Ride Test: 2013 BMW C600 Scooter

Motorrad | May 18th, 2012 by 2
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Moving away from the usual car test reviews, today we have a different type of test drive. The folks over at Motorcyclist Online and Motorcycle …

Moving away from the usual car test reviews, today we have a different type of test drive. The folks over at Motorcyclist Online and Motorcycle went to Madrid, Spain to test the BMW C600 Scooter on some fun and twisty roads. The C600 is powered by a 2-cylinder inline engine newly developed by BMW Motorrad with a displacement of 647 cc. The rated power output is 44 kW (60 hp) at 7500 rpm, and its max torque of 66 Nm is available at 6000 rpm. The power is transferred via a directly integrated CVT, or continuously variable transmission.

The BMW scooter is capable of reaching a top speed of 100 mph and a 0-60mph acceleration time of less than 6 seconds. By comparison, the most powerful Vespa you can buy has an engine less than half as large and makes just 22 horsepower.

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BMW Motorrad USA vice president Pieter de Waal said the new scooters are a “step in the dark” for the company that has produced motorcycles since 1923. He said BMW expects 70 percent of its scooter sales to come from Italy, France, and Spain, where BMW has garnered “overwhelming support” from the market to produce the two-wheelers.

Tech Spec

Price na
Engine type l-c parallel-twin
Valve train DOHC, 8v
Displacement 647cc
Transmission CVT
Claimed horsepower 60 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Claimed torque 49 lb.-ft. @ 6000 rpm
Frame Tubular steel with single-sided aluminum swingarm
Front suspension 40mm inverted fork
Rear suspension Single shock
Front brake Dual two-piston calipers, 270mm discs with ABS
Rear brake Two-piston caliper, 270mm disc with ABS
Front tire 120/70-15 Pirelli Sport/Metzeler GT
Rear tire 160/60-15 Pirelli Sport/Metzeler GT
Seat height 31.9 in. Sport/30.7 in. GT
Wheelbase 62.6 in.
Fuel capacity 4.2 gal.
Claimed curb weight 549 lbs. Sport/575 lbs. GT

Here is an excerpt form Motorcyclist Online:

At the Madrid press intro, the big, blue C600 was good fun on twisty roads, setting a decent pace and encouraging enthusiastic cornering with pleasantly neutral steering that made dodging traffic easy. On the freeway it cruised at 85-90 mph, effortlessly keeping up with traffic and holding even more power in reserve.

Straight-line performance was more than adequate, with the Sport staying very smooth at highway cruising speeds. Top speed is an electronically limited 112 mph. More usefully, the scooter averaged a respectable 40 mpg, and returned over 50 mpg when ridden less enthusiastically.

Both scooters share the same chassis. The C600 Sport shown here has lower bars, a shorter

Suspension was particularly good: firm enough to allow pretty hard cornering without the wallowing generated by lesser scooters. The only disappointing area was braking, a problem shared by the GT. The front stopper lacked in bite and power, and the rear—controlled by a left-hand lever—felt rather wooden, and too quick to get into the ABS.

At a claimed 548 lbs., the Sport is a fair bit heavier than its nearest competitor, Yamaha’s T-Max, with a tall seat height that means shorter riders won’t be able to get both feet down at once.

The big seat hinges up to reveal the most innovative part: the FlexCase storage system that allows a flexible bottom of the underseat storage area to open downwards, giving room for a second full-face helmet while parked. Unfortunately, it’s only available on the Sport.

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And another one from Motorcycle:

The sporty part of the Sport is brilliant. I have never enjoyed riding a scooter fast this much – it’s very close in enjoyment to riding a full-on 600cc motorcycle through the corners. As soon as that 647cc engine is spinning, there is lots of torque giving good corner exit speed. Due to the automatic transmission, you do ride differently to a motorbike, particularly mid-corner where you often have to let go completely of the throttle. It gives a peculiar feeling of cruising through mid-corner when in reality you are going as fast as you possibly can. You can’t use the engine to control speed, basically, and the brakes have to be used when you wouldn’t on a motorcycle. The nature of the CVT transmission makes the engine work in a reactive rather than progressive way.

The C 600 Sport wears Pirelli Diablo Scooter tires in dimensions 120/70-15 front and 160/60-15 rear. The width and profile is the same dimension as on most motorcycles but are on 15-inch aluminium wheels rather than 17-inchers.

The instrument console has a modern feel, and even revs are showed in a small digital graphic. There’s plenty of information, and I particularly enjoyed the outdoor temperature and miles per gallon feature. At top speed it showed around 5.1 litres per 100km (46 mpg), which isn’t bad at all considering the high speed with the windscreen in its upper position.

The fuel tank takes 4.23 gallons, and BMW’s solution in opening the fuel tank cap is very clever as you just push the ignition key and switch left to open it. Do the same towards the right and the seat opens. This enables you to stop at the petrol station and open the fuel cap without having to move.