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Driving report: BMW G 650 GS

The new single-cylinder enduro from BMW in the test

She had disappeared for three years. Now she is back. In a nice dress, with a crooked look and a new name – we warmly welcome the BMW G 650 GS.

Riva del Garda, Italy, December 4, 2010. The way the new one stands and waits on her long side stand at the edge of Lake Garda, one could actually believe the BMW scales. Allegedly she has G 650 GS slimmed down four kilograms compared to its predecessor. May be. Maybe it’s just an optical illusion: New, slimmer cladding, new beak, asymmetrical Karl Dall headlights. And: The chubby waist is now a little more delicate. The tank located in the rear has been reduced from 16.5 to 14 liters. This measure, so the Bavarian press poetry, was taken so that pillion legs had more space. In addition, the slim waist should improve standing, which is important for off-road activities. The success of the diet is calculated as follows: two and a half liters less fuel plus newly designed, lightweight cast wheels.

Driving report: BMW G 650 GS

The new single-cylinder enduro from BMW in the test


The smaller tank makes the waist narrower, the new cast wheels save two kilograms in weight and the Karl-Dall headlight, which is mandatory for BMW, is now finally going into series production on the 650.

Keyword Lake Garda. Anyone who reads the word will definitely feel warm in the heart, right? Puff cake. Snow-covered slopes, just two degrees plus and a bobble hat instead of sunscreen. You succumb to the temptation to turn on the two-stage heated grips. The cables for this are not routed through the handlebars invisibly for the pilot, as is usual with other BMWs, but are routed outside, as with inexpensive accessory heated grips. Sucks. They work. The 650 swings casually through the curves, but it doesn’t get really weird. Because the roads have only been free of snow for 48 hours and are finely divided.

One can be happy that the test machine is equipped with an ABS, which can be switched off for off-road gimmicks. On the slippery gravel, however, the rear ABS is often within the control range, while the anti-lock device works more sensitively at the front. Another small point of criticism is the front brake actuation, because you have to grip harder. Whereby we, dear technicians, would be back to the little people with their little hands and maybe even more delicate muscles. Despite this slight criticism, it should be underlined: The BMW delays foolproof.

We turn onto the trunk road. Short stop in front of the stop sign and accelerate. Those who cheer up the single are warned to change gears by a small red shift light. The gears click cleanly and precisely, the engine hangs very well on the gas. And it is powerful in all speed ranges: BMW specifies 48 hp at 6500 rpm as the maximum output. It should produce 60 Nm at 5000 tours – values ​​that are identical to those of its predecessor and are emotionally confirmed. The 650er can be driven lazily and does not hack too much at low speeds. The fact that the new one feels a bit livelier is due to a slightly shorter secondary translation. In no time, the clock shows 100 km / h. Now the single turns exactly 4000 rpm in the last gear. It’s a shame that it vibrates with fine frequencies. These vibrations annoy the hands and penetrate the seat cushion even to the very bottom. Clear view, nobody is watching, 150 km / h. The delicate disc creates turbulence in the helmet area, but it relieves the upper body of the wind pressure. According to BMW, a maximum of 170 km / h should be possible, but we don’t want to try that here.


The engine hangs well on the gas, the overall ratio is slightly shorter than that of the predecessor.

Confluence ahead, emergency braking! Although the brakes appear slightly blunt when the brakes are adaptively, they now impress applied with a decent delay. Sharp left bend and up onto a third-order country road. The chassis takes it easy, shields the driver from the roughest bumps, responds cleanly and remains stable. The Metzeler Tourance roll off harmoniously and provide good feedback. Due to the larger 140/80 rear wheel dimensions, the G 650 should now run more stable than its predecessor. It has not become any easier to handle, but it looks well balanced and can be easily steered using the wide handlebars.

It remains to be seen whether the market will accept the old new one. BMW is confident. A high-ranking employee even wanted to bet that the G 650 GS will be among the top ten in the German registration statistics next year. Well, that could well be regulated through attractive pricing. But unfortunately the Bavarians are silent about the price.

Video interview about the BMW G 650 GS:

Technical specifications


Slimmer, more modern, more pleasing: the small GS is optically part of the family.

Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication, injection Ø 43 mm, regulated catalytic converter, 400 W alternator, 12 V / 12 Ah battery , mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, O -Ring chain, secondary ratio 47:16.
Bore x stroke 100.0 x 83.0 mm
Displacement 652 cc
rated capacity 35.0 kW (48 hp) at 6500 rpm
Max. Torque 60 Nm at 5000 rpm

Landing gear:
Bridge frame made of steel, telescopic fork Ø 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound damping, front disc brake, Ø 300 mm, double-piston floating caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper, ABS.
Cast aluminum wheels 2.50 x 19; 3.50 x 17
110/80 R 19 tires; 140/80 R 17

Mass and weight:
Wheelbase 1477 mm, steering head angle 61.9 degrees, caster 113 mm, suspension travel f / r 170/165 mm, seat height 750–820 mm, weight with a full tank * 198 kg, tank capacity 14.0 liters.
Colors Orange / red, white
price no information



  • Sitting position relaxed and comfortable
  • ABS can be switched off for off-road use
  • Very little manual clutch force


  • Handbrake lever is not adjustable
  • Disc causes turbulence
  • Light output only mediocre


Dorit Mangold, 39, is very optimistic about the future of the BMW G 650 GS.

BMW Product Manager Dorit Mangold on the question: Why does the 650 suddenly appear again?

 ? Many manufacturers have taken single-cylinder models out of their range. Why does BMW start production again?
 ! Production was never completely stopped, for certain markets (including USA, Spain, Brazil) and as a government model, the single-cylinder F 650 GS has been continuously built under a new name (G 650 GS) since 2008. Because of this and because of the demand from other countries, there is a new G 650 GS.

 ? Don’t be afraid that the G 650 GS will compete with the F 650 GS?
 ! The two-cylinder has established itself on the market as the drive of choice for mid-range enduro bikes, as the registration figures have shown for years. An attractive, versatile single-cylinder model can also win additional customers with a corresponding price gap.

 ? How would you describe the potential buyers?
 ! Flexible and versatile in the use of your motorcycle: everyday life, vacation, sometimes a little off-road. Pragmatic in the purchase decision, but with a sense of quality and design. A little younger, some newcomers and re-entrants.

 ? The 650 engine is manufactured by Loncin in China. How can that be reconciled with the Made in Germany label??
 ! Production is 100 percent based on BMW quality standards. To ensure this, employees on site have followed the development of the manufacturing processes and quality management at Loncin and the sub-suppliers over several years. With the relocation of production, we have also implemented some improvements, for example to the clutch. The engine has been used in the G 650 GS since 2008 and is just as reliable as the earlier Rotax unit.

 ? Where are the other components produced?
 ! The motorcycle supply industry is still very European. BMW obtains important components and parts of the chassis, frame, electrics / electronics and body almost exclusively from the EU.

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