BMW, the German automobile and motorcycle manufacturer, introduced the dual-sport F 650 motorcycle in 1995, selling more than 110,000 machines worldwide in the following 15 years. In 2009 the company reintroduced the bike to the United States (and other markets) as the G 650 GS, where it joined the 2009 G 650 Xcountry, also an on-and-off-road bike, and the brand-new G 450X, primarily a dirt bike.
All of BMW’s G bikes are single-cylinder machines. The 650 Xcountry and the 650 GS have 652cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engines. In 2009 the company replaced the Rotax engines it had used for years with Loncin engines made to its specifications in China. The fuel system is managed with dual overhead cams and injectors. Both bikes have five-speed manual transmissions, with chain final drives. Hydraulic disc brakes in the front and back provide the stopping power; anti-lock brakes are available as an option for both models. The Xcountry has an adjustable inverted fork front suspension; the GS has a telescopic fork. Both have adjustable rear shocks with rebound damping.
The 450X has a 449cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine, a dual overhead cam, and fuel injectors. It also has disc brakes, a five-speed manual transmission, and chain final drive. Like the Xcountry, it has an inverted fork front suspension and an adjustable twin-sided swing arm rear suspension. New to the market and intended primarily for trail use, it was not street-legal in California the year it was released, though BMW expected California Air Resources Board certification. Reviewers were not happy with its suspension and general ergonomics, feeling that that the seat was too high and the balance was not rider-friendly.
The G 650 models came with a considerable list of options, ranging from a wide variety of top and side cases, heated hand grips, and onboard navigation to a frame protector, tinted windshield, and hand protectors. Options for the 450X were more limited, but they did include a lower seat.