Well chicks might dig Dakars, but after a year of ownership and 10,000 miles I’ve finally sold mine. The Dakar served me well on Trips to Hungary, Spain, and Wales, but I decided that I wanted something a little lighter and more agile.

The xChallenge was a contender, but I just don’t do enough hard off-road rides to take advantage of it. So instead I opted for the xCountry. Checking howmanyleft.co.uk revealed that there are about 80 xCountrys left on the road in the UK compared to 73 xChallenges and 124 xMotos.

BMW F650 Dakar

That certainly showed up in my search where I couldn’t find one for love nor money. Eventually I just sold the Dakar anyway, then two xCo’s turned up for sale. One had seemingly seen better days but came was cheap and came with a ton of parts (including an engine), the other had just 6,000 miles on the clock (actually 2000 as the dash was replaced under warranty) and was in better condition. I opted for the later despite it being over 200 miles away, and costing a good £700 more.

Riding it back from the south coast the difference between it and the Dakar was night and day. Being 36 kg lighter (wet) and enjoying an extra 4hp, the engine felt much freer revving and more responsive. It’s better suspended too, with 30mm more frontwards travel than the old Dakar (and the newer Sertao).

The riding position takes a little getting used to. It’s like riding a Dakar that’s had the front-end chopped off. It feels very exposed, almost like you’re sitting on top of the front wheel. Though since you can’t see the front wheel from the riding position, it’s a little unnerving cornering on slippery asphalt. On the subject of the riding position, I also find that the bars are little too close for my arm length but that’s easily sorted.

BMW xcountry

BMW XCountry

The bike is pretty much as standard. I’ve owned the bike a week and my list of desired mods has grown to include:

  • Screen
  • fender extender
  • centre stand
  • handguards
  • Funduro/F650 gear lever (to protect the gear shaft)
  • auxiliary tank (bought a 5l Acerbis)
  • aluminium bash plate
  • wider rack
  • mosfett reg/reg
  • lithium battery
  • reinforced or steel sub-frame.

That’s a pretty expensive list so progress will be slow but everything will be recorded here on my blog.

Update Feb 2015

As you can see, I’ve been busy getting through my list of mods. Check out my modification page for more details.