I just bought a 2005 F 650 GS (still under warranty) with 6100 miles on it. I wanted to buy the 650 X Enduro but it comes with a 2.5 gallon tank and no aftermarket desert tank is made for it.
I took it on my first dirt ride, Titus Canyon, in Death Valley, with the BMW Norcal group. 10 miles into the dirt road, I hear this chattering. I stop the bike and the front fender was sitting on my front wheel - the four bolts holding it on were gone. A couple of the guys pulled it out of the wheel well and we stashed it in a pannier. By the end of the trip, two additional screws had fallen out of the rear mud guard. Luckily no damage and the two screws were easily replaced with the addition of some lock-tite. Two weeks ago, on April 12, Saturday, I rode with a friend (on a Honda 650) across the Saline Valley Road in Death Valley, from the north just off CA SR 168 to the south at CA SR 190, a 230 mile day trip, 90 miles of that on dirt road. By the time we got home, we discovered that the entire rear brake light assembly had fallen off the motorcycle, having taken with it my license plate and the bolt holding the right side of my luggage rack for my BMW side cases.
Needless to say, I am pretty disappointed with the 650 GS. This is a motorcycle that I understood to be capable of going around the world. I live in Bishop, California and bought it because it's suppose to be a reliable machine and perfect for the long dirt road trips around here. The last thing I ever thought was that the entire rear light assembly and my license plate were going to fall off. I'm just kind of wondering what else might shake loose. Now, I have to trailer it to the closest BMW dealer (Reno), 300 miles away. Apparently, this is a point of weakness on the F 650. The service manager in Reno said they can correct the problem by adding an aftermarket strap made by Touratech.
The GS is a beautiful bike, and BMW's service, you can't beat. I looked at the BMW 650 Enduro, the Suzuki DRZ 400, the Honda XR 650 and the KTM 640. The 650 GS is supposed to be the ultimate dualsport, for riding the long pavement stretches then taking on off on dirt - - and holding together. I'm now thinking that the Honda 650, would have been the better bike.