Hello from Charlie:
I acquired a white GR with 15,500 miles last summer. It is in really great shape and really needs nothing but a small luggage rack for the rear. I purchased this particular bike because I had not ridden on the road for (gulp) over 20 years. I was looking for a bike which I felt would be mechanically simple and fuel thrifty.
I began riding bikes when I was 11. I used to have a stable of small to very large off-road 2 and 4 strokes back in the late 70's and early '80's. I did a lot of mountain and hard-core desert riding. Very accomplished rider...but, when you ride THAT much.....eventually there are "get-offs." The accumulated hard landings have left me with a fair amount of arthritis as I have now entered the fifth decade of life.
My road bike was a very nice Honda 750F with very nice S&W air shocks. That bike was really quite good at pretty much everything...especially a mountain road carver with a fair amount of steam. I always wore full coverage helmets, etc. and the bike always wore Michelins. Those were the good ol" days.
One night, I broad-sided a large doe deer at 50 mph. I was lucky...the deer actually cushioned the initial hit. But, I had an open knee capsule and both partially dislocated shoulders. Toileting and shampooing my hair was a REAL challenge for several months!!!! But, I was lucky. I was wearing the full-coverage Bell and boots, gloves, and jean jacket.
Initailly, I hated this GR 650. It vibrates and has rather poor brakes (was used to triple discs which modulated very well). I also hate the stepped seat and handlebars. The last two items, I have yet to improve. I did not have much time to ride until very late in the summer. I managed to put 1,500 miles on it.
I have found that the GR gets very good fuel mileage and has more positive shifts than the Honda used to have. I do NOT miss the seemingly massive amount of engine heat that a four cylinder puts out when riding in twisty mountains in hot weather. I rarely even notice any engine heat.
Call me old, but, I resent not having a kick-start option. I did not realize so many bikes no longer have them. Regardless, I sure wish I had the kick option. I do not think the starters in these are anywhere near as reliable as automobiles. To counter this, I usually try to roll start the bike when riding in the mountains (when I stop to hike or just stand and enjoy the scenery). I'm an old school dude!!
One thing I really like is how quiet the stock mufflers are....I hate noise as I ran locomotives for 8 years and ran John Deere tractors most of my life on the farm (which has now been sold). Also ran many chain saws and all kinds of noisy equipment.....I LOVE quiet!!!!
I also ride a couple of very nice TT and XT 500 Yamahas ( I used to have some of these before). 6 hours or more on one of these bikes will have you wanting to call it a day or guzzle a few beers to "chase away" their brand of vibration. All of a sudden...the Suzuki seems "smooth!!!!"
Anyway, I have come to like the GR 650 for what it is. I mean, he has really become a part of me. I guess you could say that we put up with one-another very well. I have a new set of Michelins to go on him. Winter has come VERY early here in western South Dakota.....and I am pissed!!
I have learned quite a bit about the bike from your (fellow owners) postings and I am thankful this forum exists. I also purchased the CD owners manual/repair manual.
I do not anticipate selling the GR. I really do like it for what it is. However....I may acquire a '79 GS 1000 which is for sale very nearby. Then, I could have baked legs again!!!!!!
The Black Hills of South Dakota have very beautiful roads, bridges, and tunnels and scenery to really enjoy. If you are ever coming to the area...let me know. We have many buffalo and mountain goats and rock formations and Mount Rushmore and caves and pretty nice sticky asphalt out here (yes, my front tire is very grooved!!!!).
Thank you for reading....wear your helmets and buy good CE armored coats and pants. I have my nursing degree and I have seen too many head injuries which very easily could have been avoided. Head injuries are terrible...they take away the "good things" about you. They leave an empty body which requires massive amounts of health care for the rest of your life. Please think safety with EVERY ride. Don't let me have to care of you when you are on the ventilator and your family comes in and cries and suffers while you lay there unable to control your most basic body functions.
A little about yourself.
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