F650 History, Differences and Purchasing FAQ

compiled & edited by Kristian #562
Updated by Scott #1244
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
Last Updated: 19 March 2007, by Winter #1935

Other General FAQs about the F650:

Other FAQs about F650 aftermarket options / modifications:


So you want to buy an F650 and do not know which bike is for you? Or you want to know the differences between the bikes? This FAQ contains information about the differences between the bikes, and what to lookout for when you purchase the bike. A lot of the specific differences between the bikes are listed in the table at the top of this FAQ. However below that you can find descriptions of the changes.

Opinions, Opinions, Opinions
Everyone is biased about the bike they ride or like best. Many of these opinions can be found in the forums (in the General Forum) - look for topics like "Is the GS for me?" and "Thinking of buying a F650". Where possible this FAQ has isolated the opinions from the facts about the changes between the models.

Model "names"
The F650 series of bikes have several "names" that can be confusing to those new to the bike. The following names are used in the forums and FAQs:
  • F650 and F650ST are sometimes referenced as the "Classic"
  • Funduro is a reference to the F650 (not F650ST)
  • GS is a reference to the F650GS
  • Dakar, or GS Dakar is sometimes called the F650GSD or F650 Dakar
  • Models with ABS usually have an A suffix. For Example F650GSA, or F650GSAD.
  • Models with factory lowered option usually have the L suffix. For example F650GSL or F650GSAL for a lowered GS with ABS.
  • F650RR is the Touratech Race Replica / Race Ready F650 (based on the F650GS / F650 Dakar
  • Oryx is the Touratech Oryx - a lightweight version of the F650GS / F650 Dakar
  • Single Spark - refers to F650 fuel injected models with single spark plugs
  • Dual Spark - can refer to F650, F650ST, and all 2004 onwards F650 GS, Dakar and CS models
  • FI models - refer to all GS, Dakar and CS models
  • PD is a ref to the "special" police models
  • GS/M, Dakar/M and CS/M - refer to dual spark fuel injected models (usually used in the Parts Fiches
  • SE is typically a reference to a Special Edition

History and Development of the F650

In the Beginning

Thanks to Richard #230

Here is a little F650 history lore for you from page 50-51 of the November issue of Motorcyclist magazine: The designer of the "Classic" F650 model was Martin Logmore, who is now the Chief Designer for Aprilia and has just redesigned the Aprilia Mille. He is a 45-year old Scot, born in Edinburgh and a 1982 graduate of London's Royal College of Art. He first worked for Ford, then moved to Britain's leading design house, IAD in Worthing. He then worked for Volvo and GM in California. Eventually, Longmore ended up in Munich working for BMW's Motorcycle Design Group, while David Robb was still in the car division. BMW had a contest between the bike and car design teams to design their new car and Longmore, in the bike division, won the contest with the design of the original BMW Z3 - apparently pissing off the designers in the auto division.

His next creation for BMW was the F650 Funduro, which he designed and styled personally, and whose creation in the mid-1990s first bought him into contact with Aprilia, who manufactured the bike for BMW. In 1993, Longmore moved to Audi and designed the TT Coupe. He was recruited by Aprilia in 1997 and has been working for them as an outside consultant, while he lives and works in Munich. Something for the History section of the FAQ.

Historical Overview

by Flash #412 et al., October '01, updated by Winter #1935 October 2006

F650 Classic (Funduro) and ST

In the beginning, Rotax built the motors for Aprilia and BMW. Aprilia built the bikes for both. Rotax is Austrian and Aprilia is Italian. The motors are not identical, though they do share many parts. The BMW head is four valve, dual plugged and the Aprilia is five valve, single spark plug. Besides the cams themselves being different, cam timing is different, too. The Pegaso makes more horsepower, with a peakier curve than the BMW which has a flatter horsepower curve and most of the torque delivered over a much wider rpm range.

1994 was the first model year for the BMW F650 Funduro in Europe. The Funduro remained unchanged until 1997. There was also the ST (sport touring). (I forget the model years). The main differences between the Funduro and ST are fairing shape and size of the front wheel. The motor, frame, ass-end of the bike and so forth are all identical. More information on the differences between the F and the ST are discussed below.

In 1997, the bike was certified for the USA. This changed the Euro-spec bikes, too. This model remained unchanged to the end of its run in 2000. The fairing and (black plastic) engine covers for '97 on have a different shape. The windshield is different, too. I believe the tank covers are identical, which would mean you could swap fairings (with engine covers & windshield) between early and late versions. The early version had bug-eye turn-signals, built into the fairing. The late version has indicators on stalks which bolt to the fairing.

The early version has a self-returning Sidestand and the late version has an (easily defeated) ignition cut-out switch. The early version had a removable gas cap. The late version has a hinged gas cap. The early version has a temperature gauge on the left side. The late version has a clock in that hole. The idiot lights are different, to match the lack of temp gauge. (Fitting a temp gauge instead of an idiot light means changing the sender, too.) The Euro version has a light switch on the right control (missing on the later version) allowing OFF, ON, and PARK.

There are a whole bunch of parts identical between the Funduro and the Pegaso, too many to list here. (I don't even know what-all.) But if you put them side by side, you'll see lots of IDENTICAL stuff as well as lots of stuff that has the identical form and function, which will clearly FIT. I am told that the Aprilia has ball bearings for crank mains and BMW uses plain bearings. But this has not been verified, yet.

The ST model was only available in the US in '97 and '98. NOT available in 99. So if its a '99 F650 it isn't a ST (US Only).

Single Spark GS, Dakar and CS

For the 2001 model year, starting manufacture in mid-late 2000, BMW took the bike in-house. They revamped the design of the bike, almost entirely. The new bikes benefit from fuel injection and the gas tank residing under the seat, with a faux tank cover... someone who owns one can say what. ABS became available. The motor now has four valves and one spark plug. There is a GS and Dakar models which are very closely aligned. The Dakar has a bigger front wheel and higher seat height. Graphics differ.

BMW had a recall on the gas tanks of the early F.I. models. BMW had a recall on a rear brake strut of pre (date?) units. And many feel that BMW SHOULD have a recall on the fuel injection system. (Others are quite happy.) Surging and stalling are the main complaints about the F.I. with various fixes available, including an updated map, an updated Software installation version, replacing the injector nozzle with one from the R1150, an updated pressure regulator and someone found drilling holes in the Airbox snorkels helped. (Why BMW can't FIX the thing has many people stymied.) Common lore is that when threatened with litigation, BMW has bought back F.I. bikes which can not be civilized, under non-disclosure agreements. Note that the bikes BMW gave the press for the US introduction were NOT USA-spec bikes, but Canadian.

In the US "2000" models are special editions to use up the last of the old frames and have marks like FL. These differ only in bodywork details to the Funduro and ST. 2001 saw the first of the FI models. GS and the new CS are the direct replacements for the Funduro and ST respectively, but have more mechanical differences. A Dakar is a GS with additional off road refinements (like a 21 front wheel). All are great bikes.

Dual Spark GS, Dakar and CS

In 2004 BMW released a dual spark version of the GS, Dakar and CS. A new faster F.I. computer was added, and a few other minor cosmetic changes such as the dash, rear tail "glove compartment" and adjustable clutch lever. The dual spark and revamped F.I. computer seemed to deal with many of the Surging and Stalling problems with the earlier single spark models. It also improved fuel consumption, and reduced emissions, and had an adjustable clutch lever.

The G650X Models

In October 2006, BMW released the G650X series of bikes. Although these models are not "real" F650s bikes, they are very similar in many ways (that we know of right now). They use the same basic engine (the Rotax 654), with 1hp more (at 53hp), and a smaller alternator (280Watts) compared to larger dual spark Fuel injected models. A smaller 9.5L tank (compared to the 17.3L tank on GS/Dakar models) with 2.0L reserver, and a much lighter weight of 156kg (ready to ride, compared to ~192kg of the GS/Dakar models). More information to come when we have it...

(Dirt Biased)
(Road Biased)
Final Drive (Chain) 15/47 16/47 16/47
Front Wheel 21 inch 19 inch 17 inch
Rear Wheel 18 inch 17 inch 17 inch
Suspension Travel
270mm/270mm 240mm/210mm 270mm/245mm

Future, Speculation and Rumors (2007-on?)

Although unclear on release dates (including when or if certain models will be available in the US) speculation includes:

Other Sources for Classic F and GS Bike History

Who Designed the F650?

This was a Topic of Some Debate.

F650 Classic Design

F650 GS/Dakar Design

Model Specs and Differences

Model Specs

BMW Specs
Depending on the source of information, BMW specs do vary - sometimes in quite subtle ways. Where possible these differences have been noted in the specs listed. In other words if you want to have some real fun when you go to purchase a F650 - ask your dealer about specific differences between BMW documents on the specs of the F650 models.
Note: References to relevant FAQs have been included in this table. Any debate over the validity of BMW specs, or opinions, suggestions or modifications can be found in the relevant FAQs.


Classic Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Production Year(s) 1993-2000 1996-2000 1999-2003 2004*1-present Ya reading it!
Type Rotax model 654 engine,
652cc single cylinder, 4 stroke,
4 valves with bucket tappets, DOHC, dry sump
Engine Misc
Rotax 655 Troubleshooting
Hard Starting / Poor Running
GS Hard Starting
Valves 36mm intake, 31mm exhaust
Intake opens 17° before TDC, closes 45° before BDC
Exhaust opens 47° before BDC, closes 15° before TDC
Classic Valve Shim Check
Classic Valve Shim Change
Valve Misc
GS Valve Shim Change
Shims 29mm Over bucket (KLR650 equiv.) 9.5mm Under bucket
Bore x Stroke 100 x 83mm Engine Misc
Compression Ratio 9.7:1 11.5:1 Compression Testing
Output / Torque (standard) 35kW (48hp) @ 6,500rpm
57Nm @ 5,200rpm
37kW (50hp) @ 6,500rpm
60Nm @ 5,000rpm
37kW (50hp) @ 6,500rpm
60Nm @ 4,800rpm
GS Performance Mods
Classic Performance Mods
GS Dyno Runs
Output / Torque (reduced) 25kW (34hp) @ 5,700rpm
48Nm @ 4,200rpm
25kW (34hp) @ 6,000rpm
51Nm @ 3,750rpm
25kW (34hp) @ 5,500rpm
51Nm @ 4,000rpm

Ignition / Charging

Classic Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Spark Plug Two NGK D8EA One NGK D8EA Two NGK DR8EB Spark Plugs
Electrode Gap
Wear Limit
0.6 - 0.7mm (0.02 - 0.03in)
0.9mm (0.0354in)
Supply System 2 Mikuni constant-vacuum
BST 33mm B316
Fuel Injection
Fuel Injection
GS Fuel Injection
GS Fuel Nanny
Carb Cleaning
Carb Misc
Battery Yuasa 12V 12Ah, YB12AL-A Batteries
Alternator 14V, 20Amp, 280W 400W Electrical Misc
GS Electrical Misc
Voltage Rectifier
Classic VR Relocation


Classic Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Grade Unleaded*2 Classic Aftermarket Tanks
GS Aftermarket Tanks
GS Tank Probs
GS Fuel Pressure
Capacity 17.5L 17.3L (4.0L reserve)*3
15.3L in US*4
Consumption @ 90km/h 3.8L/100kms 3.4L/100kms 3.2L/100kms*5
Consumption @ 120km/h 5.3L/100kms 5.0L/100kms 4.3L/100kms*5

Power Train

Classic Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Clutch Multi-plate clutch running in oil bath Clutch Misc
Cover Removal
Clutch Adjustment
Clutch Plate Springs
GS Clutch
Primary Transmission 37/72 = 1:1.946 Gear Shifting
Gear Ratio
Transmission Problems
Gearbox 5-speed, with claw-action shift,
integrated into engine block
1st gear2.75
2nd gear1.75
3rd gear1.31
4th gear1.05
5th gear0.88
Final drive 16/47 = 1:2.938 Belt 16/47 = 1:2.938 Belt General Chain
Chain and Sprockets
Sprockets Other Sizes
Chain 110 links (type 520) 112 links (type 520) 112 links (type 520)
Top Speed 163km/h 166km/h 170km/h Classic Performance Mods
GS Performance Mods

Dimentions / Weight

Classic Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Overall Length 2180mm
Classic Lowering
Classic Aftermarket Seats
GS Lowering Kit
Overall Width 880mm
Overall Height 1220mm
Wheelbase 1480mm
Ground Clearance 180mm
Aftermarket Forks FAQ
Aftermarket Shocks FAQ
Seat Height 800mm
780mm 870mm Aftermarket Seats FAQ
Unladen, ready to ride 191kg
Classic Luggage
Classic Seats
GS Luggage
Maximum Permitted 371kg / 817lbs 380kg / 837lbs 380kg / 838lbs
Max Wheel Loads


Classic Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Brake Fluid DOT 4
Coolant Nitrate-free antifreeze and corrosion inhibitor *6 GS Coolant Change
GS Radiator
Classic Coolant Change
Cooling Fan
Oil Type (See FAQ References)
non-SJ, non-EC
Oil Change FAQ
Oil Hoses
Oil Leaks
Oil Pressure Switch
GS Oil Change FAQ
CS Oil Change FAQ
Oil Quantity (See FAQ References)
Fork Oil (See the FAQ references) Fork Maintenance
Forks Aftermarket


Classic Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Front Wheel 2.50 x 19"
1.6 x 21"
2.50 x 17"
2.50 x 19"
1.6 x 21"
2.50 x 19"
General Wheel FAQ
Wheel Balancing FAQ
Rear Wheel Bearings
Rear Wheel Removal
Front Wheel Removal
Front Wheel Bearings
GS Wheel Mods
Rear Wheel 3.00 x 17"
130/80 x 17 65 S  TUBE-type
Front Brake Hydraulically operated, with single fixed disc
Twin-piston floating caliper (Brembo).
Brake Pad FAQ
Brake Light FAQ
Brake Maintenance FAQ
Brake Misc. FAQ
Front Brake Switch
Rear Brake Hydraulically operated, with single fixed disc
Single-piston floating caliper (Brembo).


F650 Single Spark FI Dual Spark FI FAQ Refs
Fork Type 41mm Showa telescopic fork Fork Maint FAQ
Aftermarket Forks FAQ
Shock Maint FAQ
Aftermarket Shocks FAQ
Shock Type Central spring strut actuated by lever linkage
Front Travel 170mm
Rear Travel 165mm


  1. When BMW released the dual spark FI models in the US, the first model was the 2005 - despite the bike being released in 2004. This was probably a marketing ploy - buying next years model is better right?
  2. Fuel Grade - BMW typically specifies Premium Unleaded fuel with higher octane ratings. However most F650 riders experience surging and stalling problems and find Regular Unleaded is more suitable.
  3. Fuel Reserve - some sources suggest a reserve of 4.5L
  4. Fuel Capacity (US models) - US models contain a charcol canister (for emmisions) which takes up some of the fuel tank space.
  5. Fuel Consumption - based on BMW figures, some sources state 3.4L/100kms and 4.5L/100kms for 90km/h and 120km/h respectively.
  6. Coolant - Coolant and Antifreeze are two different things. Have a look in the FAQs for the non-nitrate AND non-silicate coolant.
  7. F650 Seat Height - For '97 models onwards, the seat height for the F650 is specified as 810mm / 31.9in
  8. Fuel Capacity - Due to the emmissions control cannister on US models, these bikes have 15.5L tanks. See the GS Fuel Tank FAQ

Descriptive Changes

Differences between the Classic F and the Classic ST

by Mason #631

There's a very comprehensive review of both bikes at BMW Zambia. This FAQ only notes the Funduro/Strada differences: Here's the source, BMW Zambia and it jives with what I can see on my ST.

What about the low power version 25kW as opposed to the 37kW normal version?

I have a 650F '96 with its HP reduced to 25 kW. Previous owner said that the only thing done was changing the manifold, nothing done in the carbs. The manifold has a 25 kW mark on it. He gave me the original manifold.

Differences between the Classic F and the F650GS/Dakar

by Eben Fourie, Andy Leeds UK

650GS Dakar 2001 or 2002 or 2003 or 2004

Other Rotax 650 Bikes

  1. The Bimota BB1 Supermono. Here's Mal's.

  2. Chrysalis F650. http://www.chrysalisracing.co.uk/ or http://www.iommgp.com/press-releases/chrysalis.shtml.
  3. Norton C652SM

  4. Bombardier DS 650 ATV http://www.bombardier-atv.com or http://www.rotax.bombardier.com/index_e.htm
  5. Bombardier Seadoo
  6. Aprilia Pegaso
  7. MuZ Skorpion
  8. Jawa 650
  9. See also http://home.wanadoo.nl/menk/_f650/funduro_ander_eng.html (for the Bimota BB1, Chrysalis F650, and Norton C652SM)
  10. John Deere ATVs: Trail Buck 650 / EXT / EX. See http://www.hurontractor.com/news.asp?display=headlines&process=view&pressID=1157 (They use the Rotax 644 4-Tec engine, not the Rotax 654)
  11. Bimota Supermono (1995-1996) / Supermono Biposto (1996-1997) ... See http://www.infoservizi.it/bimotaclubitalia/colother.htm ctxspy
    Also check this website: http://www.moto-one.com.au/performance/BB1supermono.html

What about Sidecars?

What about Trailers?

Do any Police Forces or Armies use them?

German Police

Okay, so as not to post something 'old' I hope that this is new. I have a hankering for Police motorcycles because as a little kid this was what attracted me to motorcycles (especially BMWs). Some of you may have seen the BMW police bikes that I shot at the Barcelona motorcycle show. As I'm putting together a '02 R1150RT-P now in official German autopolizei trim I was looking on the web for new pics. I was pleasantly surprised to find the following pics of the F650GS being used as a police bike. Enjoy.

Danish Army

Davidhpark, #711 http://www.armyvehicles.dk/bmwf650.htm

San Rafael Police

The head mechanic, Miguel, is BMW trained and services the F650GS police bikes in town. From http://www.ultimatejourney.com/chap94.html

Royal Barbados Police

Hi, I received a lot of information from your site which I found very useful in servicing The Police Fleet of vehicles in Barbados. Shawn Coombes, The Royal Barbados Police Force.

Spanish Police

I know they are used in parts of Spain, also in London, UK, if you have any contacts there who might be able to advise on their long-term usefulness. These two images are of Spanish Cops' F650GS bikes. Trevor, #999

Gahanna Police

Well, here is my entry this week (maybe I will have another picture to share if the fuzz between here and Vermont tag me Confused) As I am searching for the rubber/brass coupling between the crankcase and air box I headed out to BMW of Columbus who will VOR parts for free, but are on the complete other side of town. Saw one of these in the garage and asked the parts guy who owns it. Guess the Gahanna Police in Columbus are the only department in the state/region that has F650's as police bikes. I headed out to the station yesterday and met up with the motor officer and snapped this picture. matttys

Swiss Army

How many can you count? Winter, #1935

French? Police

Comparisons, Reviews and Opinions

Opinions on the F650 GS vs. F650 GS/Dakar

Opinions on the Classic vs. the GS/Dakar

Kristian#562 HK ex'96F, '00 GS

I know Art has both Bikes, and I now have had the GS for 18 months after having had the Classic for a number of Years. While there are a lot of similarities, here are some personal observations on differences. Some people are going to dispute some of these, but like I said, personal observations. And I did a lot of work on my Classic, by myself :-)

Don't get me wrong, the GS is a fine bike, it's a good engine and a well balanced ride and it looks well sexy. It's still easy to work on by yourself, although not AS easy. I'll add to the list as times goes on.

Harl #380:

Mike #639:

Andy #982:

Leo #699 Utica, NY - 2000F:

The carb models, 2000 and older, run consistently fine.

Mark #403:

Richard #230:


F650 vs. BMW 1150R

F650 vs. BMW 1150GS (or 1100GS)

F650GS  VS BMW K75

F650 vs. BMW 1100RT

F650 vs. Honda Transalps

F650 vs. Kawasaki KLR

KLR vs. KTM vs. Dakar

URAL Anyone?

F650 vs. Triumph Tiger

F650 vs. Honda XR650

Other Website Reviews

Trevor (UK), 28/Oct/01


F650GS - Dakar:


F650 ST Review - MCN Feb 1997 (Paper Issue Only)

Ron Woods Mods - MCN May 1999 (Paper Issue Only)

Opinions for Tall Riders

For general information and opinions on seats, both stock and aftermarket, see also this Seats FAQ. Applies to both GS and Classic. For Short Riders, see the GS Low Bike FAQ or the Classic Lowering Kit FAQ


People often ask if they got a good deal. The real question is are you happy with the bike and what you paid for it. If so, it's a good deal. Nate

Quick and easy currency converter. http://www.xe.com/ucc/ I use this converter page all the time. It's very easy and accurate. Why not put it in the FAQ, as price comparisons come up all the time, as this is truly a global hobby, with global participants and friends. http://www.xe.com/ucc/ Doug W.

Buying an F650 - What to watch out for

Mostly Classic, but some of these Symptoms have popped up in the GS

Importing into the US (from Canada / Germany)

If it was cheap, lots of people would do it: See GS Documentation.

Selling an F650

by Flash #412, October '01

Evaluating a Classic - Feedback

Evaluating an F650GS or GS/Dakar - Some Opinions

Typical Question: After about a 10+ year hiatus from motorcycling, I'm in the market for a Dual Sport 650, and am comparing the different MFR's offerings. I'm looking for a bike that will hold it's own on the freeway, and also be versatile enough for some light to moderate trail riding so that I can accompany my 10 year old in the dirt. My last ride was a Kawasaki H2 - so yes, I'm a bit of a power nut, but I'm also ready for something much more civilized than that beast.

Obviously I expect this group to be biased towards the BMW, but can this group offer any +'s and -'s on this bike?

Specific questions:

  1. Why is the BMW better than the other offerings?
  2. The price differential is $3,000USD vs. the Honda XR650 - is it justified in your view?
  3. There seem to be a lot of the 2001 F650CS's for sale on classified section of this site - are there any glaring problems (other than the fuel system recall)?
  4. If you own a F650GS, what is it the best thing about it?
  5. Would you buy the Dakar, or just the standard?
  6. What accessories do you consider essential (ABS, etc.)?
  7. Anything else you care to comment on.

Typical Responses:

How fast will this bike go from 0 - 60 mph?

Has anyone done any timings at a track on their F650? How about 0 to 100?

Where can I buy a Used One?

No preference or recommendations given.
Dealers sites, regardless of whether for new, used, BMW or non BMW bikes will NOT be listed, only non-profit organisations.