2013 BMW C 600 Sport/C 650 GT
by Brian Robinson
While motorcycle sales haven’t rebounded as quickly as cars and trucks have, sales are definitely on the up swing. One reason is that consumers are looking high and low for ways to save on gas. Now, motorcycles are certainly an open air option. But many are wary of their loud noise and awkward riding position. But, what about a scooter? You know, it just might just do the trick.
BRIAN ROBINSON: Spend any time in a major European city and you’ll see loads of scooters buzzing through traffic like bees in a hive. And while the reasons are many, it really comes down to them being easy to drive, easy to park, and very fuel efficient.
While it’s doubtful we’ll see European levels of scooters swarming our cities anytime soon, if more maxi-scooters like the 2013 BMW C 600 Sport and C 650 GT reach our shores, chances are good their popularity will increase.
Despite big size and big power, these babies are true scooters, not motorcycles; as all the usual scooter components are there like the step through design, integrated floorboards, lots of built-in storage space, centrifugal clutch with CVT transmission, and so on.
These Cs differ slightly in their design approach. The C 600 Sport, with its more aggressive look is ready to get you to work and back every day and is even up for a quick weekend jaunt down to the coffee shop to meet some friends for a Cappuccino.
The C 650 GT has a few additional comfort-oriented features like a taller, electronically adjustable windscreen, larger seat with rider’s backrest, and roomier ergonomics that make it more suitable for longer distance riding.
But both scoots share the same 647cc inline-twin 4-stroke engine that puts out an impressive 60-horsepower and 49 lb-ft. of torque. It’s mounted down low in typical scooter fashion which of course leaves plenty of room for all of that storage space under the seat.
The 600 Sport also features “Flex Case” storage that expands when the bike is parked to allow you to safely store your helmet along with whatever else you’re already packing. Both heated seat and hand grips are available to extend the riding season a little farther into the fall.
While these may indeed be true scooters, don’t think you can just hop on them and take off like that 49cc job you rented one time in Jamaica. These maxi-scoots will cruise at over a hundred miles per hour and won’t take long to get you there. Standard ABS will help you slow down.
Both handle city traffic and county roads with equal dexterity, with a ride that’s both sportier and more comfortable than your typical scooter thanks to big 15-inch wheels. As to the fuel economy, after putting in a couple weeks of passively aggressive commuting time, I averaged 53 miles-per-gallon. I’m sure you could do better with a more concerted effort.
But as nice as these scooters are, at the end of the day they are still scooters, for which pricing is BMW steep; starting at $9,590 for the C 600 Sport and $9,990 for the C 650 GT. Still, they are both easy to drive, very fuel efficient, and downright fun ways to get to work every day for someone who’s not quite ready for a true motorcycle.
That should make them very appealing to a whole lot of people. And, on a warm sunny day, I’m sure more than a few of them would rather scoot to work in the open air than “plug” along in a Prius.