These are the 3 best BMW G650GS modifications you can do to really enjoy one of the most versatile motorcycles ever made. Of course, everyone’s riding style is a little different, so I’ll also include some honorable mentions, some suggestions specific to touring, off-road riding, and even something 2011 owners in particular should know.
One of the best things about the BMW G650GS is just how versatile it is, and these easy modifications will help you take full advantage of it:
- Cell phone / GPS mount
- Seat replacement options
- Cargo capacity
- Off-road specific mods
- Honorable mentions
- Something for the 2011 model year owners
What are the three best modifications to do to a BMW G650GS, aka Funduro, aka BMW F650GS? Well, that’s going to depend largely on how you want to use this motorcycle. The low maintenance, single cylinder 650GS can be adapted to do just about anything, making it easy to fall in love with. The ‘best’ choices for you will depend on how you want to use your GS, but I have plenty of options to help you pick what’s right for you, and with one or two exceptions, all of these modifications are easy to do yourself. Let’s start with my top three.
Best G650GS Modification #3: Cell phone / GPS mount
The third best modification on this G650GS is the handlebar cell phone mount. Whether you’re adventuring to places you haven’t been before or trying to keep track of police or speed trap cameras in the area, having a cell phone with Waze or Google Maps running directly in your line of sight can be a big help.
The mount in the video isn’t my final fix for this bike. I have a new mount that supports wireless cell phone charging that I’ll be installing soon and sharing here on YouMotorcycle.com and on YouTube. For now, just know that wireless charging cell phone mounts are a great idea because your phone will need to be on maximum brightness to stay on while you’re motorcycle riding in daylight, and that will burn your battery out quickly if you don’t keep charging it.
Best G650GS Modification #2: New seat
The second best modification to this BMW G650GS has been replacing the stock seat. A recurring complaint about the G650GS is that the stock seat isn’t comfortable for long rides. That’s because BMW wanted to make the motorcycle more beginner-friendly and shorty-friendly than ever before, by shaving about an inch and a half of padding off the side, and also making it narrower, this would allow riders to flat foot the ground from atop the motorcycle more easily.
The problem is, in making the seat more short-rider friendly, BMW has also made the G650GS’ seat far less comfortable. Luckily, the rest of the motorcycle’s ergonomics are excellent, but the stock seat isn’t.
The least expensive solution is to get a used F650GS seat from a single cylinder (650cc) F650GS, as that will still be fully and have more padding. I did this for about $55 USD from a local seller. Another option is to spend about $220 to get a Seat Concepts seat, if you’d like you can spend over $500 USD for a seat from France which can even include extra features like heated pads for rider and passenger.
Personally, I didn’t want to spend $500 on a custom motorcycle seat, without at least trying the $55 option first. I can tell you that while the single cylinder F650GS seat is much more comfortable over the stock G650GS seat, it’s still not perfect, so if you do go for this option, don’t spend too much on it, otherwise you’ll be better off getting the Seat Concepts option.
Best G650GS Modification #1: Hard luggage
Finally, the best modification done to this BMW G650GS was the addition of GIVI hard cases. The two cases have a 41 liter capacity each, which is plenty for two people to go on a weekend getaway. You can get GIVI brackets for the G650GS from Carpi Moto, which despite being based in Italy still delivers to North America within a few days. You should also be able to find some second hand used GIVI monokey cases. The monokey cases will be compatible with your G650GS hard case mounts.
You can check out my full article plus video on how to install GIVI brackets and cases on a G650GS for additional information.
My ‘main squeeze’ motorcycle is a Harley-Davidson V-Rod, but between the two motorcycles, for touring, I honestly prefer the G650GS. The V-Rod is rough, and a beast, whereas the BMW seems to be able to take everything I can throw at it. Paired with bags you can do a lot of traveling on this motorcycle!
If you’re looking at riding on unpaved roads, you might want to check out the G650GS Sertao Edition. It’s the continuation of the F650GS Dakar Edition, which is more off-road oriented. It features taller suspension, and a bigger and skinnier front wheel which make it more off-road oriented.
Many G650GS and Sertao owners also swear by Race Tech Gold Valve Cartridge Fork Emulators. They’re about $220 Canadian, or about $180 American, and can help a lot with facing challenging terrain from bumpy rocks to sandy dunes. Here’s a quote from one of the most popular 650GS websites of all, The Chain Gang:
“Now the bike stays planted as if it weighed 100 more pounds, but it is every bit as flickable as before. When turned into a corner, in maintains its line much better. When passing or being passed by large trucks, the turbulence barely affects the bike. In crosswinds the bike goes when you point it, rather than wandering all over the place. The overall effect of the mods is that the suspension is stiffer, but at the same time, it reacts faster and better to input. And best of all, it’s adjustable.”
If you plan on keeping your G650GS for a long time, these emulators are a worthwhile investment.
Another noteworthy modification is a Leo Vince exhaust, or any other quality aftermarket exhaust. Sure, you’ll get a little more noise and attention from car drivers, which is cool, but there is another benefit as well.
The stock exhaust system goes from the single cylinder motor into one muffler, and then from one muffler into the other muffler. This is excess weight and it is unnecessary. An aftermarket exhaust will be much later than the stock muffler, plus allow you to remove the unnecessary second muffler. This will let you lighten the weight of the motorcycle, and it will also help lower your center of gravity as well as those mufflers are rather high.
Of course, a center stand is a great option to have, as is a taller wind screen, though it seems many of the G650GS’ on the road today have already had these upgrades done.
A modification for 2011 model year owners
The last suggested modification applies to certain 2011 model G650GS’ only. In 2011, Antilock Braking Systems were not yet standard, they were an add-on option. The G650GS’ that came with ABS also came with a four-way hazard light flasher button, but those did that not have ABS did not come with this switch or wiring.
Luckily, 2011 G650GS owners who don’t have ABS but would like to have a hazard light button can find a workaround to this for fairly cheap. Custom Dynamics makes a 4-Way Hazard Kit, and you can wire it to the stock switch button that you can get from your local BMW dealer.
Some will welcome the ability to add hazard lights to replace the ugly “blank spacer”. Others will point out that adding a bunch of cuts to your wiring harness may do more harm than good. Both are excellent points and each one is worth considering.
The BMW G650GS is one of the most versatile motorcycles on the road today. There is so much you can do with it, so naturally, my top three recommendations might not be the three that suit you best. Hopefully I’ve provided you with enough other options for you to decide what modifications are best for you, and to help you get started on customizing and enjoying your G650GS.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment down below and I’d be happy to try to help you. I’d also love to hear from you: Do you have a 650GS? What are some of your favorite mods? Please leave me a comment and let me know!