November 24, 2010 – Just a few more postings to wrap up my EICMA 2010 coverage.
At the risk of BMW overload, here are some photos of the final production versions of the BMW G650GS and the R1200R.
The G650GS is the latest in a series that has a somewhat convoluted history, at least for a BMW.
The bike can be traced back to the original F650 of 1993, which was given the unfortunate name of “Funduro”, more or less a kiss of death.
The F650 was sold more or less as a beginner bike, but it had about as much in common with other BMWs at the time as a K1600GT does to an R69.
Surprisingly, the concept soldiered on and became a pretty nice bike, evolving into the F650GS. There was even a “Dakar” version made around 2000 or so.
There’s nothing wrong with the concept of a single-cylinder motorcycle; in fact, my recent “simplify your life” theory tells me that single-cylinder motorcycle is just about perfect. If one cylinder can do the job, who needs two? Or six?
This all happened after I realized that I was having so much fun with my Multistrada 620 (blog) lately that 100 bhp just seems like overkill.
Of course, the Multistrada — even with “only” 620 cc’s available — isn’t as simple as it can get. That title would probably go to the Suzuki DR650, an air-cooled, carbureted workhorse with many fans and tons of accessories to satisfy even the most craven of farklers.
The Suzuki and the venerable Kawasaki KLR650 are both very popular, but the BMW take on the single-cylinder adventure-tourer genre fits right in also. It isn’t quite as simple and it’s certainly much more expensive, but it may well be the “ultimate” single-cylinder quasi-adventure-touring bike, and the new G650GS surely takes wins that prize?
It’s good to see that BMW stuck with this concept for what I now realize is an amazing amount of time — 17 years or so. In fact, BMW has an increased vigor for the single-cylinder GS series and the new version is not only made in Germany, it can be ordered with ABS, heated grips and a very nice set of sturdy-feeling Vario bags, a top case and many other options. This is all described in our BMW G650GS report and illustrated in the photos below.
Something about the new GS speaks to my simple-is-better mindset and I found myself at the BMW display several times during the show to admire and sit on BMW’s “baby”. The seating position is perfect for my 30″ inseam and the combination of the sculpted seat and the curved storage tank gives the “sitting in it, not on it” feeling.
But wait: is that still a storage tank and is the fuel tank still under the seat — a trademark of the F/G 650 series? I think so, but didn’t check to make sure.
I could see myself tooling around the rural back roads here, many of which are unimproved, on the G650GS. Of course, I also tell myself the same thing about the DR650, the Triumph Scrambler and the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic, so you can see where my mindset currently is with regards to motorcycle lust.
2011 BMW R1200R
It can be imagined that the newly revised R1200R also fits the simpler-is-better way of thinking, but perhaps in a more obscure fashion. Compare it to the K1600GT (info) and EICMA report with video) and yes, it’s definitely simpler. But the biggest attraction with the R1200R is that its lineage is in a direct line right back to the very first BMW motorcycle, the 1923 R32.
The original concept was so good that it has lived on for what will soon be 100 years. Line up every one of the basic series of BMW two-wheelers from 1923 to the 2011 BMW R1200R and even a caveman would see the family resemblance.
Other than perhaps Harley-Davidson, who else can say that? This alone gives the bike gravitas. And with the new Touring Special package (info) just announced for the R1200R, do you really need anything more complicated?