Out on the road, the BMW feels much more like the Majesty than the NC700X, for obvious reasons, though despite its weight the BMW is much more poised than the Majesty thanks to stiffer suspension. Overall, the C600 most definitely fulfills BMW's stated goal, which was to take scooters to a new level of performance. The C600 Sport absolutely sets a new standard for super scooters. Part of raising the bar in the category comes simply from over-engineering. Things like 15-in. wheels with Pirelli Diablo rubber, powerful brakes-dual 270mm discs up front squeezed by two-pot calipers-that inspire confidence, or the single-sided swingarm and inverted fork.
The contrasting shock, dual front discs, and bright paint add to the C600’s aggressive loo
All of those characteristics don't necessarily make for a usable, capable machine, but they do in the case of BMW's scooter. Riding along twisty roads we were amazed at how much confidence the C600 inspired braking late into tight corners, or leaning over expecting parts to drag. Except nothing ever touched down. A 550-lb. scooter with all the amenities of a sport-touring bike and not a single spark was thrown while carving canyons. We were surprised and intrigued to discover that, when ridden by equivalent riders, the C600 and the NC700X are comparable from the aspect of sporting capability.
Through all of this the Majesty ends up in the shadow of the Honda and the BMW, but it's not hard to see why. The Yamaha gives up 252cc to the BMW, 275cc to the Honda, and then there's the price. The Majesty will set you back $6850, which is admittedly a lot for a single-cylinder scooter, but it seems pretty cheap when compared to the NC700X DCT's base price of $8999, or the C600's staggering $9590 starting point (our test scoot was into five digits, at $10,195.)
Near the end of our test, an impromptu drag race between the C600 and the NC700X DCT did wonders to shed light on the concept of motorcycling merging with the scooter world. The NC's DCT engages the clutch pretty abruptly, especially when applying the throttle heavily from a stop, and so the Honda took an early lead. But from then on, all the way to 60 or 70 mph, the two were dead even. Interesting, then, that one of the more lethargic motorcycles we have had the pleasure of riding offers the same straight-line performance capability as the fastest and best scooter on the market.
A scooter in motorcycle clothing. The DCT option is bundled with ABS for an extra $2000, a
Most comparisons are a mystery at the start, but sometimes the statistics on paper tell the story before it begins. This test was especially unclear at the beginning because it's not a direct comparison, but rather an exploration of what is happening in this segment of the market. Compared to a conventional motorcycle the NC700X feels like it's halfway to a scooter, and likewise the BMW is so willing to carve corners and shoot away from stoplights you could argue it's nearing the motorcycle realm. But the truth is, even as comparable as their performance and statistics are, riding these machines together illustrates that there is still a sizeable gap between these two genres.
And for that we are thankful. What we learned is that we are excited about what the future holds for this category of motorcycling. Yes, the C600 raised eyebrows and the NC700X continues to impress us with versatility. But more importantly, two giants of the motorcycling industry are in uncharted territory, and seem to be on the verge of creating more machines that not long ago would have been too improbable to even exist.