Wolf BMW had a test ride day today with the BMW Motorrad Canada test fleet. I signed up for the C650GT, and got in a 90 minute ride. I have a bit of an odd build; a 6 footer's torso and arm length but short 30" inseam so observations are based on that.
My frame of reference is an R1200RT, which is far more comparable than you might expect. The C650GT isn't the stereotypical scooter that so many motorcyclists will dismiss out-of-hand. The first impression is of its large size: as can bee seen here, it is as long as an RT, and dry weight is 45lbs more than the RT. It carries the weight extremely low so it feels much lighter.
There are a few quirks to get used to if you ride a motorcycle. When the side stand is deployed, it activates the brakes and will not move at all. The GT will not start until the side stand is retracted, ignition on, the brakes applied and the starter pushed. Due to the CVT there is no engine braking when you roll off the throttle; that must be factored into your stopping decisions.
Switch gear conforms to the new BMW standard, with seat and grip heat on the right and power windshield, trip meter and dash computer on the left.
The range of motion of the adjustable windshield on the 2011 RT will deflect wind anywhere from the tops of my shoulders to the top of my helmet, depending on setting. The C's windshield has a similar range of motion, but lower. Wind would hit me anywhere from mid-chest at low setting to mid-helmet at the highest. This made for a bit more helmet noise than on the RT.
The ergonomics are those of sitting at the kitchen table, completely erect, feet on the floor(boards) in front of you. The bars are closer to the rider so the aftermarket trade may not be making any money selling bar-backs. The seat is surprisingly high, and since you have to reach beyond the floorboards to reach the ground, I was on tip-toes at a stop, compared to on the balls of my feet with the RT low seat.
I sat at the very rear of the seat cushion with lots of lower back support from the bump in front of the passenger portion. The padding is cushy by BMW standards and is the most comfortable stock seat from them I've ever encountered.
There are two good size storage cubbies either side of the dash,
and a huge under-seat bin that will swallow a helmet with plenty of room to spare.
Acceleration with 60 hp and more weight than an RT is adequate, but once up to speed is much more lively. With the CVT it is a true twist-and-go scooter. Although we didn't get much over 60 mph on rural roads, it felt like there was plenty more to be had. I expect cruising in the 75 mph range would be quite doable.
Right lever is the very good front brake and left lever is a ferocious eyeball-popping rear brake. Used together, they will haul the GT down fast.
Wind protection is close to that of the RT, better in fact for the feet and legs as they are up on the floorboards and behind the leg-shields. With heated seats and grips, this would be a fine foul-weather mount.
With the ease-of-use in stop and go traffic, good cargo capacity, superb weather protection and power to cope with any real-world traffic, the C650GT would make a great commuter or light tourer.
It can probably best be summed up as a lazy man's RT light. For those who don't buy in to the stigma that many riders attach to scooters, the C650GT would be a fine choice.