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2009 BMW G 650 X Country Review


by Marc Cantin ,

The G 650 X family has been with us since 2007, quietly making its way with three models served up for different levels of on and off road riding. For 2009, BMW Canada kept only the X Country (Pronounced Cross Country) variant.

The lowest on- and off-roader we have tested recently, this bike is easy to get on, and comfortable to ride with the nice, wide saddle.

The stated playground of this model is just about anywhere on paved or loose stuff those two wheels will take you, keeping in mind that the 650 is a little too big for really tight trails (Kinda like me!). We have been there and back, and live to tell the tales of incredible riding skill and impassable terrain. In reality, we are not that good, but the X Country is!

Low-key drivetrain? Not really!
BMW chose wisely when they upgraded their old F-series single, by not turning it into a fire breathing performer, where power at high rpm comes at the price of low rpm torque and friendliness.

So instead of an ill-tempered 65hp, BMW came up with 53 hp (@ 7,000 rpm), tons of torque for everyday street use from what feels like about 2,000 rpm (No tach on the test bike!), and peaking at 44 lb-ft at 5,250 rpm. In fact, the whole street personality of the engine is about quiet performance, starting with liquid cooling, four valves for the only cylinder, and dual cams, and with an EFI that works to save fuel as well as give the bike enough power to scoot away from the crowd at will.

The engineers came up with an almost-ideal compromise between power and smoothness, using a balance shaft and just the right rotating mass (Clutch, flywheel, primary drive and gearbox input shaft) to maintain responsiveness while not eating up too much power spinning all this mass, and also eliminate vibrations enough to bolt the engine rigidly to the frame and make bear some of the load.

Off road with and strong dirt rider, the street civility comes up a little bit short when trying to push adhesion to its limits. Our off-roader would have liked a little more torque to break rear wheel traction more easily. Pass the ECU Chip catalogue please, before Luc goes into frenzy! Beware of the chip, as it will deliver more torque, but at the expense of some street civility.

The light and simple engine has built up an excellent reputation for reliability over the years.
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