"the F650CS excels in slow twisties. The CS loves being thrown with abandon into hairpins and other mountainous stuff, while the suspension keeps things in check remarkably well considering they were calibrated for quieter action. It's the kind of bike on which it's easy to search for your limits."
wootwoot! I was all nervous about renting such a puny bike to go any real distance (the agency insists it's only good for one rider) but then I read this review and though, hmmm. It can go 110mph, so I won't get rear-ended on the freeway, and it's fun in the twisties. what more do I need to cruise along the cote d'azur, and poke around in the mountains near Nice? :-) All that for half the price of a Multistrada.
turned the go-fast screw all the way to the right today, and it was pretty cool how fast it wanted to go! wouldn't even sit still! Had to hold the brake to keep it from creeping forward at a stop, so I backed it off a tiny bit. but only after getting up the hill, need all the get-up-and-go that thing can get to make it up Tibidabo.
UPDATE!!!! I WAS WRONG!!! Or rather, the hack BMW paid to write those LIES was wrong. WORST bike I ever rode!!! And not just because I crashed it. I've ridden dozens of different bikes (and scooters) since 1985, so I have some frame of reference. This bike is so unrideable I think BMW invented it with the sole purpose of making new riders hate motorcycling so much that they run out and buy BMW cars. Or Volvos even. It was horrendous at any speed, wobbly around town, pathetic on the highway, and worthless in what few turns I took it through. more here: http://pinkyracer.livejournal.com/2008/08/12/
If you are a new rider, DO NOT buy this bike!!! Buy something that's fun and moves the way a bike is supposed to move. Now I know why so many US riders start out on 600cc race bikes. Because they WORK. Seriously, the GSXR 600 I rented to go from SF to LA last summer did it all for me. It blew my mind with it's braking technology (completely panic mid-corner proof) and of course its awesome power. When a dumbass slammed on their brakes in front of me then, I instantly chose to lanesplit to avoid hitting them, and continued on my way.
It was my mistake for not thinking of that in Nice, when I was a drowned rat thinking only of how desperately I wanted to be dry, but still. I think if I'd been on a bike I could respect, I probably would've been less interested in crashing. A shiny new 848 rode slowly by the cafe where I supped Monday night and I told my new Nice friends- "see, if I'd been on THAT bike, I would not have crashed."