Yes, two people can tour two-up on a BMW G650GS. Yes, I’ve done it myself on a 2,000 km road trip last year. Yes, I would do it again. In fact, I’m about to ship my BMW G650GS to Italy so I can ride across the country. And yes, people who felt like they had to spend $25,000 on a BMW 1250GS are going to hate me for this.
I’m Adrian from YouMotorcycle. I write articles and make videos for people who want to learn about motorcycling. This is how we tour two-up on a BMW G650GS, some of the challenges we face, and how we overcome them.
So, obviously the first thing to acknowledge is the windscreen; it is a Kappa KD5101ST windscreen. I love it because the stock one only comes to several inches shorter than this one, so this wind screen gives me a lot more coverage. It takes that beating off of my chest. Super cheap, super good. I love it.
The next upgrade you’ll notice is the G650GS LED headlight upgrade. I have a whole video about this and why I do and don’t recommend it. It does make things a lot brighter, but there are cheaper options out there.
You’ll also notice I have BMW G650GS OEM wind protectors for your hands. They don’t have metal parts; they are plastic. Honestly, most of my route is going to be on-road, so not really worried about it. These things have been great for taking a little bit of wind pressure off. I absolutely love them.
Speaking of hands, I use an Atlas Throttle Lock. So how it works: you twist the throttle, let’s say you get to a comfortable speed, you can lock it in place, stretch out your hands, relax. Should you need to adjust your throttle, you can still twist it. It’s not fully locked; it’s locked just enough that it won’t spiral out back on its own. Then to disengage, click the other button, and it works like normal again.
Up front, I also have my phone mount, conveniently located sort of within my field of view but not directly in the way. I’ve asked some of the Italian motovloggers if they think I should go with a GPS for my trip across Italy. They said based on my route, don’t even sweat it. The cell phone will be great, so that’s awesome.
Up here, you’ll also notice an SAE to USB adapter, allowing me to charge up any device I can connect via USB. It does not let the motorcycle battery get below a certain voltage level. It’s really handy, really cheap, and when that’s not plugged in, I can just use it like a regular SAE plug for battery tenders or for heated gear or what have you.
One of my favorite things about this whole bike is the seat. It is a seat by Seat Concepts. The reason why I love it so much is that it is made for you. Not in the way of just a regular aftermarket seat. They make it to the rider. So they ask for your height, weight, what kind of riding you do, and even what kind of gear you wear. Depending on the answers you give them, they will use different densities of foam, they will also use different textured covers for what you need to suit your gear and your riding. I really, really like that.
To make your seat you’ll first take your original seat, and there are three layers to it: There’s the cover, there’s the foam, and there’s the seat pan. You get rid of the cover and get rid of the foam. I managed to find someone who could use it because his seat was all torn up so that was perfect. You keep the original seat pan. They send you their foam. It is made to fit your original factory BMW G650GS seat pad. But the foam on top looks just like stock, and you put the seat cover on, staple gun around the back, and that’s how you make the seat using the new foam.
Obviously, the next thing to talk about is my touring bag setup. These are GIVIs; these are 41-liter side cases each. These ones are particularly cool because they have a keycode on the sides. So, if you know the keycode, you can just punch it in, and then just the side opens up. You don’t have to open the entire bag and have all your stuff spill out. That’s really handy to keep the stuff you need, like maybe a camera, gear, water bottle, stuff like that you want up close up there, up top.
I also have the original BMW factory top case, which is good and bad. It’s good because I can very easily, just like the GIVIs, lock it, walk away, all of my gear is locked. I can also take it off just like the GIVIs and walk away and take it with me, and it’s super, super, super easy. It’s also easy and quick to lock back in place.
Now, there is one reason why I do not recommend the OEM top case for people who want to do a lot of two-up touring. This top case kind of overcame over the first maybe half an inch to an inch of the seat. That really pushes these buckles here, especially, they really push your lady forward, which means they’re pushing her into you, which pushes you forward. Everything we’ve gained in terms of comfort gets kind of offset by this. So instead, I have a different solution.
I’ve found if you get this SW Motech rack kind of adapter plate it can mount some top cases a little further back, giving the passenger more space. Then you can mount whatever GIVI, Kappa, or whatever brand or SW Motech case you want on your BMW G650GS. The couple extras you gain make a big difference. The top case no longer bumps your passenger forward into you, and everyone is much more comfortable.
And of course, there are a few other things that are nice to have. I have the factory heated grips, which are really, really nice. I also have at the back my Leo Vince exhaust pipe, and the baffle being in there means I do get a little bit, well, a lot more sound, without being super irritating, super annoying, or causing premature fatigue, which is what you don’t want on a long motorcycle ride.
The new top case is in and it does line up about an inch further back. It does what we need it to do, which is for touring two-up and having that extra space. It’s good. The downside is that the access panel to lift your seat is underneath here, and that means you have to take off one or two things to get to it. It’s poorly designed by SW-Motech. I strongly suggest keeping the OEM top case or finding one. They’re much better than this setup, but this is the setup that we need for our particular application.
Why tour on a BMW G650GS?
Some of you might be wondering, if I have the F700GS, which is a little more spacious and a little more powerful and we’re doing two-up riding, why am I bringing the G650, the 650 single, instead? My F700, yeah, it’s also a great bike. It has a lot of the same great things about it that the G does, but it also has a lot more electronics, a lot more sensors, and a lot more stuff that can fail me.
Over here, if something fails, I have my pickup truck, I have my garage full of tools, I have friends who own or work at dealerships. I have a really good connection and network here. But when I’m in a totally different continent, I don’t know anybody, so I need the simplest, most efficient, most effective, and most fool-proof/fail-proof motorcycle that I can get, that I can put through hell and back, and I absolutely trust this motorcycle for that job. That’s why I picked my G650.
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Ride safe, have fun. If you have any questions, leave them down below. Peace!