Who'd have thought that BMW's latest G650GS would have the potential to astonish? Well, it astonished me – a few times! The occasions are directly related. The first time was when accelerating out of second gear corner – the front wheel is lifted high on the throttle, and the BMW G650GS drives forward with ease and balance. The second was on my scales, and the weight, fully fueled, oiled, and cooling-liquid, was 192kg, what is not bad for a motorcycle like this.
The BMW G650GS is powered by a water-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication, 652cc engine with a 100mm x 83mm bore x stroke. The by Rotax developed engine produces a claimed 48 horsepower at 6,500rpm with a maximum torque of 60Nm at 5,000rpm. The engine uses the BMW twin-spark technology and has the BMW engine management system.
Not a replacement for the popular BMW F650GS, the BMW G650GS is worthy of its letters, as it feel and rides like a real BMW motorcycle, although clearly has the DNA of its parent BMW machines, which continue alongside.
I had the task of getting my leg over, and running the BMW G650GS in. Not as easy as you might think – I'm not so tall, and with the rear shock preload set for my weight, I can just get tippy-toes on the ground. This entry BMW adventure motorcycle has a seat height of 780mm which can be adjusted to either 750mm or 820mm depending on your size. The BMW G650GS's ground clearance is superb. However, this high perch is splendid in downtown Bangkok, as you can see over the tallest cars, and with the engine being even smoother at low revs than the F650GS, the BMW G650GS makes a swift and nimble machine for buzzing around town. However, its focus is on adventure riding, and after a good amount of kilometers on the open road I have to say that the cheapest BMW motorcycle is a good capable motorcycle.
The BMW G650GS is equipped with a modern suspension, the 41mm telescopic front forks come with a fork stabilizer and rear box-section is a steel dual swing arm with a central spring strut operated by lever system, the spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable with an handwheel, rebound damping is also adjustable. The seat doesn't have the the 2,000 kilometer-in-a-day comfort of some of the other BMW GS motorcycles, but is a joy to move around on. Also in Thailand a motorcycle seat is easily adjusted...
In the limited time I rode the BMW G650GS, there was not condition that the suspension couldn't soak up, and never bottomed, yet absorbed small hard-edges bumps without deflection.
In fact, the single greatest attribute of the BMW G650GS is the confidence and feedback that the steering gives. Where other 650cc motorcycles sometimes feel a bit vague in difficult circumstances, the BMW G650GS revels. I tried it on all sort of roads from gravel to the regular tarmac at greater speeds, and in sand roads. Always, the front end felt stable and secure.
The brakes, of course, are excellent – not linked, not ABS'd (althugh BMW has the option), and not power assisted. Just a single finger on the front brake lever, and the rear brake pedal's at the correct height for control when standing.
Overall, I was more than impressed by the BMW G650GS, it's surely worth the 580,000 THB price tag.