Driving report BMW C1


Driving report BMW C1

Less risk, more fun

Who says there is no fun without risk? The new 125cc C1 scooter is as safe as a small car, says BMW. That is why it is the only two-wheeler that can be ridden without a helmet. MOTORRAD has tried it.

It rarely rains in Marbella. This predestines the well-tended seaside resort and marina on the southern coast of Spain not only for holidays, but also for photo opportunities at times of the year, which are considered to be rather unfriendly in Germany. March, for example: high time for BMW to present the production version of the C1. Because the innovative 125cc should be at the dealer in April.
The Munich-based company has big plans for its first scooter. Not only is it the first four-stroke 125cc model to have a regulated catalytic converter and still use the permitted 15 hp limit. No ?? BMW sees a whole new category of vehicle in the C1. It should combine typical scooter properties such as easy handling, maneuverability and weather protection with the passive safety of a modern small car. A kind of bridge frame made of aluminum, two roll bars, a front section with a crumple zone and the Telelever, used for the first time on a scooter, together with side protectors, headrest and an elaborate multi-point belt system work the miracle. It’s worth the effort: In many European countries (including Germany) it is already permitted to drive the C1 without a helmet.
Before driving, however, the BMW technicians have set two hurdles. If the belts are not in the lock, the engine can be started, but does not reach the speed required to start up. This is ensured by the electronic engine management, which can also do other clever things: It regulates the cold run, heats up the lambda probe, increases the idling speed when the battery is weak, and of course it is also responsible for ignition and injection.
After putting on the seat belt it is time to unbock. Two levers under the handlebars have to be pulled and pushed ?? the big one first. He raises and lowers the front wheel, the little lever folds the stand in and out. When jacking up, of course, things work the other way around. Both are easy, the C1 is safe.
And how does it drive? As simple as any modern automatic scooter: accelerate, steer, brake? that’s all. Centrifugal clutch and stepless variator transfer the drive torque to the rear wheel. The water-cooled four-valve engine pushes the empty 185-kilogram C1 with its not inconsiderable driver’s weight powerfully enough to get away from the traffic lights quickly. And when the BMW scooter is in motion, according to the speedometer it rises to 110 km / h.
For two-wheelers who are used to helmets, the undamped perception of the noises produced by the drive is almost frightening for the first few kilometers. The whole hustle and bustle of intake, exhaust, rotating masses, dragging belts, pulleys and rollers rushes acoustically at the driver. Of course, all of this is completely normal, and a passing C1 sounds no different than an Aprilia Leonardo 125, for example, in whose Rotax engine the more modern BMW drive is rooted.
More impressive than the background noise, which you quickly get used to, are the other stimuli that C1 driving conveys. Get on a two-wheeler with a clear conscience without a helmet, gloves or other protective clothing, speed through the city and with a hundred things on the motorway? that has something. And the best part: wind noises practically stay outside. No humming, no howling at the helmet. The cooling breeze around the head and hips is a relief in summer.
The chassis is really good. The fear that the C1 is top-heavy because of its structure turns out to be baseless. The low seating position and high handlebars convey the feeling of precise control. Tight turns, take a step? no problem. Even experienced two-wheelers practice restraint in faster turns. Although it could be done much more snappily, you don’t dare. The front struts of the roll bar show the inclined position in an unfamiliar way. It takes a few kilometers for this spectacle to lose its effect. Then you can also shoo the C1 quickly around the corner. Steering precision and directional stability are excellent thanks to the long wheelbase and large wheels for scooter conditions.
Anyone who knows their way around and knows how poorly some scooters cope on bumpy roads will really appreciate the BMW Telelever at the front. It responds well, keeps the front wheel neatly on track and conveys good comfort despite tight coordination. However, the backrest spoils the applause of the two matching rear suspension struts, because it gives the driver a kick in the back when there are rough potholes. Those who do without leaning on inferior roads will find the comfort they long for.
The front and rear disc brakes, which were combined with the softly regulating ABS in the presentation models, are simply great: With little manual force, they can be finely adjusted and grip powerfully when required.
D.he C1 wouldn’t be a BMW if it weren’t for a number of extras that make it more comfortable. Luggage system, emergency seat, audio preparation, reading light, seat and handle heating, briefcase ?? the list of accessories is endless. The glass front window, including the wiper and washer, are standard. In Marbella, however, it was not possible to test whether the driver would stay dry. Seen in this way, it is almost a shame that it rains so rarely there.

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