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BMW C 600 Sport and C 650 GT scooters

September 01, 2012

Blasting Conventions

By Jeff Buchanan

What better arena to test the attributes of BMW’s all-new scooters than that bastion of dizzying traffic: Madrid. The city is a beehive of motorization and reflects the need for accessible urban mobility in the developing cities of the world. Recognizing scooters as a vital market, BMW has aggressively tackled the segment with two all-new machines: the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT.

To label the new machines “scooters” seems somewhat inappropriate given their performance and physical presence.

According to Peter Maier, BMW’s product manager for the scooters, BMW engineers essentially attempted to bridge the gap between a traditional scooter and a full-size machine.

“If we can use the brand awareness of BMW, knowing BMW is building great bikes, telling the people of the basic advantages when they use a scooter, the easy access due to the step-through, the easy usage due to the automatic shifting, the performance, it’s so many points that make the usage of the scooter so easy,” he says. “But on the other hand you have all the advantages like riding a bike in terms of stability, dynamics and so on. It’s like the best out of two worlds.”

The result is a stable platform that still has the easy maneuverability inherent in a scooter.

The C-series represents a clean-sheet project. The first thing on paper was an aluminum bridge chassis. Into that was placed a liquid-cooled, two-cylinder, 647cc four-stroke engine with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder delivering a claimed 60 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and a torque rating of 66 foot pounds at 6,000 rpm. Madrid’s freeway speed limit of 120 km/hr is easily reached and maintained without getting close to redline.

The twin is fed by electronic fuel injection through two 38mm throttle valves under a digital management system. Centrifugal clutch and BMW’s continuously variable transmission deliver power through chain drive.

Keeping the whole thing suspended is a 40mm diameter inverted front fork paired with a cast single-side swingarm with single shock on the rear. Travel at both ends is 4.5-inches. Cast aluminum 15-inch wheels contribute to the overall larger bike feel. The scooters weigh in at 549 pounds for the Sport and 575 pounds for the GT.

The standard anti-lock brake system is bolstered by dual 270mm rotors on the front and a single 270mm disc on the rear. Stopping power is impressive and the ABS, when activated under very aggressive braking, does its business without any disconcerting fluctuation in lever pressure.

Given BMW’s aspirations, the Grand Tourismo moniker is no joke. The GT is capable of accommodating long stints in the saddle along with fun, around-town rides. An average of 50-miles per gallon and a 4.2-gallon fuel capacity deliver a range in the realm of 200 miles. 

The price wasn’t set at press time, but BMW estimates an MSRP in the $9,000 to $10,000 range. A lot of money for a scooter? Yes. But if the thought of a scooter that offers performance, engineering and head-turning panache appeals to you, it may be a price worth paying.

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