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Double top test: BMW F 650 GS and BMW G 650 Xcountry


With almost the same engine, but very different philosophy, BMW is now equipping two single-cylinder series. In the top test, the tried and tested F 650 GS touring steamer operates alongside the recently launched light cruiser G 650 Xcountry.

Bridge arches made of ocher-colored sandstone swing wide over the gently flowing Gardon. The river’s water is crystal clear. Picnic break in Provence. The single cylinders fall silent on a rocky bay. Wherever it is still allowed, the F 650 GS and Xcountry master leisurely, trial-like enduro hiking just fine. Thanks to the easy-to-swallow spring elements, the two BMW ballast inlays are casual and light.

With which the similarities are already exhausted and blatant differences between two very different sisters come to light. The F 650 GS, which has been tried and tested since 2000, weighs 202 kilograms, including ABS, is a little chubby. Equipped with it, the new one brings G 650 Xcountry weighs just 167 kilograms. And it offers a lush 240 and 210 millimeters of suspension travel. The design is a clear signal. The Bavarians are sailing on a new course: wiry and crisp, narrow and high, airy and light. Ahoy!

This is not where successors and predecessors meet, but two complementary philosophies from the same company. At least almost. Because the travel enduro F 650 GS and its sister ship, the F 650 GS Dakar, which is more suitable for off-road use, are being built in Berlin, around 93,000 times so far. In contrast, the new G-series comes from Italy, from Aprilia, as it did in 1995
until 1999 the original version of the F 650 fitted with carburettors. Nowadays there is injection, double ignition and G-Kat. The Austrian Rotax single fired five BMWs. Including three new ones: the hard enduro G 650 Xchallenge, the Supermoto G 650 Xmoto and the multi-talent G 650 Xcountry, see MOTORRAD 6/2007.

Be careful, they are all not called "X" but "Cross". Cross like the outward appearance. The "cross-country" ?? translated all over the country ?? should prove itself in the field as well as on country roads. Well, France is big, so cast off! Uff, not so easy to board the long-legged, narrow-gauge device, small drivers do not bring the soles of both feet to the ground, despite the narrow cut of the bench in the front area. Tribute to a seat height of 87 centimeters. At least the captain enjoys a great overview. The F 650 GS, on the other hand, is 79 centimeters low and can also be placed three centimeters lower or four higher using a different bench ex works.

With a cold start, it thunders out of the engine room immediately and comfortably, the electronics raise the idle speed moderately to 2000 rpm. But at the warm start, the singles sometimes need a second try. Accompanied by a hard knocking intake noise and a full, dampened single cylinder stroke, the F gets going. Abstrus: The indicated outlet opening is welded shut on the left silencer of the heavy exhaust pipe. Only the right silencer releases the exhaust gases into the open. The Xcountry comes out of the high muffler of the Xcountry. BMW calls the new one a scrambler, like the pre-Enduros from the 60s and 70s.

Oops, this single-cylinder has never been known so impetuously. The front wheel becomes light when accelerating. The clutch on the new model is difficult to dose and requires more manual effort. And their lever, unlike that of the GS, is not adjustable. It goes without saying that 35 kilograms less mass promotes the starting strength. Additionally offers
the revised single noticeably more punch up to 3500 turns. Tea modifications are kept within narrow limits.

New software increases the nominal and real power to 53 HP, and the old GS already pushes 52 HP instead of a nominal 50. But the feeling is not the same. Hungry and at the same time soft enough, the G hangs on the gas. Thanks to the reduced centrifugal mass: an alternator with a lighter rotor works behind the weight-optimized housing cover. All in all, saves two kilograms in the drive alone. But also electrical power for heated grips and the like.

Character studies on almost the same engine: very lively and lively in the G, clearly more sluggish in the F. Hard to believe. Either way, for a fat single, quite cultivated, supple and elastic. The four-valve engine runs even deep in the speed range without chopping, and works effortlessly up to the speed limiter. At the top, hard vibrations throb in the seat, footrests and rubber grips, despite the balance shaft. Strong load change reactions are alien to this great engine. On the Xcountry there is a small gap between the chain sprocket and the elegant aluminum swing arm, which is mounted in two short bolts. With the F, the disdainful steel box swing arm rests in the engine. A little gritty: the identical gears. Taking off the throttle answers the X with a stronger engine braking torque.

At the famous Pont du Gard, the best-preserved Roman aqueduct, we approach the Ardèche, a paradise for canoeists and motorcyclists. Common ravens plunge into the depths of the gorge, croaking. The singles are also in their element: a good 50 hp, and the road is your friend.
In winding curves, both models benefit from their narrow tires: at the front 100 millimeters and 19 inches in diameter. At the rear, 130s in 17-inch format are mounted on the wire-spoke wheels.

Such "asphalt cutting discs" require less inclination than thick silt for the same speed. And they promote handling. Whereby the old Aunt GS accepts steering impulses almost too easily. It tips much faster than the Xcountry and waggles agile through fast alternating curves.

But the handy GS is also indifferent around the vertical axis, not very accurate and precise. The F tires with Bridgestone Trialwing do not lie very tight curves. It seems like the front and rear wheels don’t want exactly the same thing. The steering behavior is like the whole motorcycle: everything feels a bit like being wrapped in cotton wool. What the passive, somewhat slumped posture contributes to, in the wide seat cushion behind high handlebars. The GS creates a rounded back. Is that an enduro chopper?

The comfortable suspension setup offers little feedback and decouples something from the road. The F 650 GS shows minimal swaying at creeping speed. There’s always some movement in the chassis. No wonder with the underdamped, soft spring strut that kneels under a passenger even when fully preloaded. The bum hangs down. But nothing with double the joy? It’s a shame, given the comfortable aft deck with great retaining rails on the left and right.
The Xcountry circles corners or obstacles made of scree in a completely different way. Your helmsman sits on top, much closer to the 80 centimeter wide, butted aluminum handlebar. And thus closer to the action. Rasping doesn’t do anything here, in contrast to the stand and notches of the F. So the G, which unrolls on the Metzeler Tourance, initially steers more directly and prefers switchbacks. It feels absolutely trustworthy. But at speeds above 100 km / h the picture changes. It’s unbelievable how the motorcycle then stiffens and becomes stubborn when it is folded down from the central position and flipped over in fast alternating curves.

A passenger on the Scrambler has little to laugh about. BMW throws virtues overboard. After all, the 45 mm upside-down fork and the Sachs strut filter out a lot of crude, but still provide perfect information about asphalt cliffs. The Xcountry is a little tighter than the buttery-soft F 650. The bridge frames, which at first glance appear to be quite similar, differ significantly: while the GS is made entirely of steel, the X steel profiles are screwed together with cast aluminum parts to accommodate the swing arm. The screwed-on rear frame and the front frame support for the integration of the supporting motor are filigree; both made of aluminum. And probably not particularly resilient, because the payload is only 168 kilograms: BMW has reduced the gross vehicle weight compared to previous information.

The mini windshield and the low seating position shield the trunk well on the GS; Shoulders, arms and helmet lie freely in a turbulence-free flow. On the Xcountry, the driver hangs like a square sail in the honest wind. Just do not introduce any glitches into the handlebars, because then the G wedges like mad.

Presumably the high air resistance heaves the gasoline consumption of the new ones over that of the even more economical GS. Do not worry, however, 3.9 liters to 3.6 for country road use are climate-friendly and low in CO2 emissions. OK then. In both cases, the tank sits favorably in the frame triangle under the seat, the tank filler neck on the right. While the successful GS stashes a whopping 17.3 liters and enables dream ranges, the G is content with a narrow 9.5 liters. Lightweight tunes.

Marseille is reached quickly, the port metropolis is seething. In the hustle and bustle of traffic, both bikes are reliable partners with the same brakes. The ABS of the Xcountry regulates more smoothly. It is already used in the F 800 S / ST and the R 1200 S and weighs just 1.5 kilograms. But the hand strength is high. Surprise, the heavy GS brakes clearly better than the long-legged G. For off-road use the ABS, which is subject to a surcharge, can be switched off on both.

With a view of the Mediterranean Sea, the end of this trip is approaching. Once again be amazed at the magic of nature. And BMW’s pricing policy. The Xcountry, which is partly made from beautifully made, partly from cheapest components, costs a hefty 7900 euros without extras and transfer. This makes it "naked" more expensive than the all-round carefree package from GS: At a basic price of 7540 euros, the “safety package” costs just 222 euros: it includes ABS, heated grips, hazard warning lights and a center stand.

The high price is heavy ballast for the Spartan Xcountry. A better equipped, higher quality Aprilia Pegaso, which rolls off the same belts, costs 6,349 euros ?? Additional costs included. So over 1800 euros less for the more luxurious type of cruise.

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Double top test: BMW F 650 GS and BMW G 650 Xcountry

Was there anything else?

Very long for single cylinders
Maintenance intervals of 10,000 kilometers
Both of them have a battery under the
Tank dummy, is therefore very difficult to access for maintenance
Turn signal switch is under the on both
the horn: inevitable confusion
Extremely poor board-
tool here and there
Boom of the main-
The stand of the F 650 GS is hidden under the passenger footrest
The barren LCD-
The Xcountry cockpit pulls when it is strong
Rain water and then shows barely legible information (photo above)
Left passenger peg
the Xcountry could not be folded down anymore (photo below)
Suspension settings
F 650 GS: maximum spring preload of the shock absorber, rebound 1/4 of 3 1/2
Turns open; Xcountry: spring-
preload of the shock absorb around 1/4
open; Rebound 7 of 25 clicks open

MOTORCYCLE measurements – BMW F 650 GS

Top speed * 170 (170) km / h

0 – 100 km / h 5.0 (5.3) sec
0 ?? 140 km / h 11.1 (11.0) sec

60 ?? 100 km / h 5.0 (5.5) sec
100 ?? 140 km / h 6.4 (6.8) sec

Speedometer deviation
Effective (display 50/100)
48/95 (49/96) km / h

Consumption in the test
At 130 km / h 5.0 (4.7) l / 100 km
Country road 3.9 (3.6) l / 100 km
Theor. Range 244 (481) km
Fuel type Super (normal)

mass and weight
L / W / H 2280/900/1440 mm
(2170/880/1400 mm)
Seat height 870 (790) mm
Handlebar height 1170 (1120) mm
Turning circle 4850 (4950) mm
Weight with a full tank 167 (202) kg
Payload 168 (178) kg
Wheel load distribution f / r 47/53 (44/56)%
Driving dynamics 1
Brake measurement

Braking distance from 100 km / h 41.5 (38.2) m
Mean deceleration 9.3 (10.1) m / s2

Note: The F 650 GS achieves significantly better deceleration values Thanks to ABS control that starts later. However, the control processes on the pulsating brake get up can be felt much more clearly than on the Xcountry. Hand strength is very high on both models, especially on the G-model. That remains more stable in the lane with full braking, while the F prances.

Handling race I (fast slalom)

Best lap time 21.3 (22.1) sec
vmax at the measuring point 105.1 (97.5) km / h

Note: Even at higher speeds, the F 650 GS waves around the pylons much more easily. Their fairly softly tuned chassis, however, causes an indifferent, not very precise driving feeling when turning quickly. This leads to lower speeds. The G 650 behaves completely differently, much more stable, faster, but also disruptive-

Performance diagram – BMW F 650 GS

The power and torque curves of the two Rotax singles run close together. The Xcountry has advantages up to 3500 rpm, but above this speed it has to be subordinate to the F 650 GS. Which with measured 52 HP at the top is only just behind the one HP stronger new one.
Its higher speed reserve alone (7600 instead of 7300 tours)
prevents the G-model from stuttering into the limiter in fifth gear like the F 650.

Technical data – BMW F 650 GS

Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, a balance shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves, bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 43 mm, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 280 W (400 W), battery 12 V / 10 Ah (12 Ah), mechanically operated, multi-plate oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, chain.
Bore x stroke 100.0 x 83.0 mm
Displacement 652 cm3
Compression ratio 11.5: 1

rated capacity
G 650 Xcountry
39.0 kW (53 PS) at 7000 rpm

F 650 GS 37.0 kW (50 PS) at 6500 rpm
Max. Torque
G 650 Xcountry 60 Nm at 5250 rpm

F 650 GS 60 Nm at 4800 rpm

landing gear
G 650 Xcountry:
Bridge frame made of steel with screwed cast aluminum parts, upside-down fork, Ø 45 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base and rebound damping.

F 650 GS:
Bridge frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and rebound damping.
Front disc brake, Ø 300 mm, double-piston floating caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper.

Spoked wheels with aluminum rims
2.50 x 19; 3.00 x 17

Tires 100/90 19; 130/80 17

Tires in the Metzeler Tourance test
(Bridgestone TW 101/151)

mass and weight
Wheelbase 1498 (1479) mm, steering head angle 61.5 (60.8) degrees, caster 116 (113) mm, spring travel f / r 240/210 (170/165) mm, permissible total weight 335 (380) kg, tank capacity 9, 5 (17.3 ) liters.
Data service
Service intervals every 10000 km

Oil and filter change every 10000 km / 2.3 l

Engine oil SAE 10 W 40

Spark plugs NGK DR8 EB (NGK D8 EA)

Idle speed 1480 ± 100 / min

Tire pressure solo (with pillion passenger)
front / rear 1.9 / 2.1 (2.0 / 2.3) bar
Warranty two years

Performance variant
F 650 GS 25 kW (34 PS)

Colors black (yellow, black, silver)

Price 7,900 (7,540) euros

Price of test motorcycle ** 8,610 (7,762) euros

Additional costs 262 euros

MOTORRAD conclusion – BMW F 650 GS

The "old" F 650 GS is here-
Authorization by no means lost. On the contrary, thanks to the inexpensive security package, it impresses as being more secure,
Good-natured and fully suitable entry into the world of BMW. The lot
tense, but less useful
The Xcountry is aimed at a smaller, wealthy clientele.

Scoring engine – BMW F 650 GS

What data say: The almost same motor base translates into
similar ?? not exactly fast? Driving performance down. The Xcountry shows its lower weight especially in better draft. What data doesn’t say: how much livelier it is
the reworked single feels. He is more direct and fiery on the gas, but also brakes harder when taking the gas away. The clutch of the G 650 X is difficult to dose.

Scoring suspension – BMW F 650 GS

Not just better. The »G«, which stiffens extremely at high speeds, does not come close to the feather-light handling of the »F«. But it is more stable and arrows more precisely through the curves. Greater feedback and freedom from leaning speak for the new one. The F 650 drives much more numbly. It shows a minimal tendency to tumble and suffers from its particularly soft spring strut. This requires full pre-tension even in solo operation.

Everyday scoring – BMW F 650 GS

Clear thing. The spartan Xcountry does not follows pillion rides and longer tours. On the other hand, speak a small 9.5 liter tank, lousy handles and the barren passenger seat. And a miserable payload of just 168 kilograms. Even the GS only saddles 178 kilograms, which is a shame given its comfortable pillion seat. A tribute to the weak strut? The GS rider sits quite passively, deep in the motorcycle and can enjoy a dream range.

Scoring safety – BMW F 650 GS

Old but proven. The ABS braking system of the F 650 GS decelerates
stronger, even if it pulsates noticeably in the hand lever and pedal. Because of the dynamic distribution of the wheel load, the more precisely regulated G reacts more strongly to a passenger on board. And
the GS on brakes in an inclined position.

Scoring costs – BMW F 650 GS

Inexpensive upkeep. The GS is even more economical, just needs regular gasoline, the Xcountry 95-octane Eurosuper. It is the same for maintenance costs and cheaper for service.

Overall ranking – BMW F 650 GS

More pluses for less money: The
F 650 GS clearly has the better price-
For money. The Xcountry is simply too expensive for what it offers.

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