The most comfortable bike I've ever owned. The seat is vast, and the fairing keeps the cold winter blast off your upper body. The plush suspension soaks up the potholes and speed bumps.
It works very well as an off roader, and will get you most of the places the more dirt focused bikes will get you.
The bike needs to have the standard endcan replaced or modified to allow the engine to breath. In standard trim the engine is strangled and won't run smoothly below 4K RPM; with a free-flowing silencer it becomes a proper big single, which will pull stumps from tickover.
Fuel economy regularly runs to 60-65 MPG.
Long distance cruising is a pleasure, keep to 70-75MPH and the world's your oyster, the bike will return 60MPG at that speed. It will sit at 80MPH but it will be turning at 6K RPM, which I think is a lot for big single.
Home servicing is a piece of cake, screw and locknut tappets are easily accessed. The air filter is washable so that saves a bit of cash and the oil filters are under £5. The Freewind uses the SACS oil cooling system so it has a big oil radiator and wet sump, which explains the high mileages these engines will turn.
The engine character is that of a long stroke engine (it isn't long stroke, but feels like it is), it's not about revving it to the red and zipping through the gears, it's much happier at mid-range roll ons in higher gears - very good for overtaking on the open roads.
Things to look out for:
- Stripped oil drain plug; if some idiot has used a torque wrench on the plug, it will strip the thread out of the cases.
- Primary nut coming loose. This happened to me. It manifests as a harsh bottom end clonk at tickover, which goes away when riding along. It takes less than an hour to fix; just apply threadlock and torque to 72 ftlbs.
- The threads in the lugs on the swingarm where the chain guard attaches often strip. Easily fixed by drilling and tapping out to M8; there's plenty of room in the guard to use M8 Allen bolts.
- Seized exhaust bolts, not really a problem specific to the XF650 (all bikes suffer with it) but of the three XFs I've owned, they've all had seized exhaust bolts.