What is it?
It’s a scooter, but no Passola. There’s a 647cc engine under your backside and, therefore, the C 650 GT is part of a small market segment called maxi-scooters. Together with the BMW C 600 Sport these two scooters are part of Motorrad’s Urban Mobility plan. Where they want to deliver “PWT’s (powered two-wheelers) with affordable technology and intelligent details, make everyday life easier: Travel to any desired destination in the city, in the surrounding area or even further afield, conveniently and safely.” It might be convenient, but we’ll have to see about the “affordable”.
The 647cc two-cylinder four-stroke liquid-cooled engine delivers 44kW and 66Nm, which is quite a few horses more than the G 650 GS Sertão’s 35kW and 60Nm. Interesting. Although you might think that the C 600 Sport has a 600cc engine that is not the case. The two scooters have exactly the same engine. The reason for the Sport being called a 600 is BMW’s way to show it is the smaller and cheaper one of the two. Final drive is a chain in an oil bath and there are no gears as these scooters are, like most others, fully automatic. They use continuously variable transmissions (CVT).
Style, instruments and equipment
For most bikers a scooter will never be a bike. So to say the C 650 GT almost looks like a cool road bike from a distance could probably result in a burnout … done on my back by a furious R1 rider. But the scooter has good ergonomics. The 600 Sport looks a bit more, well, sporty. Fewer fairings.
Both scooters are fitted with ABS, traction control, heated grips and a park brake integrated in the side stand. If the side stand is out the brakes lock and the scooter won’t move an inch. The GT also comes with an electrically adjustable windshield, heated seats, LED daytime running lights and remote locking (with alarm).
The analogue speedo is easy to read while everything else is shown on a small digital screen.
Both scooters have more than enough storage capacity under the seats, enough space for a road helmet. The Sport, however, has a clever party trick: The storage compartment’s floor can fold out when the scooter is parked and that doubles the room so two helmets can fit.
Like most other scooters, you just have to twist the throttle to make it move. Acceleration is impressive and you will leave some fancy cars behind at the robots. Top speed is crazy. I turned some heads on the highway when I sped past at 180km/h.
The ABS worked very well not to lock the brakes when I grabbed both the brake levers hard and brought the scooter to a standstill in no time. Traction control worked perfectly well on tar, but when I rode a stretch of dirt road I could do power slides in the turns; weird, but awesome.
Ride and handling
I thoroughly enjoyed the BMW scooter. It’s a great city commuting bike: nimble and with more than enough power to get past those thundering diesel-belching trucks and dodgy old Honda Ballades. The suspension is stiff, but not hard, which makes it possible to go up and down pavements without fuss. The high windshield will put you in a complete air pocket when it is tilted up. It was great to steer the GT through bends and even at high speeds.
Like: Easy to ride and great for commuting.
Dislike: Unimpressive fuel consumption and the price. Especially the price.
Verdict and rating
It’s a really fun machine and a wonderful for commuting, but for the price you can buy a small car or a proper bike. Scooters should essentially be a cheap way of transport and these BMW maxi scooters aren’t.
9/10 for commuting ability; 5/10 for the price.
Honda Integra, Aprilia SRV850 and Yamaha T-max
Specifications for BMW C 650 GT
- Engine 647cc two-cylinder, four-stroke liquid-cooled
- Gearbox CVT gearbox; fully automatic
- Power 44kW@7500r/min
- Torque 66Nm@6000r/min
- Weight 261kg, fully fuelled
- Seat height 795mm
- Fuel capacity 16 litres
- Fuel consumption 4.4l/100km at 90km/h and 5.6l/100km at 120km/h
- Tank range Average of 285km
- Warranty and servicing Two-year warranty, unlimited kms. Service every 10 000km.
- Price C 650 GT – R 119 550 (ABS, traction control, heated grips and seats included) C 600 Sport – R 111 400 (ABS, traction control, heated grips included)
- Review by Willem van der Berg
- Ridden by Bikeroutes December 2012
More info from http://www.bmw-motorrad.co.za/
A big thanks to Sovereign BMW Motorrad in Bloemfontein for letting us have the C 650 GT, with a full tank, for a few days – Sovereign BMW Motorrad