Originally, we looked at the BMW GS range. The F650 GS for me, the 1200GS for Alistair. We soon
realised that it would make sense to have the same model (less spare parts and tools to carry). So out
was the 1200GS! The BMW F650GS (And F650GS Dakar for Alistair) seemed the ideal choice.

So was it a good choice? See below for the review!
The Dakar:
The Dakar had very little problems. Only wear and tear and the master cylinder jamming once, resulting on the back brake being on all
the time. Cleaning the master cylinder solved the problem. The Dakar overall was a good choice, with very little problems apart from
being hard to start at altitude or on cold days. Adequate engine oil improved this.

The GS:
Well, where should I start? I had a very long list of problems with the GS, despite thorough preparation and replacement of weak parts.
I started a very enthusiastic BMW owner and ended up very close to setting fire to my bike on few occasions!

In Colombia the master cylinder jammed, like on the Dakar. The rear mud guard got swallowed by the rear wheel and jammed between
the wheel and the frame. I came to a very sudden and dangerous halt. The Dakar rear mud guard was going the same way. We
removed them. My horn button started to disintegrate and had to be replace by an alternative button. Clusters of control on both sides
of the handlebars started to get in bad shape. (On the list of stuff to replace now!)

The front mud guard vanished somewhere in Bolivia, disintegrated by the corrugations probably.In Brazil my battery died and I got it
replaced by a bad quality one at BMW Florianopolis, who also used coper grease on the battery terminals. NOT! a good idea. I
replaced the battery once again 6 months later in the UK.

Alistair fixed my Starter button in Brazil, as it was badly corroded inside.

After the theft of my bike, I got the bike sent to BMW in Porto Alegre. More shoddy work from BMW (See my Journal entry: "the day
BMW tried to kill me"). I started having many problems with the electrics. Some are still unresolved. I have been told I need to rewire
entirely my bike. My signals stopped working somewhere in Argentina, along with my speedo/mileage counter and ABS. We managed
to fixed the speedo/milage counter.

My Voltage regulator died in Argentina. I got it replaced in a small garage in Bariloche. Unfortunately, more shoddy work and a faulty
VR (from a Transalp) later, I broke down again 2 weeks later, this time in Valparaiso. We bought another (transalp's!) VR and Alistair
fitted it to my bike. (We fitted a Transalp VR because the BMW ones were more than twice the price and not immediately available!And
by then I did not want to speak with BMW!)

I found that BMW dealers in South America were incompetent (but still outrageously expensive!). I suspect that in these countries, their
mechanics are mainly Car and not MC mechanics!

I think the bikes are over priced and then any part has to be BMW, which will cost double than any other brand. Take the spark plugs.
They sold us the wrong ones in the UK (more incompetence!). When we needed to change them, in Bolivia, we got stuck! You can't
buy them locally! You have to find a BMW dealer! Not easy in Bolivia!

So that's it! My experience with BMW people and my bike has been so bad  that I will never buy anything related to BMW ever!

On returning to the UK the bike went back and forth to various workshops for never ending repairs. In the end I had to get rid of it. The
electrics melted, it was a disaster.

Never again!
Carretera Austral - Ecuador - July 2007