April 1, 2011
Motorcycling is an expensive fun? Certainly not, if you ride a F 650 GS. We have moved the entry-level BMW for 50,000 kilometres in a long-term-test, have saved lots of money, had a lot of fun. By Christoph Driesen
Most of the experienced riders had a fatigue expression in the face, that it had to be a F 650 GS though BMW had a much more adult looking and more powerful F 800 GS in the program but the faces brightened quickly once they rode the first laps. Especially if the routes had many curves. BMW has put not only a fool proof beginners vehicle on the cast wheels but a fun bike par excellence, that was quickly clear. Thanks to a smaller 19-inch front wheel it is even more agile than the really not slow 800cc enduro and despite 14 hp less power everything else than a lame duck.
71 hp are enough to have fun
Yes, 71 hp are enough to have fun – for one or the other a new knowledge. The 798cc parallel twin has been neutered by drive camshafts and modified mapping but otherwise it is identical to the F 800 GS. If you are on a trip with both bikes, you won’t hardly recognize a difference. In the important midrange revs has the »little one« pretty much the same torque at the crankshaft and each twisting of the throttle is accompanied by a nice baritone sound. The acceleration from 50 to 120 km / h in nine seconds is only a little more than a second longer, the maximum speed is with 190 km / h just 14 km / h slower. Negligible in real life.
The average consumption has been 4.92 litres
Especially because the 650 is an absolute penny pincher at the gas pump. The F had 193 fill-ups during their test career, completed the distance of 50,000 km with an average consumption of 4.92 litres – exactly the same as the single-cylinder XT 660 R once had in the long term test. This consumption is undercut on long trips most significantly. It needed usually between four and 4.5 litres of fuel consumption on tour despite wide BMW panniers system and heavy load even in two-person operation. Even a consumption of 3.6 litres is to be found in the logbook. But the daily way between editorial office and home – usually at full speed on the autobahn – makes up a large part of the test distance. This heightens the average consumption but even then the F only rarely exceeds the six-litre mark.
The original chain set survived 30.000 kilometres
Amazing: the economy. It runs like a thread through the long term test. The four inspections at intervals of 10,000 kilometres cost just about 800 Euro. Concerning the spare parts the 650 needed only two sets of brake pads and a chain set – the original survived more than 30,000 kilometres. Above all are the tires, that spare the wallet. Only three times during the entire test distance attended the BMW the tire dealer. The last pair of tires have been put on just before the test completion. And the tires – whatever type – are not only real long-distance runner: With little more than 200 Euro for the pair, they also kept the costs down. Even extremely low: the costs per kilometre of eleven cents without loss of value could not even achieved by the XT with the same average consumption. The Yamaha managed only twelve cents per kilometre – even though a litre of fuel was at that time a full ten cents cheaper!
With a payload of 222 kg only a little has to be left at home
Who can save a lot, travels a lot and has with the 650 not the worst companion – presupposed, of course, the seat will be replaced. Everyone, who is not traveling with a large tank bag should also replace the tiny windscreen for a bigger one. We covered almost the entire test distance behind the wide Ergo-screen of Wunderlich, only the noise level has not made every rider happy. Otherwise: pack your things and go! With a payload of 222 kg only a little has to be left at home.
If you want to use the maximum payload, you have to be careful while riding. If it is fully loaded, it is difficult for the F to run in a straight line at a speed from about 160 km / h. The bike will start to oscillate like the driver’s manual warns you. The front disc, that always needs an emphatic hand to show its full effect, comes to the limit. This is not tragic because everyone who wants to ride continually 250 kilo of payload would hardly choose a F 650 GS and you don’t have to make compromises with »normal« load while travelling.
The same applies on reliability. As part of a recall at the 20,000-kilometres service the cooling water hose and the fuel level sensor were replaced and the GS was only two times non-scheduled in the garage. At 27 265 km the ignition could not be switched off by removing the key but only by disconnecting the battery. Fortunately, a defect at the front, which was quickly fixed by replacing the ignition lock.
Replacing the ignition lock was a guarantee case without causing costs
The second workshop visit was due at 43,430 km as the steering head bearing had to be replaced. It hooked in the centre position and caused oscillations at high speed. Like the defect ignition switch, it was a guarantee case without causing costs.
A further 50,000 kilometres should be no problem
12. October 2010, the day of truth. Can the small GS with now 53,150 km on the clock keep the very good record also in view of the engine parts or would there be secret defects? Hardly to be expected at full compression and no measurable oil consumption over the entire test range. In fact, the two-cylinder presented itself at the surveying and measurement in almost new condition.
The cylinders still show traces of honing, the pistons still have mounting dimension. All valves close tightly and show hardly any deposits, even on the clutch and transmission the test distance went over almost without a trace. It doesn’t matter where the measuring devices were put on, the respective parts are present themselves either in new condition or are still so far away from the wear limit, that a further 50,000 kilometres should be no problem. The only exception: the clutch springs have been worn down. Cheap items that are insignificant and could easily be replaced.
A few gaskets, a few hours of work and several days later the F 650 GS rolls again. Perhaps again 50,000 kilometres, who knows?
Filed under: MCR News