Forget what the logo on the side of the F650GS reads, because this bike is not what it seems. First, it’s not a 650—it’s actually powered by a 798cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-Twin engine just like its sibling, the F800GS. Second, giving it the rough-n-tough moniker of the GS series is like calling yourself a cowboy because as a kid you once rode a horse at the county fair.
According to BMW USA’s Pieter de Waal, the reason for the name/displacement discrepancy is that BMW wanted customers to perceive the 650 as a non-intimidating, entry-level machine, same as they did with the old 650cc Single F series. Huh? Do the guys in Munich really think consumers are that clueless?Beyond the ultra-confusing name is the fact that the $8255 F650GS appears to be one of the nicest machines available for motorcycling neophytes, female riders and inseam-challenged individuals who will find the low, 32.3-inch seat height appealing. (An optional Low suspension setup takes things down even farther, to 30.1 inches.)
With estimated fuel economy as high as 54 mpg and a 4.2-gallon tank, the “650″ should provide long miles between fill-ups. Optional features like ABS, Tire Pressure Control (TPC), expanded-function on-board computer, centerstand, heated grips and BMW’s GPS receiver mean that this bike can be equipped with accouterments not normally associated with entry-level motorcycles.
Despite the family name, this GS will find itself much more comfy on asphalt with its cast aluminum wheels and road-oriented tire package, but it should still offer any rider miles of adventure in comfort and style. Just don’t expect to convince any insurance company that your 800 is a 650; like consumers, they won’t be fooled very long by BMW’s goofy marketing-speak.