BMW G650 X Series - First Ride

Lifestyles of the Young and Single

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

Good news: As with its siblings, the Xchallenge feels about the same with the tank full or nearly empty. Bad news: Lower final-drive gearing makes it buzzier on the road, drops top speed to about 96 mph and lights the low-fuel light after 90 miles of fast off-road work. Adventure tourists will not be pleased. And the tricky air-adjustable shock takes some getting used to, sinking on smooth ground and hoisting the tail end over rough stuff, even if the Xchallenge inhales rough stuff at speeds that would snap an F650 in half. For those who've given up on being an AMA National Hare Scrambles contender, it's a superb dual-sport, albeit an expensive one at $8975.

The Xmoto derivation is pricier still at $9575, but it's our pick of this litter. The G-spec single is smooth enough for short freeway sorties, though the seat towers nearly 3 feet over the pavement and feels like upholstered Bakelite. Narrow? Compared to anyone's inline-four, it's like straddling a pool cue. The appeal has less to do with actual supermoto slithering than dissecting roads with more corners than straights. Acceleration is underwhelming by 600cc supersport standards, but the alleged 53 horses go a long way working against its 351-lb. (wet) weight. Armed with effectively unlimited cornering clearance, serious brakes and sticky Pirelli Diablo radials, the Xmoto rewards tidy lines with astonishing back-road velocity. As with its two brothers, this one is a bit too focused to be the only motorcycle in most garages we know. And it's expensive. But if you're tired of the rising tide of clich engineering and horsepower saturation, the single life has its advantages.

Tech SpecEvolutionLeaner, more athletic successor to the F650 singles, the G650 comes in dual-sport Xchallenge and scrambler Xcountry variants as well as the featured Xmoto.

RivalsStronger and dramatically more capable than Suzuki's DR-Z400SM, the BMW is a supermoto single for those who want the racy look in a more civilized, cooperative package than KTM's new 690 single.

TechPrice: $9575Engine type: l-c singleValve train: DOHC, 4vDisplacement: 652ccBore x stroke: 100.0 x 83.0mmCompression: 11.5:1Fuel system: EFIClutch: Wet, multi-plateTransmission: 5-speedHorsepower: 53 bhp @ 7000 rpmTorque: 44 lb.-ft. @ 5250 rpmFrame: Modular steel/aluminumFront suspension: 45mm inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound dampingRear suspension: Single shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound dampingFront brake: Single four-piston caliper, 320mm discRear brake: Singe two-piston caliper, 240mm discFront tire: 120/70 ZR17 Pirelli DiabloRear tire: 160/60 ZR17 Pirelli DiabloRake/trail: 28.5o/3.9 in.Seat height: 35.4 in.Wheelbase: 59.0 in.Fuel capacity: 2.5 gal.Dry weight: 324 lbs.Colors: Gray/redAvailable: NowWarranty: 36 months, unlimited mi.Contact: BMW Motorrad USA300 Chestnut Ridge Rd.Woodcliff Lake, NJ

VerdictBMW is betting there's a market for supermoto attitude in a socially acceptable package, but that'll be a tough sell for nearly $10,000.

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