BMW F650GS (2008-on) Review

Published: 14 August 2009

"Successor to long-lived and popular entry-level F650 single"

BMW F650GS

"Successor to long-lived and popular entry-level F650 single"

  • At a glance
  • 798cc  -  71 bhp
  • 53 mpg  -  223 miles range
  • Medium seat height (820mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • £6,650

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

BMW’s successor to long-lived and popular entry-level F650 single is, confusingly, being based on the F800GS, neither a single (it’s a parallel twin) or a 650 (it’s 798cc) – so perhaps not surprisingly it’s miles better than the old one. Just as importantly, though, with a lowered seat, softened delivery and more, it’s every bit as novice or shortie-friendly and still good value, too.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

With more basic, shorter-travel suspension than its F800GS brother and a smaller front wheel the F650GS has both a low, novice-friendly seat height (and an even lower 765mm low seat kit is available as an extra) plus more predictable and secure road-orientated handling. From the saddle, the biggest surprise was how reminiscent of the old F650 the new F650GS is. The view, posture, ergonomics and sheer simplicity it is to ride all remind very much of the old single, as does the idiot-proof flatness of the power delivery.

Engine 4 out of 5

BMW F650GS’s F800 series-derived twin is a sweetie. Softer cams trade off peak power for a more gentle and progressive power delivery (and a learner-friendly 34bhp version is also available at no extra cost). The result is peak power is down from 85bhp to a still more-than-useful 71bhp and with a healthy wodge of more low-down grunt. It’s both flexible and novice-friendly, yet with top end to be truly versatile.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Although BMW quality in recent years has occasionally come under fire, it’s generally still far better than most and there have so far been no specific problems reported with the F650GS either.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

Although undeniably less flashy than the F800GS, the F650GS is also £1200 cheaper, is arguably the better road bike and, as such, represents excellent value for money. Find a BMW F650GS for sale.

Insurance group: 8 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

To keep the F650GS’s price (and weight) down it has a more basic spec than its F800GS big brother. So there are alloys in place of wires, steel not alloy handlebars, no bash plate and less bodywork including a lower screen, not to mention the less sophisticated suspension. That said, it’s go everything it needs, its typical BMW quality, bang up to date and a vast range of extras is available. Compare and buy parts for the F650GS in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their BMW F650GS (2008-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

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Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.8 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Crackin' bike!

19 October 2011 by BlindLemonAde

I've had mine for two years, nothing has gone wrong, and even the servicing is cheap! I get 200 miles from a tankful, and it'll cope with two-up touring (plus Stahlkoffer panniers) no problem. Part of the fun is adding accessories - I've tried to... Read more make mine crash-resistant with engine bars, pannier frame and handguards, plus a taller screen and a modified seat - yes, the original is a bit firm(!). If you're short of cash for a bigger BMW, and short of leg, this'un will do the job. Those who have ridden both, also say the 650 is sweeter than the 800...

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good Bike

22 April 2010 by jeffers

This is a surprisingly good bike. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it is to ride. It won't win any drag races, but it's got plenty of get up and go up to about 80mph. It's light, easy to handle and would make a great commuter or beginner's... Read more bike. Having just covered 25 miles to work (I have one as a courtesy bike), I wouldn't fancy going much further, as my rear end was already starting to get numb. This may be a personal thing, as I find forward biased bikes more comfortable, generally.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

I love this bike

18 August 2009 by Malcolmlk

Had the bike about 6 months and I'm doing about 400 miles a month on it. Some people have commented on the saddle. Well I did 1200 miles over three days on it and it was fine. I tried an airhawk inflatable seat when I got the bike but found I didn't... Read more need it. Either the seat has moulded to my backside or possibly the other way around! The guy I bought the bike off had ridden it from London to Turkey and back. Handling is good. I am doing my Advanced Motorcycle training at the moment and I was able to follow my instructor through some very twisty bends at high speed, despite having knobbly TKC80 tyres fitted. My instructor said it was 'exceptional'. There have been one or two issues with the accuracy of fuel guages on this model but BMW dealers will sort this out for free if you have a problem. Similarly there was a recall on one of the radiator hoses, so if your buying, check that it has been replaced. BMW will do it for free. Otherwise I have added a new Wunderlich Ergo tall screen, Adenture Spec crash bars and a metal bash plate for off roading. The mileage is up to 15,000 now and love this bike!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Re: Overpiced and has negatives

16 August 2009 by ariesfour

It have to disagree with a few of "Anonymous's" points, I have had my 2008 650GS for just under 12 months now and it is a great bike. I ride up to Edinburgh from London regularly and the seat is quite comfortable for 7hours of straight riding, the... Read more engine is more than capable for cruising at 70-80mph whilst returning over 60mpg. That's over 200miles from a 16 litre tank! As for the Indicators, well this is an age old topic, but I for one think BMW's indicator setup is much better than that on other bikes. (Left button for Left, Right button for Right, what's so hard about that?) Yes it takes a little getting used too but after a few miles it becomes second nature to use. It's such a shame to see BMW cave and remove it from their new K-series range. Yes the fuel gauge costs extra, but it's only £100 and that includes a gear indicator and all manner of other digital info. It is expensive to fully pimp the bike out yes, but for me even the standard bike had a higher quality feel to it, even down to the handle-bar rubber and plastics used on the switches. All in all a fantastic commuter/mini touring bike for newer riders and to keep for a good while after. A solid 4 stars.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5

Overpriced and has negatives

16 August 2009 by Anonymous

The new 650GS is indeed easy to ride and it has plenty of oomph. Clever design makes it look smaller and lighter than it actually is. It does have braided brake cables, which is nice, but only one brake rotor on the front where all the competitors in... Read more that power class have two. I am not saying this is a bad bike,9000 but it is overpriced and has some negatives. The three biggest: 1) The separated left and right turn signal controls are a safety hazard. If you've ridden almost any other bike, you will be confused hunting for the correct switch and for the cancel button. 2) Considering most people will use this as an on-road bike, the seat is too narrow and uncomfortable for anything but short trips. 3) The worst thing about this bike is that too many things are costly extras. You want a gas gauge instead of a warning light (at this price! even the cheapest stepthroughs and scooters have gas gauges)? You have to buy the dash computer. You want a decently tall windscreen instead of that stock joke piece of plastic? Fork over more dough. Center stand? skid plate? Pay up. What starts out as a slightly overpriced bike for what you get at 7900€ quickly ends up as a 9000-plus € bike. And then there's the price of BMW service.

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued -
New price £6,650
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 8 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 71 bhp
Max torque 55 ft-lb
Top speed 120 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 53 mpg
Tank range 223 miles
Specification
Engine size 798cc
Engine type 8v parallel twin, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular steel frame
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 179kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload only
Front brake 300mm disc
Rear brake Disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 19
Rear tyre size 140/80 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2008: Model launched replacing old single-cylinder F650GS.

Other versions

BMW F800GS - An adventure bike version featuring the same engine, but with 85bhp.

Photo Gallery

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