What is it?
It’s a scooter, but no Passola. There’s a 647 cc engine under your backside, so the BMW 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 BMW 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 “affordable”.
The 647 cc two-cylinder four-stroke liquid-cooled engine delivers 44 kW and 66 Nm, which is quite a few horses more than the G 650 GS Sertão’s 35 kW and 60 Nm. Interesting. Although you might think that the C 600 Sport has a 600 cc engine, that is not the case. The two scooters have exactly the same engine. The reason the Sport is called the 600 is to show it is the smaller and cheaper of the two. Final drive is a chain in an oil bath and there are no gears. Like most scooter, it has a fully automatic continuously variable transmission (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 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 scooters, you just the throttle to make it go. 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 on tar, but when I rode a stretch of dirt, I could do power slides in the turns. Weird but awesome.
Ride and handling
It’s a fun commuter 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, 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 the BMW C 650 GT (2012)
- Engine 647 cc two-cylinder, four-stroke liquid-cooled
- Gearbox CVT gearbox; fully automatic
- Power 44 kW @ 7 500 r/min
- Torque 66 Nm @ 6 000 r/min
- Weight 261 kg when fully fuelled
- Seat height 795 mm
- Fuel capacity 16 litres
- Fuel consumption 4.4 l/100km at 90 km/h and 5.6 l/100km at 120km/h
- Tank range Average of 285 km
- Warranty and servicing Two-year warranty, unlimited km. Service every 10 000km.
- Price C 650 GT for R 119 550 (ABS, traction control, heated grips and seats included) C 600 Sport for R 111 400 (ABS, traction control, heated grips included)
- Review by Willem van der Berg, December 2012
A big thanks to Sovereign BMW Motorrad in Bloemfontein for letting us ride their C 650 GT.