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BMW shows off its new scooters

December 08, 2012|By David Colker

BMW is showing something new at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach this weekend. And no, it's not a luxury touring bike or super expensive supersport model.

It's a pair of scooters. 

Aside from the C1, a short-lived enclosed model that never made it to the U.S., these scooters are the German manufacturer's first. 

PHOTO GALLERY: BMW's scooters

BMW sees them as a way to interest younger riders in its lineup.

"Talk to young kids today and they don't even want a car," BMW product manager Sergio Carvajal said. "It's a big challenge for us."

BMW wanted something highly user friendly that wouldn't take much special training. Carvajal pointed out the three areas in which the scooters achieve that: clutchless transmision (akin to automatic trasmision in a car), stepthrough mounting (instead of requiring riders to swing a leg high over the seat) and built-in storage for shopping trips, hauling textbooks and so on.

The high-end BMW model is the C 650 GT, with a huge padded seat. "It's the Barcalounger," said Dee Dee Taft, a spokeswoman for the show. Indeed, the C 650 GT is like a lounge chair on wheels.

An optional package for the bike includes a heated seat and heated grips that turn on and off automatically. "It senses the temperature and makes adjustments," Carvajal said.

The slightly sportier C 600 Sport has not quite as upright a sitting position and is a bit more compact. The underseat storage is not quite as ample but has nifty expansion room -- enough for a helmet -- that can be used when the bike is parked.

Both models feature ABS brakes.

They have comfort, ease of use, the BMW imprint -- the only thing that might scare off people interested in scooters is the cost. The manufacturer's base retail price tag for the C 600 Sport is $9,590 and for the C 600 GT is $9,990.

And neither of those prices include the heated seat for your tush.

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