BMW F650GS (2008 - 2013) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
Power: 71 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: Low (395 lbs / 179 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £4,800

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The BMW F650GS is a bit of an odd recipe. The firm's successor to the 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

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

With more basic, shorter-travel suspension than its F800GS brother and a smaller front wheel the F650 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

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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 vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Although undeniably less flashy than the F800GS, this F650 is also £1200 cheaper, is arguably the better road bike and, as such, represents excellent value for money. 

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Specs

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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 53 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £150
New price -
Used price £4,800
Insurance group 8 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 71 bhp
Max torque 55 ft-lb
Top speed 120 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 223 miles

Model 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.

Owners' reviews for the BMW F650GS (2008 - 2013)

14 owners have reviewed their BMW F650GS (2008 - 2013) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW F650GS (2008 - 2013)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Equipment: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
4 out of 5
09 October 2020 by AMS

Version: 800cc

Year: 2009

Annual servicing cost: £200

Not the most comfortable bike.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Seat not that comfortable. Brakes not bad but could be more reassuring.

Engine 4 out of 5

Very responsive

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Some parts are not of the best quality. Head bearings a real issue.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Basic service cost around £200, butwill jump rapidly if anything else needs doing. 24000 mile service v expensive.

Equipment 3 out of 5

You get what you pay for with bmw

5 out of 5 Great all rounder and solid!
28 July 2020 by Bob

Year: 2008

Annual servicing cost: £140

Fantastic to ride as its so easy and flickable with its low down weight and as i've added the taller screen its even more motorway friendly and i can get off after a long ride with very little to no fatigue due to the neutral riding position. But I did add a comfort seat as the stock seat is awful on a long ride.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Stops fine with the single disc its very adequate but the back break could do with more bite!

Engine 5 out of 5

Superb! Lovely lot of grunt! Smooth quiet and superb on the motorway cruising in 6th gear and the engine has a great sound!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far it has been fautless! I did replace the battery shortly after taking delivery but it is a used machine so that is a must for me.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I find it very cheap to run and useally get around 65 to 70mpg on a run. I only use it for pleasure riding which includes the odd weeks tour and it certainly suprises how frugal it can be.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Everything you need including a gear indicator!

Buying experience: From a bmw specialist.

5 out of 5 Superb commuter and well madde
23 May 2020 by IANTO

Year: 2009

Annual servicing cost: £100

Excellent reliable and well made bike 3 years of work commuting all seasons. Still looks like new just the odd bolt head with corrosion and abs sensor ring. Great in traffic lively riding position. Replaced original seat with Sargent seat original very uncomfortable after 30 miles.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Great riding position made better with risers. Brakes ok. Original seat is numbingly low on padding. Sergeant seat is better.

Engine 4 out of 5

Never understand why the people bigness wasn’t mapped the same as F800gs. Same engine and f650gs is the better road bike

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Odd engine bolt corroded slightly and abs rotor. Handling surprising given the bikes age and winter commuting.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I service it

Equipment 4 out of 5

Mine came with heated grips (essential) Also came with higher screen.

Buying experience: Purchased from BMW dealer good experience.

5 out of 5 This bike is under estimated, massively.
01 May 2020 by Sweeters

Year: 2009

Annual servicing cost: £100

Outstanding mpg for its size, 75mpg+ at it's best, and around 40mpg giving it some stick, i love everything about the bike But the seat is a real let down (uncomfortable) but I'm going to change that.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Traffic what traffic, and its ideal for filtering, it's very agile, even when it fully loaded, with (panniers) quick enough for any situation, corners nice, ether knee down, or mx style, depending on the corner.

Engine 5 out of 5

BMW havent over done the out put, in the same instance they havent under done it, its also a smooth powere delivery, I couldn't complain at all, its everything I wanted.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Extremely well engineered, the only thing that failed on it was the heat exchanger, and that was because of winter use, and the salt the council lays down, I used to use it in the winter, not any more!

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Oil and filter that's just about it, I have fitted a k&n air filter, that's better than the paper rubbish.

Equipment 5 out of 5

An option I went for was the abs, and heated grips, both well worth it.

Buying experience: I was lucky, I bought it new from a main dealership when the interest rates were in our favour, £6,300.00 all in, (bargin)

5 out of 5 A great second hand all rounder for relaxed riders
01 May 2020 by Aurigacap

Version: 800cc twin

Year: 2010

Annual servicing cost: £200

Since 2013, over 20k miles, including UK - Italy return annually. Pulls in 4th from 1500rpm and 70mph low vibe cruising, with a margin for brisk overtaking. All day comfort, takes rubbish roads in its stride, plus viceless touring handling and decent ABS brakes. Utterly reliable and just light/low enough for oldies like me. If only it had shaft drive, but excellent vfm for £4000 from careful first owner.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Best at long haul, on imperfect B roads, at around 60mph, one up with a bit of luggage. 10 hours a day in comfort with essential BMW Comfort seat. Commuting fine, aided by lowish riding position, good balance and engine that pulls from low revs. Stable on motorways even overtaking HGVs at 80mph abroad . Brakes OK, though need firm pull, loaded at speed. ABS a godsend in the wet. Copes well with gravel/broken roads .

Engine 5 out of 5

Strong, linear power delivery from low revs perfect for lazy motorcyclists. Despite high gearing for relaxed, reasonably vibe free cruising,no need to drop a gear to overtake fast between 2000-6000rpm, or potter in town. Disadvantage is that first is a bit high for climbing steep mountain passes without a little clutch.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Looks as good today as when bought. No rattles, rust, flaking. Most miles in S Europe and garaged, without much urban grind, helps. Weeping left side rocker box gasket (commonplace) the only minor failure.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

3 sets of tyres, 1 chain and set of wheel bearings, and recent battery in 10 years/ 27,000 miles. Excellently serviced by BMW independent, Mark Holden, Bromley. Fuel consumption 55+ mpg and no oil between services.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Came with hand guards, heated grips - essential in cold weather - excellent Vario top box, big enough for helmet when expanded. BMW Comfort seat vital for touring. Adjustable Madstad fairing removes buffeting and reduces wind roar. Ricor front fork inserts reduce dive and eradicate pattering. Dunlop Trailsmart tyres deliver in the wet, when it matters, more than Bridgestone originals

4 out of 5 Great commuter bike great riding position
04 April 2020 by Ianto

Year: 2009

Great commuter still looks quite new great build quality a little underpowered

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Seat is too hard

Engine 4 out of 5

Could do with moe hp not sure why retuned as this is more of a roadbike than f800gs

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Heated grips come with the bike brilliant

Buying experience: Dealer thunder rd Bridgend very good

5 out of 5 You would be pleasantly surprised.
04 July 2018 by Paul

Year: 2010

Not necessarily a bike that would be on posters adorning young boys bedrooms, but its looks have grown on me over the 12 months I have owned mine. But, it is utterly brilliant at everything it does. Comfortable (if you replace the standard seat with BMW comfort seat), handles fantastically, 65+mpg with ease, impeccable low speed manners, will boon around with the best of them if you want it to, excellent built quality. I have been riding for over 40 years, I've had sports bikes, retros, tourers etc, this is by far the most complete package of a bike I have ever owned, can't ever see me wanting anything else except perhaps the F700GS, I tried the new F750GS & didn't like it. I use mine for commuting all year round & rides around the dales on my days off, like I said, it's brilliant at everything.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Excellent service from Steve & Simon at Allan Jefferies, Shipley.

5 out of 5 No oil painting, but brilliant at everything.
03 July 2018 by Paul

Year: 2010

Annual servicing cost: £180

The F650GS is my second BMW, I traded in an R1200RT for it 12 months ago, as 80% of my riding is commuting into the centre of Leeds, the RT was just too cumbersome. From the first minute of the test ride on the F650 I was hooked. The 800cc twin from Rotax is a delight, smooth, quiet & docile when ridden gently, but can also behave like a bit of a holligan when pushed to its limits. It's very comfortable if you disregard the standard seat & add the BMW comfort seat, I've also put 20mm handlebar risers on mine which helps due to the comfort seat being a little taller than the standard one, I have also added a taller screen which is infinitely better than the original. I'm 5'9 & can just get my feet flat on the ground, something I couldn't do with the RT even with the optional lowered seat fitted. The handling is sublime for an 'adventure' bike with semi off-road tyres, in fact it's sublime full stop. I've owned older CBR600's, Sprint ST's etc, & this this out handles all of them. I average 66mpg while commuting & regularly see 72+ on longer runs. Build quality seems excellent, I ride mine all year round & although it gets washed regularly, it seems to be made of very good quality materials. If you haven't tried an F650 you really should, you would be surprised.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Perfect for commuting & honing

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Never had a issue.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Extremely economical

Equipment 5 out of 5

Mine came with tyre pressure monitors, heated grips, computer etc.

Buying experience: Bought from Allan Jefferies, Shipley, cannot recommend them enough. Salesman Steve & manager Simon are genuine good guys.

4 out of 5 Teutonically efficient transport for the body, if not the soul.
10 July 2015 by Rogerborg

Year: 2012

This is an efficient bike that does pretty much everything very well. It's low but roomy, frugal, easy to ride, has a very flexible engine that makes it a great commuter or tourer and it can even be thrown around a bit. It has no foibles, no weaknesses, no flaws. However, it's as fun as a staring competition with a nun. I can't find anything to hate about it, but I can't love it either. It's the ultimate in German efficiency. You'll be glad that you have it, just not ecstatic.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

This is an astonishingly easy bike to ride. It's not light, but all the weight is low down so it feels remarkably stable. I sat on it and immediately pulled away into a feet up U-turn, no trouble at all. You can hustle it through turns, although you need to remember that it's not a featherweight. Comfort is excellent for me. Some owners bawww about the seats, I find mine all day comfortable, helped by the totally neutral riding position. Glasgow to South Wales in a day was no trouble at all, no aches or twinges anywhere. I felt like I could have jumped back on and done it again. Yes, there's "only" one front rotor, but unless you're doing triple figures then hauling and stamping hard on the brakes will almost immediately trigger the ABS, showing that the tyres are the limiting factor. On that, the stock Battle Wings are mince. Fine in a straight line or dry bends, but hit a typical wet, diesel soaked roundabout and you'll be hanging off to try and keep the bike as upright as possible, or experiencing arse-clenching wobbles. They're also useless off-road, the "chunky" pattern being for appearance only. I've replaced the Battle Wings like-for-like once, but I won't be doing so again. The "650" is a lowered version of the F800GS and mine is (I believe) the lowered version of the 650. It really is astonishingly low: with 28" inside legs I can comfortably flat foot it both sides. This is hugely confidence inspiring and it doesn't seem to suffer from it - I've never managed to ground anything out. If you think you can't ride a "big" bike, try one of these, it will surprise you.

Engine 4 out of 5

In its detuned form, the engine will pull from 2000 rpm all the way up to the 10K (or thereabouts) limiter. You can ride it like a car, short shifting and riding the easy torque, or hammer lumps out of it and it'll happily take either. Fuelling is superb, with no hunting, surging or flat sports: it really is a great unit. I don't get the vibes that other owners report, even though I've replaced my stock bars with narrower, lighter ones for filtering fun. The one issue is that in stock form, the gearing on the "650" variant is too long, with an annoying gap between 1st and 2nd. Fitting an F800GS front sprocket (one tooth fewer) for a few pounds sorts it all out and makes the bike feel much livelier, at the cost of a few mpg if you do a lot of 6th gear motorway runs.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Very little to fault it on. The coating on the underside of the engine is a weak point, and may need a dab of Hammerite if you ride through winter. Other than that, nothing has so much as dulled and it just keep going and going and going. This is one of the very few modern BMWs that hasn't had any recalls or any common problems. Some owners report issues with headstock bearings - mine have been fine.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Forget the MCN mpg figures, that's them ragging it in 2nd gear. Real world, you'll get 65mpg or more. Even BMW servicing is surprisingly affordable, with a 'major' service running to not much over £200 (you can get rinsed for twice that at Suzuki). Not that I'd trust the local Motorrad to change the month on a calendar, let alone valve shims. This is an easy enough bike to home service - even the ABS brakes can be bled without any of BMW's notorious servo nonsense. It sips fuel and the consumables - tyres, chain and sprockets, oil, filters - nothing really runs expensive. No £250 belts, no shaft drives that cost nothing until they cost some unlucky owner thousands, it's just a decent, honest, straightforward bike.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Mine came with the "computer" (don't they all?) with - almost - everything you'd want to know. Gear, fuel, two trip meters, average/instant mpg readouts, temperature. The only thing lacking is a range counter, although there's a pointless "miles since the fuel light came on" number. The two-temperature heated grips work OK, although the £9 Chinese specials on my Enfield heat up faster. There's a fairly high draw power socket built in, although it's some Euro-trash rather than the standard fag-lighter socket that Baby Jesus would have used. Adaptors are readily and cheaply available though. At the rear there are two decent grab handles which also form part of the four solid mounting points for a top box, built right into the bike. Why don't all bikes do this? I have a huge 2-helmet top box mounted there, solid as a rock, with the weight over rather than behind the axle. None of your silly "bag of feathers" weight limits, I've had upwards of 25kg of locks and chains and beers in there without any drama. I have what I think is an F800GS screen which does a fair job of wind deflection. Although there's no fairing, the shape of the bike does deflect a little of the weather away from your knees and body. I've commuted, toured and (sort of) scratched on this bike and never found it wanting for features.

Buying experience: I bought from a BMW dealer. The buying experience was excellent. The bike was ex-BMW fleet, a test ride was no problem at all, the information was to hand and the price was right: £5K at 14 months old and 9000 miles, with the right extras. They even threw in a year's VED and a new rear tyre that I hadn't haggled for, all smiles and handshakes and nothing was too much trouble. I've never experienced anything like it at any other bike dealer. And then I rode it home and had a look at it. One fork seal was pissing oil. It was fine when I examined it before and after the test ride. So either it popped on the 3 mile trip home, or some spanner monkey had been getting his wheelies in on my deposit-paid bike. I know what my money's on. Asking around, it transpired that dealer has a reputation for never having a bike in that didn't "need" extra work doing to it, or at least billing for. Needless to say, they'll never see another penny of my hard-earned.

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 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...

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 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 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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5 Overpriced and has negatives
16 August 2009 by

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 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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
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