The BMW G 650 GS – Dual-Sport Perfection

Has the G 650 GS reached the end of the road? BMW isn't saying, but we're pretty sure the ride is over.
By Ben Jackson   April 13, 2017 1:19 pm UTC

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Limits. It’s a word often used by the weak and slow, to define the impossible. The G 650 GS from BMW breaks all limits, and certainly can’t accurately be described as weak or slow, even though it’s one of their smaller bikes. The incredible engineering behind the BMW G 650 GS allows each rider to push beyond limits — by offering a smooth ride regardless if you’re cruising on pavement, or adventuring off-road kicking gravel up behind you.

This dual-sport motorcycle, from its aesthetic design to intended functions, creates that sense of adventure and cool that reminds you of why you bought a bike in the first place. In this review of the G 650 GS from BMW we’ll look at all the reasons this motorcycle is worth your time.

The Body

You know those cool bikes that ninjas use in action movies, which are inevitably ruined due to their incompetence? The G 650 GS has that very cool “challenge accepted” style design, but since it was in the hands of a motorcycle enthusiast instead of an incompetent movie goon, we were able to avoid the cringe-worthy accidents and stunt-gone-wrong double editing. During a test drive over at a local BMW motorcycle dealer, we instead discovered a peppy, playful bike that was capable of handling city streets. Simply put – the G 650 was, and is, a blast to ride.

The best looking colorway comes in the form of a smooth, crisp black exterior coating, with lighter shades of gun metal grey throughout its design.For those who like their colors a bit different, you can see a dealer about alternate color schemes.

The body itself is complimented by the BMW logo, something that isn’t usually a notable factor. But here the company logo is a nice addition to the color palette that adds a bit of pride to the rider, so they can say “Yeah, this me.”

From end to end the bike is 85” inches long and 36” inches wide. From bottom to top the bike stands 55” inches high with standard seating that sits at a comfortable 31” inches off the ground. Road ready at 430 pounds we found this bike to be extremely light for its class. Even with a full tank (3.7 gallons and a 1 gallon reserve), the bike kept a light yet durable feel.

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The Function

The heart of this bike is a single cylinder, liquid-cooled engine with four valves per cylinder. Because of its liquid cooling, the heat coming off the engine is minimized and rarely felt outside of side breezes or close turns. The engine provides up to 6,500 RPMs at 50 horsepower, with an electronic fuel injection system. All of this pushes this bike to a max speed of 106 mph. Only a confused soul would buy this dual-sport for its speed. Clearly, it doesn’t fit that bill. We were however, able to get a little over 70 miles per gallon at a steady cruise with this bike, which is surprising given its power. Probably a good thing considering the fuel tank is limited.

The electrical system is powered by a 12 volt battery which works in conjunction with 400 watt generating alternator. The ride is smooth on the road because of the central spring suspension system. And with the single disc, anti-lock brake system we always felt like we were in control while riding. Because of its dual-sport inspiration, it makes sense that control and comfort would be such a primary focus in the design.

This bike shows qualities inspired by enduro sports bikes. For those who don’t know, enduro is off-road and cross-country bike racing. The technology of this bike functions how it should and left next to nothing negative for review.


The Price

Starting at only $7,995, this bike seemed well worth the money. With the amount of thought put into the engineering in terms of safety and comfort, this bike provided us with a strong sense of control. With the sick aesthetic design that gives off a “Let’s do this vibe” while still remaining compact enough to be humble this ride manages to do exactly what every ride should: become an extension of its owner.

This bike will look and work however you need it to and that’s no small feat. This bike removes the limits on power vs. size and provides its riders a more than adequate ride.

The BMW G 650 SERTÃO Edition

With an MSRP slightly above the normal G 650 in the mid $8,000’s range, the Sertão edition represents the quintessential BMW G 650 GS. Don’t get me wrong, the black-on-black 2016 model is a beautiful looking machine (and probably my favorite colorway if we’re being honest), but doesn’t quite convey “Look at my BMW” in the way this edition does. The classic colorway alone suggests this is the bike BMW envisioned, stamping their patented Aura white/Arroy blue featured graphic on the side.

Named after the Brazilian desert, it seems this limited edition featured a fuel-injected, displaced 652cc engine. For my money, there’s no better-looking enduro or dual-sport than the G 650 GS, especially when compared against a Kawasaki KLR – and the Sertão seems to fit the mold.

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The Bad News

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we must address the elephant in the room: Have we seen the last of the BMW G 650 GS? Sadly, it appears that might just be the case. While no official word yet from BMW, a quick new inventory check on dealer sites (and BMW’s website for that matter – check the Adventure model page) seems to imply that we’re not expecting a 2017-year model BMW G 650 GS. Why would they do this to us, just a few years after the model became available?

*Keep in mind this could be considered wild speculation on our part, but it seems all but confirmed.

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There’s a few theories that seem to make the most sense, regarding why this fun-loving bike has reached the end of the proverbial road (for now, we think). For starters, BMW already has quite a few adventure models outside of the G 650 GS:

Next, and maybe more importantly – is it possible that the G 650 GS just wasn’t meeting sales expectations? Certainly. If it was, you think BMW would have unceremoniously (and quietly) pulled the plug? Nope.

Of course, you could also make a convincing argument that if the 650 was too similar to the F 700 GS, it never deserved to exist in the first place. As a buyer, if I’m considering a dual-sport adventure bike under $10,000.. what reason would I have to buy a 650 when the 700 and 800 are right in that same price range, with more capability and power?

In either scenario, it seems that maybe the 650 GS was the odd man out, in an increasingly crowded dual-sport/adventure motorcycle lineup from BMW. Personally, having taken the 650 on a test ride from a BMW motorcycle dealer, I can say first-hand that the bike was a blast to ride. High suspension, impressive features, and most importantly to me – it simply just looked cool. For some though, I can see how maybe it crossed too far over the enduro line.

Is it possible that the G 650 was just an extremely fancy dirt bike with some additional fairings and a BMW logo? Maybe, but dammit it’s still a cool bike. Cool enough to justify buying a used one with low miles, if the price is right.

Farewell dear friend, you will be missed. (If in fact, you are gone).

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