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BMW G650GS Trail Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The GS650GS is BMW’s entry-level adventure bike and successor to the old G650 and F650GS single. Because it’s essentially a tweaked version of those, development costs have been low, making it not just the cheapest BMW you can buy but one of the cheapest big bikes. It’s competent on trails, but with a low seat height and exactly 47bhp on tap, it’s also ideal as a first big bike for novices. From 2013, 47bhp is set to replace 33bhp as the power limit for newly qualified riders, so the G650GS should prove tempting to many. New bodywork similar to its bigger brother, the R1200GS, should add appeal. 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The G650GS’s single-cylinder lump pulls from virtually no rpm. Off-road, in a low gear, it can be barely turning faster than tick-over and a snap of the throttle will still pull you up hills. On road it offers a good, linear power curve with the slightest of fade in mid-range. It’s a tweaked version of the engine that powered the old G650 and the F650GS before that, and as such is a well-proven. At 47bhp, it makes 3bhp less than its predecessor. BMW says this is down to a bigger alternator needed for optional ABS and heated grips but it’s almost certainly no coincidence that 47bhp is to replace 33bhp as the limit for newly qualified riders from 2013.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Despite the tall suspension and ample ground clearance, the G650GS has a remarkably low seat-height, further positioning it as novice-friendly. There are three options: 750mm, 780mm or 820mm. To put that in perspective, a Kawasaki Ninja 250R’s seat height is 790mm. But don’t let the G650GS’ novice credentials put you off – it’s also a more than capable middle-weight adventure bike. Off-road the new Sachs suspension and 19-inch front wheel soak up rocks. On road it feels deceptively light and balanced, and almost as comfortable as its bigger brother, the R1200GS.   

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

You don’t get much as standard – there’s no fuel gauge, for example – but there’s plenty on offer if you don’t mind paying for it. Optional extras include heated grips, ABS, a power socket, centre stand and top box and panniers.

BMW G650GS (2011-current)

Detail Value
New price £6,195
Dealer used prices
£4,450 (2011) - £5,250 (2013)
Private used prices
£4,000 (2011) - £4,730 (2013)
  View full used price info
Engine size 652 cc
Power 47 bhp
Top speed 105 mph
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 3.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 3
Value rating is 5 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

Despite a few well-publicised quality control concerns, BMW has retained its reputation for reliability and there’s nothing to indicate the G650GS won’t live up to it. It’s worth noting that six-time Paris Dakar legend Simon Pavey used a single F650 engine – the predecessor to the G650GS’ - in two of the gruelling rallies. Production has switched from Austria’s Rotax to a factory in China to save cost, but BMW is adamant that quality and tolerances have not been compromised.

Value

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4

This is where the G650GS really comes into its own. At £4920, it’s not just the cheapest BMW you can buy – it’s one of the cheapest big bikes you can buy, undercutting even Suzuki’s budget SV650 at £4975. For less you can have a Honda CBR250R, Kawasaki Ninja 250R or KLX250, a Yamaha YBR250 and, unless you want a 125, not much else. None of those makes close to the GS650GS’s power – and try doing the Paris Dakar on one.

Insurance

Insurance group: n/a

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Model History

2011: Model introduced

Other Versions

Specifications

Top speed 105 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 47 bhp
Max torque 44 ft-lb
Weight 192 kg
Seat height 780 mm
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group of 17
Engine size 652 cc
Engine specification 4 valve, single-cylinder, liquid cooled, 5 gears
Frame Steel cradle
Front suspension adjustment 41mm telescopic forks/none
Rear suspension adjustment Monoshock/none
Front brakes 300mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Rear brake 240mm disc, 1-piston caliper
Front tyre size 190/90m R19
Rear tyre size 140/80 R17

See all BMW G650GS motorcycles for sale

BMW
G650GS

7281 miles

£4,694

BMW
G650GS

9500 miles

£4,495

BMW
G650GS

4006 miles

£4,595

BMW
G650GS

8137 miles

£4,295

BMW
G650GS

4250 miles

£4,499

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(8 reviews)

  • Warning

    tenekes

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This is a great bike, with a serious flaw - you are more likely than you think to face starting issues, even with a 2012 model. Just have a look at the relevant fora, the cases with the hot start problem are increasing every day. It seems that BMW keep selling a model, knowing it is flawed, hoping they will figure out the solution at some point and maybe issue a recall.

    15 March 2012

  • Nickmclean please contact

    bumpy48

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Hi Nick Hopefully you are reading this. If so can you contact me chris.valder 'at' tiscali.co.uk. I also have a problem with my camshaft and would like help. Thanks

    10 November 2011

  • Perfect for my needs

    Dr Mengle

    Average rating rating is 5

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    All day comfort, good to work on, reliable and best of all is 76 mpg

    22 July 2011

  • Camshafted

    nickmclean

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Seat is a bit hard but then I have come from a blackbird. mmmm comfy. Lots of equipment available - don't want any of it - find the abs lethal if there is a bump in the road while braking. I'd like falling off to be my own fault, please. Actually, I'd rather not fall off... Quality and reliability, I really want to say excellent but I can only say X. Had it six weeks, three weeks in the garage waiting for a new camshaft. Long story which I wrote in the comments section. Really good value, cheap bike, getting 68mpg for motorway riding. Got a loaner for the duration of repairs and I can now compare the G650GS with the old f650GS. G650 has lighter clutch but gearbox is clunkier and has no stop at top or bottom of gear change. Indicators - don't get me started - give me my g650 normal indicator switch back please! Same engines? G650 sounds much harsher and has more vibration. I definately prefer the old F650 to the G650 in engine terms. And the F650 has a camshaft that works. But, the engine is good in general, nice and frugal. Pulls nicely when you want it, not quite in the teritory of my old blackbird though :) All in all, a damn fine everyday bike for normal people who just want to get here and there without a lot of cost or hassle. Please MR BMW, bring me a camshaft before Christmas...

    20 June 2011

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    woaidegege

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Continue to surprise for cheapest shopping online. April surprise---New stock constantly!Come on, dress it! http://www.doestrade.com/ Cheapest Nike,Air Max, Jordan (1-24) shoes $31 UGG BOOT $50 Nike shox (R4, NZ, OZ, TL1, TL2, TL3) $31 T-shirts (polo, ed hardy, lacoste) $15 Handbag(LV,Chanel,Coach,DG,ED Hardy.etc.)44$ Jean (True Religion, ed hardy, coogi)$30 Sunglasses ( Oakey, coach, Gucci, Armaini)$16 jersey $ 29 new era cap $16 Bikini (Ed hardy, Polo,Gucci,LV,Christan Audigier,Affliction) $15 Belt(ED hardy /LV) $15 Accept Paypal Payment.Electronic bank transfer, credit card payment. Free Shipping Welcome to: http://www.doestrade.com/

    14 April 2011

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    Neil Bell

    NOTTINGHAM , UK

    Average rating rating is 1

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    test

    14 April 2011

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    gegedeai

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    http://www.doestrade.com/ Air Jordan (1-24) shoes $31 UGG BOOT $50 Nike shox (R4, NZ, OZ, TL1, TL2, TL3) $31 T-shirts (polo, ed hardy, lacoste) $15 Handbag(LV,Chanel,Coach,DG,ED Hardy.etc.)44$ Jean (True Religion, ed hardy, coogi)$30 Sunglasses ( Oakey, coach, Gucci, Armaini)$16 jersey $ 29 new era cap $16 Bikini (Ed hardy, Polo,Gucci,LV,Christan Audigier,Affliction) $15 Belt(ED hardy /LV) $15 Accept Paypal Payment.Electronic bank transfer, credit card payment. Free Shipping Welcome to: http://www.doestrade.com/

    12 April 2011

  • Average rating rating is 5

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    12 April 2011

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Andy949494

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Andy949494says

Okay but...

I have always thought this was the GS for me since I would quite like to try a little light green laning and can't imagine taking an R1200 anywhere off road. Borrowed one as a courtesy bike and quite impressed. It does vibrate a lot and its not very fast but the handling feels very good around town (better than the F800 that tends to feel more vague) and the riding position gives you a great view.  Build quality is quite poor (the plastic is very cheap in feel) and it feels built down to a price compared to the F800S but it has most of the bits you need (including heated grips on mine). It lives and dies on the engine which is a bit short on power and too vibey for long journeys although this might improves with more running in. Cruises well at 55-65 but whilst it can go eaily illegal it feels quite vague in wind (the front does go quite light). Overall a nice little bike but for on road use I would have to check out the NC700 too before I bought one...

21 May 2012 09:51

Dr Mengle

User's Badge

Dr Menglesays

Got one to work on

Bought one last month to replace an aging and rotting Aprillia Pegaso. I am an instructor, and use a smaller bike for CBT's and some lessons. So far the GS has been faultless, I picked it up from Bahnstormers in Bracknell, and have heated grips, ABS, center stand and bar gurds fitted. Good service from the dealer so far with no complaints at all. The bikes going well, and is returning 76 m.p.g. Comfortable to be on all day, and a good riding position to be able to survey all ahead. My other bike for more advanced lessons is an RT1200, so I do like my comforts.

 

 

22 July 2011 08:24

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