Redesigned for improved wind and weather protection,
the new windshield reduces helmet noise, even for tall riders. Tinted, the
windshield can be removed for off-road riding. The new headlight provides
more uniform illumination while stylistically contributing to the bikeís
The adjustable clutch lever makes for more comfortable
riding regardless of your hand size.
Once you get into this saddle, the only time youíll
want to get off is to refill the tank. Completely redesigned, the luggage
rack system now makes attaching the top case easier (no intermediate plate
needed) and tensioning straps can now be attached via attach points in the
rack itself. Single seat also available.
Rugged and functional, the Soft Case System fits both
the GS and Dakar models and attaches to motorcycle via zipper/buckle system.
This system offers up to 62 Litresof storage. Water resistant with built-in
pack straps and attachment loops. Each piece is sold separately. Item
available as an ACCESSORY.
For added storage and carrying capacity. The topcase is
reinforced with an aluminum edge on both top and bottom lids to help secure your
gear and protect it from the elements. Made of hard black waterproof PVC
plastic. Requires mounting bracket kit. Available as an ACCESSORY.
Adds additional storage or carrying capacity. Comes
with a waterproof rain cover, a clear map holder window and a rear
zipper-lock pouch. All necessary hardware and parts for installation are
included. Available as an ACCESSORY.
BMWís all new F650 on/off-roader is available in street or
enduro style, with the Dakar version created as a tribute to those brave riders
who manage to complete the arduous Paris-Dakar rally, and to celebrate a BMW win
in the 1999 event.
With a Rotax derived four stroke, single cylinder, fuel
injected, water cooled engine, all new weight distribution and chassis, the
Berlin built F650 is a great novice machine, road or trail. The Dakar rep has a
slightly more hardcore image, yet remains a genuinely easygoing all-rounder
underneath the knobblies.
Fancy doing some off-road motorcycling but donít want to buy a bike just for
The answer could be choosing a machine like the BMW F650,
which is available in stock road kit, or the slightly more adventure orientated
Dakar version. The decision could be helped by sampling a few of the excellent
off-road schools and adventure trail rides in the more scenic parts of the UK -
as Insidebikes.com did, courtesy of BMW GB.
Dakar desert riding Brit hero John Deacon rides for the
BMW factory in both that annual gruelling rally event, as well as running a
gentler off-road experience near his dealership in Saltash, Cornwall. The lanes
arenít too taxing - depending on the weather of course - but itís handy if you
have had some green lane riding under your belt before you try a day or two on
the rutted farm tracks of Devon and Cornwall.
The F650 Dakar variant has few differences from the more
familiar road based bike, with the 21 inch diameter front wheel size giving a
taller riding position. You also get chunkier enduro type tyres, a taller
screen, handlebar guards and longer suspension - 40mm more in the forks and 45mm
in the rear monoshock. The ABS braking also gets the old heave-ho.
The Dakar feels much taller in the saddle and a 5foot, 9
ins bloke like myself had to dip to the left slightly in town to make sure my
boot touched tarmac at the lights. That said, the Dakar is nowhere near as high
in the saddle as rivals like the CCM 604 Enduro, or KTM LC640 for example, which
betray their pure off-road roots the moment you attempt to pole-vault onto the
The F650 isnít the lightest Rotax powered trailbsike on the
market and the Beemer soon proved a bit lardy to handle if the going got
seriously slippy, with those fiendish rutted tracks nearly causing me to eat
cowcrap and ICIís finest agri-chemical cocktail as per usual. As you might have
guessed, Iím not really too brilliant off-road, having tried it twice in the
last 25 years since getting my bike test passed, yet mostly, the F650 remained
generally easy to handle off-road, even for me.
The reasons are like the bike itself; simple. The Beemer
carries its 192kgs (with full tank of fuel) exceptionally well, plus the gentle,
torquey 50bhp from the motor is developed in a predictable, steady sort of way.
There are no jerky surprises in the power curve, making throttle control in
tricky, tree-stump lined trails less critical than on something more enduro
biased. I felt like I had learned a few things, even in the space of a morning
on the rough stuff, rather than just be intimidated by the ragged poke of the
thing, which is how proper dirt bikes make me feel...
For sure, a Husqvarna, KTM or Kawasaki MX 125 two stroke
would utterly see off the F650 on properly churned up terrain (assuming the
rider was any good) but the BMW has the benefit of being able to hold a steady
80mph along the by-pass all the way home after your off-road excursion.
The dual purpose bike is always a compromise of course,
and thereís no doubt in my mind that once I manage to get the hang of riding
faster than 40mph off-road, Iíll want the sheer agility and raw power of a 250cc
sized two stroke. But the build quality of the BMW F650 Dakar makes it a
tempting alternative for me nevertheless. It looks classy and able to take some
serious knocks if things go pear-shaped in the hills.
Fact is, if I lived somewhere remote where land access
wasnít a big problem and needed a bike to commute on in the summer, the F650
would be pretty close to perfect.
THE JOHN DEACON BMW OFF-ROAD EXPERIENCE.
The mix of green lanes, old droverís roads etc dotted
around the Liskeard area of Cornwall proved perfect for a day of freedom, and
tuition, in the countryside, with light local traffic on the tarmac sections
keeping speeds sensible. Dakar ace John Deacon was on hand to give valuable tips
and advice and the day long package includes one nightís hotel accommodation,
use of F650 BMW, fuel and insurance, all for £195. You do need your own off-road
biking kit however.
No off-road section was longer than a handful of miles,
with desert-racer levels of fitness definitely not required. The accent is big
on fun and taking things at your own pace. The groups can be split ad hoc,
according to everyoneís ability on the day. The pub grub was absolutely
fan-bloody-tastic too by the way.
Plus points: Great novice-intermediate level off-road
sampler course; fantastic scenery; good winter activity if you store your road
Minus Points: BMW F650 is a little heavy, plus road based
gear ratios leave big gap between 1st and 2nd gears - OK, I admit I kept