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Staff bikes: BMW G650GS - When different isn’t better

By Steve Farrell -

First rides & tests

 03 June 2011 10:12

In my last update on the G650GS I’m riding this year, I mentioned how BMWs are different to other bikes in the detail. I said they were not always better but never without effort.

Well, here’s an example : The indicator switch.
The G650GS does not feature BMW’s famously different three-switch arrangement, with a button on each bar to activate an indicator and an extra one on the left to cancel them. Instead the budget 650 single has a conventional indicator switch on the left bar.

But whereas on all other bikes I can remember, this is positioned above the horn button, BMW has swapped them round and put it underneath. It may have involved effort but it isn’t better.

The result is that, when a car on the motorway begins to move into my lane without warning, I press the indicator cancel switch. And when I want to turn, I hoot the horn.

When I finally get used to it, I have the same problems in reverse when I get on a Japanese bike.  With something as important as a horn, I really can’t see sense in ignoring a tried, tested and effective formula.

And while I’m having a moan, why does a single cylinder bike need two silencers? One of them is a dummy. The hole in the end isn’t really a hole. BMW says it provides space for the catalytic converter and gives the bike a ‘balanced look’. But it’s still weird.

Other than that, I’m still enjoying the bike very much.

BMW G650GS
Owned since: April 2011
Price: £6430 including ABS (£660), heated grips (£230), top box (£270) and centre stand (£120).
Mileage: 4060

G650GS11 BLOG11