BMW seems to agree with me that the rugged, 652cc, Austrian-built Rotax engine that made the original F650 the biggest-selling model in the history of the Blue Propeller company was too good to waste, now that the F650 has been re-invented with a detuned version of the F800 twin.

It's back, in a new, lightweight (192kg wet) dual-purpose adventurebike called the G650 GS, its power and torque output unchanged (35kW at 6500rpm and 60Nm at 5000) but with its fuel-injection system tweaked to reduce fuel consumption to a frugal 3.2 litres/100km.

The G650 also uses the same Aprilia tubular-steel chassis with bolt-on rear sub-frame as the original F650 GS, with 41mm conventional front forks and a vertically-mounted rear monoshock, running on new cast-alloy wheels - 19" front and 17" rear - as if to underscore that this is a light tourer, not an enduro bike.

Tyre sizes are 110/80 R19 in front and 140/80 at rear.

Braking is entrusted to a 300mm disc in front and a 240mm platter at the rear, each gripped by a Brembo calliper. Anti-lock braking is an option, which can, of course, be deactivated for off-road riding.

The furniture is all new, other than the 14-litre tank mounted under the saddle to reduce the bike's centre of gravity (don't scoff; ridden gently it'll give you more than 350km!).

You get your choice of three different seat heights and a long-nose, GS-style dummy tank/mudguard unit, with a built-in screen and asymmetrical headlights.

In contrast to industry best practice of an analogue rev-counter and digital everything else the G650 has a conventional speedometer on the right of the instrument panel with an LCD bar-graph rev-counter and displays for distance and time to the left and warning icons to the right.

The clutch lever is adjustable for reach and the switchgear has been kept a simple as possible, Japanese style.

Panniers, a top case, a higher screen, a centre stand, heatable grips, a 12V charging socket and hand guards are available ex factory.

The BMW G650 GS is due for release in South Africa during the second quarter of 2011 at an indicative base price of R73 000 and will come with a two-year, unlimited-distance warranty.