and see if different sprockets are available for the BMW.  If no one makes them, well I know guys who are pretty handy with a CNC machine. I think I’m going to do this. I had intended to sell the BMW to make room for the Ural but I’ve got another barn it might squeeze into and worse case scenario one of the Harley’s can winter in the living room. I’ll just throw some tinsel on it and call it a Christmas decoration!

Jay, thanks for all the information. I really didn’t expect to hear from a supplier. Looking at some of the pictures it appears most of the BMW singles removed hard-bags (panniers?) from sidecar side of bike. Personal preference or is it just that tight? If I were to find a used hack or another manufacturer would your bike specific mounts normally still work? What sort of waiting period can one expect when ordering a new sidecar from DMC?

Thanks again for the input everyone!

Hawk

1983 HD FXRS 1994 HD FLSTC 2002 BMW F650GS Dakar 2004 Ural Troyka

Mark, welcome in the club...

that the bones become old uses to happen, become a grown up is optional. Says this 55 year young teenager. (actually on the last few days of a nearly 5 month work + 2 wheel riding trip)

Once you got used to rig pushing, you will wonder, why you hadn't made it decades ago. Same question most of us asked ourselves.

My proposal is to train yourself on the Ural for some time and get a feeling and a better idea of what you really want to grow into, before you sacrify a second bike, that probably will not have the grunt you will ask for later. The Ural is slow, but great fun and in most cases much better then their fame, as long as you do not push them too hard to its limit. Listen to the engine, and she will tell you where she is happy.

Best luck.

Sven

PS: Bears do not become old neither, they just gain kms / miles / smiles and dust.

Says bear Bruno, who wanted a 3rd wheel too back in 2016. As main rider while in GB he recognized the 3rd wheel on the right would have disturbed his view range.

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Our leading links use the stock tree's. No significant price savings running your own fender. The fender we use costs us under $30 and we build the mounts to work with the fender. Frankly, on the F650GS the reason most of the photo's of these do not have hard bags is few people purchased them as such the bikes that come into our shop usually do not have bags. No bags you can mount the sidecar slightly narrower. Other wise bags really are not an issue. Our mounts will work with some other brands, some brands we can not recommend for off pavement use (Velorex, Cozy, Anything from RT sidecars or saferwhole sale etc.) Some sidecars are quite heavy and to not perform all that well on these smaller bikes. This includes Ural, Dnepr and the Chinese version  of these sidecars the CJ however we can and will supply hardware for these as it is a safe match up. Current lead time on our sidecars is 4-5 months not painted, 5-6 months painted. However the best bang for the buck for your bike is the Sputnik, we try and keep lead time on these in the 3-4 week range. My first choice for the single like I said in my first response, on pavement with some off road is the Sputnik mainly off road is the Enduro. We do have one Enduro right now that the person who built it did not build it to our standards for fit and finish. He was terminated shortly after making this sidecar. I could do it for the same price as the Sputnik but keep in mind. This is an "as is" second hence the heavy discount. Also keep in mind that our sidecars do come with the needed proper bike specific hardware in the price where as if you buy a sidecar not new from us you more then likely will need additional hardware. In the case of your bike we provide a new frame section which has both lower mounts built into it.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

866-638-1793