Sunday February 17, 2013
BMW's monster C600 Sport
By PATRICK MAES email@example.com
The monster C600 Sport rises from among the competition to be the ultimate ride.
THERE are currently two schools of thought debating whether or not scooters are cool, and masculine enough for a man to be seen on. Of course, that idea has been alive since the days of Steve McQueen – bell bottoms, motorcycle and all – that would put hair on the chest of a modern day motoring journalist.
The other ideology sways to the general practicalities that a scooter offers over its “clutch-as-hard-as-a-rock” cousin.
Hundreds of hours have been spent on these two topics, until the maxi-scooter was introduced in the mid-80s.
But it did not quite solve the “man’s ride” issue.
Until the BMW C600 Sport, that is.
A maxi-scooter that might just do the trick of bridging two oddities, taking in the fact that at the time of writing, there was already a waiting period for the next batch of C600s. It is already proving to be very popular among those who can afford the cool RM65,000.
The first thing you will notice about the C600 is the sheer size of it; it is big, but not intimidating; it seems to invite you to have a go at it. The size is one of the few things that makes you want to hop on and ride it.
At the heart of it all is a two-cylinder inline engine churning out 60hp and 66Nm of torque between 6,000 and 7,500rpm.
All that power is transferred to the drive shaft via a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that is slippery smooth in its delivery.
The result is a bike that is quick and smooth, and because you only have to worry about keeping the throttle open, you can and will reach speeds quicker than what you are comfortable with.
The acceleration time to 100km/h stands at 7.1 seconds (the C650 GT does it in 7.5 seconds), while the speedometer readout claims a top speed of 180km/h.
BMW lived up to its “under-declaring” reputation again as speed well in excess of that was seen, but somehow not entirely felt. And that leads one to conclude that the C600 is one of the ultimate do-it-all bikes available in the market today.
There are some who say that an Aprilia SRV 850 or a Yamaha T Max are better bikes, but without a wheel-to-wheel duke out, the answer to that is best left to another day. For what it is, the C600 Sport is something that even the most white-knuckled rider can appreciate.
Its size may be a deterrant when you need to make a quick dash around town. The gap between side mirror to side mirror varies and sometimes you do tend to miss the smaller kapcai as you wriggle around the cars trying hard not to knick a mirror.
But what you lose around traffic, the C600 makes up for it on the highways.
The aerodynamic design of the bike together with the tall wind shield up front work to keep the air flowing around you rather than straight at you. This not only creates a turbulent free pocket for you, but it is also relatively quiet, save for the sound of the traffic around you.
Combine that to the velvety transmission and the powerful engine, and you have a touring-scooter that could, discounting breakdowns, take you as far as you wanted to go, in relative comfort.
But since most owners of the C600 would not go further than the city limits, BMW’s engineers thought up a clever way of making life with the two-wheeled beemer even more pleasant – a hefty amount of underseat storage.
One full face helmet or two open face helmets, together with a jacket and small bag can be stored beneath the seat.
The ability to walk through the office in the morning without making a statement on your choice of transportation is quite honestly, gratifying. Especially when you consider that most bikes with similar performance standards require you to lug your gear everywhere you go.
So far, the C600 Sport has been raking in the brownie points, but every rose has its thorn, and so does this scooter.
Build quality is a little off-centre, especially those fragile “doors” to the storage areas, the fuel cap and the flap that extends down to store your helmet.
There is a constant niggling feeling that they may not last very long. But with sales sky-rocketing, you can expect a healthy amount of spare parts to be flown in.
The ultimate do-it-all bike was the early impression we had and we still stand by it. If you are looking for a ride that would get you into the in-crowd of the biking fraternity, take you for a long weekend ride with your buddies, and even be your daily mule if you so like, then the C600 Sport may just be that bike.