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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Howdy guys,

I know, I know, "it has already been asked a thousand times." "Use the search function", right?

500 offroad, 690 street. End of story.

Hopefully, this is a little different scenario.

Well, I'm lookin' to get specific. See, I will probably go offroad about as much as I'll hit the highway. Which should be next to never. I need this bike to do around 50 miles a week, on 50MPH speed limited streets (I reach 80-90 max, at times.), with pot holes and train tracks galore and just a few twists. And, it must kill all other traffic!

When I sold my DRZ400S, I knew one thing. My next bike had to be more street friendly. Better tires and suspension, lower, and MORE power. I bought a Guzzi V7, and once I got the suspension sorted, it has been a great bike. What I didn't account for, though, was the weight to power ratio. It is about the same as a DRZ...

Now, I figure I can probably get a low hours 500/501 for about half of the new 690 SMC R. But, the 690 is much more refined. Yeah, I know the maintenance schedule isn't great on the 500/501's, either. But, I figure for half the price, I can deal with the intervals and inevitable rebuilds.

So, I'm after the best weapon for suburban attack riding. Better to go in with all the modern bells and whistles of the new 690, or raw-dog it with a 500? (FWIW, I've never had a bike with traction control or ABS, and I am 6'1", 250lbs geared up.)

Thanks for your help, buds!

edit:
Oh, and I might consider waiting for an updated 701, as that is my favorite looking sumo, right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How tight are the roads you ride?
They're not. There are a couple of roundabouts, and one 90 degree turn on my commute. That's it for my daily "technical" work. Down here in Savannah there aren't many twistes and everything is pretty much flat.
 

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how about a used 690/701 in that case? You can likely find one in similar price range vs the 500.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
how about a used 690/701 in that case? You can likely find one in similar price range vs the 500.
I first started looking at used '17+ 701's. Seems like they wanna go for around 9k, here in the US. That's about 2 grand more than I feel I can find a 500 for. Not a big deal, savings-wise. But, since I won't be doing any long highway miles, I feel like the flickablity of the 500 might be more of an advantage on the street. 2/3 of my commute is double lane. And, I like to bob-n-weave. (Sadly, no lane splitting.)
 

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You would probably be happy with either.

The grunt of the 690/701 is nice on the street.
The less weight of the 500/501 is significant.

Unless you ride them back to back, the difference isn’t great, especially at anything under 10/10ths

And, it must kill all other traffic!
This would make me lean towards the bigger motor, if one came up in your price range.

I had a traffic light drag with a surprisingly fast BMW car (“M” something). The cars turbos and traction control were working overtime, but it kept up with the 701. In my defense: bike was bone stock, brand new, and still being run in....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You would probably be happy with either.

The grunt of the 690/701 is nice on the street.
The less weight of the 500/501 is significant.

Unless you ride them back to back, the difference isn’t great, especially at anything under 10/10ths


This would make me lean towards the bigger motor, if one came up in your price range.

I had a traffic light drag with a surprisingly fast BMW car (“M” something). The cars turbos and traction control were working overtime, but it kept up with the 701. In my defense: bike was bone stock, brand new, and still being run in....

Thanks for your input! Price isn't too much of an issue. And, hopefully they will update the 701 soon. But, I reckon everyone like to save a bit.

Good to hear it could hang with the Beemer. Even though I don't vape, I just bought a WRX. So, you can get an idea where my middle-aged head is at. I'm not really out to race people, but I wanna be able to leave the pack, instantly. My V7 will pull away, but only at a leisurely pace.

Maybe the 701 would handle my weight better? Dunno what their adjustment range is like on the suspension, but I'm pretty sure the 4CS forks aren't setup for anywhere near my heft. The opens would probably be even worse. Then add in a somewhat under-braking front...

What do you think of the stock gearing on each bike, for low-speed street?
 

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having owned both at the same point in time. the difference is significant if you ride them back to back, I liked both for different reasons.

the 701 as a supermoto is a buttload more practical, the fact I could do like 125 miles on a single tank is sweet and don't need to change oil every 15 hours is convenient as well. but... it won't do 3rd or 4th gear power wh00lies, the extra weight does make it feel less nimble, even though I can throw mine around no problem and back it into corners it's still no 501/500. a 701 doesn't lack power but it's different, it's way smoother in it's delivery. 701 goes WHOOOOSH, a 501 goes BRAAAAAP.

for the street, if I was only taking it out on weekends I'd go 500/501, if you want to be able to live with it, maybe ride it to work and use it a little more often, 701 all day long.
 

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I agree with everything listed about both bikes, but I still couldn't make up my mind.

so I split the difference....


 

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Discussion Starter #11
it's way smoother in it's delivery. 701 goes WHOOOOSH, a 501 goes BRAAAAAP.

for the street, if I was only taking it out on weekends I'd go 500/501, if you want to be able to live with it, maybe ride it to work and use it a little more often, 701 all day long.

Thanks! Great description, and just the type of info I'm looking for.
 

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Thanks for your input! Price isn't too much of an issue. And, hopefully they will update the 701 soon. But, I reckon everyone like to save a bit.

Good to hear it could hang with the Beemer. Even though I don't vape, I just bought a WRX. So, you can get an idea where my middle-aged head is at. I'm not really out to race people, but I wanna be able to leave the pack, instantly. My V7 will pull away, but only at a leisurely pace.

Maybe the 701 would handle my weight better? Dunno what their adjustment range is like on the suspension, but I'm pretty sure the 4CS forks aren't setup for anywhere near my heft. The opens would probably be even worse. Then add in a somewhat under-braking front...

What do you think of the stock gearing on each bike, for low-speed street?
The 701 got an engine upgrade in 2017.
The shock spring on the 701 is a bit “light”. I’m 80kg without gear, and my 701 handles better with the next stiffer spring installed. This heavier spring is still at the light end of the static verse “race” sag equation.

Neither bike has 4CS forks do they?

The stock gearing on both bikes is fine for the street. (Once the 701 is tuned correctly IMHO)
Most people change the front sprocket if they prefer something different. Cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The 701 got an engine upgrade in 2017.
What I meant was update to 2019 SMC R spec. Hopefully, that is coming in the next year or two.

The shock spring on the 701 is a bit “light”. I’m 80kg without gear, and my 701 handles better with the next stiffer spring installed. This heavier spring is still at the light end of the static verse “race” sag equation.
Yeah, I'm used to having to change rear springs. How is the valving in the shock? What about the forks? Are they serviceable at your weight?


Neither bike has 4CS forks do they?
I thought all 501's have 4CS forks. But, I could be wrong.
 

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The fork spring rates seem ok.
The forks themselves are unimpressive in my opinion.
“Budget” Maybe. Not even bleed screws in the caps.

I find them harsh, but with excessive dive.
More compression damping makes them harsher, but seems to have little effect on the dive. (Under brakes)
Less rebound seems a small improvement. Maybe they were “packing down”. I reduced the rebound based on tire wear pattern.

I plan to have the forks revalved. Less high speed comp, more low speed comp if possible. Maybe the oil level a little higher. But I haven’t been riding the 701 much lately. Mainly racing other bikes.
The stupidly hot weather is over so some rides through the hills are probably coming up.
 

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The 701 all the way. Unless you’re racing tight tracks, it’s a much more reasonable machine for daily use. Plenty light in my opinion, and the much longer service intervals are way worth it. Also, it’s really not just about the power and weight. I have NEVER ridden a big single this smooth. The 2nd counterbalancer did wonders to the motor. Don’t waste your time waiting for a newer one either. I’ll bet $20 on the fact that it will only have upgraded electronics like the new 690 R, and slightly different styling. I’ve seen plenty of the 2017+ ones in the $8k range already.
 

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And I should add that I already removed the ABS, because I don’t really care for it. The only upgrade from the new electronics package I would appreciate is the quickshifter, and you can get that for $200 from Dynojet.
 

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The stock gearing on the 701 SM is too high in my opinion (16-42). I switch to 15-45 and it is much better. Fourth gear wheelies easy and top speed around 105 or so. Stock chain length is good, but need to reverse the axle blocks.
 

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And I should add that I already removed the ABS, because I don’t really care for it. The only upgrade from the new electronics package I would appreciate is the quickshifter, and you can get that for $200 from Dynojet.
I removed the ABS to suit my taste.

The front MC is garbage. Mine failed very early on.

I was involved in a long thread on here about QS options - search?
The advantage of a factory QS is it is probably connected to the clutch (QS disabled while clutch is pulled in. This means you can “rev match” and/or change gears conventionally if you want - handy for road riding.
I personally found the race style QS a bit “intrusive” for my road use. I think now, it might be possible to have a switch - QS on/off. (This is the set up I use on a carburetor fed race bike. QS on the ignition. EFI bikes usually interrupt the fuel.)

I have a “Healtech” QS on my FS450. It seems great (One race meeting use so far). All the parameters are adjustable on my iPhone!!

701 improvements in order, in my opinion.

1. Fix the “pollution” lean tune.
2. Replace the front MC (unless you are happy with the brake, and your MC doesn’t fail. I have a brand new unused MC if anyone wants to buy one. Also a front lever. Australia)
3. Correct rear spring for weight. - Made a big difference to the steering on my bike.
Distant 4th Suspension revalve. (Haven’t done this yet.)
 
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