Touratech BMW F 650 Rallye driving report
Hurray, she’s still alive
BMW has withdrawn from rallying. Nevertheless, five of the formerly white and blue will compete in the upcoming Dakar ?? set up and used by the long-distance travel specialist Touratech.
Bap, bap, bap, the single cylinder pounds infernally loud. The neighbors in Niedereschach near Villingen-Schwenningen are turning their heads.
And now the bright yellow successor is chugging towards the exit of the town. But the first impression is wrong. The Touratech F 650 only has the basic concept in common with the desert single, which rally specialist Richard Schalber put on the wheels for BMW at a gigantic effort. The hardware for the project, which was developed entirely without backing from Munich, comes from Touratech. Or from series. Like the bridge frame of the standard F 650 GS, on which only the weld seams have been carefully retraced. Or the engine. Enlarged to almost 700 cm³ displacement and brought to 70 hp by the renowned single tuner Pami, the Rotax single cylinder remains otherwise untouched. Even the injection, which had to give way to carburettors in Schalber’s time, was retained.
Perhaps that’s why the F 650 chugs so cultivated along the gravel dirt road we have meanwhile turned. Vibrations? Minimal. Open the gas at idle speed? No swallowing, no jerking. However, good manners do not hide the true character. Just the seating position. Less than a meter above the ground, the driver thunders, wedged into a fuel dump that not only turns the Touratech BMW into a monstrous desert ship, but also all of the rally machines.
The two front tanks hold eleven liters each, and the two tanks in the rear hold a total of 35 liters. Another twelve liters in the frame triangle under the seat increase the supply to a total of 51 liters. Currently only 20 liters slosh in the containers. Still enough to work up a sweat with the recurring 90-degree branches. Braking, applying the gas very sensitively and letting the rear wheel drift around the corner, desert foxes know about the recipe for success in driving. This is the only way it works with BMW. It remains tricky anyway, because the far outside front tanks make the single wobbly.
Not so tragic, in the desert it usually goes straight ahead anyway. And there you can chauffeur it comfortably. Although Touratech is using the new 48-inch fork from White Power ?? Unfortunately, the Dutch supplier is owned by the main rally competitor KTM ?? has to do without and can only use the 43-millimeter version, the forehand springs acceptably. At the rear, the shock absorber from the same company is supported via a standard deflector. The tuning of the shock absorber, which incidentally presses against a swing arm manufactured by Touratech and three centimeters longer than the standard part, tends towards comfort.
Good for the dirt road, but in all likelihood too soft for the tough ride through scree fields. Harder springs for the final tests in southern France are already on the shelves. The engine tuning will certainly remain unchanged. The Rotax makes up for the missing five HP on the 75 HP peak power of the 660 KTM unit with powerful pressure in the lower speeds.
KSerious enough, in any case, with the quintet competing for Touratech with the Frenchmen Frédéric Moncassin, Francois Flick, Didier Py, Alain Perez and the MOTORRAD-ACTION-TEAM employee Michael Griep, perhaps, to spice up the KTM brand rally cup in early January.
Technical data – Touratech BMW F 650 Rallye
Engine: water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, two overhead camshafts, four valves, bore x stroke 102 x 83 mm, displacement 698 cm³, injection, output 51 kW (70 hp) at 6900 rpm, electric starter, five-speed gearbox Chassis: bridge frame made of steel Rectangular tubes with bolted down beams, bolted frame rear made of rectangular steel, upside-down fork from White Power, sliding tube diameter 43 mm, central spring strut operated via deflection from White Power, spring travel front / rear 280/280 mm, Brembo disc brakes with floating double-piston caliper, 0 front 300 mm, 0 rear 220 mm. Other: stainless steel manifold with titanium silencer, Touratech fork bridges, oil tank capacity 3 liters, seat height 970 mm, wheelbase 1545 mm, weight without petrol 175 kg, price around 50,000 marks.
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