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2009 BMW G 650 X Country Review


by Marc Cantin ,

Snapping the throttle open on on-ramps and winding it out as you merge gives off a wonderful feeling of generous and manageable power, surprising fellow road users who had not seen the bike coming – a blessing if you prefer anonymity but also a danger if no one can see you – a price I will cope with and pay gladly in exchange for the pleasure of riding a smaller, lighter bike.

The X Country is equally at home on twisty paved or dirt roads, with an enjoyable ability to hang on when entering paved corners hard, as well as when playing on more slippery surfaces if you are willing to wind the engine up to the rev limiter (No tach, remember!). It is not a sportbike and will not scare you with power, but will let you play with sideways traction on dirt as hard as you want to within the limits imposed by the non adjustable fork and the 53 horses on tap.

You will be amazed at just how quickly you can corner with a light responsive bike, enough to put most riders on over powered sportbikes to shame, especially in tighter corners.

On long high speed runs, the small windscreen from the BMW Accessories catalog (See picture in photo galley) will protect you againts the wind blast. And while we are at it, how about some sticky covering on the sides of the dummy fuel tank, to provide better grip for the inner thighs and facilitate hanging on to the narrow bike without having to squeeze your knees for hours.

Compact, low, and easy to use by shorter riders.

The X Country is not the cheapest of 650s, but it is the most civilized, well equipped and fun ride of the lot, especially if you enjoy running on nice dirt roads from time to time. It is not perfect, like the small fuel tank and non adjustable fork for instance, but it does have power to play with, right-now torque from just above idle, and a low and comfortable seat from where you can have fun for hours on end on the street and in the city.

The serious dirt guys will want more torque yet, as well as better damping and stiffer springs – stuff that can be rectified after the purchase, or lived with if your riding is 95% on pavement. And finally, add some extra fuel capacity, and some luggage, and we have a serious contender for long distance and cost-effective touring.

Comfortable, smooth, user-friendly
Good power, smooth and satisfying torque for street use.
Simple and well assembled

The small fuel tank
The somewhat high price, more so if you add the on-board computer and ABS

I need one as my daily rider…

Photo Credit : Matthieu Lambert
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