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2010 BMW F650GS Review


by Dustin A. Woods ,

The 650 may well be the entry-level version of the GS family, but it by no means feels cheap or inadequate. The digital display, rear-mounted locking gas cap, controls and the elegant engine all exude quality in the fit and finish. Knowing full well that the traditional turn signals switchgear of Beemers is a significant point of contention, I must say that I came to enjoy the placement of the switches. I do, however, feel that they should self cancel like on Harley-Davidsons, instead of having that third signal kill switch. Much like my brother-in-law, the signal cancel switch is pretty much a waste of space (A story best left untold! Ed.) that could be better used by something, anything really. Please note that the switchgear on the 2010 K1300s eschew this long-derided system in favour of a traditional single-button control.

I agree; the muffler is a bit big. You can source an after market unit that will solve this one for you, and likely save a little weight in the bargain. Photo: BMW

While I did find myself hitting the horn instead of the turn signal switch a number of times initially, I found the brake fluid reservoir to be much more of an oddity. The relatively large plastic container sat precariously on the handlebar above the windscreen so that it would bounce around like a bobble-head doll at high speeds. It almost seemed like an afterthought, something like the Scooby Doo horn my Dad zip-tied to the handlebars of my first two-wheeler.

Enough with the gripes, as I truly enjoyed riding this bike. Perhaps my favourite element was the heated hand grips. They may seem pointless or insignificant to those who enjoy favourable temperatures year round, but testing the 650 amid autumn conditions in Ontario meant that the toasty grips were a welcome addition. Not only did they allow me to ride longer, they allowed me to ride safer as my hands remained dexterous and able to shift and brake quickly.

The fairly comfortable seat allowed me to move around and seek different comfortable positions over a longer trip, while still leaving enough space at the back for a passenger or gear. The only the 650 felt anemic was riding up a steep, winding road with a passenger, and I had to drop from fourth, to third and to second to avoid bogging down. Other than that, it felt more than capable and had no problems leading a pack of my buddies riding 600 sport bikes on a weekend tour through the country.

Great ergos and a comfortable ride over bad surfaces. What more can you want? Photo: BMW
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