What is it?
It is a simple, easy-to-handle, dual on-road/off-road bike that is often called a “lady’s” bike for its easy, comfortable ride. The single-cylinder G 650 GS is a little sister of the twin-cylinder F-GS series, made up of the F 800 GS and the F 650 GS. The smaller G is the ideal lightweight enduro for beginners and for experienced riders who prefer a smaller, lighter bike. It’s a perfect entry-level bike as it is safe, comfortable, easy to ride and comes with three years’ roadside assistance.
The single-cylinder 650cc engine (not to be confused with the de-tuned 800cc engine in the F 650 GS) makes the right amount of power for a smooth but lively ride. High torque at a low engine speed makes it economical. With a tank range of about 370km the 650 GS is good for touring.
Style, instruments and equipment
Simplicity in both design and instruments makes it very user-friendly, but the absence of a fuel gauge, amidst all that famed German design, is disappointing. ABS brakes and heated grips are optional at an additional R6500. The location of the switches for the hazard lights and heated grips are slightly out of reach, giving the impression that they were an afterthought.
Those seeking more speed and power will prefer the F 800 GS or the bigger R 1200 GS, but with a top speed of 169km/h (according to BMW) the G is more than capable of commuting, unhurried touring and gravel road exploring.
Ride and Handling
The low seat height (780mm) makes the G 650 GS a sturdy, easy-to-ride bike with the option to lower the seat height further, reducing it to just 750mm. The light frame and adventure bike design offer an easy, luxurious ride. It has a sleeker body than the bigger GSs, which means easier handling and control. With the fuel tank under the seat, the centre of gravity is low, which helps balance and manoeuvrability. The rider is seated in a comfortable upright position and the seat itself is large and comfortable enough for long-distance pillion riding.
Likes / Dislikes
Likes: The comfort
Dislikes: The absence of a fuel gauge
Verdict and rating
It is a light, easy, affordable ride and the most popular all-rounder on the market. Rating: 8
Kawasaki KLE 650 Versys, Suzuki V-Strom 650, Honda XL700V Transalp
Specifications – BMW G 650 GS
- Engine 650cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single cylinder. Four valves (DOHC)
- Gearbox Five-speed, chain drive
- Power 35kW@6500r/min
- Torque 60Nm@3500r/min
- Weight 191kg (wet)
- Brakes Front: single 300mm disc with two piston caliper. Back: single 240mm disc with one piston caliper
- Seat height 820mm (low seat: 780mm; lowered suspension: 765mm)
- Fuel capacity 17.3 litres
- Fuel consumption 4.67 litres/100 km (city and highway combined)
- Tank range 370km
- Warranty and servicing Two years unlimited km, three years BMW On Call roadside assistance
- Price R88 510
- Rode by Bikeroutes November 2011
- Review by Olga van Zyl