Jump to content

BMW F650 GS Dakar 2003 Reviews

Read and compare owner reviews & ratings of BMW F650 GS Dakar 2003. Vehicle specs, photos & video, pricing, and more!

Vehicle Information

  • Retail Price ~$2599.00 Shop Now
  • Rating
      (2 reviews)
  • Submitted
  • Last Review

Vehicle Details

War Beard

· Edited by War Beard

   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

If I could only ride one bike for the rest of my life, THIS would be it!

2003 BMW F650GS Dakar!

For a more informational review I'll compare it to a 2015 KLR. My close friend that I always ride with has one and we've swapped bikes a few days just for fun. Both bikes are a very close match & often compared together. 

Back story: My father was the original owner, he bought it brand new from the shop. He used it as a "Starbucks Commuter" for a little while but it ended up staying in the garage for most of it's life. Later on down the road I bought it from him and now I'm using it for what it's intended for! I've put about 32k miles in this bike since then. (The first ~18k was 90% paved roads)

This bike is amazing!

Even though it is a single cylinder 650, it still makes good power! The fuel injection is amazing and does make it superior to a KLR. The throttle response is quicker and it's power on demand with no lag from a carburetor. 

Handling is amazing. The Dakar shines on the road! For the first few years of riding it, I was strictly on road only. I had a set of Anakee 3's which served me extremely well. When I was legitimately pushing it hard, I was outrunning sport bikes on it through the twisties while scraping pegs. This bike can move! The Dakar corners sharp and carries it's weight well staying true to the BMW way. The KLR is a little more "flickable" because of it being lighter. But both bikes are extremely close in this respect. 

The stock seat is comfortable even on long rides. I've gone for about 8 hours straight (except 10 min for fuel stops) and barely even phased by it. The KLR's seat is nowhere close! It's like a rock compared to the Dakar. Both with stock gearing, the Dakar is perfectly contempt cruising at 75 mph while the KLR feels like it's going to explode and rattle apart. Tires will have an effect with it but  the KLR is more prone to speed wobbles IMO. 

The stock suspension is perfect for on road use. The front fork seals lasted about 28k miles before I had to replace them due to going harder off road wear. The adjustable rear shock only lasted about 30k **Taking it on big off road jumps with overloaded camping gear on the back is not recommended...  That's how you blow out the rear shock... I learned that the hard way** So I had to sell my kidney for a Touratech HP shock. But I was pushing the bike waaay too hard and probably shouldn't have. On road, the KLR is a bit stiff and uncomfortable. It's not as smooth and doesn't have the finesse of the Dakar.

Off Road! This is probably the what you guys are looking for! The Dakar is a BEAST! I don't take it easy on her either. Dirt, Mud, Rocks, Snow, Sand, Water Crossings, Single Track... You name it! There has been very few trails I could not conquer. Being in Southern California the main terrain is sand. The weight of the BMW helps with keeping it planted to the ground but it does get tiring after a few hours of trying to paddle through. There is a noticeable difference between the bikes with this. The KLR is much lighter and skips over the terrain which doesn't wear you down as fast. One thing to note is the balance difference. The Dakar has the fuel tank integrated as the sub frame while the KLR has a regular forward tank. This does change how they both handle off road. The Dakar is rear heavy while the KLR is forward heavy, relatively speaking. Both are still amazing off road!


In the terms of mechanical durability and parts, both bikes are bullet proof. But like a true thumper they rattle apart. I've had a few subframe bolts come out during a ride and not notice until the next day. But that's about it. There hasn't been any major problems with the Dakar other than the rear shock that I destroyed by being stupid (but fun). The quality of work is apparent in the BMW though. It's manufactured to a higher standard than the KLR and feels like it too. Some parts on the KLR just seem cheap. The handlebars on the KLR got bent after a few spils and the aftermarket crash protection that they make for it isn't as durable as the Dakar's. Parts for the Dakar will be more expensive, I mean come on... It's a BMW. But you're also paying for that quality. 


Personal insight/info/gripes.

1. Fuel tank: Gas light comes on at ~150 miles, runs dry at ~200 miles. Roughly 50 MPG
2. Might be mine specifically, but it doesn't like water too much. If I go through water and some splashes up towards the ECU, later on in the day if the bike runs lower than 1.5k rpm it will die. This usually only lasts for a few minutes but it's annoying. I'm not entirely sure of it but it never lasts long enough to truly troubleshoot it.

3. I would recommend drilling holes into the forward side of the intake snorkel for air flow. Stock the opening is insanely small.

4.  If you do choose to put upgraded hand guards such as Acerbis Rally Pro Guards, there is a clutch switch that you have to remove to fit them on. Nobody at BMW knows what that switch does, but it won't fit. Still works perfectly without it installed into the hole. 

5. My biggest complaint with parts! The turn signal selector is a piece of plastic. One time when my front tire washed out my thumb sheared off the switch. I took apart the whole assembly and took out the plastic switch. I took it to BMW to try and get a new switch but they will only sell the whole $150 assembly! There's no way I'm paying $150 for a new assembly when all I need is a $2 plastic switch. 

6. Every time you want to turn ABS off you have to stop the motorcycle and hold a button for 5 seconds. If you turn off the motorcycle, you have to redo it. It won't stay off. That gets annoying when you're off roading all day and forget to turn it off every time you start up.

7. Max speed with stock gearing is 110 MPH. 115 with a downhill wind.

8. In a head on crash with a KLR, the Dakar asserts it's dominance. KLR gets wrecked while the Dakar only gets a small crack. 


Final thoughts.

The F650GS Dakar wins in every category except for weight and overall price.

If you have any questions about either bike feel free to message me on any social media platform!
IG: @War.Beard

YouTube: War Beard

Ride Safe!

  • Like 1
Link to review
Share on other sites


   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

My trusty daily commuter and weekend warrior. Wimpy oem exhaust, dump it and get a true thumper can. Virtually bullet proof if you keep up with the maintenance. New handlebars are a must if you plan on hitting the dirt. Tried and tested model. So many farkles to choose from.

Link to review
Share on other sites

  • Create New...