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BMW reinvents the F650 and brings in bigger-bore RS

Published: 29 July 2001

BMW is launching two new models, the F650CS and the R1150RS, as our scoop pictures show.

The F650 CS is the most road-focused of the F650s yet and will be sold alongside the slightly more trail-biased F650GS.

It comes with sticky tyres and some decent handling. Effectively, it’s BMW’s take on a practical, road-going supermoto.

There’s a new frame, suspension and styling – to make sure the bike is suited to its new role.

While the engine is the same as that in the GS – a fuel-injected, dohc, four-valve 652cc single built by Austrian firm Rotax – the chassis is now lighter, using aluminium castings for the swingarm pivot rather than the steel of the GS. The main backbone is still steel, and incorporates the oil tank – as on many off-road bikes.

There have been some serious changes to the suspension, particularly at the back. Where the GS has a simple steel box-section swingarm, the CS features an aluminium single-sided arm – keeping the bike in line with BMW’s other road-going twin and four-cylinder machines.

BMW has opted for a Harley-style belt-drive to reduce maintenance duties.

Strangely, the firm has decided to swop the GS’s " twin " underseat exhausts (one is a dummy – after all, the engine is a single) for a conventional pipe running up the left-hand side.

As well as reducing the ground clearance, the pipe serves to hide the swingarm – making it harder to change the wheel. The pipe itself is bulky thanks to the firm’s environmental conscience – it incorporates a catalytic converter to cut emissions.

Sadly, it also hides much of one of the bike’s best aspects – its wheel. While all previous F650s have used trailie-style wire-spoked rims, the CS features beautifully sculpted alloys. They not only improve the looks, but remove the need for innertubes.

Overall, along with the new chassis, the wheels help reduce the weight to 189kg (415lb) – including a tank of fuel. In comparison, the more stripped-down looking GS tips the scales at 193kg (424lb).

At the front, the suspension is dealt with by a pair of conventional forks rather than the Telelever system used on bigger BMWs. However, the forks are new compared to the current GS.

All the bodywork is also new, though it keeps the same basic layout as the GS. That means the fuel tank is under the seat rather than in front of the rider.

While the design means you get no under-seat storage space, it has given BMW the chance to introduce a new storage concept where you would expect to see the tank.

The CS has a range of accessories that simply clip to a pair of rails on top of the " tank " rather like the roof-rails on modern estate cars.

These options include soft or hard tank bags, and even a clip-on stereo incorporating a pair of speakers and a radio mounted on top of the tank. A key can be used to lock the accessories in place, so there’s no need to take them with you when you leave the bike.

At the time of going to press, nobody at BMW GB was willing to comment on the new F650 CS. However, we expect the bike to go on sale in the UK towards the end of the year, with a price tag of around £5000.

The spread of BMW’s 1130cc boxer engine across its R-series range has finally made it to the R1100RS model, which now becomes the R1150RS for 2002.

The styling has changed littled since the original R1100RS of 1993 but with an extra 45cc the power is raised 5bhp to 95bhp and torque is up 3ftlb to 73ftlb.

It also has five spoke alloys instead of the old three spoke ones and the brakes are uprated.

ABS is now available on this model as an extra-cost option. The standard bike is likely to cost around the same as the current one, £7995.

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