By Troy Siahaan
Reading about Tom’s ride aboard the new KTM 1090 Adventure R, and Scott Rousseau’s Taste of Dakar adventure has got us on a big dirtbike kick. This got us looking through the MO archives for old adventure bike stories, and this piece on the 1997 BMW F650 was among the oldest reviews on the subject we could find. Until the F650 came on the scene, BMW had nothing to cater to the newer rider. With its 652cc Single (from Rotax), BMW was hoping to fill that void. How did the bike perform? Here’s Gourd Mounce with his first impressions from the 1997 launch. For a few more pictures of the F650, be sure to visit the photo gallery.
First Impression: 1997 BMW F650
BMW Checks Out the Singles Scene.
By Gourd Mounce Apr. 20, 1997
Photos by MO Staff
For years BMW has offered buyers a varied line-up of sportbikes, tourers, and dual-purpose machines with engine configurations ranging from twins to triples to fours. Despite this wide range of styles and powerplants, not since 1967 has BMW built a single-cylinder machine designed for the beginning rider.
That has changed with the 1997 F650. After three successful years in Europe, BMW has finally brought their popular single to North America. With its unintimidating 652cc single-cylinder engine, lightweight chassis, great ergonomics and tremendous flexibility, it just may have been worth the wait.
Inspiration for BMW’s F650, dubbed the Funduro in Europe, came when company representatives visited Aprilia’s factory in Italy. At that time, Aprilia was in the final stages of production on their Pegaso 650, a high-performance bike powered by Rotax’s liquid-cooled five-valve single. The innovative German firm quickly recognized the benefit of cooperative effort between these manufacturers, and immediately sought their assistance in releasing a similar model. By using a Rotax engine in …read more