2009 BMW G650GS - Livin the Life
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Ok, so to kick this blog off I figured what better way than from the posh interior of San Diego’s Grand del Mar. Why would a lowly, dirt-grubbin’ scribe like me be holed up in such a high-class outfit? Well, it’s not on account of my Christmas bonus, that’s for sure. Instead, I’m riding the coattails of BMW Motorrad. The German manufacturer is proud to release the 2009 G650GS, a model that replaces the original F650GS and F650GS Dakar models which enjoyed outstanding sales success from 2000-2007.
Beemer originally planned to let the F650GS serve as s replacement, but with a high demand from the American market for something more affordable and entry level, BMW agreed to bring back what is essentially the same machine. The 652cc motor is claimed to be good for 53 horsepower and 44 lb-ft. of torque, which is just a few more than the original. The motor is virtually unchanged, but now it is assembled in China to help keep manufacturing costs low. The whole purpose is to give this bike its competitive $7670 (plus $495 freight).
Even though it sounds like considerably more than a Kawasaki KLR650 or Honda XR650L, bikes it is designed to compete against, the littlest GS has some extra goodies. Features like heated grips and ABS come standard, and the braking system is updated to boot. If the motor turns out to be anything like the one in the G 650 X series, and it supposedly is very similar, I’m sure it will be a fairly spirited ride. We’ll evaluate the whole shebang tomorrow over roughly 200 miles outside of the city.
After listening to BMW brass talk about the new machine there are a couple areas in particular that I’m interested in sampling. One is the seat height. With a standard position of 30.7 inches, there’s also a lowered suspension setting which drops it to a miniscule 29.5 inches! This will be a huge advantage for women, newbies or simply smaller riders. And since I’m 5’11” it’ll be interesting to see if it’s still feasible for larger riders as well.
Another point of interest is the gearbox. I’m not particularly fond of five-speed transmissions unless they’re on a motocross bike. The KLR in particular drives me crazy looking for that extra upshift. It’s been so long since I’ve ridden the Xcountry, hopefully the G650GS has a little more legroom in fifth.
Alright, that’s enough blathering and hypothesizing. I’ve got to get busy living this life of luxury – all 32 hours I have left.
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