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BMW F 900 XR: First Ride Review

27 November 2020, 06:52 PM Suvil Susvirkar

Introduction

BMW F900XR Left Front Three Quarter

If the BMW S 1000 XR is too intimidating and expensive for you, the new F 900 XR should catch your attention. This lower-displacement, fewer-cylinder, and budget-friendly alternative to the S 1000 XR joined the Bavarian brand’s India portfolio in 2020 along with the F 900 R naked roadster. The sports-ADV tourer competes against the likes of the Ducati Multistrada 950 and the Triumph Tiger 900 GT motorcycles. However, the BMW motorcycle is more road-based than the competition and it thus features 17-inch alloy wheels on both ends instead of a 19-inch front setup on its rivals.

BMW F900XR Front View

Apart from the S 1000 XR inspired styling, the F 900 XR is also loaded with several electronic rider aids – standard and optional – which make it a perfect tool for everyday use. So, the 895cc sports-ADV tourer is a marriage of practicality with fun at a relatively affordable price point. But does easy accessibility come with compromise on the fun-factor? We tested the motorcycle for this first ride review.

The Visuals

BMW F900XR windscreen

In terms of design, the similarities with the S 1000 XR are evident, and the BMW F 900 XR packs features such as sleek twin-pod LED headlights with adaptive cornering lights, a two-step adjustable windscreen, a sharp semi-fairing design, a muscular fuel tank, and a step-up saddle. The sharp look of the front fascia is enhanced by a dual-tone finish while the colour of the fairing adds a nice contrast to the visuals. Unlike the S 1000 XR, the F 900 XR misses an engine cowl.

BMW F900XR TFT / Instrument Cluster

From the rider’s saddle, you can see a modern, fully-digital instrument cluster and a plethora of buttons, including the BMW multi-controller on the handlebar. The equipment at the back such as the taillight, rear blinkers, and the numberplate are mounted on a removable stalk. The rider can even remove the complete assembly when visiting a racetrack.

BMW F900XR

BMW F900XR

  • Displacement895 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)103.25 bhp
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 10,93,320

BMW F900XR Left Side Multifunction Switchgear

The motorcycle lives up to the standards of the German build-quality, and all the bits and pieces have been tucked in their pieces properly. The paint quality and the fit and finish is commendable. The switchgear, too, feels premium, and all the buttons are ergonomically placed and easily accessible while riding the motorcycle. Buyers can opt between two colour options – Light White and Racing Red. We had the Racing Red colour option for the review, and it looks instantly desirable.

The Package

BMW F900XR Head Light

The styling is complemented by modern and premium features that comprise of full-LED lighting, cornering lights, an information-rich colour TFT display, and a sufficiently packed electronics package. Being the Pro variant, the F 900 XR came standard with an electronically adjustable rear suspension, bi-directional quickshifter, and a cruise control system.

BMW F900XR TFT / Instrument Cluster

The information-rich, Bluetooth-enabled, 6.5-inch colour-TFT screen shows data such as tachometer, speedometer, gear-position indicator, fuel gauge, distance to empty, riding mode, traction control setting, temperature, and a lot more. The display works with BMW Motorrad’s smartphone app to record the ride-related data, gives access to incoming phone calls, music, and the turn-by-turn navigation.

BMW F900XR Engine From Right

In terms of performance, the BS6-compliant, 895cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine makes a healthy 103bhp of maximum power at 8,500rpm and 92Nm of peak torque at 6,500rpm.

BMW F900XR Left Side View

The motor is based on the unit from F 850 GS. BMW Motorrad has increased the bore size by 2mm to achieve the added displacement (previously 853cc). The engine features a crankshaft with 90-degree offset crankpins and a 270/450 degree firing order. This gives the motor a V-twin like character in the compact dimensions of a parallel twin. The parallel-twin engine is linked to a six-speed transmission that benefits from an assist and a slipper clutch.

The Ride

BMW F900XR Left Side View

The motor has a linear power delivery. Point the tachometer above 2,000rpm mark, and the F 900 XR will keep moving forward without any fuss. It starts to pull away cleanly anywhere right from 3,000rpm onwards, with a step-up in acceleration near the 6,000rpm mark. The two riding modes (Rain and Road) give access to the full 103bhp, although the throttle response is gentler in the Rain mode. Both can be selected on the fly using the “Mode” button on the right side of the handlebar. Heat management is commendable too, and while things got warm, it never got unbearably hot – one of the perks of having a parallel-twin motor instead of V-twin engine where one cylinder head is very close to your legs.

BMW F900XR Gear Shift Lever

The six-speed transmission feels crisp, while the bi-directional quickshifter makes the ride even more fun. The quickshifter works well for both up- and down-shifts.

BMW F900XR Front Disc Brake

The braking setup complements the friendly powerplant on the F 900 XR. The anchoring setup, which comprises of twin 320mm discs with four-piston callipers at the front and a single 265mm rotor with a single-piston calliper at the back deliver a decent amount of initial bite and it feels progressive. There’s plenty power to bring the F 900 XR to a halt in a considerably lower time and distance. The safety-net of ABS ensures that there’s no drama in case of emergency braking, although the system at the rear kicks in too early. Also, there’s no provision to turn-off the ABS tech.

BMW F900XR Right Front Three Quarter

The ergonomics are set for a comfortable ride. Thus, the F 900 XR comes equipped with a tall-set handlebar and slightly rear-set footpegs which deliver a sportier yet comfortable rider’s triangle. While the handlebar is tall enough to offer upright ergonomics, you have to reach for it when standing on the footpegs.

BMW F900XR Handle Bar

The semi-fairing design and the small windscreen at the front deliver a decent protection from the wind, although tall riders will notice a fair amount of buffeting on the helmet at high speeds. BMW does offer a taller windscreen as an option.

BMW F900XR Rear Suspension

The suspension setup at the back can be electronically adjusted while the front does not get any settings. The setup has a sportier tuning without being too harsh. The suspension works well at highway cruising speeds, filtering most of the minor undulations effortlessly. The rider can select between two primary settings for the suspension – Road and Dynamic. Road is the softest setting available while things get even sportier in the Dynamic mode. The electronic setup can also be adjusted for various preload settings (Rider, Rider with Luggage, Rider with Pillion, and Rider with Luggage and Pillion).

BMW F900XR Bike Seat

The seat height of 825mm makes terra firma easily accessible, and I could plant both my feet flat on the ground. The padding, on the other hand, could’ve been better as the stock setup feels hard.

BMW F900XR Left Rear Three Quarter

The refinement levels are commendable too and you can cruise in the mid-range of the tachometer without any vibrations. Mild vibrations are only evident in the higher rev-band, closer to redline. At 219kg, the motorcycle does feel heavy, and it takes some effort to move it around in the parking. However, once in motion, it’s remarkably easy to ride. It feels agile too, and the direction changes are quick. The turning radius is surprisingly short, and making U-turns is fairly easy on the F 900 XR.

BMW F900XR Head Light

The hardware works well too and the full LED headlamp lights up the dark roads like a Las Vegas strip. The colour TFT display carries sufficiently large readings for the ride-related data, and it is easy to read in bright daylight or at night.

Verdict

BMW F900XR Right Front Three Quarter

The BMW F 900 XR is among the most-friendly motorcycles that I have ridden in my career as a motoring journalist, and over a decade and a half of motorcycling. It looks appealing, while the feature list is comprehensive and the engine is tractable. You can further customise the vehicle with a plethora of official accessories that are directly available through BMW Motorrad dealerships.

BMW F900XR Left Rear Three Quarter

The negatives are rare, but the motorcycle will feel better with a slightly softer setting for the suspension and better padding for the saddle. The Dynamic riding modes, too, could’ve been standard, at least in the Pro model. But I’m nitpicking here.

BMW F900XR Right Front Three Quarter

The prices are competitive too, and the standard variant of the F 900 XR is available at Rs 10.50 lakh while the Pro version is priced at Rs 11.50 lakh (ex-showroom). So, if you’re in the market for a sporty ADV tourer, you should look no further.

Photography by Kapil Angane

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