The C 400 is a great looking scooter and is, arguably, the best looking mid-sized maxi-scooter on the market.
Limited suspension travel
BMW C 400 X / GT
The C 400 X is BMW’s first mid-sized adventure scooter. It was announced in fall 2017 for a worldwide release in 2018 including the USA and Canadian markets. It remains on sale in Canada as of 2020, but was discontinued in the USA after 2019.
The C 400 X was later joined in some markets by the C 400 GT, which offers more touring oriented styling and amenities on the same platform. The “GT” was launched in Canada for 2019 and remains on sale there as of 2020, but it has not been introduced to the USA.
The C 400 X (above) is BMW’s first contribution to the medium sized maxi scooter segment – a niche that’s gotten quite popular over the last couple years with new entrants from Suzuki (Burgman 400) and Yamaha (X-MAX 300). The C 400 X was first revealed at the 2017 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, with production beginning shortly thereafter for a mid 2018 introduction in North America as a 2019 model. Like BMW’s previous C 600 Sport, the C 400 X combines a maxiscooter look with more sporty/adventure styling.
The C 400 GT (below) was launched about a year later and parallels BMWs C 650 GT offering by providing more traditional maxiscooter styling and amenities on the same platform (chassis and engine). The GT is about $1300 more expensive but does differ in many ways such as the taller windscreen.
Propulsion for both the GT and X models is provided by a single cylinder engine which displaces only 350cc, despite the “400” name of these scooters. The engine is equipped with the usual range of motor features (liquid cooling, fuel injection, OHC) and an impressive 11.5:1 compression ratio.
The result is 34 hp (7500 RPM) and 25.8 lbs-ft torque (6000 RPM). That yields a 0-60 mph time of 9.5 seconds which sounds slow compared to the car world, but is quite good for a scooter. Most manufacturers don’t release 0-60 times, but the C 400 should be faster than Suzuki’s new Burgman which despite an extra 50cc, actually makes less power (30.5 HP) and hauls around another 25 lbs of weight. Yamaha’s 28 hp X-MAX 300 should be in the rear view mirror as well.
Top speed for the C 400 is electronically governed to 86 mph, which seems fair but is slower than Suzuki’s 95 mpg Burgman 400. Fuel milage is rated at 3.5L/100km (67 mpg), which gives a range just over 200 miles on its 3.4 gallon tank.
The C 400 X brings a unique style to the scooter world. It’s sized like a touring scooter, but the style is decidedly an adventure scooter with blacked out sections of bodywork, an asymmetrical headlight and a short beak under the headlight similar to the larger adventure bikes from BMW. As such, this maxiscooter achieves an aggressive off-road look that work to dispel the wimpy image of scooters. In a sense, it feels like a BMW version of a grown up Honda Ruckus.
The C 400 GT uses more traditional styling but still has a somewhat aggressive, modern look typical of a BMW compared to the more subdued stylings often seen from the Japanese makers.
Braking and Handling
ABS is standard on the C 400 like all scooters from BMW. This ABS is linked to dual rotors (265mm) and 4 pistons up front, while a simpler single rotor (265mm), single piston disc brake suffices in the rear. The braking bits are from Brembo (under the BYBRE brand) so they should be more than capable of controlling a relatively light machine. The C 400 X is 450 lbs while the GT is 467. For comparison, Suzuki’s Burgman 400 tallies 474 lbs on the scale, while smaller 300cc machines from Honda (Forza) and Yamaha (X-Max) weigh 400 – 428 lbs.
Also standard is traction control (aka ASC or Automatic Stability Control). While the C 400 X certainly looks like an adventure bike, it doesn’t have the suspension to back up that look with only 4.3” of travel in the front (BMW’s adventure bikes have around 7” of travel). It does have dual shocks in the rear though with adjustable pre-load, so the C 400 X should be a capable machine even if it can’t quite live up to its look.
Features and Amenities
BMW has equipped the C 400 (both X and GT) with their “Flexcase” storage – an idea first seen on their larger C 650 Sport. The Flexcase is basically a trap door in the bottom of the underseat area. It opens and expands downward to increase capacity. It’s a clever idea as it enables a passenger to sit lower, but you wouldn’t want to forget it’s deployed when you ride off or it would rub on the rear wheel.
Without the Flexcase deployed there is moderate space under the seat (one helmet can fit at the front), and then with it deployed you can stow two helmets. In addition to the underseat area, the C 400 X has two small storage areas up front, one of which has a 12V plug for accessories.
Other notable features include an LED headlight, folding passenger pages and an optional color 6.5” TFT screen like BMW’s larger adventure bikes which bluetooth integrates with your phone. It’s too bad the screen is optional, because it looks fantastic. Other optional features are heated grips, heated seats, two styles of top cases, racks, taller windscreen, keyless ride (standard on the GT) and a lower seat. With the keyless option, you can stow the keys in the front storage cubby instead of inserting them into the ignition.
The C 400 is a great looking scooter. It pulls off the aggressive look better than Yamaha’s X-MAX (which is nicely styled too) and is, arguably, the best looking mid-sized maxi-scooter on the market. Given the nature of BMW’s pricing and more limited dealer network, the X-MAX should outsell the C 400, but the Bimmer is the nicer machine. The X-MAX retails for $5600 USD, while the C 400 X is priced at $7540 in Canada and $6795 in the USA, which is a very reasonable price (e.g.Suzuki’s Burgman 400 is $8299 in the USA). The Canada-only GT model is $1300 more expensive at $8750 + shipping.
It’s great to see BMW offering a smaller scooter at a more attractive price point (the C 650 Sport is $10g). Compared to BMW’s larger machines, the lower up front cost of the C 400 plus better fuel milage and lighter weight, will appeal to a much larger audience. It’s a nice move by BMW and it should transform them into a more well known manufacturer of scooters.
It’s worth noting that Suzuki is regarded as the king of maxiscooters for a reason – they’ve got touring comforts nailed down. The new 2018 Burgman 400 moves away from this a little bit towards a more aggressive style and is quite a bit more expensive, but it’s still worth looking at if you’re envisioning touring in your future. The Suzuki wins on touring attributes like storage space and top speed. But at a lower price and with BMW engineering, the C 400 X is going to be popular for good reason. Also check out Yamaha’s X-Max before making a decision.