2013 BMW C600 Sport & C650 GT Review - Motorcycle.com

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by sinned, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. sinned

    sinned Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    146
    Location:
    Kiwi in the middle kingdOOm aka China
    2013 BMW C600 Sport & C650 GT Review (Motorcycle.com)
    German-Engineered Maxi-Scootering
    By Tom Roderick, Dec. 18, 2012.

    A few days ago the author left Malibu, California, bounding down the Pacific Coast Highway, the 10 and 405 freeways on my way home to Long Beach. When traffic allowed, speeds crept in excess of posted limits, and where traffic snarled to a crawl, lane splitting ensued. It’s a route I’ve traveled many times in the same fashion, only in this instance I wasn’t aboard a motorcycle. I was riding a scooter, for chrissake.

    BMW’s C600 Sport, and its sibling C650 GT, however, aren’t normal scooters. These things are motorcycles masquerading as scooters by way of their step-through chassis and smaller wheels. When I think of a scooter, the ability of zipping around a tour bus in the HOV lane of SoCal freeway traffic doesn’t come to mind, but that’s exactly what I was doing on my ride home from the C600/C650 GT’s press launch.

    The ability to aggressively navigate Southern California’s notorious 405 freeway on the cusp of rush hour should be testament enough of the confidence I have in C600’s performance beyond the typical scooter realm. But we also tested it along the winding, undulating hills behind Malibu and in the narrow streets of Venice Beach to sample how BMW’s new scooters handled these dissimilar environments.

    The 647cc parallel-Twin powering both models produces enough power to accelerate either scooter well above any legal speed limit. Common among CVT transmissions, the C600/650 experiences a brief lag when launching from a stop, but by 4,200 rpm the centrifugal clutch is fully closed and you’re accelerating at max capacity. Around town, in the canyons or on the freeway the spritely nature of the engine is evident, and only the heft of the scooter holds it back from better performance.

    With claimed wet weights of 549 lbs. and 575 lbs., for the Sport and GT, respectively, both C scooters aren’t lithe, but they are in the same realm as Suzuki’s Burgman (claimed 613 lbs wet) and Honda’s Silver Wing (claimed 551 lbs wet).

    The weight’s carried low in the chassis, and combined with the 15-inch wheels, makes for a nimble scoot, even with their 62.6-inch wheelbase (4.2 inches more than BMW’s own R1200RT). The 26-pound heavier GT carries its extra weight high in the rear of the scooter, but this doesn’t cause any noticeable ill-handling effects.

    Where you feel the weight of the Sport or GT is when the scooter gets a little off-center, which is easy to do considering their seat heights of 31.9 and 31.3 inches for the Sport and GT, respectively. The first stoplight we came to, in fact, caught me off guard when the reach to the ground was further than I was expecting.

    As a six-footer with no seat height issues (especially when riding scooters) I couldn’t help but wonder what BMW engineers were thinking creating a scooter with easy-to-ride parameters for people with no or limited two-wheel exposure but with a seat height bothersome to someone of my stature and experience. I mean, 31.9 inches is taller than the seat height of most sportbikes!

    Beneath those towering seat heights exists a 4.2-gallon fuel tank (enough go-juice for a 200+ mile range between fill-ups) and ample storage space. The GT boasts room enough for two full-face helmets at any time, while the Sport is outfitted with a “flexcase” that expands to fit two lids (or whatever) when the scooter is parked to allow for additional storage. Due to the close proximity of the rear wheel to the expanded case, the Sport will not start nor run until the flexcase is closed and secured. Both scooters feature an LED trunk light, a nicety you never knew you needed until experiencing it.

    In addition to seat height and storage capacity, the GT differs from the Sport by way of better wind protection via its “Wind Guide Vanes,” an electric windscreen, more leg room between the seat and forward floorboards, a three-position adjustable rider backrest, and a slightly different instrument cluster. For all that, BMW asks only an additional $400 be paid: $9590 for the Sport and $9990 for the GT.

    I certainly appreciated the GT’s extra legroom, and the small backrest kept me from slouching when my feet were positioned forward. During a long-haul trip (of which either scooter is fully capable) the comfort the backrest supplies will grow exponentially.

    Because you never really know how you want a windscreen adjusted until after you’re in motion, the electrically adjustable windscreen of the GT is far more preferable than having to pull over and manually adjust the Sport’s windscreen.

    Both scooters are equipped with ABS brakes, and gripping handfuls of front and rear brake levers—with twin 270mm front and single rear disc brakes—commandingly hauls the hefty scoots to a standstill. Here again, less weight would only heighten braking performance, but at least BMW’s ABS system only adds an additional 1.5 pounds to the scooters’ weight issue.

    Speaking of brakes, parking brakes automatically engage whenever the sidestand is extended, making sure your $10k scooter doesn’t inadvertently roll downhill.

    According to BMW, more GT models are scheduled for the U.S. than the Sports, while a large percentage of both models will come equipped with the Highline Package ($605), which includes heated seats and grips, a tire-pressure monitoring system and an anti-theft alarm.

    While not as cold as other regions, California does experience winter, and riding the Sport to and fro at night with warmth emanating from the seat and grips is a worthwhile pleasure. Is the Highline Package worth the asking price? If you’re truly considering purchasing a $10k scooter, what’s another $600?

    BMW’s research shows that the majority of purchasers will opt for the more expensive GT model with the additional priceload of the Highline Package. Having ridden both and experiencing no real downside to GT ownership, we agree that the extra amenities of the GT for just an extra $400 makes it the more rational choice.

    Source: http://www.motorcycle.com/manufactu...12202012&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly
    #1
  2. gregbenner

    gregbenner Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,334
    Location:
    Oceanside, Ca
    Nice write up. I WANT ONE :clap
    #2
  3. BerndM

    BerndM Shiftless One

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,582
    Location:
    Near Disneyland, in SoCal.
    MCN magazine (Motorcycle Consumer News) will be doing a full review of the Beemer Scoots in the upcoming February issue. :evil

    Should be some very worthwhile info since they don't need to cater to advertisers.

    Regards
    Bernd
    #3
  4. gregbenner

    gregbenner Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,334
    Location:
    Oceanside, Ca
    There was a similar review in Cycle World ( I.e. same group of journalists, different author). Similar positive conclusion.

    Thx for the heads up on MCN review, they are one of my favorites!
    #4
  5. lcseds

    lcseds Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Middle of NC
    I had a look at these yesterday. Did not take a test ride. It was offered on a shiny new red one, but the roads were wet and I would have felt a tad guilty for dirtying it up. If I was really set to buy, I would have.
    It looks really nice. Two things I did not like. The little pool of nearly clear fluid on the tile floor under the back end of the drive cover on the sport model. I realize this stuff happens, but the salesman was saying how BMW is trouble free and reliable. I debated asking him for a paper towel to clean it up but decided against that.
    The other thing I don't like is the painted sides on the tunnel. I realize they wanted it to look better than the Burgman/Silverwing/T-Max all black plastic, but there is a reason for that. Since the paint is very close to where my boots would rest, this would not look good after a few months. I expect them to go all black plastic on the next iteration. Also, this is hopefully fixable soon, but I really was on my tippy toes holding it up. I am 5'6" with a 30" inseam. On my Honda NT700 I can put the balls of my feet down and with a slight lean, I can flat foot it on one side. No way on the C650GT. The lower seat I would hope would bring it to about where my NT is. I do not care about flat footing. I have no issue balancing but want to flat foot with a lean at a light.
    Highline on all, $11,090 sticker. $255 Doc fee and state sales tax and registration. I suppose that is about average. Doubt they would discount the price at all. Don't know if the folks at the dealer like these or if they were secretly laughing at me for looking at this instead of a "real" motorcycle.
    #5
  6. InlineSkate

    InlineSkate Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Bay City, MI
    Honestly I don't think they care as long as it gets money out of your pocket.

    I'm thinking these scooters probably have higher margins than their regular bikes.
    #6
  7. greg531

    greg531 greg531

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Grand Pothole Rapids, Michigan
    When I looked at them, I thought the sport was the better looking one....But the blocked out rear taillights and the dinky USA dinky replacements, made the rear looking cheap...Not much room for a pillion rider. with fold up pegs, and a little seat pad.....The Pet carrier, with it's fold up canvas deal, will not last, and I think it was a bad idea...
    The GT, looked like a flat faced pug in the front, plastic that stuck out like Obama's ears, a large humped floor....
    Both were heavy, had a gas tank fill cover, that interfered with putting the seat up....and the oil bath chain...that I had problems with those before.....
    BMW should have done better......
    #7
  8. kpmsprtd

    kpmsprtd Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    Greg, could you tell me more about a "pet carrier"? That would be a dream come true for me and my 33 kg canine companion.

    I checked out the C 650 GT thoroughly at the weekend. I like many things about it. For me, it's primary purpose would be as a commute vehicle. Unfortunately, that's where it has its fatal flaw. It is simply too wide for splitting lanes properly. The fairing that I love for its weather protection is the problem.

    I understand that the Sport model is somewhat narrower, and I hope to see one soon. But based on what I saw of the GT model only, I would rather put a proper screen and heated grips on a Honda NC700X to get me through traffic into the city center. It won't be as comfortable or practical (storage), but it will be be better for filtering through traffic.

    Don't get me wrong. I think BMW has done a great thing here, and the C 650 GT will be a great urban mobility vehicle in the 49 U.S. states that don't allow filtering.
    #8
  9. Deans BMW

    Deans BMW Granpa Hoon

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,604
    Location:
    Copperhill, Tennessee
    Belive it or not............I am seriously considering picking one up in San Jose, ca. riding it all over Northern cal with a buddy of mine, get an initial service and then riding it the 2,500 miles back to here in eastern Tennessee.

    Its all about the ride, you know and this should be another grand adventure.

    I road one once around the block and it was a blast.
    #9
  10. Paul Mihalka

    Paul Mihalka Old Fart

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    877
    Location:
    Maryland
    Just a comment on BMW's name giving stupidity. Why call the Sport a 600 and the GT a 650, when both have exactly the same 650cc motor? They did the same with the F800GS. Calling the less equipped one a F650 and now F700. I sell BMW bikes and I'm SOO tired explaining that the F650/700 are 800cc twins. Why not call the top model a F800GS Adventure, and the less equipped one a F800GS? Everybody would know what it is.
    #10
  11. Deans BMW

    Deans BMW Granpa Hoon

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,604
    Location:
    Copperhill, Tennessee
    Paul, I agree 100%
    #11
  12. gregbenner

    gregbenner Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,334
    Location:
    Oceanside, Ca
    I gather you have not spent too much time in Germany. Das Germans dvo vat de vant!. You vill Ajust!. Not dem.

    Same reason they used goofy turn signals for a hundred years, have a 32" seat height on a scooter, etc:rofl
    #12
  13. DOUBLE-O G

    DOUBLE-O G Smooth Operator

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,842
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I personally didn't like the vibration. It was a deal breaker for me.
    #13
  14. CGameProgrammer

    CGameProgrammer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    315
    I have a C650GT and have no problem at all lane-splitting through LA's crowded and narrow highways. I thought the mirrors would be a bit wide but actually they're pretty narrow - so narrow in fact that they don't actually function very well as mirrors; instead their placement seems designed primarily to block wind from the rider's hands. But lane-splitting is easy with them.
    #14
  15. kpmsprtd

    kpmsprtd Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    Good to know, CGP. I'm going to measure the width of my 2003 Honda CB750 Nighthawk, and I'll do the same to the C 650 GT. It would be easy for my eyes to give me a false reading on the actual widths.
    #15
  16. John Bentall

    John Bentall Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    210
    Location:
    London UK
    Don't forget that for lane-splitting you have to measure the width AND the height. Will you touch mirrors with automobiles or vans?
    #16
  17. kpmsprtd

    kpmsprtd Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    Thanks, John. Good point. A lot of wanna-be cowboys here in big pickup trucks with some pretty serious mirrors.
    #17
  18. noitallal

    noitallal Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    7
    I took one the GT and for a few days ago. Here are some thoughts and how it compared to the Tmax I've ridden.

    Impressions.

    cons:

    * Heavier feeling than I expected.
    * Seat height much higher than I expected.
    * Louder than I expected.
    * Not as smooth upon initial acceleration as I expected.
    * Not as fast off the line as I expected.
    * Dash and overall quailty not as impressive as the Tmax or Burgman 650 IMO.

    Pros.
    * Very stable on the highway.
    * Nice looking.
    * Great brakes
    * Strong mid-range


    Conclusions.
    Not enough time to make up my mind.. If I never ride one again, my feelings I'm left with are that the TMax feels sharper, feels and looks like it's put together at least as well if not better and just has an overall sharp and solid no nonsense feel that the BMW did not match. The GT was more plush feeling while the Tmax feels tighter and more precise like a good motorcycle.

    However, I'll reserve total judgment until I ride one for more than a few miles. I am well aware that first impressions of bikes often turn out to be completely misleading. From a financial standpoint there would be zero hesitation on my part as to which one I'd choose. The dealer had the Tmax priced at $6999 before negotiations. You can literally save 40% by buying the Tmax. Even If I put a few hundred miles on the BMW it's very hard to image a reason I might discover to buy the BMW over the Tmax. If Money was no object I would still likely buy the Yamaha because no matter how much you earn, money is always an object.

    Also please take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt because every word I just wrote was fiction.:lol3 :rofl

    But it was a good read, yes?:lol3
    #18
  19. PeeBee

    PeeBee Giant leap for me!

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    585
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    Here's another 2 cents list of pro and cons. I've owned a silver C600 Sport since early January. Picked it up as a demo, with 200 miles on it, with full two years warranty with a € 1.800 discount. Nice!

    Cons:
    - Heavier than anything I've ever had. Center of gravity is nicely low, but still. Before I had a Vespa GTS and this one is 200 pounds heavier. Did anyone say 200? Weight remains very noticeable at low speeds.
    - I'm 6'5'' and the windscreen is not for me. I will order a smaller sport screen or something to get my helmet in clear air flow. It almost is with the stock screen at the lowest position, but not quite.
    - I went to the theatre with the Mrs. last friday. No black tie, but we sorta dressed for the occasion. On the way home it rained and we found out that the back of the passenger's legs and shoes get really wet with street water from the rear tyre. Those sweet new boots were not very sweet or new anymore... I will definitely start looking for a rear wheel hugger.
    - The clutch closes above 4k rpm. So if you take off with a nice handful of throttle, all is fine, but when you stay below 4k rpm, maybe because of traffic or because you don't want to drive fast, is has a whole lot of slip. Do you know the brake feeling of a sintered brake pad on an oily disc? That's what if feels like... With the clutch shaking the scooter feels heavy and not accelerating like it should. This issue probably also adds to a not so positive mileage. My dealer will start a test next week with a prototype JCosta clutch, and that should fix this.

    Pros:
    - Heated grips and seat. Wow, how did I get through 24 years of motorcycle driving without these? Even better: they have a thermostat. When it's cold, the heated parts go warmer, the faster you drive. Sa-weet!
    - The tyre pressure gauge in the dash. So essential, it should be mandatory.
    - Handling. Sturdy, easy, no surprises. 'Regular' front forks instead of Lalalever really tells you what's going on at the front side.
    - Great brakes, ABS works like it should.
    - Great fit and finish. No condensation in the dash, for example...
    - The under seat storage (it has a light, too). I use a large size Schuberth C3, and with the funny pull-down compartment, I'm able to store my helmet plus my wife's, while parked.
    - Very easy to use. Everything is where it should. It has daylight running lights that really help with visibility, there's no funny two-sided indicator switches anymore, it has alarm blinkers, it's all there.

    Remarks:
    - The Pirelli tyres on the Sport are way better than the Metzelers on the GT when you want to corner faster than really slow. I drove them back to back and the difference is very noticeable.

    Well, that's maybe even three cents. Hope it helps you deciding, should you be considering one of these...
    #19
  20. PeeBee

    PeeBee Giant leap for me!

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    585
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    Sorry, I forgot some positives:

    - Blinkers have an auto-off. Nice!
    - The bike has three trip meters. Two are the usual suspects, with manual zeroing, but the third switches to zero every time the bike has been off for more than a few hours. So, it displays what you're driven today, every day.
    - there's even a fourth trip meter, that automatically starts running when the fuel light comes on.
    - Led headlights stay on for 30 seconds after switching the bike off, as follow-me-home illumination.
    - The under seat trunk has led illumination too...
    - The alarm system is spot on. No hassles, no malfunctions, great remote.

    And some negatives:
    - It's hard to fill the tank up completely. You have to go slow, but then you'll be able to tank half a gallon more.
    - The tunnel is very vulnerable for scratching from your shoes / boots.

    Time to go to work. Someone has to pay for this scoot!
    #20