Presentation of the BMW F 650 GS
From now on, BMW can boast that it only builds motorcycles with engine management and regulated catalytic converters: the new F 650 GS is the cleanest stew of all time. Even ABS-flavored on request.
Something that rises from the optical uniformity from CB to DR. That delights everyone who needs 50 HP or 34 HP with a touch of modern technology.
Duck bill, bold cockpit cladding, lively tank seat line – the new F 650 is visually clearly based on its big sister in the boxer series, and now also bears the popular GS abbreviation. The key technical data, however, remain the same; the chassis, weight and dimensions suggest that the F’s primary location should be sought beyond deep ruts and steep driveways.
Not everyone understood this concept when the F 650 made its debut in 1993: Back then, there were still strict ideas about enduro, and with its 19-inch front wheel, the white-and-blue motorcycle didn‘t want to fit into it any more than with its bulging tank. Which is why the people of Munich christened their child Funduro, but relentlessly sold it and ultimately sold well over 60,000 times to the man and – to a high percentage – the woman.
With the right tires, customers appreciated the precise handling, the versatility, the explosive four-valve single-cylinder manufactured by Bombardier-Rotax and the good quality. The latter was largely influenced by Aprilia, because the F 650 rolled off the assembly line there until December 1999. This European cooperation worked perfectly right up to the end, as BMW motorcycle boss Marco v. Maltzan recently emphasized in the MOTORRAD interview (see issue 3/2000), but nevertheless expired for serious reasons.
First, Aprilia is now one of the relevant European BMW competitors. Second, the circumstances in Noale prevented this BMW from being equipped with the typical home accessories right off the production line. First and foremost – no, not the heated grips, but also – above all the anti-lock braking system. Most of the Boxer customers order this beneficial brake manager, and it is even part of the series on the K models. Together with the supplier Bosch Braking System, BMW has now developed an inexpensive (980 mark surcharge), light system (2.1 kilograms). In contrast to BMW’s analog ABS II, the system regulates the F. 650 GS, like all other competitors, brake pressure digitally via solenoid valves. If a wheel sensor reports a risk of locking, a valve opens, the brake fluid escapes into a reservoir, and the brake pressure decreases. If the solenoid valves are closed, the pressure remains constant. If the initial delay level is to be reached again, another valve opens and a hydraulic pump builds up pressure.
The engineers assure you that during the control process just a clear pulsing in the levers – the front and rear brakes naturally work with separate circles – make the difference to the more comfortable ABS II of the larger models noticeable. As with the R 1150 GS, the ABS on the F 650 can also be switched off – always welcome on gravel. A flashing control lamp then reminds you to reactivate the system if necessary.
But ABS was not the only thing needed to become a full member of the BMW family. The second code word is called G-Kat, which is why the developers focused their work on the engine peripherals. Instead of two Mikuni carburettors, an electronic injection now supplies the four-valve engine, of course controlled by a digital engine management system, which takes significantly more influencing variables into account than a carburetor and therefore reacts better to different engine operating states. In practice, BMW even promises a small sensation: The F 650-Single – so far a real predator in the lower speed ranges – should accelerate smoothly from 2000 rpm. In addition, it always provides more than 50 Newton meters of torque from 3000 rpm. That can be seen.
The maximum output of 50 instead of the previous 48 hp at an unchanged 6500 rpm is also very presentable. The redesign of the cylinder head with optimized, straight duct routing and a compression increased from 9.7 to 11.5: 1 as well as the throttle valve arranged close to the inlet valves were certainly beneficial to this performance cure. In addition, the entire bundle should guarantee lower consumption.
The crank drive and gearbox of the Rotax engine, which is known to be robust, remained untouched, a more powerful water pump in conjunction with a smaller water jacket ensures more effective cooling, and a more powerful alternator meets the power requirements of the engine management and ABS. The exhaust system, made entirely of stainless steel, now ends in two silencers and adorns itself with a heated lambda probe and – placed directly in front of the left silencer – the three-way catalytic converter.
There was also a lot of cleaning up around the engine. The downdraft arrangement of the intake duct required an air filter enthroned above the cylinder head. Battery and central computer join in – and the tank found its center of gravity under the bench. At 17.3 liters, it holds just two tenths less than the old one, but – hurray, hurray – can be filled from the side. No more dismantling your tank bag.
The frame, still made of rectangular steel tubing, lost its distinctive kink and now runs in a straight line from the control head to the swing arm mount. The F still rolls on spoked wheels, unchanged at 19 inches at the front. The 170 and 165 millimeters of suspension travel also remained the same. A fork stabilizer above the front wheel is supposed to prevent the Showa fork from twisting, while the rebound stage and spring base can be changed on the rear central shock absorber as before. The latter, by the way, is very convenient hydraulically and from the right side of the motorcycle using the adjusting wheel.
Fittings and instruments that are adapted to the zeitgeist but appear functional complete the renovation work. A standard mounted aluminum engine guard and main stand as well as the long bench and a neat luggage rack reveal an unchanged basic character that is suitable for everyday use. One for – almost – everyone, this F 650 GS, and it is particularly good that the BMW dealers discovered their basic democratic streak and froze the price at just under 13,000 marks. Fine, because of Kat and all that.
Who likes, may? as I said ?? still order heated grips. Or a higher windshield. Or suitcases that can be mechanically enlarged from 20 to 30 liters. Or a top case. On-board computers, hand protectors, engine protection bars and sockets are also cheap. For real off-road freaks, however, there is a variant right from the start in the form of the special model Dakar, which adorns itself with 210 millimeters of spring travel and a 21 inch front wheel for a surcharge of 1000 marks. Well, now that the F has won the Dakar rally for the second time. What nobody would have thought of her in 1993.
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