BMW G650 Xcountry

BMW's capable G 650 X (pronounced CROSS) country

Back in the '50s and '60s road-going motorcycles were mostly also suitable for off-road use, after making a few modifications, were called "scramblers". Today the BMW G 650 Xcountry offers the same versatility, bringing together the best of both worlds: excellent road-going qualities combined with off-road assets typical of an Enduro.

In both looks and technical features, the G 650 Xcountry stands out quite clearly from its two sister models: Featuring a smooth-lens round headlight, a "naked" cockpit without fairing, a two-level seat and the front mudguard running close to the wheel and held in position by a stable tubular bracket, the G 650 Xcountry alludes clearly and intentionally to the classic scrambler. This particular look is further enhanced by the high-rising exhaust system as well as twin-tone paintwork in Deep Black and White Aluminium matt metallic.

The G 650 Xcountry is also quite unique in technical terms, the telescopic fork still offering ample and relatively smooth wheel travel requiring a mere 240 mm overall travel to ensure exemplary riding comfort and appropriate off-road qualities. The rear gas-pressure spring strut, in turn, comes with an adjustable inbound stroke and spring pre-tension allowing 210 mm spring travel. It also features convenient adjustment for length allowing variation of seat height from 840 to 870 mm. In combination with the high-rising aluminium handlebar complete with vibration-damping weights, this ensures a particularly casual and relaxed seating position.

It almost goes without saying that a scrambler, by tradition alone, simply has to come on wire-spoke wheels. So this is precisely what the G 650 Xcountry has to offer, ensuring consistent lightweight technology all the way, with hollow-cast aluminium hubs and epoxy-plated rims also made of light alloy.

Typical of a scrambler, the 19-inch front wheel, as well as the 17-inch wheel at the rear, both roll on hollow-drilled wheel shafts. The tyres with their own special tread and dimensions of 100/90 at the front and 130/80 at the rear, again live up to all the versatile and individual requirements made of a scrambler.

Superior stopping power is provided also on the G 650 Xcountry by brake discs measuring 300mm in diameter at the front and 240mm in diameter at the rear. The brake calipers are floating units with double-piston actuators at the front.

Dylan goes cross country with BMW

Could I call the BMW G 650 Xcountry an on-road scrambler? Maybe...

BMW have come up with the right combination for an on/off road motorcycle with the Xcountry. The weight and general size of the G 650 X is well suited for cross country use, and the single cylinder fuel injected power plant provides all the necessary power for the application.

Handling is very impressive with adjustable rear suspension and up-side-down forks up front. ABS helps deal with the rainy days and unexpected dangers that may lay ahead, which can be de-activated by the touch of a button should you wish.

the willing 650 single has plenty of grunt

suspension soaks up anything and everything in it's path

Fuel consumption is good as the fuel management system constantly adjusts to optimal settings, with the aid of a fuel mixture sensor (located on the exhaust system). Although the fuel tank could do with more volume for longer distances (it's only 9 and-a-half litres), but that isn't too serious as the capacity lets you ride just long enough before you have to stop for petrol and give your bum a rest.

The Xcountry looks great with modern styling, but BMW have also kept the design quite simple and function. The gear selector is compressible and spring loaded, so should you fall off - it won't break. There is also very little fairing to snap off or crack should you hit something. Indicators are mounted on rubber, so should survive smaller mishaps.

the Xcountry is great fun

and easy to handle

Digital dash provides all trip information except rpm, while the odometer and two trip meters are very useful.

The 5-speed gearbox is well geared and good for 180 kph. The Xcountry handles the urban environment just as well as dirt tracks and is the perfect commuter for the young at heart.

I personally found the Xcountry to be right up my ally, nimble, easy to ride, light on fuel and more than enough power to enjoy life in the fast lane, on tar and in the dirt.

For a change my Dad took the photos while I had the fun.    Words by Dylan Slater - Photos by Kenn Slater

broadside, with ABS off

Technical Data

The G 650 is powered by the single-cylinder carried over from the former F 650 models now optimised for even better performance and minimum weight: In the G 650 X-models, the upgraded engine now develops maximum output of 39 kW (53 hp) at 7,000 rpm, reaching maximum torque of 60 Nm at 5,250 rpm. And it almost goes without saying that the engine's well-known virtues such as superior reliability, motoring refinement, economy, and environmental friendliness have been enhanced to an even higher standard than ever before.

Yet a further improvement is the even more dynamic surge of power from the four-valve engine now made possible by the lighter crank-drive and a number of other modifications. The rear wheel, finally, is driven on all three model variants by an O-ring chain.

The bridge-type tubular frame made of steel with cast aluminium side sections and the bolted-on aluminium rear frame, together with the rear-wheel swing arm made of cast light alloy and a number of other high-quality components, characterise the suspension and running gear concept of the G 650 X model series.

Intelligent lightweight technology with a high degree of overall integration of the various components allows particularly low weight for a motorcycle in this class between 156 and 160 kg, depending on the model (DIN unladen weight with 90 per cent tank filling). Dry weight is between 146 kg.

A feature truly unique in the segment of highly specialised single-cylinder motorcycles - but nevertheless quite natural on a BMW - is the optional availability of light and compact two-channel ABS for even greater braking performance. And it also goes without saying that the ABS anti-lock brake system does not in any way restrict the ambitious sports rider wishing to enjoy himself off the beaten track or on special circuits reserved for racing, since the system may be deactivated on demand.

The new single-cylinder models were developed under the leadership of BMW in cooperation with Aprilia. Production is by Aprilia in their Italian Plant, naturally fulfilling all of BMW's strict quality standards. As on the F 650 models, the power unit comes from Austrian specialist Rotax.


Specifications G 650 Xcountry

Engine                                                                Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke unit with dual ignition

Capacity                                                              652cc

Bore/stroke                                                         100/83mm

Max output                                                          39kW / 53hp @ 7,000rpm

Max torque                                                          60Nm @ 5,250rpm

Compression ratio                                                11.5 : 1

Camshafts                                                            DOHC

Valves per cylinder                                               4

Fuel supply                                                           Electronic manifold injection, BMS-C II

Exhaust management                                             Fully controlled three-way catalytic converter

Power Transmission/Gearbox

Clutch                                                                   Multiple-plate clutch in oil bath

Gearbox                                                                Five-speed gearbox

Rear wheel drive                                                    Chain

Suspension and Running Gear

Frame                                                                    Steel bridge tubular frame with bolted cast aluminium components and aluminium rear frame

Suspension, front                                                    USD telescopic fork, tube dia 45 mm

Suspension, rear                                                     Aluminium two-unit cast swing arm

Spring strut                                                             Spring Damping System

Spring travel, front/rear                                           270/270 mm

Wheelbase                                                             1,500 mm

Single-disc brake, front, disc dia                              Double-piston calliper, 1 x dia 300mm

Single-disc brake, rear, disc dia                               Single-piston floating calliper, dia 240 mm

Wheels                                                                   Spoke wheel, front 1.60 x 19, rear 2.50 x 18

Tyres                                                                      Front 90/90-19, Rear 140/80-18

Weights and Dimensions

Length, overall                                                        2,205 mm

Width, overall, with mirrors                                     907 mm

Seat height                                                              890 mm

Dry weight/DIN unladen weight                              144/156  kg

Max permissible                                                     335 kg

Tank capacity                                                         9.5 liters

Fuel Consumption and Performance

Fuel consumption 90 km/h                                       3 liters/100 km

Fuel consumption 120 km/h                                     5 liters/100 km

Acceleration 0100                                                 4 seconds 

Top speed                                                               185 kph (approx)


where the road ends, nobody knows, but the Xcountry can take you there


Thanks to Rob Barnes and BMW South Africa for the ride,

a great little bike, both on and off the road.