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2004 BMW F650GS

BMW F650 GS

An entry-level motorcycle priced at £4,995 on the road does not usually equate to the choice of experts. And it didn't… until BMW launched the original F650 GS. The simplicity of the machine appealed to everyone simplicity in design, maintenance, and riding. But simplicity cannot hide functionality. The F650 GS is not just an easy motorcycle for the inexperienced to ride; it is serious equipment for off-road experts. The GS is as comfortable on tarmac as it is on dirt and is used on BMW's award-winning Off-Road Skills courses.

A singular engine

In the past, many motorcycles with single-cylinder engines vibrated, leaked oil and were extremely unsophisticated. BMW changed all that and exploded many myths in the process. The original characteristic of high torque at low revs has been retained, enhanced and improved.

By adding fuel injection and BMW-developed digital engine management, the single-cylinder 4-stroke, 4-valve water-cooled engine outputs a vigorous 37 kW (50 bhp). Peak torque returns a no-less impressive figure of 60 Nm at 5,000 rpm. Aided by the engine's new cush-drive damper, the smoothness and response of the F650 GS puts an end to the myth of single-cylinder engines being basic and agricultural. The GS engine, with cylinder head design features adapted from the BMW M3, is refined, responsive and controllable under all riding conditions. Of course, a standard closed loop, three-way calalytic converter that comfortably exceeds international recommendations, ensures that the F650 GS is one of the most environment-friendly motorcycles on (or off) the road.

Going to town

The legendary engine, which also powers BMW's F650 CS street bike, is not the sole reason for the GS's smooth and relaxed ride through heavy traffic. There are other factors.

Snatch-free progress, even at the lowest possible revs, is a tribute to the reliable five-speed gearbox, chain-drive transmission and light-feel clutch. The 17.3 litre (3.8 gal) fuel tank has been relocated under the rider's seat and significantly lowers the F650 GS's centre of gravity. Combining this with a generous lock and tight turning circle improves balance, enhances manoeuvrability and makes the GS one of the easiest and most stress-free motorcycles for town and city riding.

By taking advantage of BMW's ergonomic options, the 780 mm seat height can be adjusted to provide a more personalised riding position. Lowering the seat by 30 mm is a no-cost factory option. Alternatively, it is possible to have the seat raised by 40 mm an optional extra to provide a more practical seating position for taller riders. No other motorcycle in its class offers the same degree of adaptability as the F650 GS.

Country miles

The similarity between the F650 GS and BMW's double Dakar-winning F650 RR is intentional. Many of the features and ideas from that mould-breaking machine helped to create and inspire the current GS model.

The off-road qualities of the F650 GS make it an extremely capable enduro machine. To cope with the specific stresses and rigours of off-road riding, BMW has developed a bridge-tube frame made of rectangular steel tubes with an additional crossbar in front of the cylinder head. By bolting the lower subframe to the mainframe, the engine is surrounded by steel for maximum protection.

Because the F650 GS is a multi-purpose machine, the suspension set-up has been strengthened and refined to cope with a diversity of surfaces. For example, the Showa front telescopic forks incorporate an extra stabiliser that improves smoothness on rough surfaces, especially when BMW's optional ABS is used. Progressive damping is achieved by connecting the central spring strut, using a lever system, to the swinging arm. The spring strut can be adjusted infinitely for preload and outward stroke damping by using an accessible adjusting wheel.

The completed package

The F650 GS is equipped with 19-inch and 17-inch spoked wheels at the front and rear respectively. Additional features include a 300mm (11.8in) single-disc front brake with twin-piston floating calipers and sintered metal brake pads, and a 240mm (9.4in) single-disc rear with a single-piston, floating caliper. BMW anti-lock braking (ABS) is also available as a £345 option. The fuel tank capacity is 17.3 litres (3.83 gallons) and the excellent power-to-weight ratio will reward GS riders with a touring range of around 200 miles. Once the F650 GS has been run-in, scheduled servicing is carried out at 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) intervals.

A choice of models - F650 GS Dakar

In addition to the standard F650 GS, a Dakar special, which retails at £5,395 on the road, employs a huge 210mm (front and rear) of suspension travel (40mm more than the standard F650 GS), an 870mm seat height, larger 21in front wheel, enduro tyres, extended front mud guard, hand protectors and a higher screen like the one seen on the Dakar-winning F650 RR. The choice of options and accessories available is the same as the F650 GS. The F650 GS Dakar comes in a distinctive desert blue/aura white colour combination.

F650 GS Touring

Customers can also specify an F650 GS Touring model, which retails at £5,395 on the road. In addition to the standard features, it comes with hand guards, pannier frames, panniers and inner bags, a top case holder, top case and inner bag, and a high windshield.

Customers can call BMW's information line: 0800 777 155 or visit www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk

  1. Engine Type - Water-cooled 1-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves,two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
  2. Bore x stroke - 100 mm x 83 mm
  3. Capacity - 652 ccm
  4. Rated output - 37 kW (50 bhp) at 6500 rpm (output reduction: 25 kW [34 bhp] at 6000 rpm) possible
  5. Max. torque - 60 Nm at 5000 rpm (output reduction: 51 Nm at 3750 rpm)
  6. Compression ratio - 11.5 : 1
  7. Carburetion/engine management - Electronic intake pipe injection/BMW engine management
  8. Emission control - Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter
  9. Maximum speed - Approx. 166 km/h (output reduction: Approx. 137 km/h)
  10. Fuel consumption over 100 km at steady 90 km/h - 3.4 l
  11. Fuel consumption over 100 km at steady 120 km/h: 5.0 l
  12. Fuel type - Unleaded regular, minimum octane rating 91 (RON)
  13. Generator - 400 W three-phase generator
  14. Battery - 12 V/12 Ah
  15. Clutch - Multi-disc oil-bath clutch, mechanically operated
  16. Gearbox - Constant mesh 5-speed transmission integrated in engine housing
  17. Drive - Endless O ring chain with cush damping in the rear wheel hub
  18. Frame - Bridge-type, tubular, steel, with bolted-on rear section.
  19. Front wheel location/suspension - Telescope fork with stabiliser, stanchion diameter 41 mm
  20. Rear wheel location/suspension - Box-section dual swing arm, steel; spring strut, spring preload and rebound damping hydraulically adjustable by means of hand wheel to continuously variable levels
  21. Travel, front/rear - 170 mm/165 mm
  22. Wheelbase (in normal position) - 1479 mm
  23. Caster (in normal position) - 113.3 mm
  24. Steering head angle (in normal position) - 60.8 °
  25. Wheels - Spoke wheels
  26. Rim, front - 2.50 x 19
  27. Rim, rear - 3.00 x 17
  28. Tyres, front - 100/90 S 19
  29. Tyres, rear - 130/80 S 17
  30. Brake, front - Single disc, 300 mm diameter, 2-piston floating caliper
  31. Brake, rear - Single disc, 240 mm diameter, 1-piston floating caliper
  32. ABS: Special equipment - BMW Motorrad ABS, can be deactivated
  33. Seat height, unladen - 780 mm (optional lower seat: 750 mm, optional higher seat: 820 mm)
  34. Unladen, road ready, fully fuelled 1) - 193.0 kg
  35. Dry weight2) - 175.4 kg
  36. Permitted total weight - 380.0 kg
  37. Payload (with standard equipment) - 187.0 kg
  38. Usable tank volume - 17.3 l
  39. Incl. reserve - Approx. 4.5 l
  40. Length - 2175 mm
  41. Height (not incl. mirrors) - 1265 mm
  42. Width (incl. mirrors) - 910 mm