It’s now three years since BMW Motorrad successfully entered the urban mobility segment with its own maxi-scooter range. New for 2016, the new C 650 Sport and C 650 GT are more than just model updates, with revised designs, new suspension, ABS and ASC as standard, automatic daytime riding light, new Side View Assist rider assistance system (for the C 650 GT), new paint finishes, and much more. Here to tell us more about these two dynamic maxi-scooters is product manager Peter Maier.
It’s now several years since we first witnessed a new range of maxi-scooters unveiled by BMW Motorrad. How successful has BMW Motorrad’s entry into this important vehicle segment been?
BMW’s entry in this segment was really successful. Within three years in the market we sold approximately 27,000 units which was close to what we had originally planned. And considering the challenging market circumstances of the time it is an even greater success.
What are the most important improvements made in the latest versions?
We made improvements mainly in the drive train. The clutch and CVT (continuously variable transmission) have been redesigned and the result is an improved performance when pulling away from the traffic lights. We’ve added a new silencer for better sound, and for the C 650 Sport you can see a completely new design. In addition to these main points, we’ve also made many changes to improve safety, quality and comfort.
What are the biggest differences you feel, when riding these two new maxi-scooters, compared to their predecessors?
The start-up process is much smoother but still powerful, and you immediately hear the different sound from the new exhaust. You also see the fantastic quality of the finish of the new parts in the front, and of course the new colour schemes. All in all, the two models feel more like new scooters rather than model updates!
What do you think makes a BMW maxi-scooter different from other maxi-scooters?
In my opinion, it’s the way that our maxi-scooters offer the perfect combination between all the advantages of our motorcycles combined with the additional benefits of that riding a scooter offers.
The standard active riding safety features, such as ABS and ASC, are most welcome in the new models. The Side View Assist option is new though – and a world first. Can you please explain how this works for the rider?
SVA stands for Side View Assist. It's a comfort feature that supports the rider. The rider of course has the responsibility to check the traffic situation around them. Side View Assist is like a 'blind spot' detector. That means, when you ride on the road, when any car -- or whatever -- approaches you, you get a warning signal on the mirror, and as soon as the vehicle has left your blind spot area, the signal disappears, too. As BMW Motorrad, we are the very first ones to offer a system like this in the motorcycle market, so we are the pioneers. In addition the system supports the rider in case a lane change is intended.
Could you see this feature making its way onto other BMW Motorrad models in the future?
Basically that should be possible, but at the moment we don’t have concrete plans for that.
Of course, most maxi-scooters are used for urban commuting but do you think it’s possible to go much further – such as long-distance touring – on one of these scooters?
For sure – especially the C 650 GT model can definitely be used for long-distance touring. From our market research we know that approximately 40 % of scooter riders in the over 500cc category use their scooter for weekend travel and long-distance trips.
When motorcycle riders try a BMW maxi-scooter for the first time, what kind of reaction do they normally have?
Based on my experience, mostly there is a big smile on their face and you hear comments like “I didn’t expect that, it rides like a bike and it handles like a scooter, I’m really impressed”.
Urban congestion continues to grow across the globe. How can we persuade more people to leave their cars at home and discover the benefits – and joy – of two wheels?
That’s simple, we have to continue offering attractive products like these two new maxi-scooters. It just takes a while until people understand and see the advantages.
Thank you Peter.
To learn more about the new C 650 Sport and C 650 GT, watch Product Manager Peter Maier and vehicle designer Sebastian Wilm demonstrating the new features of these two new models at www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV9wi4U9mas