BMW bikes

  • BMW Motorrad Malaysia introduced four new models, and we got to ride three of them. 
  • Two of the four new bikes are the highly anticipated C400X and C400GT scooters.
  • We got to ride the scooters and the R 1250 RT, and this is what we think of them so far.

So after some quiet time, BMW Motorrad Malaysia has introduced four new models to its line-up.

The last time we attended a BMW Motorrad related event it was with BMW Motorrad Auto Bavaria for the launch of the Option 719 customisation program. Photos below, click here to read that story.

Today’s launch event (click to read about the new models) was not just a regular launch, but it was also a test ride session for three of the four models – the C400X, C400GT and R1200RT.

Sadly the new F750GS was not part of the test ride.

C400 X and C400 GT

I first checked out all the new models at the 2017 EICMA show in Milan. I am not sure why it took so long to bring the bikes in, but lets just pin it down to localisation and bureaucracy factors.

The new scooters are unmistakably BMW with their angular design language and that unmistakably BMW daytime running lights. Especially the ones on the GT.

Spot a 3-series in the design of the lights? The 3-Series and the GS was the first thing that came to mind when I saw those lights for the first time.

The lights are stunning to say the least, but are an optional item should you decide to buy a C400.

The size of both bikes is just right as well, even in maxi-scooter GT form.

Maxi-scooters are usually quite big and are thus more comfortable and better suited to highways and long distance riding. But are clumsy in heavy traffic and when you want to slip and slide in tight angles.

But the C400GT is comfortable (below), it is bigger than the C400X (above) but smaller than the usual maxi-scooters. Even my personal Kawasaki J300 is bigger than the GT.

Our test ride took off from TCP KL towards Damansara Heights, and back for a quick bike change and then back out towards the Istana Negara for another bike swap and back again via Hartamas.

This was a good mix of urban roads with a dash of traffic and the typical KL drivers who swerve into your lane without indicating and such. Perfect testing grounds for the C400X.

Both bikes are powered by a 350cc engine producing 34hp and 38Nm of torque. This is coupled to a CVT transmission while brakes are managed by ByBre callipers, which are manufactured by Brembo in India.

Brembos or ByBre are always great, but they are also a favourite among thieves, so what can you do to secure your calipers? Click here to find out.

Unlike the GT, the X feels smaller and nimbler. The screen on both bikes are fixed, but the one on the X is mounted lower than the GT.

The sitting position too is different. The GT has more leg space and lets you stretch out your legs for a more comfortable sitting position, ideal for long distance riding.

The X though has a more upright sitting position, and is sportier in character as far as sitting position is concerned.

Riding character and performance is about the same, both bikes have decent power while the CVT transmission has the typical elastic behaviour where you have to wait for it to spool up for a second or two before you get a burst of power.

Quality is of course top notch, and the colour 5-inch TFT screen is fantastic. Both scooters also offer intelligent Connectivity and let you play your favourite music, which you listen to via a bluetooth enabled helmet.

The C400 scooters are assembled in China, and unlike the C600 and C650 scooters, are made entirely by BMW and are not rebadged from any other model.

First impression: Fun, nimble, intelligent, the new BMW scooters are brilliant and perfectly priced to take the fight to the Kymcos and SYMs. And with the aftersales service standards of BMW too.

BMW R 1250 RT.

A 8km test ride route does not do justice to a bike purposefully designed to traverse continents quickly and comfortably.

But it was good enough to tell us that the new RT has fantastic handling, the engine is torquier than ever and requires little to no gear shifts through traffic. It will happily thump along in 3rd or 4th gear, uphill or downhill.

Design wise it is not much different, it has some aerodynamic upgrades for visual effects and engine cooling but not much else.

The real upgrade on the RT is underneath all that gorgeous panelling.

The 1254cc engine, up from the previous 1170cc engine, features some very clever engineering for more power and better fuel efficiency. It produces 136hp and 143Nm of torque, which is plenty and you feel it as soon as you get on the throttle.

However, the short test ride route didn’t allow for any ride mode changes. Heck there wasn’t even time to explore the onboard systems in depth. So we rode with what we got.

What sets this RT apart from the old one is the new BMW ShiftCam Technology, which is the first time such a technology has been used in a series production BMW Motorrad engine. It allows for a variation of the valve timings and valve stroke on the intake side, and as such gives better low end power.

The ultimate objective is, as always, to get as much power with as little fuel consumed.

But as a whole though, the bike feels light through traffic, feels surprisingly agile, and you can hold your desired line easily at all speeds. Simply said, it is a very easy bike to ride no matter your riding style.

First impression: This is not just a mere update, but a serious upgrade from the previous R1200RT. The engine is more powerful and you feel it more at lower speeds, you tend to use less gearshifts and rely on the torque a lot more. The bike feels a lot nimbler and though it is a big bike, cutting through traffic was effortless. There’s also a whole new level of electronic safety nets as well.

Note: We didn’t get to ride the F 750 GS, but will definately try to get our hands on one as soon as we can.

Prefer to watch a video? Click here to view our review of the R NineT Urban G/S.
  • The BMW R nineT Urban G/S is a the grandson of the original BMW R80 G/S from 1980. 
  • It is powered by a 1,170cc engine and has a purposeful sitting position, giving it good performance and handling. 
  • Priced at RM87,900, there aren’t many of this BMW around.

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today” – Malcom X

Somebody at BMW must have been a fan of Malcom because if the design of the BMW R NineT Urban G/S is anything to go by then it is quite clear that that somebody had heeded the activist’s words and prepared for the future way back in 1980. And we’re thankful to that somebody.

Let me explain:

Above is the original BMW R80 G/S that made its debut back in 1980. It is the grand-daddy of all modern BMW GS motorcycles. And below is the new modern reincarnation of the same bike. The apple really didn’t fall too far from the tree. In designing the Urban G/S, BMW has given the world a masterclass in how to design a modern classic without sacrificing too much to modernity.

People loved the Urban G/S. Whether it was at a highway rest and service area, a stop for fuel and even at a dim sum shop in Ipoh, people kept wanting to walk over to take a closer look and take photos of it. People may be used to superbikes, but there is a very good chance that they would have never seen anything quite like an Urban G/S.

“Apa moto ni bang?”

“How come I don’t see more of this bike?”

“Is this a new bike, or did you restore a classic?”

“What! It costs only RM87,900? This would have been a better buy than my T****** B*********! It’s a friggin BMW for god’s sake!”

Just some of the questions I was asked during the ride.

I rode the bike for over a week – in the city, on the highway, on kampung roads and off-road. To nights out with friends, to the solo “tapau” ride to the local mamak. Near and far. And though the seat of the bike is not suited for long-distance rides, which I must add is seriously uncomfortable after about 100km or so, but the all important fun factor and the styling makes it all worth it.

You don’t need to look very hard to see that the retro motorcycle scene is healthy and thriving. Almost every motorcycle manufacturer has a retro model these days. There is a market for such bikes, and the Urban G/S suggests that it will be here to stay for a while.

On the Urban G/S, you sit upright, very much like you would on a motard naked bike. The wide handle bars and balls up front sitting position gives you a confident feel, almost as if you could chuck this bike down towards a corner, get on the throttle hard, and let the rear slide out. Like you would a motard or dirt bike.

It even has the power to back up its purposeful feel. Powering the Urban G/S is the new air and oil-cooled four-stroke boxer engine featuring twin camshafts and four radially aligned valves per cylinder with a central counterbalance shaft. Which means that it manages the natural side-to-side tug of a boxer layout, well it doesn’t tug as violently as an older boxer engines at least. You still get the classic boxer left-right twitch when you start the engine though, which is great and I hope BMW doesn’t over engineer its boxer-powered bikes and eliminates this characterful touch.

With a capacity of 1,170cc, the Urban G/S gives you 110hp and 116Nm of torque to mess around with. And with a weight of just 221kg’s, it makes mince of just about everything until it reaches its top speed of about 230km/h. But since it does not have a screen and the puny little wind deflector above the headlight is more for show than anything else, you have to hunk down low and hold on to the bike with your hands and thighs. I only managed a top speed of 218km/h before it became too uncomfortable and too scary.

The tall suspension adds to the “motard-ness” of the Urban G/S, this is after all a bike that was originally designed as a “do-it-all” bike in its original R80 G/S form. So staying true to form meant that it could not deviate much from its original design and purpose, but BMW has done a fantastic job at adding on an element of fun to it. It is that combination of a powerful engine, a great sitting position and a well sorted and soft-ish suspension that makes the Urban G/S such a wild child, especially through the corners.

And best of all, you don’t have to worry about electronic gremlins eating away on your pride and joy when there aren’t that many electronics to begin with. Heck the Urban G/S doesn’t even have a fuel gauge, it just sort of warns you that fuel is running low and begins a countdown from the remaining 50km range from your tank, which I guess is good enough considering this bike was built for urban areas. But on the highway though, not fun at all, and if you don’t handle range anxiety very well then this bike is not for you.

But other than that, there are no electronic riding modes, no electronic suspension settings, no cruise control, nothing. The only thing it has in terms of electronics is ABS brakes, a digital engine management system, an electronic intake pipe injection and a few sensors around the bike and that’s about it. It is a pure back to basics motorcycle that has a Steve McQueen cool ‘kinda’ aura, the one that everybody wanted but only a few had.

I loved my time with the R nineT Urban G/S but it wasn’t well suited to the type of riding I took it on. It handled the city and trunk roads perfectly, but not for the mile-munching highway rides. So would I spend money on it? If I were in the market for a R NineT, I would go for the standard model just for the added cushioning of the seat. But if you want a cool design, fantastic power and not much else to run around town with, and as long as you’re not riding very far, forget about the pretenders and get an Urban G/S. But don’t say we didn’t warn you about that seat.

BMW Motorrad reportedly developing advanced new haptics helmet technology.



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