Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was how the F650GS handled. Given the generous suspension travel and height of the bike, I expected it to be bouncy or timid in the corners, but it was nimble enough to toss into turns with reckless abandon. My knees weren’t touching tarmac, but in terms relative to adventure riding I was notably impressed. The handlebars are positioned comfortably while the light steering, relatively steep rake and compliant suspension setup result in very light steering. The wide, sturdy footpegs and controls allow the rider to stay surefooted and in control even with boots on, and still let you stand comfortably while venturing off-road. My press bike had the street tires on it so I didn’t venture into the wilderness, but I did tackle some narrow dirt roads riddled with potholes to see how it would fare. It passed with flying colours.
Although the F650GS is more street-oriented than its F800GS sibling, it did take some time to get accustomed to the relatively long suspension travel. With most of my experience being with bikes made specifically for the trail or street and not meant to tackle both, I found that the nose of the littlest GS had a tendency to rise and dive a little too easily under acceleration and braking. Happily, the rear suspension damping can be adjusted quickly and easily by hand.
|Simple, light and comfortable; and an attractive price to boot. Photo: BMW
The F650GS is a fabulous little bike that exceeded my expectations. My hope is that it doesn’t become overshadowed by the hullabaloo surrounding the launch of new 800 models. While the term “little” may be accurate regarding the name and raw numbers when compared to the rest of its family, it certainly doesn’t describe the value it offers.
A lot of bike + a low price point = great value
Approachable for beginners but fun for experts
Heated handgrips are standard equipment
Turn signal indicator kill switch needs to go
Bobbing brake fuel resevoir is disconcerting
Cartoon-like headlights may not be admired my some