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Thread: Ridden - G650 X Moto

  1. #1
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Ridden - G650 X Moto



    Have you ever had Bad Thoughts? You know the ones. You're riding your GS and you see a lawn and wonder if you could just hop the curb and ride over it instead of going all the way up to the intersection? Maybe you've entertained thoughts of doing a big smoky burnout on your K12 while you're waiting in traffic. Maybe you've been sitting in a meeting and notice that the person across the way from you is pretty cute and, well, here come Bad Thoughts. I'm talking about those things you shouldn't do, but can't help thinking about.

    The G650 X Moto is Bad Thoughts on wheels. It's like there's a little plug or something that fits into your noggin and start to fill your brain with Bad Thoughts.

    "C'mon, Dave. You know you want to wheelie this thing."

    "C'mon, Dave. You know a stoppie would be fun."

    "C'mon, Dave. Is that all the lean angle you can muster? You wuss."

    Oh yeah. Bad Thoughts, Bad Thoughts, Bad Thoughts. You're swimming in a veritable sea of Bad Thoughts.

    Let's start with the basics. The new G series is BMW's attempt to provide more niche specific machines. These aren't ever going to be touring bikes. They're fun for a weekend, or a couple days. You're not going to load this bike up and head to Topeka from SF, CA. You're going to tear around the local roads, trails and byways.

    There's a G650 that's pretty much a dirt bike, one that's a full hooligan bike (the subject of this tome) and one that's somewhere in the middle. To be completely honest, I can't keep the names of the other two straight yet. There's no doubt in my mind, though, that the X Moto is very aptly named since X Bad Thoughts doesn't really fit on the side panels too well.

    Driveline

    This bike has a newer version of the venerable F650 powerplant. The fuel injection has been changed and there have been changes made to the valvetrain, but it's otherwise pretty much the same. It doesn't, however share the breezy character that I've experienced on the F series. This bike is snappier and the bike offers less intake honk under acceleration and much better forward progress. I thought the FI was nicely done, even if it was a bit cold blooded. The example I rode stalled once immediately after start up and usually took a couple minutes to start running cleanly when started from cold.

    The motor is a stressed member, which means that it's an integral part of the chassis, carrying forces. In the photo, you can see the front stay, as well as the bigger bolts through the frame that hold the motor in place. It's also located at the rear, right by the swingarm pivot, but we'll talk about that a bit in the chassis portion.


    That's the regulator rectifier hanging out there in the breeze. The ABS pump is visible behind the frame spar, to the rear of the R/R. The engine continues to be a Rotax sourced bit.

    Chassis and suspension

    The frame appears to be quite unusual, even for a BMW. In most twin spar chassis, the entire frame, from the headstock on down to the sideplates is constructed from one piece. In this bike, it appears that there's a wishbone shaped part that carries the headstock and the side rails, which is then bolted to the side plates. Additionally, there's a big aluminum structure in the middle that seems to loop up and over the motor and carries the upper shock mount. I don't know of more than a couple other bikes with this sort of frame arrangement. I believe Benelli's Tre has a glued up frame, with tubes that get inserted into the side plates and I think the FZ6 has a similarly glued up frame from parts. If the BMW chassis is bolted together, this would make frame repair much simpler, though it might give up some level of torsional rigidity. I didn't find frame stiffness to be an issue during my, ahem, rather spirited riding.


    Forward motor mounts. From what I could see, the upper end bolts into the upper section of the frame wishbone.


    Here's the view of the aluminum spar. The grayish pieces to either side are the side plates of the frame. The upper end of the shock bolts to this piece and the lower section bolts to the swingarm. There's no linkage or other fancy stuff on the rear suspension.

    Suspension components are what you'd expect on a bike that's at the upper end of pricing for this range. The rear is a nice Sachs shock, complete with rebound and preload adjustment. Out of the box it's very nice and unlike most BMW's I've owned, I didn't immediately start wishing for an Ohlins in its place.

    Front suspension is via a beefy male slider fork. There didn't seem to be any preload adjustment, but compression and rebound damping are readily adjustable via a simple screw at the top end of each leg. The forks appear to be nearly identical to the impressive units available on the HP2. BMW has also nicely marked each leg's adjustment with the function performed as well as which way to turn the adjuster to increase or decrease damping.


    Front forks are substantial and stiff. Feedback is excellent. Wheels are stamped with Aprilia and appear to be almost identical to wheels from the Mille and Tuono.

    During riding, the suspension is taut and smaller bumps are fed pretty directly to the rider. Larger bumps are filtered nicely and chassis oscillations are very nicely damped. Feedback through the forks is stellar and the rider is always aware of exactly what's going on at the front contact patch.

    Geometry seems to be fairly steep, but the bike is stable at highway speeds. On spirited backroad riding the bike can accurately be place almost to the inch. In one example, I ride a road pretty regularly that has two patches on the road. This bit is in the middle of a corner, so the patches can upset an aggressively ridden bike. In between the patches is a section about 4 or 5 inches wide that is still smooth and the original surface. Even at seriously extralegal speeds, I could place the bike exactly on the smooth strip, time after time. Consider this bike an absolute backroad scalpel, allowing the rider to pick exactly where they'd like to be, with minimal effort.

    Accomodations and Ergonomics

    This is a supermotard bike. I don't know if they're the rage in the rest of the country, but here in Northern California, the seriously fast guys are riding them. Typically, they're a Husqy, converted XR or other dirt bike repurposed for tearing up the backroads. As anyone knows, a smaller, lighter bike requires less motive power to get the same power/weight ratio as a bigger bike, but carries the advantage of superior ability to change direction rapidly. On the tight roads around here, horsepower won't help you much, but better maneuverability will. Add in an ergonomic package that sits the rider bolt upright (even more upright than my GS!), a big wide bar and pegs that are way down there. Put all this together and you have a bike that can effortlessly change direction, partly because of the characteristics of the chassis and partly because it puts the rider in an almost ideal position to easily control the bike.

    Switchgear is simple. Left cluster has the turn signal switch, horn and lights, along with a switch for the ABS, right switch has the kill switch and the starter button. Controls are "standard" in that the turn signals are operated by a simple switch on the left cluster.


    Left grip with "normal" switchgear.


    Right grip. Switches are nicely done and have terrific feel.

    There's also a nice power socket under the seat, right next to the shock preload.



    Nits: The seat is nothing short of painful. For me, I sat on those two little bones and riding down a straight, or even straight-ish section of road was tough. However, when the road got twisty, I could have cared less. I was having way too much fun.

    The instrument panel could stand a tach of some type and the loopy cable routing from the right cluster neatly bisected the speedometer's reading for me (6' tall).

    I wonder about the pricing, as well. This bike, without ABS, is about $9,200. This is right in there with a competitive CBR600RR or any of the other middle weight sport bikes. This bike, however, doesn't pack the punch those bikes do. In environs like Northern California, that's not such a big deal as the roads are consistently crooked enough to negate a horsepower advantage. But in other parts of the country, this bike will have a hard time keeping up unless the road is very, very tight. Thinking about my years riding in New England, I can only think of a few roads where this bike might have an advantage, or even equal footing, with the Japanese sportbikes.

    In summary, this bike is unlike any other BMW I've ridden. It has the sharp edged character of the HP2 in that it's focused on a specific mission. It's never going to venture to another time zone from where it lives. It will, however, give larger, supposedly "sportier" bikes fits when the road gets tight.

    Forget what you percieve a sportbike to be, the X Moto is what sporting motorcycling can be.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  2. #2
    dlearl476
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    Dave, about the tach (or lack thereof). This came up on another forum: isn't this a multi function display with multiple pages that you can scroll through, like the one we use on the VuN?

  3. #3
    rmetzger
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    XC vs XM

    Dave - I enjoyed your review of the X-Moto. I've posted a few of my first rides on its less acute companion, the X-Country. (See thread in Gear, "G650 XC - 'In Hand'"). My impression is that the ride characteristics of the X-C are very similar, though I note that the X-C appears to have a more comfortable seat. Also, the XC has wire wheels and the front is 19-in. dia. vs 17-in. for the X-M. The X-M also has wider tires (120 front and 170 rear vs. 100/130). Spring travel differs as well (9.4/9.6 vs. 9.4/8.3). The X-M has a more acute steering head angle, I gather -- since it is shorter overall 84.8 in.) than the X-C (86.0).

    I expect the ride is fairly similar on the road, though the tires will make a significant difference favoring the X-M. On the other hand, I have some confidence - not yet proven out, I confess - that the X-C, with the wires and Metzeler Tourance, will prove adept off the road, where the X-M might not.

    I agree with your observation that Ohlins don't seem necessary -- I have them on my Ducati but didn't feel the need here. I also agree with the accuracy of the bike from a "point and shoot" standpoint. The X-C could use a tach as well - peculiar omission. As to value, well, it's in the eye of the beholder. These are not bargain bikes and there are any number of sportbikes, supersports and a few sport tourers that could be had for this price tag. However, the list of those that, like the X-C, can go in the dirt is fairly short (if there are any).

    My impression of Super Moto bikes is that the trend is towards higher horsepower, and the G looks a little thin in that department even if all else is well. Ducati's Hypermoto and the KTM 950 SM have similar riding targets, are much more powerful. (The Ducati's announced specs indicate 95 hp, 76 lb.-ft of torque, a 6-speed box, and weight of around 390 (dry, presumably).

    Hence, I have some concern that the X-M will need after-market help to be credible among similarly priced Super Moto bikes.

    Rob

  4. #4
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmetzger View Post
    My impression of Super Moto bikes is that the trend is towards higher horsepower, and the G looks a little thin in that department even if all else is well. Ducati's Hypermoto and the KTM 950 SM have similar riding targets, are much more powerful. (The Ducati's announced specs indicate 95 hp, 76 lb.-ft of torque, a 6-speed box, and weight of around 390 (dry, presumably).

    Hence, I have some concern that the X-M will need after-market help to be credible among similarly priced Super Moto bikes.

    Rob
    I think this bike sits at the top, price-wise, of the Aprilia SVX, KTM Duke (if they still make it) and various Japanese Motards niche. Duc H-Ms, KTM 950s are more in line with HP-2 Motard, the BMW once again being the highest priced bike in the class.

    My initial impression, seeing the XChallenge last weekend, is that the original BMW photos didn't do the bike justice. To me, they made the bike look "KLR-Like" in build quality. I'm glad to say in real life, nothing could be further from the truth, the build quality is excellent.

  5. #5
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    I wonder about the pricing, as well. This bike, without ABS, is about $9,200.

    ...

    Forget what you percieve a sportbike to be, the X Moto is what sporting motorcycling can be.
    great report, dave, thank you for writing.

    i will be very interested to see how this model, as well as all the g-bikes perform in the marketplace.

    the $9200 price is very high... a ktm superduke ain't all that much more, considering what you get in terms of performance. and the directly competitive ktm supermoto products kick the g-bike's butt, imo.

    your use of the term "sport motorcycling" is interesting as that's what ktm calls their bikes: sportmotorcycles.

    speaking of ktm *these* guys are where it's at in this segment and from a marketing perspective it will be very interesting to see how bmw fares against them. imo, the best thing they have going is a better dealer network than ktm.

    want to do bad things?

    check out this *badass* video (and be sure to read the disclaimer below, first! )

    http://www.990superduke.com/fileadmi...isclaimer=true

    This video dramatization was made using trained professional stunt riders. It does NOT depict real events. DO NOT attempt to perform the actions that are depicted in this video. It is NOT an advertisement, nor does it depict the capabilities of any KTM product. KTM does not endorse the actions shown in this video. This video is offered as entertainment only. KTM strongly discourages any use of its products in any way that is not legal or safe. If you attempt to perform any of the stunts or actions depicted in this video on public streets, you could be seriously injured or killed. Certainly you would be breaking the law, and KTM absolutely discourages all users of its products from ever operating illegally.

  6. #6
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmetzger View Post

    My impression of Super Moto bikes is that the trend is towards higher horsepower, and the G looks a little thin in that department even if all else is well. Ducati's Hypermoto and the KTM 950 SM have similar riding targets, are much more powerful. (The Ducati's announced specs indicate 95 hp, 76 lb.-ft of torque, a 6-speed box, and weight of around 390 (dry, presumably).
    Ya know, I think that more than anything, the geographic location is going to play a huge part in whether these bikes sell. I can see them selling in CA, where the roads are super technical, or the NC/GA region, which has the same kind of terrain. In Kansas? This bike would be a complete waste there and, as much as I hate to say it, most of the country. In a region where the roads are tight, horsepower is much less of a concern, so these bikes will allow a rider to traverse a road as quickly as they could on a bike with significantly more horsepower. I rode roads I ride my GS on, only with another 10mph in hand due to the agility of the bike.

    On sweepers? Pick a bike you like and you'll do OK. When you've got an apex every 50 yards? Go supermoto.

    Around here in Marin, there's a fairly infamous ride every week called the Sunday Morning Ride. They leave Mill Valley and head up and over Hwy 1 (or, more recently, Mt. Tam because 1 is closed) every Sunday morning. The roads are very, very tight, very technical and the pavement is in less than stellar shape. It's a road that has the 1000 foot dropoffs , so if you blow a corner, you're dead.

    When I first moved here, most of the participants were riding sport bikes: GSX-R, CBR, R1, etc. About 4 years ago, a few of the guys started putting together supermotos, mostly out of old XRs or XTs with a CCM thrown in for diversity. These days, the sportbikes are the exception and supermotos rule. Long suspension travel, superior maneuverability and light weight have proven to be the tip for the fast guys on 1.

    As much as I enjoy the bikes, I think the geographic considerations will prevent them from becoming a widely accepted street bike. We may see pockets of folks racing SMs elsewhere (for example, our own Supermotard lives in Florida, a state notorious for its lack of corners), but I think seeing an SM replace the GSX-R as the bike of choice in Missouri just isn't going to happen.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  7. #7
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    Ya know, I think that more than anything, the geographic location is going to play a huge part in whether these bikes sell. I can see them selling in CA, where the roads are super technical, or the NC/GA region, which has the same kind of terrain. In Kansas? This bike would be a complete waste there and, as much as I hate to say it, most of the country. In a region where the roads are tight, horsepower is much less of a concern, so these bikes will allow a rider to traverse a road as quickly as they could on a bike with significantly more horsepower. I rode roads I ride my GS on, only with another 10mph in hand due to the agility of the bike.

    On sweepers? Pick a bike you like and you'll do OK. When you've got an apex every 50 yards? Go supermoto.
    A lot of the same thing can be said of my Vun. It's amazing what a light, agile bike can do. More than makes up for the lack of horsepower. My Triumph Sprint feels like a Winnebago by comparison now, and I've made a decision to sell it and all my other big bikes. I've been pinning for a HyperMotard ever since I first saw one. It will be interesting to see how I feel once I ride one. I'm convinced, now, that I want to own one. But if it doesn't out nimble my 375 lb Vun, or even come close, I don't see the point.

    I do have to say though that I think these bikes will make excellent commuters in areas of the country a little lacking in curvature, asphalt-wise.

  8. #8
    rmetzger
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    First, when I figured out what was posted - the Vun - and found its web site, I was really pretty amazed. Awesome.

    Second, I expect the X-Country will be a great town bike and commuter -- because it is so easy to maneuver, tall and narrow. Its principal advantage over the X-Challenge, I expect, will be the seat. Absence of panniers is a question but I'm told they are en route.

    I live in the Topanga area west of LA -- in a complex of canyons. But, the city is just a few miles down the hill, and to get to work, or anywhere else, I have to transit the freeway. The X-Country is likely to get a lot of use in this setting, both because it is a lot of fun for the canyon rides, and because it will be good to a "grab and go" for local errands and for a 2-wheeled commute.

    If I lived in other parts of the country, without canyons and curves, nearby dirt, with longer stretches of less crowded road, the appeal would be less. I'd want more power and more comfort for cruising and better protection from the elements (easy, since the X-Country has none).

  9. #9
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Like I said in the original article, these are sport motorcycles, not touring bikes. No bags, no windshields, no big tanks. They're for honking around on back roads. And, trust me, you're going to want to stop when it needs gas. The seat is painful.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  10. #10
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    Like I said in the original article, these are sport motorcycles, not touring bikes. No bags, no windshields, no big tanks. They're for honking around on back roads. And, trust me, you're going to want to stop when it needs gas. The seat is painful.
    Seat? What seat?!

  11. #11
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post

    I love the design of Italian and German, creating the supermoto craze. I love to be a motorcycle courier racing around a city on one. But if you wish to travel beyond the horizon I am just not convinced yet.

    Even with the popular Dakar parts are limited in well traveled Adventure routes or they are too expensive. I do like the bikes but globally in the workforce I have questions. In the global world I just don't see them being a force. Even in an Operation that carries supplies to remote villages would the provider select a bike like this or go with a cheaper Honda, Jawa, or kaw with common available parts ? When looking for a Global traveler bike would anyone of these fine machines fit the billing ? My heart goes with the BMW.
    I know just what you mean. I really love my Porshce 911, but it sucks as a submarine and a tactical jet fighter.

  12. #12
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post



    Forget what you perceive ? What I don't like about most of these bikes is the exposed hoses, wires, and brake reservoir. Over time the wires get dry rot from pavement heat or brittle from cold exposure. I worry about road hazards slamming into them from flying stones to items at rest waiting for impact on our roads. Be it leg slapping grass to tree limbs could be a risk. I would at least seek covers and brush guards.

    you have the same issue with me about this bike. while i like the way it looks from a distance, all that junk hanging of the side of the engine (a rectifier????) is plain unappealing.

    certainly i get the whole runabout concept and won't ding this bike for touring shortcomings... but a lot of the reason i buy a particular motorcycle is for the way its *motor* looks. and this one looks like a mess, at least from the right-hand side.

    gotta say here that i am with david on this one, that ducati hypermoto is fantastic.

  13. #13
    HODAG
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    looked at one today during lunch

    I prefer the KTM

  14. #14
    25-MPH NEXT 1OO MILES PacWestGS's Avatar
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    Don't Do It -

    Don't do it - Don't ride one, Don't take your F650GS-Dakar into the dealership to take one (X-Country) out for a short test ride. Don't do it.

    Fun, Fun, Fun...

    Engine has sooooo much more low end snap, smooth throughout the RPM range, transmission was super slick (on a bike with 61-miles). Handling was superb (but with substantial fork dive under braking) no problem though. ABS is set up well, not coming on too soon or allowing too much rear wheel lock-up.

    It wasn't mine, so grinding the foot pegs was not on the agenda, nor was riding wheelies, or doing stoppies - although I believe all of those would be possible with little effort.

    The seat on the X-Country was adequate for what I did and vibrations were tame even at 70-mph on the freeway. Not an all day burner but plenty comfy for commuting or getting through the city. This would be a very fun bike on twisty county roads and quite capable to take down a dirt road at speed. There is no wind protection, but it wasn't bad with a Arai XD on my head at 70 (that was as fast as traffic allowed me to go - and the bike is new and not mine)

    Quality - fit - finish are adequate for a (BMW) made in (Italy) handlebar controls are better than my '06 Dakar. The RID is super, (can I get that with engine/trany swapped onto my Dakar?) who needs a tachymeter when you have a rev-limiter? Actually you can feel the RPM shift points without needing a Tach.

    This and the (other two) X-Moto 650's should make a BMW one fine entry level bike for road use and a entry level bike with ABS.

    I went in to ride the X-Challenge, but they sold it. They (South Sound BMW) are getting another one and I volunteered to ride it race it at local tracks for them.

    I'm keeping the Dakar, but the engine seems blaaa after riding the new 650, it also feels like a big bike after throwing a leg over the new bikes.

    Take care and remember - Don't do it you might just feel a little "Badness" seep into your veins and get your heart beating.

    Russ
    Russ
    "If you took the time to really get to know me...you'd be wasting your time, because I'm exactly who you think I am"

    (Life comes at you pretty fast "Pay it Forward" - Have no regrets when the end happens)

  15. #15
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    Reviving an old thread...........I picked up one of the leftover 07 X Challenges from MAX BMW a couple weeks ago. Now that I've taken it on some longish rides (470 mile day, 350 mile day) I'm hear to tell you the bike is great. More power than I ever expected from a 650 single. Great handling in the twisties and superb brakes.
    Off road in the single track stuff, it will keep up with anyone (anybike) I've ridden with. The extra power really comes in handy at times.
    I wanted a bike with a heavy emphasis on dirt riding, but could still be taken down the highway at 80mph, and I wanted Fuel Injection and ABS brakes. This is the only choice on the planet at this time. But at nearly $11K when it first came out...No thank you! but at the closeout price of just under $6K.........sign me up!



    More pictures and farkles here:
    http://public.fotki.com/Rbertalotto/...ycles-current/
    RoyB....
    2007 BMW K1200R Sport (abs),2007 Suzuki dl650 V Strom (abs),2004 Honda VFR (abs),1972 Honda Trail 90,
    2001 Moto Guzzi V-11 Rosso Mandello

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