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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

BMW Sertao, a reasonable replacement for the Vstrom?????

Yes folks, I have a problem. My wife will tell you all the details. It's kind of like an ADD with motorcycles. How does a guy who loves all bikes live with just one. I think it's darn near impossible. If I was a wealthy man, I'd have a garage full, but alas I am not. My children see to that. Just kidding kids, Daddy loves you.

A few years ago when I got back into motorcycling after a short hiatus, changing jobs, moving around, having kids, not having any money, I jumped back into it. I wanted to get a BMW Dakar, which was no longer being produced by BMW. Atlantic Motoplex in Moncton however had a nice 2006 preowned model for sale. Of course I waited a week too long in getting an offer in, and it went to another loving home. I was then planning on getting a G650 X-Challenge. Loved that bike. 

Ok lets get an X-Challenge. Sorry BMW is not making them in the new year, the new 800GS is coming out. Well the 800GS was out of my price range, so I ended up settling with a X-Country. Mistake number one. 

It was a good bike, but it was physically too small for me, the gas tank was puny, and the aftermarket accessories were hard to find, compared to a Dakar. I did love the single-cylinder fuel injected engine. Lots of torque and good power.

Some of you are saying, why didn't you get a KLR, it's cheaper and a bigger bike. Well, I know that, it's a great machine, but it just doesn't speak to me for some reason.

Enter the BMW Sertao, or a new name for the old Dakar, with some cosmetic changes, a slightly smaller fuel tank, but basically the same bike that was so ever popular. 

At just over $10K Canadian it's not cheap, you can almost buy two KLR's for the price. Is it worth it. Depends on who you ask. If you think fuel-injection, more power, better fuel economy, switchable ABS, heated grips, etc is worth it, then yes. Like I said the KLR is a great motorcycle at a great price, it has basically remained unchanged for years, like the Sertao/Dakar. It comes down to the individual and what they see as value for the money and personal taste.

I like the Sertao, like it a lot, ever since it was reintroduced. I was a little disappointed that BMW never had one to demo at the Fundy Adventure Rally.

The bike gets mostly good reviews, and I think it all depends on what you want to do with it. Adventure touring, logging/fire roads, easy ATV trails is where I think this bike is in it's element. Definitely not tight, rough singe track, or long runs down a 75mph freeway. It can be done, just not comfortably I think. My old X-Country wasn't a great highway cruiser. 

Right now I have to decide on where the majority of my riding is going to be. The Strom is great on the highway, super comfortable and fast. Gravel roads, it's good, but I just feel like the old girl is getting pounded when the road gets rough. Seriously how much highway riding do I do......not much right now. I would ride more logging and ATV trails if I had the right bike. Plus the strom is so big and heavy that I am now missing something lighter and easier to manage. 

So....question is, two bikes, or one do it all? Space in my garage is getting limited. Two bikes....double the insurance, registration, and maintenance. However I can keep the Strom and get a new CRF250L for the same price as a Sertao.

So what would I do to a Sertao if I bought one? Let's face it, one has to farkle ones bike, we can't leave it stock, thats a no no. 

Touring windshield that is adjustable is a must, then luggage. I think I'd just move my Wolfman tankbag over, then get a Giant Loop softbag by Great Basin. Wider footpegs and maybe a seat upgrade, if the Sertao seat is like the other torture devices designed by BMW.

Unlike my other motorcycle purchases that have been, shall we say, a little spontaneous and not too well thought out, I'm gonna wait til spring this time. Unless I happen to be going by Motoplex in a buying mood. 

"honey, I just bought a new bike.......it's smaller, cheaper on insurance, and has a three year warranty.....hello, hello." I might be spending the winter sleeping in the trailer. That new heated jacket may come in handy.

TypeWater-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
Bore x stroke100 mm x 83 mm
Capacity652 cc
Rated output35 kW (48 hp) at 6,500 rpm (output reduction to 25 kW (34 hp) at 6,500 rpm possible)
Max. torque60 Nm at 5,000 rpm (with output reduction: 47 Nm at 4,500 rpm)
Compression ratio11.5 : 1
Mixture control / engine managementElectronic intake pipe injection / BMW engine management, twin-spark ignition
Emission controlClosed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3
Performance / fuel consumption 
Maximum speedapprox. 170 km/h (with output reduction: approx. 145 km/h)
Fuel consumption per 100 km at constant 90 km/h3.2 l
Fuel consumption per 100 km at constant 120 km/h4.3 l
Fuel typeUnleaded regular, minimum octane rating 91 (RON) 
Electrical system 
Alternatorthree-phase alternator 400 W 
Battery12 V / 12 Ah
Power transmission 
ClutchMultiple-disc clutch in oil bath, mechanically operated
GearboxConstant mesh 5-speed gearbox integrated into crankcase
DriveEndless O-ring chain with shock damping in rear wheel hub
Chassis / brakes 
FrameBridge-type steel section frame with bolted-on rear section
Front wheel location / suspensionTelescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, fork stabiliser
Rear wheel location / suspensionBox-section steel dual swing arm, central spring strut operated by lever system, spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable
Suspension travel front / rear210 mm / 210 mm 
Wheelbase1,484 mm
Castor123 mm
Steering head angle61,9°
WheelsWire spoke wheels
Rim, front1,60 x 21"
Rim, rear3,00 x 17"
Tyres, front90/90 R21 54S
Tyres, rear130/80 R17 65S
Brake, frontFloating single disc, diameter 300 mm, double-piston floating caliper
Brake, rearSingle disc, diameter 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper
ABS 1)Standard
Dimensions / weights 
Length2.185 mm
Width (incl. mirrors)920 mm
Height (excl. mirrors)1,440 mm
Seat height, unladen weight860 mm (high seat: 900 mm (special accessory))
Inner leg curve, unladen weight1.770 mm (lowered suspension: 1.710 mm, high seat: 1.850 mm)
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fuelled 2)193 kg
Dry weight 3)177 kg
Permitted total weight380 kg
Payload (with standard equipment)187 kg
Usable tank volume14,0 l
Reserveca. 4,0 l
  • Technical data relate to the unladen weight (DIN)


  1. I'm sort of in the same boat as you. I love my Wee for the long haul, but it's too cumbersome on anything more gnarly than a gravel road. Right now there's nothing in the market that will give me a more confident off road experience AND be powerful, stabile and comfy on the highway. Bear in mind that I'm only 5'5" and 125lbs so that really cuts down the options. I'm really hoping that Yamaha builds a new Tenere around the engine out of the FZ09 (amazing bike!)...that may be worth waiting for. Right now I'm so tempted by the Yamaha TW200 though, looks like so much fun.

  2. I've heard rumours of Yamaha bringing the Tenere 660 to Canada in 2015, that was from my friend who has a Yamaha dealership. Wishful thinking for a lot of riders