2013 BMW C 600 Sport TestThe BMW Group wants a piece of the 40 million worldwide scooter market, and has launched two premium scooters – the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT – big enough to tempt experienced motorcycle riders, in addition to new and returning riders. On just about every mark, BMW has hit a bullseye.
The liquid-cooled two cylinder maxi scooters share the same 647cc engine, frame, wheels and brakes, but the Sport has more sporting ergonomics, with a taller seat and flatter bars than the touring-focused GT.Acceleration is assertively respectable – a healthy twist of the Sport’s throttle and you will easily gap cars away from stops on the street. Impressively, at freeway speeds there is plenty of power to quickly overtake slower moving vehicles.With 60 horsepower at 7500 rpm and a top speed of 109 mph, the C 600 Sport is the real deal; the ride is solid and secure on the 15-inch aluminum wheels, and the three-position, manually adjustable windshield diverts most of the windblast.In the hills, despite its scooter-weight disadvantage (549 pounds, claimed curb weight), the C 600 Sport feels nimble. Lean it over – floorboard cornering clearance is just fine – and accelerate with authority out of turns. With your feet in the forward cruise position on the floorboards, the Sport is a blast to ride.Gravitate toward smoother roads, as the suspension can be overtaxed on uneven paved surfaces when pushing hard.Being a sporting vehicle, good braking is crucial; your right hand actuates the twin discs up front, while the left hand lever controls the rear brake rotor. The action from the three 270mm discs is smooth, strong, and dive-free, with no flex from the 40mm inverted forks. ABS comes standard, adding additional peace of mind.Built-in storage is one of the great features of a scooter and the C 600 Sport has a novel twist; while parked, the underseat storage space can expand downward over the rear wheel, large enough to stow a second helmet. The friendly nature of a scooter, with its step-through design and automatic twist-and-go CVT transmission, makes it an appealing and non-intimidating option to a wide variety of potential riders.BMW’s approach is not aimed at the cute and petite Italian wasp aficionados. Instead, the Germans have combined the casual convenience of a scooter with the grown up capabilities of a motorcycle, creating the C 600 Sport – an entertaining two-wheeled vehicle that does not disappoint.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.