BMW G450X (2009 - present) review

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Thu, 4 Jun 2009 - 12:06

Details
Manufacturer:
BMW
Category:
Off Road
Price:
£ 5595
Overall
4
Need Insurance?
BMW's hard-core off-roader does exactly what it promises.
Pricey to buy and spares part costs are a bit steep.

Just a few years ago the very idea of serious enduro riding on something with BMW on the tank would have been preposterous. Huge trans-globe adventure busters, absolutely. Rounded commuters with off-road style, brilliant. But a serious, sharp-edged dirtbike to take the fight to KTM and the Japanese? BMW? Don’t think so.

But here it is, the 450X, and it’s designed to do exactly that. Three years in the making during which time BMW have acquired Husqvarna, so that will make things slightly complicated at an upper-management level. But while they figure that out, here’s the 450X. It’s a proper weapon. 111kg dry, 52bhp, and stark white plastics that look stunning when new (but quite possibly less so after a few weeks of knocks and tumbles.) The RRP is £5,595 and the 450X comes fully road-legal, all EU-III silenced and everything. This makes it almost unique in the performance enduro world, but since most people who ride off-road wouldn’t even know what EU-III means the 450X is easily de-restricted for full-bore performance. All you do is complete a circuit with a £5 plug and the BMW goes instantly from 41bhp to 52bhp.

It may only be a 450cc four-stroke single, but the BMW is boasting heaps of cleverness like that. At the heart of its innovation is the genius drive-sprocket arrangement. The entire motorcycle has been built around the gearbox sprocket, and here’s why. On conventional dirtbikes, the drive chain is constantly tightened and slackened as the swingarm pivots up and down over bumps. This puts enormous stresses on the chain and drive system and means the connection between the throttle and rear tyre can be snatchy.

On the BMW, the swingarm pivot goes directly through the gearbox sprocket, straight through the entire gearbox and out the other side. Therefore there is no movement between the swingarm or the run of the chain, and therefore no stresses are placed on the drive system. This allows BMW to run the chain with hardly any slack for maximum feel at the throttle, and boy does it look weird. “This chain looks way too tight, can you ask one of your mechanics to slacken it off, please?” I ask project manager Markus Theobald when I see my bike. He just laughs and explains that since the chain is at constant tension, it doesn’t need any slack. There is every reason to suspect that this clever design may well find its way onto high-powered superbikes in the near future.

Click next to continue

Just a few years ago the very idea of serious enduro riding on something with BMW on the tank would have been preposterous. Huge trans-globe adventure busters, absolutely. Rounded commuters with off-road style, brilliant. But a serious, sharp-edged dirtbike to take the fight to KTM and the Japanese? BMW? Don’t think so.

But here it is, the 450X, and it’s designed to do exactly that. Three years in the making during which time BMW have acquired Husqvarna, so that will make things slightly complicated at an upper-management level. But while they figure that out, here’s the 450X. It’s a proper weapon. 111kg dry, 52bhp, and stark white plastics that look stunning when new (but quite possibly less so after a few weeks of knocks and tumbles.) The RRP is £5,595 and the 450X comes fully road-legal, all EU-III silenced and everything. This makes it almost unique in the performance enduro world, but since most people who ride off-road wouldn’t even know what EU-III means the 450X is easily de-restricted for full-bore performance. All you do is complete a circuit with a £5 plug and the BMW goes instantly from 41bhp to 52bhp.

It may only be a 450cc four-stroke single, but the BMW is boasting heaps of cleverness like that. At the heart of its innovation is the genius drive-sprocket arrangement. The entire motorcycle has been built around the gearbox sprocket, and here’s why. On conventional dirtbikes, the drive chain is constantly tightened and slackened as the swingarm pivots up and down over bumps. This puts enormous stresses on the chain and drive system and means the connection between the throttle and rear tyre can be snatchy.

On the BMW, the swingarm pivot goes directly through the gearbox sprocket, straight through the entire gearbox and out the other side. Therefore there is no movement between the swingarm or the run of the chain, and therefore no stresses are placed on the drive system. This allows BMW to run the chain with hardly any slack for maximum feel at the throttle, and boy does it look weird. “This chain looks way too tight, can you ask one of your mechanics to slacken it off, please?” I ask project manager Markus Theobald when I see my bike. He just laughs and explains that since the chain is at constant tension, it doesn’t need any slack. There is every reason to suspect that this clever design may well find its way onto high-powered superbikes in the near future.

Click next to continue

Price: £5,595

Front suspension: 45mm adjustable marzocchi
Rear suspension: Öhlins monoshock, fully adjustable
Front brake: 260mm disc, four-piston caliper 
Rear brake:  220mm disc, two-piston caliper
Dry weight: 111kg (claimed)
Seat height: 955mm
Fuel capacity: 8l

Colours: White/blue

Engine: 449cc, liquid-cooled, 4-valve single
Power: 52bhp @ 7800rpm
Torque: 40nm @ 5400rpm

Top speed: 85mph (est)

Score Breakdown
Overall
4
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