I am a long-time BMW owner - currently on a R1150RS. In the past I've had K-bikes, RTs and a GS-PD. The wife had a 97 F650ST which I rode on occasion - so I'm aware of what the bike is generally like. For a variety of reasons, I'm considering moving from the RS to another bike - partly because I'm on my third brake modulator . I hadn't seen anything in the BMW line recently that interests me, but after reading a report about the F650 Dakar, I developed some interest.
I scooted up to my dealer last week on my RS and asked about a test ride. He put me on a 06 Dakar with less than 100 miles on it which I took for about a 10 mile spin. It took a little bit of practice stopping to get used to the seat height but I found the bike's handling to be quite nice and it had plenty of oompf as I remembered with the ST. Scooting around at low speeds, it felt smooth as glass - much smoother than my RS. The thing that concerned me, was that when I got out on a highway and hit 70mph at ~5K rpms - there was a decided vibration that came through both the bars and the pegs. I pushed it a little more to around 75mph and it felt like the vibration was lessening, but couldn't be sure. I didn't want to rev the bike much higher, because I wasn't sure about the break-in limitations and I was a little concerned about pushing a bike with less than 100 miles on its tires. Can someone give me some insight as to whether this is an inherent aspect of this bike, a break-in issue or perhaps the tires? It was a bit of a shock to get back on my RS and adjust to being "down in the bike" as opposed to being "on top" on the F650. I think I would get over that pretty quickly. Except for the vibration, I'm thinking pretty seriously about going to the F650 - the dealer offered me a decent amount on a trade-in for the RS.
One other question - when I got back to the dealer, I couldn't get the bike into neutral to save my butt. Is that a break-in issue?