Staff bikes: BMW G650GS - Bye-bye Beemer

By Steve Farrell -

First rides & tests

 13 October 2011 16:34

Like many motorcyclists I'm sure, every day I'm watched through my window by my little lad as I get on my bike and ride off to work. So I'm not the only one who will be a little sad that BMW has asked for the G650GS back early.

Readers of my recent updates may remember me complaining about the early beginnings of frame corrosion. These events may not be unconnected.

A tiny crescent of reddening steel on a pillion footrest hanger was what prompted my initial concern. When it appeared, after just two months' use during the driest spring in 20 years, I was worried worse was to come. I'm pleased to say worse hasn't come, so perhaps it's an isolated event.

As a parting shot I'll list here what else has worried and pleased me in 9000 miles of riding. Hopefully, it will best help prospective buyers decide whether the bike is for them.

What's pleased me is this: at £5150 on-the-road, it's one of the cheapest bikes available over 250cc, with only Suzuki's SV650 as competition. It's great fun, with a chassis that asks to be thrown around and punchy single-cylinder engine that asks to be thrashed.

It's cheap to run, easily managing 60mpg and 10,000 miles from a rear tyre. It's a competent trail bike. Overall, the build quality seems good, too.

And here's what doesn't please me: The ABS, a £660 option, can be activated by ripples in the road. After about 9000 miles, the gearbox has begun to feel clunky between first and second and make unsanctioned detours into neutral.

The big-single isn't ideal for 80mph motorway cruising, either. In September, the (admittedly very different and non-ABS) SV650 was on special offer at £4325. 

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