Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Two Wheels

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Two Wheels

Article excerpt

ONE of the most interesting bikes of the year so far is actually a scooter - and it comes from BMW.

The Bavarian manufacturer has come a long way since its pledge a few years back to broaden its appeal.

First it launched its incredibly successful S1000RR superbike that proved to be streets ahead of its rivals in this competitive market segment.

Now it's attempting to do the same with the launch of the C600 Sport and C650 GT maxiscooters.

While the superbike sector marked a departure for BMW, the big capacity executive scooter market is so up BMW's street I can barely believe it has never dabbled in the market before.

Despite the difference in denominations both bikes are powered by a 647cc engine - built by Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco, which has made a name for itself by building good quality, inexpensive scooters.

But while these BMW bikes are undoubtedly good quality, they are certainly not cheap.

The Sport costs a whopping pounds 9,395 and the GT pounds 9,705 for the standard versions, and an eyewatering pounds 10,245 and pounds 10,455 respectively for the higher-spec Highland versions.

And anyone who buys one of these will want to go the whole hog and smash that pounds 10,000 barrier, as the extra pounds 850 buys you heated grips and seat - bliss for those winter commutes.

Other valuable additions on the Highlands are LED indicators, daytime riding lights and tyre pressure monitors.

But this inflated price tag compared with any other maxi-scooter in the UK market (even Aprilia's mighty SVR 850 maxi-scooter costs under pounds 8,000) will seriously limit the bike's selling potential in the UK, where scooters don't enjoy the same status as in Italy, France, Germany or Spain.

Us Brits still can't seem to justify spending large sums on big scooters, despite their ability to slash the cost and hassle of the commute.

The prohibitive price tag is a huge shame considering the massive interest the bikes attracted at last year's NEC motorcycle show.

But if you can get past the price issue, then the BMW C600 and C650GT are great additions to the market. …

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