“It’s like a camel. A really fast, sexy camel,” my dear friend Kate commented enthusiastically upon seeing the machine for the first time. The name stuck, and from that day forward the single-cylinder German ungulate has been affectionately known as “The Camel”.Despite the Honda badging (there both to pay homage to the bike I left behind and to confuse curious observers) the Camel is a 1999 BMW F650ST. Seemingly BMW’s bastard bike, it’s one cylinder short of a real German and is driven with an old-fashioned chain. Tech specs aside, what sold me was the fully analogue cockpit, more specifically the dial clock. Nothing says “&@*% you!” to hands-free cell phone earpieces, talking GPS, and Twitter posts about the sandwich you just ate like a dimly-lit ambitious little east-coast minute hand racing around oblivious to the sauntering west-coast hour hand. But I digress.
The Camel’s particulars are below:
– Engine: Water cooled Rotax 652cc single cylinder, 4 stroke, 4 valves, DOHC
– Transmission: 5-speed
– Cajones: 35kW (48hp) @ 6,500rpm, 57Nm (42ft-lb) @ 5,200rpm
– Maximum Speed: 163km/hr (102mph)
– Minimum Speed: 0km/month (0mpm)
– Fuel Capacity: 17.5L (4.6gal)
– Range: 320km (200mi) – double that with reserve tanks
– Weight (unladen): 191kg (420lbs)
– Weight (laden): Bridges have weight limits for a reason. I might be one of them.
– Turn-Ons: Mud, switchbacks, unleaded gas, spray paint, chain lube, cute passengers
– Turn-Offs: Beltway traffic, head wind, flying mammoth tumbleweed, nails, gravel
Eventually perhaps I’ll write up the list of upgrades (with a year to spend and my general attitude of “If it ain’t broke, fix it ’til it is”, trust me there were plenty of modifications), spare parts, and other boring technical information.