2011 BMW G650GS First Look

October 29, 2010
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
Off-Road Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog |Blog Posts |Blog RSS

Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA's Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn't matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

2011 BMW G650GS
2011 BMW G650GS
BMW gives the G650GS some styling cues from the F650GS model, bringing it more inline with the larger AT bikes.

BMW Motorcycles updates the smallest adventure bike in its lineup with the 2011 BMW G650GS. BMW says it’s based on the F650GS platform, which means only minor changes, predominantly aesthetic.

The last time we rode the G650GS was when it was introduced in 2009 and we were thrilled with the pleasant performance of the engine, responsive chassis and amenities. At the heart of the new bike is the same 652cc Single with dual overhead cams. With a claimed 48 horsepower, it has proven a lovable mill with owners in regards to performance, longevity and fuel economy. Twin-spark ignition and electronic fuel injection keep the fuel burning cleanly and power is distributed through a five-speed transmission. The dual mufflers look a bit stubbier in photos.

BMW designed the G650GS so that it would accept many of the same aftermarket components such as panniers. For 2011 the rear section of chassis is from the F650GS model, which likely accepts much of the same. One of the best things about the smallest GS is the manageable seat height. For the 2011 edition, riders can choose from three different options. The standard height is the same as the ‘10 model at 30.7 inches, with 29.5 inches and 32.3 inches available for those who need more or less legroom.

Up front is a conventional fork with black lower tubes, single disc brake with dual-piston Brembo caliper and 19-inch wheel. A black steel bridge frame uses a two-sided swingarm to hold the 17-inch rear wheel which is now cast rather than spoked, which will disappoint the more serious

The instrument panel is straightforward and clean.
2011 BMW G650GS
The old display (top) and the new version.

off-road riders. BMW says the rim is wider than before which aids stability. An asymmetrical headlight makes the little GS more like its big brothers and the engine protection looks to be plastic instead of the former aluminum guard.

The fuel cell shrinks from four gallons to 3.7 and is still located beneath the seat with a faux tank between the rider’s knees. A small shroud now adorns the tank which makes the G650GS look more like the large Beemer AT bikes, as does the two-tone seat. The 650’s new dash features an analog speedometer and digital display for the other necessary information. Combined with the lights and pointed blinkers, the front end looks much better for 2011 with a switch for heated grips and hazard lights located to the left of the display rather than on the handlebar. The handlebar itself is new also with a crossbar-less aluminum replacing the cheesy steel unit.

The 2010 model sold for $7900 but no pricing has been released yet for the new version. The G650GS will be produced in Berlin. We’ll update this article accordingly to clarify the relationship to the F650GS as more information becomes available.